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Our country, The Philippines, is besieged on all sides. Besieged by conflict and violence by those who promote division and separatism between cultures and religions; Besieged by tension and hostility by those who encourage factionism and differentiation among young people in the guise of fraternity and brotherhood; Besieged by destruction of and damage to our mountains and forests, our valleys and plains, our coasts and seas; Besieged by disparity and inequality between social classes and neighborhoods and their access to education, health, water, food, shelter; and, Besieged by dissonance and discord by those who lead, knowing and seeing the inconsistency of their words and actions. In spite of all these… Our country, The Philippines, is blessed from all fronts. Blessed with the medley and range of ethnicities, cultures, and religions; Blessed with its profound heritage and fusion of races, and of its history of triumph and victory; Blessed with the diversity and richness of nature, its physical, natural and biological wealth; Blessed with people and groups whose generosity of spirit have moved them to serve without counting the cost and to give without expecting anything in return; Blessed with citizens and leaders whose strength of character and faith in God have sustained them to overcome difficulties and meet challenges. We have what it takes to change and succeed. Over the years, our country has seen and experienced both success and failure. Success in gaining independence and success in changing regimes. Failure in sustaining our gains and failure in ensuring equitable growth. Success in employing our assets and failure in protecting them. In the area of governance and leadership, we have both: successful and failed leadership and governance. Good governance and genuine leadership in combating poverty, strengthening democracy and human rights, ensuring sustainable use of resources, and enhancing environmental protection. In the area of citizenship and civic engagement, we also have gains and losses, success and failure. An engaged and active citizenry ensuring honest and clean elections, protecting human dignity, and promoting sustainable development. Let us all learn from our successes and reflect on our failures. Let us learn from those who have exemplified and pursued ethical and transformative leadership. Let us learn from those who will help us redeem, develop, and deepen our trust and confidence in our public and private institutions. Let us also reflect and look into ourselves, bring out, and bring forth our: - sense of pride in individual and collective successes achieved through hard work, determination, perseverance, and honesty; - sense of justice in surfacing the voice of the voiceless and the unheard, and helping them realize their hopes and sharing with them their burdens; - sense of liberty in freeing ourselves from the bondage of pride and greed, and in developing peoples’ potential for service; - sense of honor in committing to the highest ideals and putting meaning into our actions for the good of our neighbor, our community, and our nation. Let us link arms with each other and seize this opportunity to draw strength and change from within…within ourselves, within our communities. Let us build bridges of hope and nurture a constituency for change and development; demanding “change for the better” from our leaders and from ourselves. With our abiding faith in God and in the inner goodness of people, we have what it takes to change and succeed. Our strength comes from above and within. Our response to the call. With the above premises considered, henceforth, WE, the undersigned citizens from civil society, business, and government commit and beseech everyone to: 1. LOOK INTO OUR SELVES deliberately and determine areas of strength and weakness; and resolve to lead lives with purpose and anchored on the pillars of respect, responsibility, caring leadership, active citizenship, God-centeredness, trustworthiness, humility, fairness and integrity; 2. HONOR GOD, HONOR OTHERS, AND HONOR OUR COUNTRY by taking a stand for justice, peace, transparency, integrity, and accountability and by influencing others to do the same; 3. UNITE AND ACT NOW and build a constituency for change, pushing for and advancing good governance in the public and private spheres, and promoting and practising honor-based and transformative leadership. For this purpose, we have signed this petition and call to action, urging you and your circles of influence to join this advocacy for change in pursuit of more inclusive, productive, safe, green and livable neighborhoods, towns, and cities of the Philippines. Sincerely, The Undersigned


The sponsors of this petition are the participants of the Understanding Choices Forum entitled "Taking Charge of Development: Mainstreaming Good Governance" held on November 20, 2008 at the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center, 35 Lopez Jaena St. Cebu City, Philippines. Guest speakers of the said forum included Governor Eddie Panlilio of Pampanga, Governor Grace Padaca of Isabela, Mayor Jesse Robredo of Naga City and Mayor Ramon Piang, Sr. of Upi, Maguindanao. The forum was organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. through the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center.

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