"This is the theme of this year’s Junior Chamber International Week."
Every second week of April, the Junior Chamber International Philippines celebrates JCI Week to affirm the JCI Values that bind and to celebrate the friendship that brings together more than two hundred local affiliates all over the country. A weeklong program of projects, trainings and meetings are conducted by JCI local organizations geared to showcase the work that JCI does, including its priority national programs. This year, JCI Week begins April 11 and is scheduled to end April 17, 2021.
It was in 1978 when President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Proclamation No. 1787 declaring the second week of November every year thereafter as “JCI International Week” in honor of the international movement. This yearly celebration was eventually transferred to the month of April by President Joseph Estrada through Presidential Proclamation No. 97, series of 97, which also affirmed the government’s commitment and support to JCI Philippines as a national government partner.
Out of the ruin and debris left by the Second World War, the founder of JCI Philippines, Artemio Vergel “Temiong” de Dios, saw an opportunity to build an organization committed to the vision of active citizenship. But he saw what would escape the eyes of many – the mission to create opportunities that will empower young leaders like him to create positive change.
Knowing the opportunity that comes with a challenge, Temiong did not let a good crisis go to waste – and for the next seventy-three years, his visionary work has inspired generations of young leaders, many of whom have made significant impact in our nation and in their communities.
Thanks to Temiong’s audacious tenacity, pioneering spirit and determined resolve of Temiong and the first members at a very challenging time, JCI Philippines is a grateful heir to their hard work in making their vision a reality for our times.
This coronavirus pandemic has been for many a very trying time. Even our own organization has faced unique challenges this year. The quarantine restrictions have limited the ability of our organizations to meet for meetings and trainings. We had our own share of decline in membership and revenues. Even implementing our usual programs and projects have not been that easy. But seeing all these challenges provide JCI Philippines the opportune moment to reinforce its commitment to our shared values, believing that there is no better time for us to be part of JCI. Indeed, it is the worst of times that shape the best of leaders – and the more seemingly daunting the prospect, the more daring should be our resolve.
With this in mind, JCI Philippines has chosen as our call to action this year the theme, “More for Others”. This is because while this crisis may bring with it a seemingly insurmountable challenge, it also comes, as they say of every crisis, a timely opportunity to find greater meaning in service, to care with greater empathy, and to lead by inspiring others to action.
This year’s JCI Week, with its theme, “Rising Up by Lifting Up Others” – is a celebration of the collective good that is the Junior Chamber International – by celebrating who were and taking to heart the mission that we do.
Our special congratulations to my colleagues in the 2021 JCI Philippines National Board, especially our Immediate Past National President Mark Joseph David of JCI Parañaque Pambato, National Executive Vice President John Glenn Lee of JCI Legazpi, National Treasurer Yvette Christine Herrera of JCI San Fernando Cabalen, National Secretary-General Liezl Alfonso of JCI Naga Cariñosa, National General Legal Counsel Maria Ronette Salve Barreda from my home chapter JCI Candahug Liberation and National Executive Director Constantine Ignacio of JCI Marikina Sapatos. Credit is also due to this year’s JCI Week National Chairperson, Joven Bernados of JCI Cainta and his team for a successful JCI Week celebration.
As this year’s National President, whenever I am asked, “Is being a JCI member still relevant today?”, I always confidently reply, “Yes, because service never goes out of style.” Celebrating JCI Week is an affirmation of the quintessential value of service. But for JCI, there is a higher measure for service. For JCI, our brand of service of leadership. For us in the JCI movement, to serve means to bring out the best in us so that we can give the best of ourselves to others. To serve the JCI way means to share the best of what we can do to create an even greater good. That gives an even stronger meaning to the statement, “Service to humanity is the best work of life.”
Throughout the years, JCI Philippines has thrived in training future leaders to be even better leaders. We have accomplished so much for our communities, to our country, and to our fellow Filipinos. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We must always strive to be more and do better.
Being more for others means being able to “walk the extra mile”, and to give “without counting the cost”. This is the “generosity of leadership” that JCI local organizations continue to live out in three ways: first, the generosity of purpose; second, the generosity of service; and third, generosity of friendship.
First, generosity of purpose. The projects of JCI Philippines are directed towards diverse ends and purposes – from healthcare to education, from everyday community concerns to the global Sustainable Development Goals. No social need is too small to be ignored or taken lightly. This speaks a lot about the generosity of purpose in the work that JCI local organizations do.
Second, generosity of service. JCI projects are done voluntarily, with young leaders using their own resources, giving the best effort and their time, just to make sure the work is done. We are proud of the fact that we are a voluntary organization, receiving no reward or compensation. Thankfully, being part of JCI means finding joy in service, because for us, service itself is our work’s reward.
Third, generosity of friendship. The best thing about working on JCI projects is that we are working with friends, with whom we share not only our fondest memories but our strongest passions. Many of us would not have probably found the courage, confidence and conviction to take on leadership roles without the encouragement, patience, and support of our JCI friends and mentors.
This is the generosity of leadership that has for long defined the Junior Chamber International. As we celebrate JCI Week, our hope is that we always remained inspired by the profound optimism and sincere compassion that no matter how hard things may get in our world, service will always retain its compelling universal value.