President Barack Obama delivers his victory speech. - Photo courtesy of REUTERS
By MARIE ANONAT
AND why think global? Consider the Bicolanos. They can influence the rise of a prominent world leader.
Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis, born and educated in Bicol, TLC Beatrice CEO, and chairperson of US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), represented US President Barack Obama in a townhall-style debate days before the US presidential elections this November.
Lewis showed wit and calm and showed even more facts and statistics over what, according to balitangamerica.com, was a heated debate versus Nimfa Gamez who spoke for Gov Mitt Romney and the Fil-Am Republicans.
Fil-Am communities in various states asked what the presidential candidates’ stand on issues that concern them, such as immigration, healthcare, US economic recovery, gender and women’s issues, and the Spratley’s row.
Lewis emphasized Obama’s humane approach when he gave very young immigrants the right to stay while Gamez said that Romney would rather make sure that rules of immigration will be better observed.
On healthcare issues, Lewis cites the advantages of “Obamacare” and Gamez counteracted with what she saw as flaws of the program, including more tax demands from citizens.
Gamez frequently said that more jobs will be available if Romney gets elected while Lewis said that Obama is funding schools and colleges for better education and skills in fields such as entrepreneurship. (Entrepreneurship is known to be self-sustainable and entrepreneurs don’t rely mainly on job availability for livelihood.)
Lewis revealed that the Democrats have a pro-choice stand on women’s issues, that the government is not the church and therefore not in the position to impose beliefs and morality on citizens while Gamez stood by the Republican pro-life conviction.
Regarding Spratley Islands, Lewis said that “under the Mutual Defense and Treaty Act, the US is duty-bound to help the Philippines, but let’s not even encourage any type of war. Kasi,sino’ng mamamatay? Filipinos!” (Who’ll get killed? Filipinos!) To this, Gamez replied with, “It all goes back to the economy. In a poor economy, The US will not have the budget even to defend itself. How can we send help to other countries when we cannot help ourselves here?”
As final remarks, Gamez, CEO of Mission Hope Day, an organization that provides empowerment and healthcare services to individuals with development disability said, “Success comes with sacrifice. Personal interests come secondary only to economic issues affecting livelihood, gas prices, the US$16 trillion debt, lost jobs, homes, healthcare, and retirement benefits.”
On the other hand, “Who understands us (Fil-Ams) better between the two men?” Lewis says in her culminating speech.
“Obama is the son of mixed-race parents, raised by a single mother who relied on food stamps, grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, has middle-class upbringing and values. He worked his way up to Harvard Law School with scholarships and student loans.”
Atty Lewis, well-esteemed immigration lawyer, CEO, and philanthropist, is the founder and president of The Lewis College in Sorsogon City.
In its eleven years of operation, it has accepted enrollees who are either orphans or who came from very poor families, mostly children of small-income fisherfolks, farmers, and casual wage-earners.
Through unique scholarship programs, these determined students graduated and are now working as professionals here in Bicol and other big cities.
TLC’s practical courses such as Business Management, Entrepreneurship, Education, Nursing Assistant, and Computer Studies have gone global, qualifying graduates to work and travel to Japan, China, Australia, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, etc to work and forge better lives for themselves. - Bicol Mail