Most Filipinos will be celebrating Ash Wednesday this week to mark the beginning of the Lenten season. Their foreheads will proudly bear the cross-shaped Holy Ash as an acknowledgment both of our sinfulness and our mortality. The ritual may be one that is specifically practiced by the Roman Catholics but its message unites all Christians here and throughout the world. It is the ultimate message of love that our Lord Jesus Christ had shown for all of us by offering Himself to suffer and die for our sins.
As we approach Holy Week, we can see the example of Christ repeated in various world developments today. We can see it in the self sacrifice of our Muslim brothers and sisters in North Africa and the Middle East as they unite as a people to win back their freedoms from their respective dictatorial regimes. Usually after their prayers, they assemble in the streets, risking life and limb to show the world they are united in the fight for basic human rights long denied them.
This show of unity is not the unique to the Middle East. The Philippines was the first country to show what unity and self sacrifice can accomplish in the first “People Power” revolution in 1986. Some political analysts have said that our example inspired people in Eastern European countries take to the streets and clamor for change. Eventually the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 (by sheer coincidence, this was the same year that Ferdinand Marcos passed away).
It was as if one chapter closed and a new one began. Who would have thought that EDSA 1 would help inspire the end of the Cold War? Anyway, I have already written about this in my previous blog post to commemorate the 25th anniversary of EDSA 1. But I had to mention it again because the event is very meaningful for the Lopez family; we were all united with the entire Filipino people to expel the long years under the Marcos dictatorship. This is an example of how unity can be a great force for change.
Whether we talk about religion or revolution, success comes from having a common set of values. One of the Lopez Values is unity. The Lopez group of companies consists of 20 firms ranging from energy to entertainment, from telecommunications and real estate to charities and foundations. Despite these different activities, we are united by the same spirit that my father Eugenio Lopez, Sr. began about 80 years ago. We are united by the Lopez Values themselves.
I have been asked on occasion to pick which Lopez value is the most important. Here’s my answer: they are all important! You need to take all the values as a complete whole. These are timeless values that have worked again and again. In a way, therefore, you could say that unity is the value that also binds the others. Without unity, all the values will certainly fall apart.
If you have any questions about any of the Lopez Values, email me. I’d be happy to answer your questions. By the way, I really enjoyed reading through your previous emails. I will be announcing the contest winner two weeks from now. Until then, please keep in touch.