We must build our nation on the principle of depending on ourselves and getting as loans only what we need, not what we can get. We must build our political system on respect for the sovereignty of the people, on the establishment of adequate checks and balances and on empowering the people at the grassroots level.

by JOSE W. DIOKNO (1922 –1987 )

THERE is one dream that all Filipinos share: that our children may have a better life than we have had. So there is one vision that is distinctly Filipino: the vision to make this country,our country, a nation for our children.

A NOBLE nation, where homage is paid not to who a man is or what he owns, but to what he is and what he does.

A PROUD nation, where poverty chains no man to the plough, forces no woman to prostitute herself and condemns no child to scrounge among garbage.

A FREE nation, where men and women and children from all regions and with all kinds of talents may find truth and play and sing and laugh and dance and love without fear.

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Text adapted from a speech delivered late in 1984 by Jose W. Diokno. At that time he was deeply involved in trying to unify the opposition against the fascistic but failing regime of Ferdinand E. Marcos. This important and crucial task did not prevent him from delineating in near-lyrical language his dream of a nation for all Filipino children – a just, humane and free society. Jose W. Diokno was one of conveners of the Asian Human Rights Commission.