The concept of nationalism today remains the same – love of country. But its expression has differed with time. In the Lopez Group, it has evolved from a strong belief in the Filipino’s capability, to investing in businesses that improve quality of life, and being undaunted in standing up for what is right. Today, it means bringing the best of what the Filipino has to offer to the world.
Each of us in our various fields have a pivotal role in determining the future of our country – as a media practitioner who decides what gets circulated to the public sphere, an engineer who discovers new technology that influences our way of life, or a geoscientist who aids in developing a steamfield that impacts power generation. Each profession brings something unique to the table.
Nationalism contest winner Hazel Velasco center with from left supervisor Jay Lopez Oscar Lopez and Cedie Vargas
Today, we belong to a generation who wants to make a difference. We look for meaningful work – work where we can use our expertise while making a difference.
Three years of working with the Lopez Group taught me that nationalism is expressed in confidence and gratitude. Love of country is being confident with our own intellectual ability – that like anyone in the region and in the world, we can contribute our expertise. Not necessarily to everyone, but definitely, to someone who needs it. Love of country is expressed in gratitude. Yes, we may have the ability and expertise, but all our ideas, are built upon the work of so many of people who have gone before us.
Furthermore, nationalism may be expressed throught care and concern. It means understanding the company, its context within the larger field, knowing the stakeholders, and its values – all until these become like the back of our hand. The Lopez Group are in businesses that serve the nation. It requires investing in information of how markets function in the national economy, or maybe how a particular kind of work enhances a way of life. It also means knowing the company’s history. I privileged that my work entails appreciating history and witness it happening right before my eyes. Now, I know how power distribution and generation began in the Philippines, how space and lifestyle was changed by a different way of thinking, or how manufacturing was born out of discovering new frontiers.
We can be in different disciplines, in different jobs, but when we use the lens of our country in everything we do, it changes us. Everytime we move, anywhere we go, whatever we do, we represent the company and our country. Knowing we made a contribution and worked to build something bigger enables us to see the possibilities within us and inspires us to do better.
In particular, my work in the field of communication is involved with spreading ideas and engaging people to support those ideas. Nationalism means keeping the company’s good reputation, taking responsibility for information and release. We are not just concerned with circulating information, we are concerned with telling a story of our history, challenges, and track record to inspire and seek support from various stakeholders. Everytime I write or speak, I am mindful of the words I use. I want to use only words that are true and appropriate.
Nationalism grows every time we ask – what kind of society do we have and with it what kind of work do I do? These two questions spell so much difference. When we think of the nation, we are holding ourselves to a higher standard. We give better. We work better. We owe it to ourselves.
A company is strong when serving the nation supersedes personal interests. We dream of society that is socially responsibble, one which generates knowledge and develop professionalism.
It starts in planning and alignment with goals, until it becomes intuitive. When nationalism is built in our core, it becomes so natural that any kind of work, decision leads us to think – how will it affect the community, the country’s image? Is it good for the country? When that happens, nationalism will a very strong value. For a value is strongest when it is planted in the heart and bears fruit in words and deeds.
They say today is the best time to be a Filipino. I say every time is the best time. Whether in a group, or alone, we must always give the best we can.
Nationalism has moved beyond the confines of the country. Doing work in the eyes of nationalism leads to better exchange of ideas and ways of understanding our nation and the world. We work to connect and create. And they say that when love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. Indeed, when love for country and our skills merge, a masterpiece would come out.
Hazel Velasco joined First Philippine Holdings Corporate Communications Group in 2009. She was a scholar and honor student at Ateneo de Manila University, graduating with an AB degree. She is set to take the comprehensive exams for her Master of Arts in Media Studies, major in broadcast communication, at the University of the Philippines-Diliman later this year. (by Hazel Velasco)