Saturday, December 5, 2009

Real-life hero tells presidential bets: Serve with humility

By Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:36:00 12/06/2009

Filed Under: Civil & Public Services, Heroism

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines--Real-life hero Efren Peñaflorida has this message to would-be heroes running for office: Public service is a public trust; it should be held sacred.

“With power comes responsibility. Service should be done in all humility, not just for oneself or for a few, but to respond to the cry of society,” Peñaflorida, CNN Hero of the Year, told the Inquirer after receiving the Servant Leadership Award from the Coca-Cola Foundation last Friday.

With the country beset by so many challenges—it is still recovering from the devastation wrought by Tropical Storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng”—Peñaflorida said the need to find that “hero” in every Filipino has never been more urgent.

“To achieve greater things, we should all help. We all have the ability to serve others,” he said, “Let us all work together to lift the country.”

Citing the importance of next year’s elections, he called on the youth—representing a significant portion of the country’s voting population—to be discerning in their choice of leaders and not to sell their votes.

“I will not support anybody, I will remain nonpartisan, but I will help promote and explain the automated elections because many people do not know about it,” Peñaflorida said in Filipino, “And in our place in Cavite, I will help guard the voting process.”

A hero in all of us

He stressed that one need not be powerful, rich or influential to be able to make significant changes in society.

“I have always believed there is a hero in all of us,” added Peñaflorida, who is keeping a packed schedule these days because of numerous visits to companies, government offices, schools and nongovernment organizations after he was declared CNN Hero of the Year for 2009.

CNN honored Peñaflorida for starting a “pushcart classroom” that brought education to poor children under the ambit of the Dynamic Teen Co. (DTC).

Because the kids who live in the slums and on the streets could not afford to go to school, he brought the school to them on a pushcart or “kariton” loaded with books, pens, paper, and illustration materials. The goal was to open the eyes of disadvantaged children, to help them realize that education could lift them out of poverty.

Better life

Peñaflorida is proof that education could lead to a better life.

In high school, he reached a point when he wanted to quit because he was tired of the bullies and he had lost all hope that education would liberate him and his family from poverty.

But because his teachers encouraged him to stay the course, he persevered, he finished college and became a teacher.

His teachers’ faith in him changed his life. Now he wants to pay the good deed forward by helping other people change their lives.

Original Story:

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