Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Message to Filipino Physicians

About a week ago, I was invited by the Philippine Medical Association in Oklahoma to become their guest speaker on the occasion of their 26th anniversary. I obliged them with the following message that I wrote while I was on a flight back home that they graciously printed in their souvenir program:

“I am on my way home again as I write this message to you, my fellow Filipino physicians in Oklahoma. We are all on a homebound journey and I will always be grateful for the 11 years that I have spent in Oklahoma because it enabled me and my wife to return with our children to our beloved Philippines.

We are all witnesses to the beautiful way of life that Oklahoma provides. There is security and prosperity. This is a wonderful place to raise children. Unfortunately, the absolute majority of our countrymen left behind can not even dream of the opportunities we enjoy here and which we sometimes take for granted. Those left behind are also so far behind.

We need to get together and try our best to help rescue our country. We are fortunate recipients of much learning and skills that did not come to us without much sacrifice. We all worked hard to get to where we all find ourselves today. However the cycle of what we call brain gain consisting of learning and earning will only be completed with the firm commitment of returning.

Returning does not have to mean the physical act of going back to the Philippines. Even better than going back is giving back which may be accomplished in so many ways.

If we apply our abundant talents and share our many blessings, we can permanently change our country. We all left the Philippines out of necessity. Now that we are stronger and better prepared, it becomes necessary for us to take our country back. Just because we needed to change our visas and citizenship so that we could stay and work in this remarkable land, the Philippines never ceased to become our country. We have only learned to love her more.

Congratulations to the officers and members of the Philippine Medical Association of Oklahoma. Let us stay united as we pursue our common goals of service and compassion to all.”

Now I am writing this post while yet on another flight home again. There were about 100 physicians in that gala and there were no exceptions, everyone was prosperous and successful . Quite a few were retired or semi-retired and many continued to give back to their country of birth through free clinics, donations of money and medications and hospital supplies that they would carefully collect in whatever hospitals they worked. I was very happy to note that we all felt that material success was not sufficient.

This is probably why I am eager to rejoin the fray. I know that there are many of us who are no longer willing to stand idly by while our country is battered by rapacious politicians who have totally lost their purpose to serve. This loss is not a conscious process. It is simply the result of lingering too long.


rglacsamana, m.d. said...

Martin, I like your message, but the more I read about what is happening back home, the more I get pessimistic that anything can be done to restore that "damaged culture." These were words former Atlantic magazine editor James Fallows wrote back in 1987, in the aftermath of People Power that toppled Marcos. But things have not gone any better.

While you were back in Oklahoma, most of us read of the ZTE deal with China where bribes amounting to millions were apparently offerred here and there to a lot of parties. Then there was that gathering at Malacanan, where governors and a number of congressmen were given early Christmas gifts many felt were "bribes."

And yesterday, I read where Health Secretary Francisco Duques again was talking about a potential collapse of our health system. Among other things, he said 85% of health professionals are abroad, leaving just one physician for every 28,000 Filipinos. It's the usual brain drain, but more serious than we have been led to believe.

I heard your call to Pinoy physicians in America to give back, but it's hard to heed that call when most of the news we get there demoralizes our spirits. Yes, we still go there for those medical missions, but I see those as nothing more than Band-Aids. We are there for one week, then we are gone - and things are back to where they were again.

I think most voters now know about you, and it would be a GIANT step for voters to get you in the Senate. Just setting an example of how things need to get done would be refreshing. I think it's time for Filipinos to wake up and realize that there is a much better alternative than how things have been run for years. We need a Mohatmas Ghandi, a Nelson Mandela, or Martin Luther King to get us back to the Promised Land.

Martin, that's a mighty challenge. I believe a man like you can do it.

Martin D. Bautista, M.D. said...

Maraming salamat Doc Lacsamana. I am on my way to Bacolod (it is 4 am). The future does look bleak, even hopeless unless you and I try our very best to take our country back from all these trapos who have been pillaging our country from the beginning of our history. Higit sa lahat, ang mahalaga ay hindi sa mananalo tayo sa halalan kung hindi sa lumaban tayo.

pian said...

I don’t consider it to be a giant step for voters to put Dr. Martin Bautista and the other Ang Kapatiran candidates in the Senate. They just have to know him, his party and what he stands for. Just like in the DH issue, that it was simply publicity which made it so controversial. It is not safe to assume that they are well known by now since our voting populace comprise mostly of the masses belonging to the C,D,E and you don’t expect them to have access to the internet but to cheaper forms of media like the newspaper. They are most likely well-known than before. So all they need is media exposure and our country would stand a chance.

rglacsamana, m.d. said...

Pian, I agree the good Doc and his colleagues at the Kapatiran Party need to be more well-known to the voting public. But that is not enough.

Don't you agree it would much better having them there in the Senate so they are in the driver's seat to start doing what badly needs to be done? Advocacy is not enough; action to implement what we need is more important.

pian said...

That’s what I meant that they have to be well-known first before our voters can place them in the Senate. All they need is adequate exposure/publicity so they will be known by the voting public before they can be voted in the Senate. The sole reason why they didn’t make it in the last election was simply because majority of the voters do not know them at all. So I disagree with your statement that it’s a giant step to place them in the Senate. Our voters should simply know them and their stand so they can make it in the Senate. You cannot possibly vote for people you don’t know. You should consider our democracy to be far from industrialized countries because majority of our voters belong to the CDE who don’t watch debates at all so they don’t care about issues.

pian said...

Oops! I made a mistake. The above should have been addressed to DR. RGLACSAMANA.