So far, so good

What for should I ask more

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Chapter 2

The election is over. It is time to examine, and to both skeptics and sympathizers alike, explain my participation in it.

I gave up a flourishing medical practice in America, joined Kapatiran and ran for the Senate because I wanted not merely to prove a point, but to live by it.

And the point is this: we can change our country, help our people, not by talking or theorizing but by actually doing something about it. One cannot simply make a statement. He must apply it in his life, by example, by involvement, by action. Our political campaign was such a statement.

Did we succeed? We did not get enough votes for a seat in the senate. But we did get the attention of the electorate and, more importantly, we made people aware of alternative solutions, better political options.

We demonstrated that it is possible to conduct an open, honest, vigorous campaign on programs, not personalities.

We showed that there is no need for false promises, political gimmickry, immoderate spending; but that there is a need for continuing communication, defending and justifying our positions and priorities.

Our fundamental premise is this: Politics is not a means of livelihood. It is not an economic investment that will pay off in future material gain. Politics is a way of giving, of sharing, of helping. It is not soliciting support but providing it. It is not about rendering service in the senate when elected, but rendering service now, in the present, in this time and place, in one's capacity as a candidate, a citizen, a Filipino of compassion.

If we have, even in a small, tentative way, we have redefined politics in the Philippines, then we have been fully recompensed for our efforts. The accomplishments of our greatest heroes cannot be judged in the simplistic terms of triumph or defeat. Like Burgos, Gomez and Zamora, the Kapatiran candidates won no instant victory. But they achieved a beginning, advanced the cause for reform, and awakened a hope that such reform is possible.

A personal note of accountability. We received donations from many sectors of society. Added to our own private contribution to the campaign, the total amount exceeded our modest campaign expenses. The balance we shall turn over to Gawad Kalinga in accordance with our conviction that politics is not an enterprise for profit.

Finally I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to all the men and women of goodwill who stand with us in the common belief in a Filipino future. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.

Martin D Bautista, MD

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