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Commentary: The Filipino everyman as businessman

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (13 January) -- It is hard to imagine the image of the average Filipino as engaging in business, a legal, legitimate, profit-oriented enterprise be it in the services sector or in commercial trading, buy-and-sell concern, merchandising or any other gainful activity.

This is not to say that the ordinary Filipino does not engage in business. On the contrary, many self-made, unheard Filipinos rose from humble beginnings and landed in the top of the lists, mainly by sheer guts and hard work.

It is just that it takes enough courage and real hard convincing to stimulate the energy of Filipino citizens to go into business.

Given a choice between going into one's own profitable venture and seeking employment, the general reaction of fresh college graduates is to choose the latter over the former.


Now please don't get me wrong. It's all fine and okay to scout for jobs, be gainfully employed, and thus become a productive member of society.

The reality, however, is that work is hard to find, and when there is one opening in the private sector, about a hundred will be lining up to apply.

This has led to our version of Filipino diaspora, where millions are now scattered all over the world working for foreign employers, sacrificing family closeness and personal care of children especially those still in their growing up years.

Employment in the public sector is not easy in coming either, and consider yourself lucky when you land in one (and have a sideline business, too) without necessarily resorting to having political clearances or back-ups.


Perhaps the reason why a Filipino would not readily embrace the idea of going into business lies in our upbringing as a people. I remember my parents saying "daghan nang nag-negosyo niana" (many were already into such kind of business) when an offer to be in business props up.

Another is the persistent notion that a businessman is limbongan, tikasan (dishonest, theft).

Somehow the subliminal message instilled in our consciousness is that being in business is bad, or hard, or risky, or whatever negative connotation there is.


Not anymore. We now know that upright, ethical, and morally-oriented businessmen have been there all around us to serve as our role models and inspiration.

In addition, many glossy magazines -- aside from varied internet web sites -- are now available in the market, encouraging and extolling the virtues of being one's own boss, managing a small, medium, or a micro enterprise based on one's skill, hobby, talent, or pastimes. (Granting, of course, that one likes to read, and appreciate these inspirational, rags-to-riches articles in hard copies and the net).

So the text generation of young Filipinos or young professionals, including the young once, have all the tools at their disposal to guide them in the rough road to commerce, and to keep their interests in business high.

Add initiative into the picture, and the Filipino Everyman -- Juan de la Cruz, Juan Masipag, or its latest incarnation in Mang Pandoy -- will be ready for the challenging world of business anytime, anywhere.


LOCAL FRONT: This column/commentary has been inspired by the statement of Mike Nunez, the provincial Director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). During the DYSL Kapihan sa PIA forum last week Nunez urged the listeners to be in business and not seek jobs. Easier said than done, but such words carried a lot of wisdom. Here's hoping that Mike's words, and the thoughts in this column/commentary, would never fall on deaf ears.

ODDLY YOURS: The famous Manila Galleons, according to our history, sailed for 250 years between Manila and Acapulco, Mexico, from the years 1565 up to 1815, exchanging flourishing goods and cultures of east and west. From Manila, the Galleons, which were built by master Filipino craftsmen from Cavite, sailed the inter-island route of Mindoro, Masbate, and off to San Bernardino Strait between Samar and Leyte (yes, the seas behind our PIA Regional office is the highway of these Galleons) before setting off to the Pacific Ocean for the long, long journey to Acapulco. A one-way trip would take ten months to a year, depending on favorable winds, vice-versa. What was not detailed in history books was that out of an average of 400 passengers in one trip, less than one-half survived to reach the destination. Weather is number one enemy, and scarcity or dwindling food supply another, especially when the boring trip will be on its fifth month onwards. About 40 Galleons did not make it, many of them sunk along the way. One Galleon even floated aimlessly just before reaching Mexico: all its passengers died of starvation and diseases. So much for the vaunted glory of those Galleons. (PIA-Southern Leyte)

Census on population and housing set for May

By Ninfa B Quirante

Catbalogan City (January 13) -- The Census on population and housing is well on its way as it will be conducted in May 2010.

The said census is by far the 13th census on population and housing, this was contained in a press release forwarded to PIA by NSO Samar, today.

The nationwide statistical operation aims to gather information on the basic socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the population and housing units.

Results of the census will provide government planners, policy makers and let the end users see the real situation of the Filipino people.

The data will also help them formulate social and economic development programs.

By virtue of Commonwealth Act number 591, section 2 the National Statistics Office (NSO) will conduct the survey.

Said agency is now preparing for the massive deployment of enumerators.

It is likewise advocating for the activation of organized city, municipal and provincial census boards. (PIA Samar with reports from NSO Samar) [top]

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