Team Philippines: Being Part of the SolutionPosted on April 13th, 2011 under Inspirational Views
By Andrew Masigan
Despite the positive economic indicators and pockets o f victories here and there, a great majority of us choose to dwell on the negative about this administration and the country as a whole. While I offer no excuses for government’s missteps, I take issue on the unnecessary spread of negativity. We should really ask ourselves: are our criticisms doing anyone any good? Criticisms that are meant to undermine government (and the country) only erodes our already fragile self esteem. Thoughtless statements like “Only in the Philippines” gnash on national pride and cause us to doubt our abilities as a nation. In a real sense, this brand of criticism hurts society more than the politician/s it alludes to.
For too long now, many of us have left all aspects of social and economic development to government while we sit in our comfy peanut galleries. We play the role of critic while offering no tangible solution thinking that our barbed words will jolt government into action. To really implement change, we must pitch-in, take action and do our share in nation building. The success of this government is the success of the entire nation and to help it succeed is to be pro-Filipino. We are, after all, still part of Team Philippines.
An excellent example of someone who chooses to be part of the solution (and not part of the problem) is Former Tourism Secretary Mina T. Gabor. Dr. Gabor spent nearly two decades in government service before retiring in 1998. Thirteen years after, she continues to serve the country albeit quietly and in her personal capacity.
Last month, Dr. Gabor launched a new initiative to help the tourism industry. As former DOT Secretary, she remains fully supportive of the Aquino administration’s tourism program and is doing her fair share to contribute to its success.
Working in partnership with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Pacific Air Travel association (PATA) and the Florida State University, among others, Dr Gabor has established a new learning institution called the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST). ISST is a Subic-based facility that provides advanced training for existing practitioners in the industry with the aim of making them more professional in what they do.
As the country’s tourist arrivals gain in numbers, the need for greater skills among its professionals will be more pronounced. ISST was established precisely to pre-empt this need. Dr. Gabor draws from her years of experience in the tourism industry to train the next generation.
As a visionary and master in forecasting trends, Dr. Gabor is giving heavy emphasis on ecotourism. She sees this niche as the next big thing in tourism and one that the Philippines has a natural competitive advantage in. ISST’s curriculum is heavy on ecotourism courses.
Dr. Gabor’s work just goes to show that one need not be in active government service to make a positive impact. She continues to dream big for her country and takes responsibility for it. She spends her time supporting government instead of tearing it down. In her deeds, she demonstrates how it is to be a real asset to Team Philippines. May we all follow her lead.
Andrew is an economist, political analyst and businessman. A player in the hospitality and tourism industry, he is the man behind Dimsum ‘N Dumplings, Raku Hokkaido Ramen, XO46 Filipino Bistro and Struan Tangs, among others. He is also a director of Travelife Magazine. For comments and reactions, e-mail at email@example.com.