WHEN this man was deported to Dapitan in the province of Zamboanga, after being implicated by Spanish authorities in the activities of a rebellion in 1892, he lived a simple life in the service of his fellow men.
In the early part of his exiled life, he resided at the commandant’s home. He had money to spend from his lottery winnings and earnings as a farmer and merchant. Spending it wisely, he bought a piece of land near the shore of Talisay near Dapitan, where he built three houses, with the first one becoming his home. The second house was the living quarters of his pupils, while the third was the barn where he kept his chickens.
He built a school, a hospital and a water supply system. He also taught kids and engaged in farming and horticulture.
In a letter to his friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt on Dec. 19, 1893, he described his peaceful, but productive life in Dapitan.
"I rise early in the morning-at five-visit my plants, feed the chickens, awaken my people, and prepare our breakfast. At half-past seven, we eat our breakfast, which consists of tea, bread, cheese, sweets, and other things. After breakfast, I treat the poor patients who come to my house. Then I dress and go to Dapitan in my baroto. I am busy the whole morning, attending to my patients in town. At noon, I return home to Talisay for lunch. Then, from 2 to 4 p.m., I am busy as a teacher. I teach the young boys. I spend the rest of the afternoon in farming. My pupils help me in watering the plants, pruning the fruits, and planting many kinds of trees. We stop at 6:00 p.m. for the Angelus. I spend the night reading and writing."
It was clear from his letter that much of his time was spent helping others.
That man, was our national hero Jose Rizal, one of the first advocates of social responsibility, someone who believes that everyone has an obligation to act for the benefit of the society at large.
More than a century later, Rizal's philanthropic work and ideology of being of service to others, still ring loud and true.
These days, businesses and industries reach out to the community that surround them, believing that social responsibility is an ethical framework, a duty to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems.
We may not be aware of it, but Corporate Social Responsibility pertains not only to businesses, but also individuals whose any action impacts the people of the community and the environment.
As Manila Standard celebrates its 31st anniversary, we pay tribute to the businesses and industries that care for the community and the Jose Rizal in all of us.
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