BESIDES empowerment of local governments and the barangays (villages), the Rotarian way—selfless service and living the highest standards of ethics, discipline and excellence—is one way of rebuilding a nation, Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Friday.
Introduced by party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of the Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS), as the next President of the Philippines, Binay was the guest of honor and speaker at the National Rotary Day celebration at Tuloy sa Don Bosco Compound in Alabang, Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila).
Although suffering from a sore throat, Binay still graced the occasion.
He was unable to address the gathering but his prepared speech was read by his son and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay.
“This [Rotarian way] is true in our ordinary daily tasks and even in the more complex duties of our chosen professions. The clarity of our purpose, and the conviction that the individual and collective efforts of all participants toward this purpose, allowed our seeds to bear fruit.
Had each one gone his or her own way, it is doubtful that we would have accomplished anything at all. Coming together under one commitment, and entrusting what lay beyond the reach of our best efforts to almighty God, we were able to match each challenge we faced,” said Binay, also a Rotarian.
“That is the way to build an organization like the Rotary. That was our way of rebuilding my city of Makati. That will be our way to rebuild our nation,” he added.
Binay agreed with Gary C.K. Huang, president of Rotary International, who said that “in order to keep serving, the Rotary always needs to be growing.”
Huang, who also was present at the celebration, is in the Philippines as part of his 30-country itinerary to celebrate Rotary Day.
“But beyond increasing our numbers, we know we need to have people who are ready to serve. People who are willing, even raring, to contribute to nation-building and lend their strongest push to help the less fortunate lift themselves up from poverty and regain their dignity.
And one thing that we can do is to strengthen the partnership between the Rotary International and the Rotary Community Corps,” Binay said.
He added that in his two decades of being an elected official, he learned the principle of subsidiarity, which he said is “a fancy term for the fundamental principle of local autonomy.”
“I have always referred to it as from the people, to the people principle. Simply, it means that any government function is best performed by the subsidiary of government that is closest to the people. Such a function demands from the subsidiary the basic competence to perform that function,” Binay said.
According to the Vice President, governance in a democracy is governance from the ground up.
“And this is why I have always been an advocate for the empowerment of local government units and the barangay, the units that are in intimate contact with our people.”
Binay urged his fellow Rotarians and the Rotary Community Corps to continue to look for potential collaborations that will uplift the lives of the people even as he assured them of his full support in all the noble involvements.
Prior to the celebration, Huang met some 800 streetchildren at the Tuloy sa Don Bosco, an internationally-acclaimed shelter and educational center for street children.
Besides the Philippines, Huang will be visiting among other countries, Argentina, Chile, France, India, Italy, South Korea and Malaysia in his campaign to build public awareness of Rotary and to achieve his membership goal from 1.2 to 1.3 million worldwide.