Posted on 2007

27th Southern Luzon Area Conference (SOLAC) Junior Chamber International Philippines-Legazpi
South Road Bar, Pepperland Hotel, Legazpi City

My esteemed party-mate, colleague, and our gracious host tonight, Congressman Al Francis Bichara of the 2nd District of Albay; Re-elected Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi City; JCI Chapter-members of Southern Luzon; members of past and visiting JCI Chapter Presidents, Leaders and Associates; residents of Legazpi and Albay, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

At the onset, allow me to express my gratitude for the honor of being invited to this annual affair. I definitely cannot pass up an opportunity to meet and greet young professional leaders like you, and to once again visit the historic and charming city of Legazpi and the province of Albay. Though still in the process of recovering and rebuilding from the devastating effects of two super typhoons, the general atmosphere is that of hope and optimism. I admire the people of Legazpi and Albay for their strength and fierce determination to rise above this temporary setback. Now you are back on your feet, and vibrant than ever. Good job!

Today’s event, with the theme, “Be Better”, underscores your individual and collective goal to make a difference not only in the lives of the people in your community, but also to the residents of the global village by promoting the core values of leadership, social responsibility and fellowship. “Be Better” also mirrors a personal and professional drive for excellence – a trait of great leaders. By giving back to society, you pursue self-worth; and a high sense of self pushes you to do well in all your undertakings. The passion which fuels your actions will spur the growth of your group. I believe current membership now totals 6,000. Not to mention an auxiliary group of Junior Jaycees with over 3,500 members operating in more than 300 communities across the Philippine archipelago. Now that’s a lot of leaders!

As your membership is composed largely of entrepreneurs, like myself, I would like to encourage you to partner with me in promoting a ‘culture of entrepreneurship’ in the Philippines. Let us work together to empower Filipinos to invest and engage in small and medium enterprises, which employ 70% of the country’s labor force. And as most of you are young, I am confident you can inject the dynamism, energy and creativity vital in establishing and sustaining business.

“I learned the value of hard work by working hard,” said American anthropologist, Margaret Mead; and my experience in the past had taught me the same thing. Because it has worked for me, entrepreneurship will remain to be on top of my legislative priorities. It is in fact an important component of my 5-Point Agenda, along with health, education, environment and agriculture. Entrepreneurship is an engine of economic growth and a key to gaining financial independence and reducing the country’s unemployment rate.

With 85% of your total chapters located in the countryside, the Philippine Jaycees can be tapped as great partners in community development. You may conduct livelihood development and training programs for the people in your respective communities – sharing your expertise, knowledge and experience on how resources can be transformed into assets and potential income. Your goal of promoting sustainable countryside development can then be easily achieved.

Congratulations on the conduct of the 27th SOLAC made possible by JCIP Legazpi and JCIP Dawani!

Maraming salamat po at magandang gabi!

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