Sunday, February 18, 2007

Making Social Investments: An Open Letter to All Overseas Filipinos :)

Dear Fellow Filipinos,

Greetings of peace!

Last week I wrote an open letter to all Filipinos expressing my views about the upcoming May 2007 elections (for those who failed to read it, its posted at ) and the response has been very overwhelming to say the least. Maraming maraming Salamat to all those who emailed me personally and forwarded my email to many more Filipinos all over the world. I am very sorry that I cannot email each one of you personally thus, I have devided to write an open letter to all of you especially to all overseas Filipinos.

Many of those who emailed me were overseas Filipinos some of whom have migrated and decided to live abroad while many more are those currently working on foreign soil. An observation that they gave was the reason why the Philippines has never progressed through the years is because of two main reasons: Poor Quality of Education and Lack of Good Filipino Leaders. I couldn't agree more with these observations but then again the question persists on what shall we do about it or rather what can we do about this growing problems in our society? For those who continually ask these questions especially to Filipinos who now live and/or work overseas, allow me to share with you a possible answer that I have thought of...

Last 2006, the remittances of Filipinos living and working abroad reached more than US$ 10 Billion, this stagerring amount was the main reason why despite the fact that our government has time and again been tagged as one of the more corrupt and least transparent ones in the world, our economy has remained afloat and thankfully, peace and order has been maintained. Now, what if just 1% of this amount (US $ 100 Million = 5 Billion Pesos) was invested by Overseas Filipinos on helping poor college students go to college or building public school libraries so that our Filipino children can learn how to read... here is what would happen:

a.) 100,000 Poor but Deserving Filipino Students would be able to Finish College and hopefully have a better future for them and their families.

b.) 50,000 Public School Libraries would be built. Virtually every Public elementary Schools would have adequate Public School Libraries, helping more than 9 million Filipino students from every nook and corner of the Philippines learn how to read.

Wow! This is how powerful the Overseas Filipinos are, if every Filipino living or working abroad would just commit to making a Social Investment in our country, the results will not be additional money in the bank for you but an even greater return... A Much Better Philippines for you and your children! So that one day the next generation of Filipinos will no longer need to leave our country and their families to seek greener pastures and a better life. More importantly, we can show the world that genuine People Power still exists in our country not in the form of toppling our government but rather in building a nation ravaged by weak leadership and self-serving interests.

And How much does it cost to invest in our country's future? Not much in fact....

a.) US $ 60 can help send a Filipino Youth Leader to a Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Training Seminar to help develop better leaders for country. Who knows the youth leader you invest in may be the next Mayor, Governor, Senator or even President of our country....(Visit or to learn more about Social Entrepreneurship)

b.) US$ 100 can help buy a complete set of reference materials for a Public Elementary School Library for more than 2,000 students to read. (Visit to learn more about building public school libraries)

c.) US $ 200 can help send a student to college for one year (Visit or to learn more about sending Poor but Deserving Filipino Students to College and giving them a brighter future)

Thus, this is my response to those who ask me what we can do to help our country and to those who ask me to stay so that I may continue to give Hope to our nation. I ask you now to give me and many more Filipinos a reason to stay by investing in our nation. The problems of our country will not go away overnight but we need to start somewhere and it is only in working together that we can help make this country great again. And I know that all of you still believe that we can make this happen! For as long as there are many more Filipinos who are willing to take a risk and invest in our country's future then indeed there is still much HOPE left in the Philippines! :)

Again, thank you very much for your time in reading this email.

May you have a pleasant day and God Bless the Philippines! :)


Harvey Keh

What will make me leave the Philippines... An Open Letter to Every Filipino :)

Dear Fellow Filipino,

Good day to all of you! Before I begin my letter... just a disclaimer, for people who know me they know that I love the Philippines very much and I am not really one who rants and complaints to high heavens about what is happening to our country and does nothing about it, in fact, I feel that at my relatively young age of 27, I have done much service to the Philippines by setting up Pathways to Higher Education which has sent more than 500 poor but deserving students to college and AHON Foundation which has already built two public elementary school libraries that have benefitted more than 3,500 students. Yet, after seeing how events in our nation have transpired the past few weeks and talking with some friends, I feel the urge to share with you my own thoughts and feelings.

Over the weekend, we saw the completion of two major political alliances for this coming Senate Elections that has just began here in the Philippines. Now we have two political forces with familiar faces nonetheless on opposite sides of the fences. On one end, you have Tito Sotto and Tessie Aquino-Oreta who were two major stalwarts of the opposition and the FPJ Campaign in 2004 hobnobbing with the woman (Pres. GMA) whom they claimed to have cheated FPJ in the last Presidential Elections.On the other side of the fence, you see Manny Villar, the former house speaker who was actually responsible for impeaching Erap now part of the United Opposition who is led by no less than... Erap himself. Now if you don't see anything wrong with this picture then you must be one of the many Filipinos who have accepted this very sad reality that there is indeed no permanent ideals that our government leaders stand up for but rather they just go where there self-interests can best be served. It is this kind of politics why I no longer wonder why good people like Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Mayor Jesse Robredo of Naga City or outstanding Bulacan Governor Josie Dela Cruz will find it hard or worse, never be elected to national positions.

1.) If former COMELEC Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano of Hello Garci fame wins in his bid to become Congressman of Bukidnon...seeking to replace a good man no less in incumbent Cong. Neric Acosta... We would really be the laughing stock of the whole world if we allow a man with the reputation of Garci to be one of our so called "Honorable Gentlemen".

2.) If Dancing Queen Tessie Aquino Oreta reclaims her seat at the Senate... I hope that all of us would still remember that dance that she did during the 2001 impeachment hearings after they voted to overrule the decision of then Chief Justice Davide... let us make sure that people like her never make it to the Senate again.

3.) If Richard Gomez becomes a senator... what does he know about making laws? We already have the likes of Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid in the Senate and their performance or lack of it would be reason enough not to elect another actor who has no prior experience in government to the distinguished halls of the Senate.

4.) If Gringo Honasan wins again.... have we not learned our lesson? I cannot believe that just because someone is charismatic then we will just elect him to become one of our senators despite the fact that he has time and again caused so much instability in our country... if we want a military junta similar to that of Thailand... then lets all vote for this guy....

5.) If Manny Pacquiao becomes Congressman of General Santos City... everybody loves Manny the Boxing Champ but Manny the Lawmaker? Lets be realistic here, Manny is our Hero alright but I think it takes more than just great boxing skills and a desire to serve to be able to make appropriate laws that would help uplift the lives of the many Filipinos who live in Poverty.

6.) If Lito Lapid wins for Mayor of Makati City... I don't like Jojo Binay as well but Lito Lapid as city mayor of the country's finance and business center?!?! And do you really think he is from Makati and has good plans for the city? The Arroyos asking someone like him to run just goes to show you how much love and concern this government has for our country.

7.) If Chavit Singson becomes a Senator, Illegal Gambling =Chavit... enough said.

Now if all of these 7 things happen during this coming elections then don't be surprised if I decide to leave this country that I love dearly. Like I said during the first part of my letter, I feel that I have done much for this country but I think its time that Filipinos become more vigilant and critical in selecting our leaders for the sake of our future and the generations that will go beyond us. So I appeal to every Filipino who asks what can I actually do for my country... Choose and vote for the right people this coming elections, huwag na tayong magpaloko sa mga kandidatong maganda lang ang jingle o gwapo lang sa mga poster. Let us choose leaders who have a good track record for service and who are genuinely committed towards serving our country.

Manindigan naman tayong lahat para sa ating Kinabukasan at para sa Kapakanan ng ating Bayan!

Thank you very much for your time in reading this letter.


Harvey S. Keh