New Year message of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, delivered by remote control over Station PIAM on December 31, 1943, in connection with the radio program of the Bureau of Information and Public Security.

TO MY COUNTRYMEN:

We close an evenful year deep in destiny. Out of the welter of blood and fire that had all the world in travail, our Republic was born in fulfillment of the hero’s vision, of the martyr’s dream. In the perspective of time, this fateful year that just ended would appear as the record of a hope articulated in courage, consecrated in the noblest blood. It is not given to every generation to have been a witness and a participant in all this.

Our problem is whether we have the courage, the passion and the will to sustain the responsibility of this tremendous privilege. Ours is the privilege to create for our own posterity a life as rich in opportunity as it is rich in freedom and self-respect. A people of any pride and dignity cannot ask for a higher distinction. We are the inheritors of a great tradition; it is our duty to hand it to our children immeasurably enriched by our own blood and our noblest striving.

As we face the New Year, I should like to ask that we measure ourselves in thought and action against this responsibility. Under the circumstances, this is the great and gravest responsibility we have yet to bear actively and directly. It is not anything we can shift to somebody else’s shoulders. It is intimately tied up with our own survival as a people. Nobody else can do our own swimming for us.

If the old year was a great discipline, this new one will be greater. By this time, after what the War has done and meant to us, we should be in a better position to understand and appreciate the discipline that has come of these difficult days. There is no better way to plumb the depth of our moral resources; no other way to measure our capacity for creative thought and action.

To those who make up our leadership—from the President and ministers of state to the officials of the remotest town and barrio, from the men of light and leading in the metropolis to the educated individuals of every Philippine community—the exercise of this discipline is crucial.

The exaltation of our leadership does not lie in the enjoyment of special privileges, special rights, special concessions. It lies in vision, courage, and work. It lies in service dispensed where it is most needed. It lies in sacrifice shown where it is most urgent for the morale of the surrounding group. It lies in cheerful accomplishment of the humblest task for the humblest citizen. It lies in ready submission to law and regulation for general application in the interest and convenience of all. It lies in religious observance of those details of behavior basic to success in cooperative action for these critical times.

He is the real leader who takes the initiative in all these things. He is the last, if at all, to appropriate the benefit of collective success or victory.

For the rank and file, for the masses of our people, dependent as they are on a courageous, self-sacrificing leadership, the achievement of discipline is no less imperative.

The masses of our people must realize that we must work together or perish separately. Salvation lies in cooperation, not in isolation; in every individual’s doing his assigned part, not in shirking it and shifting the burden to his neighbor. If an individual expects to be fed, clothed and sheltered, he must be ready and willing to do as much for somebody else. He must know and accept that bad times are as much a part of living as good times; that in bad times, the answer lies not in whimpering and wailing and blaming someone else but in ready initiative to understand, act and work in cooperation with his neighbors.

The spirit of self-dependence is a complement to the spirit of interdependence and not hostile to it. Together they constitute the principle of universal brotherhood toward which all mankind is striving with an invincible faith, however endless and tortuous the trail.

Fellow countrymen: our prayer for this New Year is not that our path to a great future for our Republic may be made short and easy, but that we may have the courage, the strength, and the faith to keep to our course in the face of all odds and obstructions. The God of all the nations will not discriminate against us except where we, of our own will, refuse to recognize the responsibility of our own national destiny.

Out of the Orient, which is our home, have come all the great faiths of the world. We may justly claim that from our midst has sprung the basic aspiration that has lifted man from the mud and the beast to the immortal vision of his divinity.

The Filipino people are conscious of this fact and at a time of great trial like the present it should give them a fresh hold of faith in their race and their God and in their capacity and genius to sustain their endeavor We greet the New Year, marching confidently forward and firmly resolved to contribute our sharp in the building of a new order dedicated to moral justice.

I thank you.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library