Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Maraming Salamat

The Philippine election is over. I have returned to Guymon, Oklahoma where I have spent much of the last twenty years of my life. I left in winter--in my heart, many more seasons ago--to join the campaign of Noynoy Aquino to transform the future of our country.

It has been an intense, bruising, bewildering hundred-twenty days, marked by hours of confusion, stress, frustration, and also by special moments of excitement, passion, kinship, hope and inexplicable joy.

I did not lack energy or enthusiasm. I immersed myself completely in the campaign, fully involved in town meetings, debates, media engagements. I spoke, attacked, parried, promoted, persuaded, and in the end, I placed 35th in the senate race.

What did I accomplish?

Looking back now, in the placid Oklahoma spring, I have a simple answer: I helped.

True to my code as a physician and my values as a Filipino, I answered the call of Noynoy Aquino as he reached out, and Filipinos at home and abroad responded, and now we have a new President Aquino. This was not an exercise in nostalgia. It was a collective expression of hope.

Hope shared by millions that government corruption would be stanched, as indeed it will be; that new men in office would try harder, as indeed they will; that the burden of Filipino families would be lighter, and life, somehow, would be better, as indeed it will.

It is why I am happy and gratified, without a Senate seat, but with the knowledge that I have been of help, if only in a small personal way, to President Noynoy, and in the final analysis, to the Filipino people whom he will serve honestly and well.

A few words of sincere gratitude to all the men and women of goodwill ( many more than I had expected) who gave the campaign material and moral support. In behalf of Noynoy Aquino and in my own behalf, let me say, thank you. Maraming, maraming salamat. All of us can say together, with one voice, in this proud moment of history: I helped.

Yet the struggle is not over. The work is not done. Actually it begins now and will continue with every passing day. President Noynoy will continue to need us, each one of us ("Kayo ang Aking Lakas"). Let us be unselfish in our assistance, unstinting in our cooperation and unwavering in our dedication to help him recover and restore the hope of a nation which seemed to have been irretrievably lost.