Archive for the ‘Kaya Natin’ Category

Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo: a beacon of hope

January 16, 2009

Many UP Ibalonians know Jesse. The popular Bicolano mayor who is an adopted member of the Ibalons shares the mission of the organization. Gearing for more national leadership, he is at the forefront of of the Kaya Natin movement, a group of hope-driven Filipinos who seeks better governance, transparency and ethical responsibility in public service. Ibalonian Don Salvosa shares an inspiring article about Jesse written by Harvey S. Key of the KN movement which appeared in Manila Bulletin, Sunday, December 28, 2008. The piece is reproduced entirely below.—mesiamd (01/16/09)

Things I learned from Mayor Jesse Robredo
by: Harvey S. Keh

For many of you who don’t probably know him, Mayor Jesse Robredo is the multi-awarded incumbent city mayor of Naga City, which is currently the main commercial area of the Bicol Region. Aside from this, Mayor Robredo was also one of the first Filipino winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service which is equivalent to Asia’s Nobel Prize. He won the award because he was able to transform Naga City from a third class municipality to a first class city and uplift the quality of life of his constituents. Moreover, he was able to develop systems that would enable government processes to be more transparent and accountable to his constituents. As a prime example of this, when one visits the website of Naga City, you would be able to see all the expenses and purchases of the city government. In the more than 16 years of being the mayor of Naga, the city has received accolades from national and international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations.

I met Mayor Robredo in 2001 at an event organized by Synergeia Foundation, one of the country’s more effective institutions in improving our public education system. Since then, Mayor Robredo has been one of the people I have looked up to for advice and his effective brand of leadership has been a constant source of inspiration for me. As such, I wanted to share the things that I have learned through these years that I have worked with him.

Firstly, I have learned that there are still people like him who continue to remain ethical despite being in government service for the past 16 years. Many people have dissuaded me from entering government service since they say that no one actually survives the current system of pervasive graft and corruption. Mayor Robredo has shown that one need not compromise his or her values and principles to be able to govern and deliver basic services to the people in an effective manner.

When I asked him what was his secret for being steadfast in his values, he told me that his faith in God and his family are his main foundations, and this is the second lesson that I learned from him. In a society where we hear of politicians having several wives and families, we have someone like Mayor Robredo who continues to put premium on his being a loyal husband and a loving father who devotes time to his three daughters. I remember a time wherein he failed to attend one of our Kaya Natin! Caravan of Good Governance events in the province since his daughter sought his help with regard to her school project. Many politicians would often jump at the chance just to be able to speak before thousands of students but Mayor Robredo chose to be with his daughter who needed him during that time.

Aside from this, Mayor Robredo has also shown that he is a man that can stand up for what he believes in even if he already knows that majority are no longer with him. This can be seen when in the last 2 Presidential elections, wherein he chose to support the late Senator Raul Roco because he believed that he would make a good President for our country even if he already knew that surveys have shown that Senator Roco would have a slim chance of winning and even if he already knew that if Senator Roco loses he may not be able to get the support of the winning candidate. Standing up and holding on to your own principles is something that is clearly lacking in many of our leaders today. Our present day leaders will often support issues or people that will help propagate their own self-interests without necessarily thinking if what they are supporting will be for the common good.

Finally, one of the most important lessons I learned from Mayor Robredo is the simplicity of his way of life. When one thinks of Filipino politicians, large houses and expensive cars always comes to mind but when one visits Naga, you will see that despite being on his 6th term as mayor of a 1st class city, he continues to live in a very simple home. I remember one time wherein we met in my office in Quezon City and I saw him just taking a cab without any bodyguards to reach our office. Back then, I was quite surprised since I was used to seeing politicians with their big cars, blaring sirens and their throngs of bodyguards. Among all of these lessons, I think what Mayor Robredo has shown me is that there is still much to Hope for in our country if we have more principled leaders like him who will continue
to deliver proper services to the people and will always put the interests of our country above his or her own interests.(Photo Credits: http://www.nagagov.ph x 2; Rolye) =0=

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Kaya Natin Movement offers a seminar for Filipino patriots

January 14, 2009

The Kaya Natin! (KN) Movement which is committed to good governance and ethical leadership began in June 2008 with the help of the Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government (ASOG). Among its leaders are Ramon Magsaysay Awardees— Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca, Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio, Ifugao Gov. Teddy Baguilat, Jr. and Nueva Ecija Mayor Sonia Lorenzo of San Isidro. KN and ASOG invite patriotic Filipinos to a seminar dubbed as:

Kaya Ng Pinoy!: The 1st Kaya Natin! Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Training Seminar

This day-long leadership and social entrepreneurship training seminar is open to every Filipino who would like to volunteer towards helping the “yes we can” movement in pushing for its goals. It will be conducted by KN core group members namely, Harvey S. Keh, who is currently the ASOG Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship, Atty. Arnel Casanova, ASOG faculty for Social Entrepreneurship and Mr. Monchito Mossesgeld, one of the main organizers of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress (AYLC).

Slated on February 7, 2008 (Saturday) from 9am to 4pm at the Ground Floor, CSP Building, Social Development Complex, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, the seminar will have a maximum of 40 participants. Covering lunch and materials, registration fee is P50.00 for students and P100.00 for professionals.

Attendance can be arranged through email or phone with Cristyl Senajon at ateneoylse@gmail. com or at (02) 426-5657. Information about KN is available at http://www.kayanati n.com

At the end of the seminar, participants are expected to help set-up KN chapters within their families, friends, schools, work areas and communities. (01/14/09, Keh, H) (Photo Credits: Annalee x 2)=0=

Bawat Pilipino Sama-Sama Para sa Pagbabago!

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Charitable work by the poor, the rich and famous

September 16, 2008


Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are indeed so lucky. By being their handsome selves, as celebrities, they can earn millions. Their jobs may be as taxing as the regular workers, but their big earnings are assured. For charity like the $2 million they give to the Ethiopian children affected with AIDS and tuberculosis, they must be honored and appreciated.

Ethiopia ranks seventh among the world’s nations with the highest rate of tuberculosis. About1.7 million Ethiopians are infected with HIV, according to the World Health Organization (WHO.) Because of AIDS, up to a million children in Ethiopia have lost their parents.

The money will be used to create a center for AIDS and tuberculosis-affected children in the capital city of Addis Ababa, and to help establish a program) program to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis,” in a statement by the Global Health Committee (GHC) on September 15, 2008.” AFP/Inquirer (09/16/08).


The remarkable deeds of Angelina and Brad who raise 6 children (3 are adopted,) must serve as inspirations to poor people as well. Even without money, persons who want to help society can partake of their time, energy, and ideas which can benefit the unfortunate in our midst.

In this week’s Time magazine (Sept. 22, 2008,) there is an article on ways to help the Americans. They aren’t exactly applicable to Filipinos, but from the basic principles, some insights can be learned and a course of action can be pursued. Charity doesn’t always need money.

Twelve Money-wise Ways to Help the Philippines

1. Join groups that advocate honesty, transparency, and eradication of corruption in government. People with similar political, social, and religious convictions give strength to a cause and help unify the nation. Movements like Kaya Natin, Kawad Kalinga, and Philippine Red Cross inspire hope and action rather than despair and inaction.
2. Visit places to learn from other’s way of life. Being with Mindanao Muslims for instance promotes understanding of socio-cultural beliefs and religion.
3. Don’t be idle at retirement. Working beyond retirement i.e. volunteering in church, schools, hospitals and prisons have dividends for the community. A 50-year old retiree has about 25 years more time to be productive.
4. Encourage public service in a barangay. Civics help strengthen the nation.
5. Be a Santa Claus beyond Christmas. Generous giving beyond families, relatives, and friends foster compassion.
6. Be active in PTAs and school activities. Volunteer to mentor a child. Education is an asset that’s usually undervalued by children and their parents.
7. Set a day in a year to be with orphans, prisoners, disabled and the aged.
8. Incorporate your ideals into programs of action. People who render free service change lives and improve the communities they live in.
9. Take responsibility. Prepare for hard times rather than ignore them. Calamities like typhoons, fires, earthquakes, and even financial bankruptcies are occurrences that need preparation.
10. Elect honest leaders in government. You must learn from past politics which has brought indolence, mediocrity, thievery, and incompetence in government.
11. Follow the law.
12. Plant a tree; help build a community garden, and support the environment. =0=

“Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?”—by Rev. Fulton J. Sheen

Taking Responsibility and the Kaya Natin Movement

August 5, 2008

“Be not afraid!”is the wise counsel of Pope John Paul II to a world troubled by uncertainties. We need a moral figure like him who is not stranger to suffering to assure us that we’re not alone. What better memory can we have than recall Pope John Paul II, in the fading days of his life, displayed his harrowing battle with age and infirmity. Seeing him as a suffering human being makes us understand our own life’s vexing contradictions. We think what we can do about them.

To be pessimistic and afraid are likely reactions to the Kaya Natin movement—that group of well-intentioned, ethical and hardworking Filipinos formed by Jesse Robredo, Sonia Lorenzo, Eddie Panlilio and Grace Padaca in order to unite and save the country. They have a dream to improve our lot. In our most difficult time (now that inflation has steeply climbed to 12.2% last month,) they ask us to join ranks in helping save the nation. They are campaigning for accountability, honesty, integrity, and hard work to change the pernicious ills we have in our government.

Surely, attempts to make our country move forward encounter setbacks. It’s no different with Kaya Natin. Faced with herculean problems, we wonder what will come out of this movement. We question the credibility of the people who lead us. Our discouragement must be overriding considering our doubts. Many see a dreary landscape ahead. There’s this looming darkness in our future. This might have bothered Joe (not his real name) who wrote me his reaction to my blog entitled “The Challenge of Kaya Natin: Sabi baga ni Mayor Jesse Robredo, Kaya Ta!

Unfortunately, Grace Padaca is not the mayor of Isabela. She’s the Governor.
I just have a little concern about “basic education.” I do not know if I understand it completely, as we have leaders who were educated in the exclusive schools from the Philippines, the best even here in the US… but look! Why? As they say, “There is no value in education without education in values. Thanks
!” —Joe

This is how I answered Joe:

“Calling Gov. Padaca “Mayor” is underserved and I need to say sorry for my error. Thanks for the correction. It afforded me a chance to make a revision on the blog I posted.

Well, I think there’s truth in your quote “There is no value in education without education in values.” I presume all of us have some kind of value formation when we were in school. However, there must be some variability on the hierarchies we place on the values we learned. We imbibe and apply them at different vantage points in various periods of our lives.

Except perhaps for Jesse Robredo whom I know a bit because of Naga Parochial School, Ateneo de Naga, & UP many years back, I don’t know the people who spearhead the Kaya Natin Movement. I take their word with a grain of salt just as I listen to Barack Obama’s message which surely needs validation. Though they aren’t perfect, the remarkable thing about them is their hopeful outlook and their willingness to take responsibility and do something about a problem. Isn’t this part of the cornerstone of the values we desire? Whether Kaya Natin will be successful is something we reserve for the future.

I wonder if you have your misgivings about those Filipinos educated in the best schools. If you do, I share your feelings. Despite my exposures to those exclusive schools in RP plus my US education, I basically have a plebeian background. And I have a lot to desire for our leaders, including those in the FilAm community. I thought one way of helping is to post this blog and share my commentaries (maybe better than attending those induction balls, conventions and reunions of the associatons.)

So if one desires to help RP, there are many ways depending on one’s time, commitment, and talents. Our “values” will be mirrored by what we do, just as we judge the plants around us by the fruits they bear… Hopefully, by starting with ourselves, we can make the world better.

I appreciate your input. I welcome you to visit the UP Ibalon Bicol Blog where I make my posts: http://upibalonbicol.blogspot.com/

N.B. You can join Kaya Natin! A Movement for Genuine Change and Ethical Leadership by sending an email to kayanatin@yahoo.com or you can reach us at (02) 426-5657.
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The Challenge of Kaya Natin Movement: "Sabi baga ni Mayor Jesse Robredo kaya ta!"

August 3, 2008

Nothing happens…but first a dream.
—Carl Sandburg

It could be an inspiration from the glib talker, burnished campaigner Barack Obama who goes around in his US presidential bid with a catchy slogan “Change, we can.” Unrestrained in his popular vision with yet to be seen outcomes, “the pockets of hope,” he promises seem to be what we also need. His optimism makes the Americans feel good and it has finally arrived in the Philippines.

In July 30, 2008, a group of well-intentioned leaders—Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija Mayor Sonia Lorenzo and Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca launched a movement born from the agony of—and concern for—a country bloodied by corruption, scandals, disasters and tragedies that few of us can ignore.

Started with the help of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Government, Kaya Natin (aka Kaya Ta in Bicol) aims to unite hardworking and ethical Filipinos worldwide to promote real change, bring consciousness in good leadership and governance. Targeting the idealism of the youth, the group taps on the patriotism and sense of duty of Filipinos to effect positive change through people empowerment, transparency, and accountability.

Lita Pena, senior adviser of Our Lady of Penafrancia Devotees Association (OLPDA) of TriState area in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and leader of the Bicolandia Association, sends her encouragement and support for Kaya Natin via email on August 2, 2008.

She does a good job of informing those who want genuine and lasting change in our political landscape. Perhaps, to give optimism a boost, the Filipino-American civic leader shares this dazzling idea that brings the images of the great “bayanihan” back to life. We return to our ancestral Filipino tradition of industry, honesty, cooperation, accountability, self-help plus neighborly love that we all need at this time.

The movement welcomes all Filipinos who share Kaya Natin’s vision. Its objectives are as follows:

* Promote Electoral Reforms by encouraging the Filipino Youth to register, vote for the right candidates and volunteer their time to ensure clean and honest elections.
* Promote Local Autonomy and Empowerment of local government units by decentralizing the delivery of basic services such as Quality Basic Education.
* Work with the Church, other like-minded organizations and civil society groups towards the total eradication of all Illegal Activities such as Graft and Corruption in all forms, illegal gambling and illegal logging.
* Develop and encourage ethical and effective young Filipino leaders who will consider to run for public office and/or work in government.
AmongEd.org (07/26/07)

You can join Kaya Natin! A Movement for Genuine Change and Ethical Leadership by sending an email to kayanatin@yahoo.com or you can reach us at (02) 426-5657.=0=