extra_noy.jpgFilipinos all over the nation are hopeful and excited as the Philippines enters a new era of governance with President Noynoy Aquino at the helm. The president has already promised a lean, graft-free government, GMAnews.TV reports. However, it takes more than just a president to make a nation—he needs the help of the citizens too. Here FN gives you a list of ten things you can do for your country.

Have a few suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments!

(Photo by Jeffrey Avellanosa via Wikimedia Commons)


1. PRACTICE BEING ECO-FRIENDLY

This includes not littering on the sidewalks, using environmentally friendly products, and employing eco-friendly practices at work. A greener nation is a more progressive nation—and it’s healthier for you and your local community too!

Need some tips for living a greener life? Check out these articles here on FN:



2. BE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE

Just like singing sensation Charice Pempengco, who treated Bantay Bata wards to Enchanted Kingdom for her 18th birthday, you too can be a socially responsible individual. More than just knowing what’s going on around you, this refers to understanding Filipino values and taking responsibility for your actions that affect the country as a whole.



3. FOLLOW THE RULES

According to Alexander Lacson, author of 12 Little Things You Can Do for Your Country, if we begin with following the simplest of the country’s laws, the rest will follow. If, for example, we obey the traffic rules, there will be fewer accidents, less disgruntled people, and less instances of bribery (kotong).



4. EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS

The first step to exercising your rights as a Filipino citizen is knowing what they are, so you may want to refresh yourself on the Philippine Bill of Rights. Remembering your rights will help you when you find yourself caught in an unfair situation but feel like you’re helpless to change it. This blog entry, for example, explains that you can only get fired from your job if there is just cause and due process is observed. If you can prove that your termination was unjust or you were fired without proper notice, you can even get reinstated. So it pays to be familiar with the Labor Code of the Philippines.

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5. BE PROACTIVE

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of the scene of the crime? Let’s say you saw a snatcher running away with someone’s wallet (or your own) and chased after him. As a Filipino citizen, you can actually arrest him (a citizen’s arrest) following the “hot pursuit” arrest rule from the Rules of Court. 

Being proactive can mean something as small as reprimanding someone for cutting a line (politely, of course). Little violations often progress to bigger, more unlawful abuse in the end, so it’s better to stop it at the root. Still, you need to remember to think about personal safety: if the person who snatches your cell phone has a knife in his hand, you may not want to chase after him. Reporting a crime to the proper authorities as soon as it occurs will go a long way toward seeing justice done, so always remember that this is the safer alternative.



6. STOP CORRUPTION

You may not be able to stop top officials from stealing from the country’s coffers, but you can help by reporting any instances of bribery on the micro-level. It also helps if you yourself are aware of your boundaries. If you get a traffic ticket and the policeman says he’ll tear it up for a little merienda money, just say no and take the ticket.



7. BE INFORMED

Read the newspapers, watch the news, and keep yourself updated on what’s going on in the country. Being informed and up-to-date helps you in forming your own opinions about important issues and in making better decisions. But don’t stop there! Share what you’ve learned with your friends and family so that they can be updated too.



8. DONATE TO A CAUSE

Championing a cause (just like our Womanity personalities Daphne Oseña-Paez and Rosalind Wee) does not just involve donating material goods or money. The best donation you can give is your time and effort, so if there’s an issue that is close to your heart, find out if there are organizations supporting it and become a volunteer. You may also check out this FN article for a guide to donating when you’re a little strapped for cash.

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9. BE PROUD TO BE FILIPINO

Being nationalistic can mean something as simple as sincerely singing the "Lupang Hinirang" with your hand over your heart as you look at the Philippine flag. It can mean patronizing local goods and delicacies, promoting local tourism to your foreign friends, wearing fashionista designs, and appreciating Filipino talent (we know our fellow FNites are proud of Tony Award winner Lea Salonga). Most of all, it’s about believing in what we can do as a country.

 

10. PASS IT ON

Now that you’re aware of what you can do for your country, it’s time to spread the word. Encourage patriotism in your siblings, children, and friends by teaching them what they can do to become better citizens, even if it’s something as simple as brushing up on Philippine history, instilling the Filipino tradition of using po and opo, or referring them to this very article for other ideas. In this way, you’re helping preserve the Philippine legacy for the next generation of Filipinos.

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