This famous quote from the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr. is imprinted in a five-hundred peso-bill to remind Filipinos to love and honor our country next to ourselves and God.
Ninoy Aquino said, “The Filipino is worth dying for.” And true to his word, Ninoy became one of many sacrificial lambs whose blood watered the altar of liberty. The shot that ended the senator’s life in 1983 reverberated throughout the world and stirred a nation silenced by fear and desolation into righteous action.
A quarter century later Filipinos remain dogged by the same social questions from Ninoy’s time. And Ninoy’s legacy-to give self for his compatriots-remains a beacon for all.
Not a few Filipinos believe that individuals who offer themselves as martyrs provide bad examples and the quest for martyrdom a sign of defeatism and despair. But in Ninoy’s case-as it was with Rizal’s almost a century before-‘death’ became a metaphor for sacrifice. Ninoy’s death became the spark that re-lit the torch of courage that lit the road for an incensed people through the long, dark tunnel.
The ‘hope’ that our thriving SME community shows is a living testament that the Philippines is as much ‘worth dying for’ it is worth living for. The contribution of Filipino entrepreneurs in buoying the country through the harsh periods of history is a feat we too must hail. The efforts SMEs contribute enable the Filipino people to make the leap from bare existence to a fulfilled life. By creating jobs and new wealth, offering choices and bringing ‘pride’-SMEs provide reasons for hopefulness in our future.
The examples of Ninoy and other patriots who offered their lives for the country, as well as those who continue to embark to give the Filipino youth a real chance of seeing the dawn of a debt-free, self-sufficient and strong Philippines.
Note: This is another article I wrote for an e-Newsletter for a company serving the SMEs.