Ultimate Test Of A Man’s Conscience
Is His Willingness to Sacrifice*
*Speech of Major General LYSANDER A SUERTE Of The 5th Infantry Division, AFP, Isabela as Induction and Guest Speaker of the 49th Induction and Turn-Over Program of the Rotary Club of Kalibo held on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at ROZ and ANGELIQUE’S CAFE, Jaime Cardinal Sin Avenue, Kalibo, Aklan.
Our distinguished guests, PDG. Ramon “TOTO” Cua Locsin, PDG. Mark Anthony Ortiz, IPDG. Joe Jay “JUDE” Doctora, DGE. Ronnie Gabalda, officers and members of the Rotary Club of Kalibo, visiting Rotatians from other Rotary Clubs, fellow Rotarians, friends, ladies and gentlemen.
To speak before you tonight, on this special occasion of your club induction is a special honor for me and my wife, Bing who made sure that I accept your invitation. I know she is happy to be here. As you will all agree, happy wife, is happy life!
I am happy to be back here, in the midst of fellow Rotarians and friends. I could have been perfectly content just to be reunited with you, and take my favorite place there, at the back, together with the “kuob-kuob” group.
Pardon me if I say I am not really your guest speaker, for I am here for a reunion with you. I come here as your friend.
Let me explain briefly my current position.
The 5th Infantry Division is based in Isabela. My camp is 548 hectares. My area covers the whole of CAR (6 provinces), and Isabela and Cagayan. I have two brigades and 4 battalions in the north. My area includes the Cordillera and Sierra Madre mountain ranges. I have one brigade in Jolo. I have three battalions in mainland Mindanao, so I can visit Mindanao anytime. My army detachment here in the Visayas is the RC of Kalibo!
My Rotary world started in this great club. In 2000, 15 years ago. PP Noli Sodusta invited and sponsored me. I remember PP Vady Marin giving me my first Rotary Information. My first president was PP Raphy Tayco, and until now Raphy has kept me informed about Rotary and about the club thru his endless sharing via email. Thank you, Noli, Vady and Raphy! Thank you PP Vady, for the special caldereta tonight!
My next president was PP Botoy Villorente, who appointed me as Protocol Officer. But I was not able to finish that RY because I left for schooling. But then it was as if I never left the club, for PP Botoy would publish in the Budyong the text jokes I sent him. (Do you want a Sample?.... Joke on population)
I became a member of Rotary Club Camp Aguinaldo where I served as Leader President. When I got assigned in Davao, I joined the biggest club of RI District 3860, the Rotary Club of East Davao. So, I maybe one of the few who have been a Rotarian in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
But wherever I am, I always remember that it was here in RC Kalibo, where I started as a Rotarian.
One of the memorable moments I had was sharing some jokes during entertainment time. And I couldn't forget the one time I shared a corny, naughty joke, that made PP Bert Cheng to laugh out loud (lol). Remember that joke about the importance of Trust?(Pagtitiwala)
I can mention many many wonderful moments, and I can go on and on. Why am I mentioning these things? Because that is what makes Rotary different. Rotary is fun, fun for us Rotarians, and fun for our spouses and family. Rotary is life, Rotary is a lifetime of commitment to a passion to serve.
But as we serve, we profit, not materially, but spiritually. For the time, talent and treasure shared in fellowship and service are by themselves blessings!
As we say when we charge new Rotarians, "the happiness you bring to others is the happiness you get. That by helping others, we enrich our own lives. For no one can help others and bring sunshine to their lives without helping themselves and bringing sunshine to their own lives."
I am proud being a soldier and a Rotarian at the same time. And I often say, there are many things I learned from Rotary, things I couldn't possibly know when I stayed just inside the military world. And I am happy I am able to say this, in your presence, and in the presence of our distinguished PDGs. I hope the younger and new Rotarians would choose to stay with Rotary, and enjoy the journey of service.
The theme this year: “Be a Gift to the World” says it all. We Rotarians are challenged to be a gift, by giving we enrich ourselves. We are a gift if we share, and we can not only share what we have, but also what we become.
This challenge is specially addressed to the President of the RC Kalibo and its officers. President Jong, (North Korea?) this is your year, your year to be a gift to the club, and to your community.
Polio eradication is Rotary's biggest project and biggest challenge. Rotary International President K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran said, "A future without polio is our gift to the children of the world. And indeed it is a gift that we will give."
When Rotary set a goal of eradicating polio 25 years ago, it was endemic in 125 countries, and more than 1000 children were becoming paralyzed each day. Today, polio is endemic in only three countries, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. (In short, NPA). And in all of 2014, only 333 cases were reported. Indeed, we are that close to winning over polio.
Just today, it was announced that Nigeria, registered one full year with no polio infection, so if maintained over time, Nigeria will be removed from that list.
Membership. The issue of declining membership is another challenge for Rotary. And it challenges the fundamentals that built Rotary: the emphasis on high ethical standards in all aspects of our lives, and the classification system that encourages a diversity of expertise in each club. These two fundamentals are often regarded as inconvenient obstacles to increasing membership. But let us not forget, these fundamentals are essential to Rotary's success, and they must not be ignored. Look what happened to other organizations when they ignored the tested and proven principles of membership.
Perhaps, Rotary is better off just maintaining its army of 1.2 million Rotarians. We don't expand our numbers just for the sake of increasing our numbers. It is still quality over quantity.
Lastly, may I share two quotations that I particularly like:
"We have more space for our enemy in our head, than for a friend in our heart"
"The ultimate test of a man's conscience is his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose word of thanks he may not hear."
Thank you very much for having me here.
It's good to see you all again!
My heartfelt Congratulations for all that you have done, and still do, and I wish you all the best.
Mabuhay ang RC Kalibo!
Mabuhay Tayong lahat!
God bless us all./MP