Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Pres. Benigno Aquino III’


State of the Nation Address
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
To the Congress of the Philippines

[This is an English translation of the SONA delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City, on July 22, 2013]

Vice President Jejomar Binay; Senate President Franklin M. Drilon; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.; Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the eminent Justices of the Supreme Court; former Presidents Fidel Valdez Ramos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada; distinguished members of the diplomatic corps; honorable members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate; our leaders in local government; members of the Cabinet; members of the military and police in uniform; my fellow public servants; and, of course, to my Bosses, the Filipino people, a pleasant afternoon to all.

This is my fourth SONA; only two remain. Almost four years have passed since I was approached by various camps to urge me to run for the presidency. They said: “We know that our country’s problems cannot be solved in the blink of an eye, in one year, or even within the six-year term of a President. But just begin, and we will be one with you in nurturing change.”

Even then, I was aware of the significant problems that I would have to face. From being a candidate, to being President, or even after I step down from office, the difficulties I will have to face are no joke. Widespread transformation of society is my objective, and I am aware that there are many things and many people I would have to confront in order to achieve this. But I was not raised by my parents to back down in the face of challenges. I would not be able to live with myself if I had refused the chance to alleviate the suffering the Filipino should not have to endure.

We have answered the call, and those who have been with us from the start have only grown in number. I believe that if what I have been doing is right, then our allies will only grow. Just this May, I asked you, Boss, are we going in the right direction? Your reply: “Yes, and let us accelerate the transformation of society.” I asked for allies that would help steer the country in one direction, and you delivered. The truth is, not only the majority, not even nine of twelve, but nine of the top ten senators are individuals that I recommended to you. The message of the past election is clear: Yes, let us keep going, let us add to the 8,581 sitios that we have electrified; let us add to the 28,398 families who were once informal settlers but who finally have, or will soon have, decent homes; let us increase the not less than 40 billion pesos in additional funds that go to education, health, social services, and many others because of the right and more efficient collection of taxes; we feel all the other tangible signs that society is truly changing. I have become even more optimistic because of your message; it is clear that I am not alone in carrying these responsibilities. How can I not be encouraged, when even the likes of Mr. Niño Aguirre are helping shape our future? Just think: Though unable to walk, he climbed all the way to his fourth-floor precinct, just so that he could vote and contribute to true social transformation. Thank you, Mr. Aguirre.

There is no shortage of Filipinos who are ready to pitch in, and this is the source of the change we now experience. The strategy—maximize opportunities for all, especially for those most in need. We are not content to wait for the trickle-down effect; we cannot leave their fate—their receiving the benefits of progress—to chance. What we call inclusive growth—this all-encompassing progress—is the principle that drives every initiative, every action, and every decision of your government. The only ones who will be left behind are those who chose not to venture onwards with us, simply because they did not seize the opportunity.

The basis for this principle: Widespread opportunity is the key to comprehensive and sustained progress. Let us not forget that these opportunities are but seeds. We must water them with diligence, nourish them with determination, and cultivate them with dedication. Let us take a look at our TESDA-DOLE scholars. Of the 503,521 people who have graduated from their programs, an estimated six out of ten have found jobs. Before this, according to studies conducted by the DBM from 2006 to 2008, only 28.5 percent of TESDA graduates found jobs. Last year, under TESDA’s IT-BPO program, 70.9 percent of the graduates found employment. Under the electronics and semiconductor program, the percentage of employed graduates reached 85 percent. It is clear: You are the ones who will shape this growth, you are the ones who will determine whether the fruits of our labors become sweet and ripe for the picking, or if you will let them rot away and waste the chances that this new chapter in our history has given us.

Let us go through everything one by one. Our objective to expand the reach of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program: achieved. The over 700,000 household beneficiaries we found upon coming into office in 2010 have now grown to almost 4 million households in the three years of our administration.

There is more: According to research conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, compared with those who only finished the elementary level, the income of high school graduates is 40 percent higher. Is it not right that we maximize the help we give these families, so that our young beneficiaries can finish high school, thereby helping them make the most out of the benefits of this program? That is why next year, families with children up to 18 years old will be included in this program so that their children will be able to finish high school.

Let us move on to education. Our goal is to raise the quality of learning that our children undertake, so that once they finish their schooling, they can seize the opportunities now opening up in society: accomplished. We have finally erased the backlog we inherited in books and chairs, and if Secretary Armin Luistro continues to demonstrate true grit, even the backlog we inherited in classrooms will also be erased this year. And there is even more good news: Now, we also have the ability to prepare for the additional needs that the implementation of the K to 12 program will require.

The problems that plagued Brother Armin in the DepEd are no laughing matter. Just think: one textbook used to be priced at 58 pesos; since he assumed office, the price of the exact same textbook has gone down to 30 pesos. What would have happened if we had been paying the proper price from the beginning? If we had saved the difference of 28 pesos for all the books bought, at five textbooks for each of the estimated 20.7 million students in our public school system, the equivalent would amount to almost 2.9 billion pesos. These savings alone could have funded our plans to repair and rehabilitate around 9,502 classrooms.

If Brother Armin didn’t have strength of will, he could have just left this culture of negligence in his agency for his successor to deal with. He could have also left the backlog, as well as the growing gap of needs because of the rising number of enrollees each year. But instead of being content, instead of saying, “This will do. My job is done,” Brother Armin will build even more chairs and classrooms, and will buy even more books, to ensure that even the needs in future years will also be met.

Regarding the strengthening of our agricultural sector, this has also been achieved. Just think: According to the NFA, in 2010, the country imported more than 2 million metric tons of rice. In 2011, this fell to 855,000 metric tons. In 2012: 500,000 metric tons. And now in 2013, the maximum we, including the private sector, will import will be the minimum access volume of 350,000 metric tons. This includes the 187,000 metric tons of reserve buffer stock in case typhoons arrive one after the other; in all likelihood, even the private sector will no longer have to import rice because we are still on track to becoming self-sufficient in rice. In addition to that, we have begun exporting premium-quality rice. We have truly come so far from those days when it was said that we could not even feed ourselves.

The proof is in the data: This sector grew 3.3 percent in the first three months of 2013. This is triple the 1.1 percent growth it recorded in the same time period in 2012. That is why we continue to sow initiatives that will certainly bear the fruits of even greater progress for our farmers.

For example, the coconut sector. According to research conducted in 2009, coconut farmers make up one of the poorest sectors in the country. Let us look at the process of growing coconuts: Once planted, farmers wait seven years for the coconut tree to bear fruit; but after this, two generations will be able to benefit without doing anything else apart from harvesting the fruit. We have the potential to vastly increase the income of this sector if we can foster a culture that truly encourages hard work and productivity. The solution: intercropping.

The government will help you to strengthen your coconut farms; but in exchange, you will be required to sow different kinds of seeds in between the rows of coconut trees.  Doing so will raise the frequency of crop harvests, and depending on what they plant, their income will also increase. If they grow only coconuts, the farmers would earn about 20,000 pesos a year per hectare. But if they add coffee, they could reach about 172,400 pesos a year; if they add bananas, they could earn 102,325 pesos, while adding cacao would give them 89,000 pesos. Isn’t that such a huge difference?

We have already begun laying down initiatives for this: In 2012, we were able to use 5,500 hectares of land for intercropping in 90 different locations throughout the country. This program covered 10,000 farmers. Our target for 2013: an additional 434 sites for coconut intercropping.

We are also now steering our fishermen towards more productive waters. Think about it: our fishing industry contributed 193.65 billion pesos to our economy in 2012. In spite of this, based on a study last conducted in 2009, 41 percent of our fisherfolk still live below the poverty line. They are the ones who catch the fish, but all they have on their dinner tables are fish bones.

That is why various government initiatives are in place to help free our fisherfolk from the broad net cast by poverty. An example would be our initiative for Bataraza in Palawan. The waters here brim with fish. But because the fish cannot be brought to the merchants on time, still fresh, the fishermen end up having to dry the fish and sell tuyo instead. It is such a waste, because every three kilos of lapu-lapu is only equivalent to one kilo of tuyo. What if the freshness of the fish could be preserved in a cold storage facility? You could go to the merchant and still sell your catch at full price. You would exert the same amount of effort, but you would receive the right compensation for it. That is why the cold storage facility in Bataraza has already been built. In addition, we are also constructing new piers in strategic areas to raise productivity and income. We are constructing and adding new roads, bridges, and other kinds of infrastructure, including various services, for our fisherfolk.

The DILG, BFAR, and Coast Guard are also tightly monitoring irresponsible and unrestrained forms of fishing; this I ask of our fishermen: allow our fish to repopulate. I ask for your solidarity in caring for your own livelihood. As you no doubt see, the state has already opened up opportunities for you, but the result is in your hands.

If there is one topic my name is often associated with, that would have to be Hacienda Luisita. I would like to inform you that back in February, in compliance with the decision of the Supreme Court, the Department of Agrarian Reform has completed the list of qualified beneficiaries for the land in Luisita. According to Secretary Gil de los Reyes, the process to determine the beneficiaries’ lots began last week, and the turnover of these lots will begin in September of this year.

As for other large tracts of land: We have long tasked the DAR, DENR, LRA, and Land Bank to develop a framework for speeding up the parceling out of land. I would like to remind everyone: Correct data is the first step to the orderly implementation of CARPER. But we inherited a land records system that is problematic and defective. This is why, from the start, the DOJ, LRA, DENR, and DAR have worked to fix this system, and now we are at a point where we can guarantee that in the next year, all notices of coverage will have been served for lands covered by comprehensive agrarian reform.

It is clear: The state was established to serve you. If you have health problems, the government must care for you; in times of illness, it should be there to give aid and support. What has our government done in this regard?

Our goal to extend PhilHealth coverage to more of our countrymen has been achieved. When we began, 62 percent of Filipinos were enrolled; now, that number stands at 81 percent. The remaining number still not on our lists are those we are seeking to identify, including those in the informal settlers’ and indigenous people’s sectors. We are counting on the cooperation of our local governments to ensure that all of our countrymen are enrolled in the system.

It is not just PhilHealth’s roster of enrollees that is growing: so is its scope of services. The past year saw the launch of the Z Benefit Package. This past February, this was upgraded with the Expanded Z Benefit Package. The poorest of the poor can now avail of free medical care at public hospitals for more medical conditions than ever before. Last year, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and acute leukemia were included on the list of covered conditions; today, coronary bypass, and corrective surgery for holes and defective blood vessels in the heart, are also included in the package.

All these health benefits would go to waste if our health care facilities are substandard, or inaccessible to our countrymen in the provinces. This is why we have gone all-out in funding health care infrastructure projects: These past three years, we have budgeted a total of 33 billion pesos for the improvement and modernization of 4,518 hospitals, rural health units, and barangay health stations nationwide. Among these are Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City, which has successfully completed five kidney transplants in the last year; the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi; the Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu; and the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro, which, according to Secretary Ike Ona of the DOH, now have the capacity to perform open heart surgery due to upgraded facilities and equipment. There is also the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City, the first cancer center outside Metro Manila.

Regarding disaster preparedness: Our goal to develop mechanisms to protect the Filipino people from natural calamities, we have also achieved. Among these are the effective services brought about by the joint forces of the Geohazard Mapping and Assessment Program and of Project NOAH of the DOST. This past year, we completed a multihazard mapping of the 28 most vulnerable locations in the country. A similar endeavor for the Greater Metro Manila Area will be completed by 2014. Geohazard maps for 496 cities and municipalities have also been completed. The remaining 1,138 covering every last corner of the country will be finished before the end of 2015. Not only have these maps increased in number, they are also more detailed and refined, which is why we will be able to more accurately identify high-risk areas.

From the time Project NOAH was launched, a total of 525 automated water level monitoring stations and automated rain gauges have been installed in 18 major river basins throughout the country. We also continue to modernize our weather detection technology, with Doppler radars, tsunami detectors, and alerting sirens.

But simply distributing high-tech equipment and new technology is not enough. We also need to train the end-users of this equipment in understanding, using, and disseminating the information gained. When the weather is bad, they no longer rely solely on wind speed for their forecasts; they can also predict the volume of rainfall, and they can provide correct and timely warnings so our communities can prepare accordingly.

We are also remedying the problem of flooding in Metro Manila.  Imagine: When Ondoy hit, an estimated 3,600 cubic meters per second of rainfall flowed down from the Sierra Madre. But the capacity of the channels through which these flowed can only support 1,000 cubic meters per second. Where would the difference of 2,600 cubic meters per second go? These are the sudden torrents of water that overflow into low-lying areas and become flash floods.

Haven’t we all heard before that “waterways are inalienable?” What this means is that the channels through which water passes should be for that purpose alone. The problem is, in addition to the lack of adequate drainage, certain structures are built, obstructing these drainage systems, a situation compounded by the trash of those living around it. To solve this problem, we are coordinating with our LGUs to safely and successfully relocate our informal settlers. In addition, a legal team led by Secretary Leila de Lima is preparing to file cases against those who have closed or obstructed our waterways.

We are not content with simply passing the blame and pointing fingers. Our action: an allocation of 6.2 billion pesos to prevent flooding throughout Metro Manila. This includes the construction of the Blumentritt Interceptor Catchment area. The entire project is 3.3 kilometers in length; and once it is completed, it will be able to catch the equivalent of 14 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water. When the rains hit, the rainwater now has somewhere to go, and will no longer accumulate on our streets. This project was started in March, and we aim to complete it by next year.

Government has been fulfilling its obligation to the people, but let us ask ourselves: How have I contributed to the solution? If someone dumps trash into a river, confront them; if you see a building being built obstructing an estuary, report it to the correct authorities. We will only drown in our problems if we do nothing.

Even after the storms have passed, our work to restore normalcy to the lives of calamity-struck families does not end. Through the cooperation of the government, and the private sector, 9,377 houses have been erected for the victims of typhoon Sendong. An additional 4,374 homes will be built before the end of the following year. We ask for patience and understanding, the process has been delayed because of the complex process of land acquisition; in truth, if discussions on other tracts of land go well, we will be able to construct an additional 2,719 houses.

We also aim to turn over a total of 53,106 homes to our countrymen who were left homeless by the onslaught of typhoon Pablo. We began to hand over houses in May; and we will complete another 17,609 homes by the end of the year. And by the time we finish the 35,447 homes still to be completed by 2014, all the families who felt nature’s wrath will once again find shelter under their own roofs.

Still on the subject of housing, this time for our men and women in uniform: More than a year ago, we had already built 21,800 housing units for our police force and soldiers. For Phase II of this project, we have already built an additional 26,050 homes out of our target of 31,200, and the rest will be completed by next month.

Apart from housing, livelihood projects are being implemented for the benefit of our troops. Several thousand hectares of land in three of our military camps—namely, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Camp Kibaritan in Bukidnon, and Camp Peralta in Capiz—will be the venues for these livelihood projects, which will give our soldiers additional income through plantations of bamboo, coffee, cacao, and palm oil. If before, soldiers were concerned solely with defending us, now, even military retirees can participate in improving our economy.

But our quest to find solutions to all the other problems we inherited regarding national defense does not stop here. Consider this: In 1986, there were an estimated 250,000 policemen and soldiers protecting a total of 55 million Filipinos. Today, we still have an estimated 250,000 policemen and soldiers, who protect 95 million Filipinos. Our population has almost doubled, while the number of our protectors has not changed.

We are sure to have critics who will say “Is this really a problem? Just add more policemen and soldiers. You can even reduce unemployment that way.” If only it were that simple. Let us look at the situation. The common pension scheme works like this: both members and employers contribute to the pension. Their contributions serve as capital for reinvestment, and the gains of these investments will in turn fund the retiring members’ pensions. But what is the true situation of the AFP and PNP pensions? No contributions have been made, but there are payments to make. Apart from this, the pensions of retirees have been indexed to the salaries of active personnel. This means that if the salaries of those in the service increase, so too will the pensions received by retirees or qualified families. Yearly, there are more and more men and women retiring, so, naturally, the obligations that must be paid out also increase. What is worse is that funds from the national budget are being used for these growing obligations: In 2012, 54.48 billion pesos were spent on soldiers’ and policemen’s pensions. This year, that figure will rise to 61.29 billion. By 2016, it will be at 80.64 billion. Our pension deficit will keep growing and growing and growing, eating into the budget allocation for other social services. How then do we add more servicemen, given such a context?

We need a system that fulfills our civic obligations to our policemen and armed forces; and it is likely that we will request the assistance of the GSIS in this regard. We are currently studying the feasibility of using reclaimed land to generate funds that will form part of the solution. After all, we cannot surprise the GSIS and ask them to account for the entirety of our needs, which is why an even more thorough study will be conducted to create a fair, sustainable, and clear mechanism for the pensions of PNP and AFP personnel. I call on Congress today: Let us review PD 1638 and RA 8551 to ensure that these pensions are timely, and balanced against national needs.

We see an equivalent solution for the problems that the SSS pensions will soon face. Consider that, since 1980, across-the-board pension increases occurred 21 times, but actual pension contribution increases only occurred twice. As a result, the SSS has accumulated an estimated 1.1 trillion pesos in unfunded liability. According to a study done in 2011, this shortfall will increase by 8 percent per annum, eventually resulting in the complete consumption of the fund 28 years from now. If this happens, the next generation is certain to suffer.

We believe that it is time to amend the SSS Pension Scheme. We must establish measures that remedy the outflow of funds. If we add 0.6 percent to the contribution rate, it will immediately deduct 141 billion pesos from the unfunded liability of the SSS. If we begin to invest in our future today, no further problems will be handed down to the next generation of Filipinos.

When it comes to our national police, our goal to strengthen their capabilities so that they may better fulfill their mandate: accomplished. Beginning this 2013, 30,000 policemen will finally be able go back to doing police work because we will be hiring civilian personnel who will focus on administrative work. After all, the skills and abilities of our police would be put to waste if we keep them imprisoned in the four corners of an office.

At the start of July 2013, we began distributing new 9mm Glock 17 pistols to our police. This is just the beginning: We are slated to distribute a total of 74,879 firearms among our police force, in keeping with our goal of a one-is-to-one police-to-pistol ratio.

These investments in our national police will yield abundant benefits, especially since this redounds to more efficient and reliable public service. Is it not true that we have gotten used to news of violence during elections? Oplan Katok directly addresses this. The goal of the program: track down loose firearms, which ensures that the guns we have licensed are in the possession of those authorized to do so. The police have knocked on a total of 491,929 front doors for the renewal of licenses. This contributed greatly to our campaign for Secure and Fair Elections, which yielded a 63 percent reduction among private armed groups—from the 112 during the 2010 elections, to just 41 this 2013. And from the 189 incidents of violence recorded in 2010, we have recorded only 77 confirmed incidents for the recently concluded election.

Let us use ARMM as an example. Governor Mujiv Hataman has said that he could not remember a time in his life when Lanao del Sur did not suffer a failure of elections. We should note that this was the first time that the ARMM elections were synchronized with the national elections. This means that, in the past, the full force of the State was focused on just one region, and yet it still had to call for a failure of elections. This 2013, because our uniformed forces had to safeguard elections across the entire country, there were those who thought the situation in ARMM would only get worse. But we have seen how vastly it has improved: ARMM successfully held a clean, safe, and fair election; votes were counted, and those whom the people charged with new mandates were proclaimed. Because of the diligence of our police force and of our soldiers, and the coming together of the nation, the 2013 elections were more peaceful.

But there are still incidents that sully our police force’s honor. We know of what happened to the members of the Ozamiz Gang—Ricky Cadavero and Wilfredo Panogalinga—who were caught, only to be killed. As with our investigation of the Atimonan incident, we will ensure that those at fault will be held accountable—regardless of their rank. Whoever masterminded all of this: prepare yourselves. I am close to learning who you are.

Despite these incidents, my confidence in and hope for our police remain high. They have never wanted for exemplars like PO3 Edlyn Arbo, who, despite being off-duty and unarmed, bravely confronted a mugger who embarked on the jeep she was on, and pursued him. There are also those like PO3 Felipe Moncatar, who has received countless commendations because of the growing list of criminals he has put in jail—I heard you’ve just apprehended another member of a syndicate—including members of carjacking syndicates and some of the most wanted in Bacolod. You may have also heard about PO2 Dondon Sultan. A car broke down along Quezon Boulevard, and PO2 Sultan stopped and offered his assistance. He did not just change a tire; he also helped bring the car to a mechanic. As thanks for his service, PO2 Sultan was offered 1,000 pesos—an offer he declined. He said, and I quote, “Our job is to help our countrymen.” We salute those of you who truly serve the public. You are proof that honest and capable policemen are not an endangered species. I have already instructed Secretary Mar Roxas of the DILG and Secretary Voltaire Gazmin of the DND to ensure that those like you in our uniformed services reap the appropriate rewards.

Add to these our disaster relief workers from many branches of government, as well as volunteers from the private sector. I know that it is not easy to battle floods, dig through mud, and confront calamities. I will not tire of recognizing your contributions to our society; I salute the way you have offered yourselves to help in lessening the suffering of our countrymen.

Peace is also within reach in a region that has long been torn apart by conflict. In October of the previous year, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed. In truth, just nine days have passed since the signing of the second annex of the agreement. We are confident that we will not have to wait long before hearing more good news on the development of the peace process.

I am sure everyone is aware that the building of consensus is not an easy task; fortunately, both sides are ready to listen, willing to compromise, and willing to reach a meeting of the minds. We know, too, the consequences of impatience and haste. What is clear to me: Every word we utter must result in an action that would benefit all. Every line that we craft in the agreement we are forging must be set in stone and not merely written on water, only to be forgotten by history. My father raised me to be true to my word, and I can tell our brothers and sisters of the Bangsamoro: Whatever agreements we come to will be fulfilled by the national government.

Trust is vital to the peace process. It does not come automatically, perhaps because of the long history of conflict. Now, the desire of both sides to reach an agreement is palpable, and we are truly proving ourselves trustworthy. To those seeking to sow discord and doubt: Can you really say that you are a Filipino that has compassion for his fellow Filipinos?

I am hopeful that every Filipino will contribute towards our goals for the Bangsamoro. We will prove that they did not make a mistake in choosing the path of peace; we are ready to lend the strength of the entire nation to lift up the provinces of Muslim Mindanao, who are among our poorest. What we aim for is the triumph of all; we will not allow any of our countrymen to be left behind, while others surpass them. Once again, I call on Congress: The Transition Commission that will craft the Bangsamoro Basic Law has already been created. Once their task is completed in keeping with the principles of the peace process, I ask you to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law before the end of 2014. This way, we will have ample time to prepare for the election of a new Bangsamoro government come 2016.

We have accomplished whatever change we are experiencing today because we refused to be satisfied with the status quo in the government we inherited. Let me ask: How many of you have used what they call the Telepono sa Barangay? I wouldn’t be surprised if no one has. According to the DOTC, more than 5 billion pesos would have been earmarked for a program that would distribute landline phones to far-flung areas. Would this not have been a grave waste of funds, because in such a short time after its implementation, the number of Filipinos with cellphones just grew and grew? Who would take notice of the 6,000 landlines they would have installed, when we have 100 million cellphones in the Philippines?

Here is another example of the kind of thinking we’ve had to eradicate from government. Eight combat utility helicopters were bought for what they claimed to be “the more efficient deployment of our soldiers.” The problem: The guns the helicopters were equipped with were mounted at the door; requiring their removal in order to enable people to pass. If you are a soldier entering the fray at the height of battle, what use is a machine gun that is set aside and unable to fire? Did no one think about this before the contracts were signed? Why was this even approved in the first place?

We have to be more discriminating buyers. We cannot rely on the sales talk of suppliers alone. We have tasked the DOST to assemble a body of experts who can critically assess suppliers’ pitches, especially on big-ticket items. Our operating principles: the right identification of the root of the problem; the careful study and deliberation, grounded on correct methodology, to arrive at the best solution.

This was also the rationale and the driving force behind our response to the issue of informal settlers in Metro Manila. This is why we are already fulfilling our goal to remove from harm’s way those who crammed themselves into high-risk areas of the city. After all, I do not think anyone will disagree with us when we say the current situation cannot be allowed to persist. In the general welfare clause of our Constitution—Article 2, Section 5—it says, “The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.”

Here we have proven that the Filipino listens to reason. If it is clear that compassion is your bedrock principle, then we will be more eager to work with you. Before roofs were dismantled, before walls were demolished, we explained how we came to our decision: better housing, access to public transport, and, for the diligent, no shortage of opportunities to earn. We made it clear that we wanted to provide a refuge to those who were high-risk and most in need—and not to syndicates. We are aware that whenever the aid given by the state is abused, the lives of other Filipinos are also put in jeopardy.

After a batch of informal settlers was moved to the relocation site, they urged their former neighbors: Join us. It is safer here. This year, our priority is to relocate more than 19,400 families living along Metro Manila’s major waterways. The convergence of DILG, NHA, DSWD, MMDA, and DPWH has resulted in a much clearer solution to one of our most long-standing problems.

Another example of transformation in government: haven’t vital bills languished in Congress? In the previous year, the Sin Tax Reform Law and the Responsible Parenthood Law were finally signed into law. We thank our partners in Congress and in the Senate who helped us push for the passage of these laws. We persevered through the long process of debate and consultation; we were not cowed by those who tried to sow doubt in the attempt to obstruct our meaningful agenda. We have fought for what benefits the people, and we are advancing true public service for the Filipino.

I would also like to propose to Congress several laws that will help us sustain and improve on the reforms we have established. Let us amend the Cabotage Law in order to foster greater competition and to lower the cost of transportation for our agricultural sector and other industries. Let us likewise enact the Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Bill, so that the incentives we provide to businesses become even clearer and more accountable. We also have to focus on the Land Administration Reform Bill, given the need for convergence among agencies tasked to oversee our land holdings, and thus ensuring that they can fulfill their collective mandate with increased efficiency.

Tomorrow, we are submitting to Congress our proposed 2.268 trillion-peso National Budget for 2014. I am confident of your support and advocacy for the allocation of funds which was arrived at after careful consideration. This budget is not only a continuation of our reforms, but it will also accelerate our momentum towards long-lasting inclusive progress.

There are those who insist on upgrading our Armed Forces. I agree with this, but some of them act as if they want us to invest every centavo of our country into fighter jets, tanks, and other equipment for warfare. They may not know that one fighter jet costs 1.58 billion pesos—equivalent to 6,580 houses for our soldiers and our police force, or nearly 2,000 classrooms for our children. And what can one jet do? To be truly effective, we would need a squadron—and one squadron is composed of twenty-four fighter jets. At 1.58 billion pesos per jet, we would have to devote 37.92 billion pesos of the nation’s coffers just to assemble one squadron. And what about practice missiles? And it is not as if jet fuel, a radar system, ground bases, and ground intercept controls are free. Building a minimum credible defense posture is not something we can take lightly. Do we follow others who prioritize the possession of a nuclear option at the expense of everything else? I do not think anyone would agree. We will balance our needs. We are committed to meeting the needs of our society, while remaining a good and upstanding member of the community of nations.

We are well aware that, in the past, decisions were made based on politics. Leaders did everything they could just to keep a firm hold on their power—at the expense of the suffering of present and future generations of Filipinos. Let us look, for example, at the consequences of refusing to raise passenger fares for the LRT and MRT.

Each trip that one passenger makes on the LRT is estimated to cost 40 pesos. What does each passenger pay? 15 pesos. This means that the government subsidizes the remaining 25 pesos. As for the MRT, the true cost of one trip is 60 pesos: 15 pesos paid by passengers, 45 pesos by the government—in the end, each and every Filipino pays a share of the subsidy. Whether you live in Mindanao or Visayas, and not once have you ever stepped onto the LRT or MRT, you help to fund this.

What’s worse: because past leaders gave away our commercial development rights, each peso that we can earn from the posters and billboards in the stations goes to private companies, instead of going to the government. What we could have used to subsidize the cost of maintenance and operations was given away.

Perhaps it is only reasonable for us to move the fares of the MRT and LRT closer to the fares of air-conditioned buses, so that the government subsidy for the MRT and LRT can be used for other social services.

You are my witnesses: We have no plans to hand down problems to our successors. In truth, projects that were left to decay in the past are now truly benefiting the people. Let us look at the Ternate-Nasugbu Road. This road, connecting Cavite, Batangas, and Metro Manila, is only six kilometers long, but it still took almost 20 years to finish. We already opened one part of this road, and when the sections requiring slope protection are completed, the benefit this road will bring to motorists will be complete.

We also have the Aluling Bridge in Ilocos Sur. The plans for its construction were first laid down on paper in 1978. And we made certain that our successors would not merely inherit sheets of paper. The bridge was finally completed in March. Last month, we also began the operation of the Laguindingan Airport—a project that took one generation to make the leap from idea to implementation.

There is also the semiconductor industry, which waited decades for a laboratory that could compete with facilities of other countries. We did not allow them to wait much longer. In May of this year, under the leadership of DOST, we inaugurated the Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory (ADMATEL). Before, products manufactured here had to be sent to other countries to undergo testing. We were unable to maximize profits in this industry; we were unable to maximize the potential of our semiconductor industry to attract even more investments.

Because of ADMATEL, products will now be manufactured and tested here, and we will be able to take even greater advantage of the skills of Filipino workers in the electronics sector. And we have every expectation that this industry—one that contributed almost 44 percent to our exports in 2012—will grow even stronger.

With the help of our Big Man in the Senate, Senator Franklin Drilon, the more than fifty-year wait of Ilonggos has come to an end; the implementation of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II in Iloilo has started. How will this help us?

First, an estimated 24,000 farmers across Iloilo will benefit from year-round irrigation. As a result, the harvests of rice farmers may double. Let me make it clear: The 31,840 hectares of land that will be irrigated will yield an additional 146,013 metric tons of rice. This amount is equal to almost 80 percent of the buffer stock of rice that we will import for 2013.

This does not include the other benefits that this project will bring. For instance, preventing widespread flooding in Iloilo, and adding 6.6 megawatts in hydropower to the energy requirements of the province. This project will also contribute to the supply of water for some parts of the province, and to the development of its ecotourism industry. Apart from all these, the Jalaur River Project will create around 17,000 jobs; and once it becomes fully operational, an estimated 32,000 Filipinos will be given decent livelihoods. This project was first conceived in 1960—we share the same birthday.

We are aware that many of our countrymen are excited to see the fruits of our Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects. We likewise know that there are those who have grown impatient waiting for them.

Let us put things into context. Back in 2010, when our administration came into office, we were left with only 6.5 percent of the programmable budget for the year, or just around 100 billion pesos; 93.5 percent of the budget had already been allotted by my predecessor. This is precisely why we approached the private sector. We told them: “We do not have the funds, let us partner with one another to build the necessary infrastructure.”

Apart from this, we faced other difficulties when PPP began. The studies on which the projects were based were outdated; and the bureaucracy lacked the sufficient knowledge to implement them. Not to mention the public, who seemed to have lost confidence in the contracts the government undertook.

Nevertheless, whatever the situation may be, our principle is that anything worth doing is worth doing right. We have no plans of entering into questionable contracts today just to bequeath problems to the next administration. Each project has to go through the correct process to ensure that our taxpayers’ hard-earned money will be spent the right way.

As early as now, we are seeing the effects of the honest, transparent, and clear way we have been going about our PPP projects. Previously, even just the construction of a single airport already made headlines. Let us compare this to what we are seeing today: Apart from the Laguindingan Airport, which is already being utilized, we are upgrading and modernizing the Tacloban Airport, the Bicol International Airport, the New Bohol Airport, the Mactan Airport, and the Puerto Princesa Airport all at the same time. The Daang Hari-NLEX link road is the fastest PPP project that has been awarded in any administration, with no shortcuts in the processes. All these, and all the other infrastructure projects that are being and will be constructed, will give rise to a society teeming with opportunity.

The problems that we have inherited—and are currently solving—make up a long list; for example, the recurring, rotating blackouts in Mindanao. From the very beginning, we have been working on a solution for this—but we are also aware that a problem that has been ignored for an entire decade cannot be solved overnight. Right now, we continue to take steps to address the shortages as well as provide for immediate needs. We have helped electric cooperatives bring in generator sets that will reduce brownouts; and this will continue until the plants that will supply the region with more electricity are completed.

But the critics will never fully disappear. Some are complaining that the price of electricity will increase with the usage of diesel-fueled generator sets. Hydropower is abundant now because of the rainy season, so we hear objections to the generator sets. But come summer, many will once again complain about eight-hour brownouts.

We also want more power plants built in other parts of the Philippines. As our economy grows, so will our consumption of electricity, which means we must likewise increase supply. Do we really want to wait until our plants are at full capacity before more plants are built? Power plants do not sprout like mushrooms—a power plant takes two to three years to construct.

If anyone has a good suggestion, we are ready to listen. But I also hope that the kibitzers put the situation in the proper context. The plant in Redondo, Zambales, is a good example. A TRO was issued against the plant because of the argument that renewable energy is better. Did they happen to mention that renewable energy is also more expensive—from the cost of building the plants to the eventual price of energy? Did they mention that it cannot provide the baseload—the capacity required to make sure brownouts do not occur? If you put up a wind-powered plant, what do you do when there is no wind? If you put up a solar plant, what do you when the sky is cloudy? Let me be clear: I believe in renewable energy and we support its use, but there should also be baseload plants that can ensure a steady supply of electricity for our homes and industries. I wonder if those who are critical of the plants we want put up will be as noisy when they are busy fanning themselves during brownouts. All I am really saying is this: Let us help each other find a solution.

Since we are being frank with each other, let us talk about the renovation of NAIA 3. This is a complex issue, which has already undergone two arbitrations. We would have won both of them, but one of the decisions was reversed due to a technicality. This is why we are now preparing for our case to be heard once more. And there are added complications because of the issue of warranties for the completion of NAIA 3—it is not acceptable for us to find defects after renovations, and then have to spend even more money to fix them. This is why when we were told that the original contractor was willing to give a proper warranty, we agreed to the deal. But we want to be certain; we want to fully and correctly go through the process. So I must ask for your understanding on this issue.

Today, it is clear: A single goal is behind each square meter of cement we pour in building the foundations of a more progressive country; gain for all—and not politics. Whereas before, roads were constructed based on whims, and bridges were built where the Mayor enjoyed the friendship of Madam, now, we follow a nationwide plan. No favorites, no transactionalism, no patronage; each peso is spent to accelerate our goal of broad-based growth.

What we can expect in the years to come: airports and ports to facilitate commerce and tourism; roads to ensure that we all reap the maximum benefit from these big-ticket projects; power plants that will generate enough energy and fuel the development of industry. This is the framework from which other initiatives will branch out, creating even greater opportunities for Juan and Juana dela Cruz—from the farmer who will have access to adequate irrigation and who will be able to sell his harvest more quickly, to the construction workers erecting new buildings; from the continued development of call centers across the country, to the rise of even more businessmen ready to invest in the Philippines. We implemented the right projects for the right price; we completed these projects with the right quality; and we finished, or we will finish, these projects right on time, because the right people worked on them.

Let us talk about traffic: Isn’t it estimated that our economy loses an estimated 2.4 billion pesos every day because of Metro Manila traffic? Among the projects targeted to decongest Manila is the Integrated Transport System. For the buses that force themselves onto already-crowded roads, we will construct terminals in areas with less traffic. Our countrymen can already make use of the terminal in Parañaque, and the ones in Quezon City and Muntinlupa are already lined up. Provincial buses will be permitted only up to these terminals, so they do not add to the congestion.

There is also the two connector roads that will join the North and South Luzon Expressways. To tell you the truth, there were already plans to construct what they called the Metro Manila Highway in the seventies. This would have connected the two expressways, so that traveling from one point to another need not consume the hours it takes to pass through the entire length of EDSA. The problem: Mr. Marcos issued laws that favored one of his cronies. And unfortunately, we are required to follow them: Whoever constructs infrastructure in those areas must be in partnership with the corporation of Mr. Marcos’ friend. Even worse: every time they add even just another short section to the original road, their franchise is extended by thirty years. That is not the end of it: Once the company profited, the development of infrastructure in the area was left unfinished. Remember that these roads were supposed to traverse Pangasinan to Quezon… But when the company operated at a loss, they had the audacity to pass on to the government a multitude of debts. I ask our Congress today: Let us take another look at Presidential Decrees 1113 and 1894.

Despite this, our projects continue. We have an eight-kilometer, four-lane elevated expressway that will connect C3 road to Caloocan, crossing España, up to PUP in Sta. Mesa. There is also a more than fourteen-kilometer six-lane elevated tollway extending from Balintawak to Buendia in Makati. The Common Alignment of these two roads: a five-and-a-half kilometer, six-lane elevated expressway from PUP in Sta. Mesa, crossing Osmeña and Quirino Avenue, to Buendia in Makati. Once this road is opened to the public, what once took two hours from SLEX to NLEX will now take only fifteen minutes. What once was a three-hour drive from Clark to Calamba will be reduced by almost half to an hour and forty minutes. Every day, an estimated 55,000 motorists will benefit from this project. Motorists will save time and gas, pollution will be decreased, and commerce and tourism will flourish. Is this not a win-win situation?

In the space of only three years, we have proven that agencies that were once cesspools of corruption can be transformed into examples of honest and efficient service. Some of the simple, but effective, reforms that Secretary Singson implemented in DPWH: no more letters of intent, which bidders once used in conspiring with each other to inflate costs and gain more profit; simplified bidding processes, so even more contractors can compete for projects; and reasonable costs of doing projects. Government also now pays on time, attracting even more skilled contractors to do their part in raising the quality of public infrastructure. This kind of honest leadership has allowed the DPWH to save 18.4 billion pesos, which has been allotted to other meaningful projects.

As an example of the dividends of good governance, let us look at the Tagumbao Bridge in Gerona, Tarlac. In truth, I was an advocate of its construction back when I was just a Congressman. Back then, some of my constituents had to circle around two towns just to cross a river that overflowed during the rainy season. I even told past administrations: you can have my entire PDAF, just complete the bridge, in installments if possible. But nothing happened and time passed. The gap separating the banks of the river—and thus, the length of the bridge that was required—only widened further.

Right now, we are constructing the Tagumbao Bridge. Now that we are the ones implementing it, this is the story: Approved funds for the project stand at around 334 million pesos; but because of good management and prudent spending, the cost was lowered to 226 million pesos. In the end, we saved a total of over 108 million pesos without sacrificing the quality of the completed bridge. And even better: The funds that we saved can be used in the construction of a dike and river training projects for Phase II.

Let us move on to tourism. According to the Oriental Morning Post, we are the “Best Tourism Destination of 2012.” And it seems the Shanghai Morning Post fell in love with our country when they named us the “Most Romantic Destination of 2012.” Scuba Diving Magazine says that the Philippines is the “Best Diving Destination.” And Palawan is the “Best Island” if you ask Travel + Leisure Magazine. It seems they just stopped short of calling us paradise.

Given such resounding praise, it comes as no surprise that in 2012, we registered 4.3 million tourist arrivals in our country—another new record high. This figure is a 21.4 percent increase from when we assumed office in 2010, when only an estimated 3.1 million tourists visited our country. When it comes to our domestic travelers, our previous target for 2016 was 35.5 million tourists. But we have surpassed this as early as 2011, with 37.5 million domestic tourists. With the momentum that we are now experiencing, we have full confidence that we will achieve our new domestic target of 56.1 million before the end of 2016.

A stronger tourism sector will generate more job opportunities. The DOT estimates that tourism created 3.8 million jobs in 2011. The truth is, it is not just our scenic and most famed destinations that will profit from the arrival of tourists, but also the nearby towns that can be considered tourism support communities; the places from which resorts and hotels source the food that they serve, the souvenirs that they sell, as well as other products and services that provide a source of income for our provinces.

And I am certain that you have also heard the good news that has recently landed in our country. Last March, the International Civil Aviation Organization removed the significant safety concerns they had previously imposed on the Philippines. This was a fruit of our reforms in the aviation industry, to ensure that aviation safety in the Philippines meets international standards. And because of this, just last July 10, the European Union has once again permitted our flag carrier to resume direct flights to Europe.

Think about it: What if our aviation industry had already been improved and strengthened before? Was it not a waste to miss out on tourists whose lack of enthusiasm for visiting the country can be attributed to this? Missed jobs, funds, and opportunities—these are the results of the previous system of governance.

This is why, from the very onset, we have fought against corruption in all levels of government and pushed for the transformation of our institutions. The result: public service that truly benefits our countrymen.

Let us just look at the depth of transformation taking place in our GOCCs. Government-owned corporations whose losses were previously subsidized by the national government are now turning over dividends. Let us take the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) as an example. In the thirteen years prior to our term, from 1996 to 2009, the dividends of the PRA amounted to a sum total of 676.82 million pesos. Along the straight path: in 2012 alone, their dividends—1 billion pesos. Is this not a complete transformation?

The Local Water Utilities Administration is another good example. In 2011, the said GOCC recorded a net loss of 950 million pesos. But because of prudent management, they did more than just balance their books; based on their report, their gross income amounted to 870 million pesos in 2012. Because of this, they were able to remit 365 million pesos to government for that same year.

Yet another example: In my first SONA, we exposed the questionable practices of the MWSS, whose officials were giving themselves excessive bonuses and allowances, even as their company failed to address the needs of our citizens. This agency itself reported: The MWSS registered losses amounting to 34 million pesos in 2010. This was completely unacceptable. That is why in 2011, we signed the GOCC Governance Act, which serves as the standard for integrity, credibility, and accountability in the management of our GOCCs. Its results: In 2011, the MWSS earned 333 million pesos, from the 34-million-peso loss of 2010. In 2012, their earnings totaled almost 2 billion pesos. Consequently, their dividends have also increased: from 150 million in 2011, these increased to 345 million pesos for 2012. It is saddening though, that the depth of the reforms planted by the MWSS leadership is tarnished by the mudslinging of those who want to cling to the old system.

In tandem with the increased confidence in our good governance is the continued resurgence of our economy. The results: two consecutive ten-place jumps in the global competitiveness index of the World Economic Forum. For the first time in history, we attained investment-grade status from two of the three most respected credit ratings agencies in the world, and it is quite possible that the third will soon follow suit. We have maintained the stability of our consumer goods prices, and we continue to reduce the portion of our budget allotted to paying our debts, while increasing the funds allotted to social services. In a period of lethargic global economic activity, we registered an astounding 6.8 percent GDP growth in 2012. We surpassed this in the first quarter of 2013, when we reported growth of 7.8 percent—the highest recorded GDP in East and Southeast Asia. Special mention must be made of the 28.5 percent contributed by the manufacturing sector to the growth of our economy. And we anticipate that manufacturing will gain even more traction in the coming years.

We are now considered a rising tiger by the World Bank; the brightest spark, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, among other accolades that allude to the transformation that is sweeping our nation. From the prudent expenditure of funds to the effective collection of taxes; from infrastructure development to the transparent conduct of business that generates jobs, our message to the world could not be clearer: The Philippines is ready to ride the tides of progress.

The transformation of our society is not just evident in the economy or in statistics. Now, Filipinos know: Rich or poor, with or without political connections, when you do wrong, you will pay the consequences. Now, justice is truly blind. We will not undermine the orders of our Bosses to hold the corrupt accountable, and to right the wrongs of a system that has long beggared our country.

In fact, we are already holding the former leadership of TESDA accountable for his part in the outrageous overpricing of purchases by the agency. For example: one incubator jar is priced at 149 pesos. But Mr. Syjuco priced the same jar at 15,375 pesos. The normal price of a dough cutter, 120 pesos. The price according to Mr. Syjuco: 48,507 pesos. Let’s be clear: This is a dough cutter, not a Hamilton Class Cutter. Perhaps when he finally has his day in court to face the cases filed by the Ombudsman, Mr. Syjuco will finally learn to count.

We have also indicted the former PAGCOR officials who embezzled 26.7 million pesos just to produce a movie; burned through funds amounting to 186 million pesos to finance a party-list; and had the gall to use the rice donations allotted to calamity victims for campaign sorties.

Former leaders of the PNP are also being made to answer  allegations regarding the 131.6 million pesos wasted on seventy-five defective rubber boats, and the 104.99 million pesos spent on the anomalous purchase of secondhand helicopters from 2009 to 2010.  It would actually be better if they are able to properly answer questions regarding this, so we may discover if there are others who must also be held accountable.

On the topics of Cadavero, PDAF, MRT 3, and others: Just because the critics are not aware of what we are doing, they assume that we are doing nothing about these issues. If government possesses no data and yet announces who it will investigate, does that not send a message to the suspects to just hide the evidence? This is why we go where the truth takes us. The evidence decides our path.

When we denounced the “wang-wang” culture, we did not just dismantle the sirens of those who lord it over the streets; we also uprooted the culture of corruption that seemed firmly entrenched in our public institutions.

But let us be honest: Even today, there are still those in government who seemingly refuse to change. It is disheartening to discover the depth and breadth to which they have branched out in the bureaucracy; the moment we look away, someone is sure to be taken advantage of and victimized. The time has come to name names: we have repeatedly admonished the Bureau of Immigration to improve their watch over our ports and airports. How then was it possible for the brothers Joel and Mario Reyes, the principal suspects in the slaying of Gerry Ortega, to leave the country?  How could the escape of the Korean Park Sungjun—as blatantly seen in CCTV footage—have taken place? He is wanted in (South) Korea, and their government asked for our assistance in securing his arrest. How can we face them now, when our own government employees are the ones who enabled his escape?

The “make-do” culture at the NIA has also tested our patience. Instead of laying out plans for new irrigation systems, they are merely content with the continued rehabilitation of existing irrigation. For them, shoddy repairs are enough to say they have already done a good job. During their anniversary, I asked them why only 60 percent of their target was accomplished in 2012, when they had reached 80 percent in 2011. The next day, I met with their head during the NEDA Board Meeting. His excuse: 40 percent of the target areas were located in Mindanao and were devastated by Typhoon Pablo, thus the delay. When were we hit by Typhoon Pablo? In the first week of December. Which means that he meant to complete the remaining 40 percent of his tasks in the span of just three weeks. This is the kind of leadership we no longer need in the bureaucracy.

And here we have the Bureau of Customs, whose personnel are trying to outdo each other’s incompetence. Instead of collecting the proper taxes and preventing contraband from entering the country, they are heedlessly permitting the smuggling of goods, and even drugs, arms, and other items of a similar nature into our territory. The Department of Finance estimates that more than 200 billion pesos in revenue slips through our borders without going into public coffers. Where do these people get the gall? One can almost hear these public officials say, “I don’t care if the weapons go to criminal elements; I don’t care how many lives are ruined by drugs; I don’t care if our fields remain barren forever; What matters is that I am rich; it’s every man for himself.” Such practices have no place in government. If you cannot do your job, you do not deserve to remain in office.

If you are a good, conscientious employee of the BI, NIA, Customs, or any other government agency, I hope that you do even more. It is not enough to lie low and hide inside your cubicle; to prevent wrongdoing is part of your duty. You are in the right, so there is no need to hide; please make it easy for me to find people like you; I will raise you up as praiseworthy examples, that we may fully transform the flawed culture of your agencies.

And for those employees who refuse to turn their backs on the culture of wang-wang: my patience has run out. You were given three years to demonstrate your readiness to change; now, I shall pursue all of you and hold you accountable. No hard feelings.

And let us include in these reforms corrupt members of our Civil Service. It was during my mother’s time when I heard someone say, “So what if Malacañang ordered this? You will only be there for six years.” It is time to rectify this way of thinking. I call on our Congress to examine our Civil Service Code and PD1, so that we can revise these at the earliest possible time. I support the development of mechanisms that will restore the integrity of public service; that will ensure that only honest, capable, and principled civil servants will be allowed to enter and remain in government service.

And now, let’s allow our countrymen to share the transformations taking place in their lives:

[Video starts]

“My name is Violeta S. Abuque. We didn’t have [the Conditional Cash Transfer Program] before. Life was hard, you didn’t have any money, and you couldn’t approach anyone to ask for help because they didn’t have anything either.

“We were very happy that when DSWD launched their program, it covered even those of us living in the mountains. This program will help me put my children to school. We’ve realized how important it is to invest in your children’s education; they’ll have a different life from our ancestors who couldn’t even write their own names.

“I am very thankful for the [Conditional Cash Transfer] program, and to everyone who has supported this.”

— Violeta S. Abuque, CCT beneficiary

“Before, my children couldn’t even bring food to eat in school—but now they can, and they even have breakfast.

“You really have to fulfill the conditions that come with the program. And, of course, you have to find a way to complement and augment the help they’ve given you. So every week, my child and I make some peanut butter and sell it.

“I am very grateful that I’m part of the [Conditional Cash Transfer] program, because it has been a really big help to my family.”

— Dulce Panaligan, CCT beneficiary

“I went back to selling balut [fertilized duck eggs] while I was looking for a job. And then I heard that TESDA was holding trainings. I read up on these, and I registered. I’m very happy with how the TESDA program has helped me with my job-seeking. I’ve used what I’ve learned, so I can get a better life, so I can learn more things—especially applying what I’ve learned to my job.”

— Emerson Paguia, TESDA scholar, IT Web Developer

“On 6:45 in the morning of April 2, I was on my way to the PCCR review center. A mugger entered the jeep, and on the Nagtahan flyover, declared a robbery. He held me at knifepoint, and when I struggled, he stabbed me on the thigh, but I got the knife from him. Before he got off the jeep, I stuck the knife in his back. I chased after him, and we were both bleeding. This was probably what got the people’s attention, which eventually led to the mugger’s arrest.

“I’m always aware of the oath I took, to serve our citizens. To my fellow police officers: Let us always do what is right, and what is for the good of the country—at the same time, what will reflect well on what we’re doing as PNP.”

— PO3 Edlyn Arbo, Philippine National Police

“I was assigned to Police Station 4 from 2006 to 2012. I was given a spot meritorious promotion by the President, probably because of my apprehension of some of Bacolod City’s most wanted criminals. Last Saturday, I used the new gun the President had given me recently, to apprehend notorious car burglars here in Bacolod City.

“We do our jobs even if it’s difficult, even if we have to put our lives on the line—we do it so we can serve our fellowmen and our country.”

— PO3 Felipe Moncatar, Philippine National Police

“My car broke down along Quezon Avenue, just after the tunnel. A policeman arrived after fifteen minutes, and he really helped me out—he even tried to lift the car with his bare hands. So I was thinking that, eventually, he would ask for a reward. Then the towing vehicle arrived, and they were about to tow my car. But this policeman said: No, help first before you haul.

“Out of gratitude, I tried to hand him 1,000 pesos for his help. But he refused it. He told me: Our job is to help the citizens. There has been positive change among our police force. To PO Sultan, I salute you.”

— Armin Punzalan, businessman

“The Navy’s modernization program is not just about equipment—it’s all about the welfare of our ranks. Everyone can see this—not just me, but all of my colleagues in the Philippine Navy; we are all very happy with the reforms we’ve seen.

“We’re experiencing the returns of the President’s straight and righteous path. We’re happy now, we do not want of anything. I tell my colleagues: The government has been giving us so much, and we just need to do our jobs well in return—to give back to the country, to give back to the people.”

— Lt. Commander Desuasido, Philippine Navy

[Video ends]

Our country has never lacked for people prepared to take a stand and fight for our country regardless of the enormity of the challenges before them. There is the courage of Commodore Ramon Alcaraz during the Second World War. In a small wooden Q-Boat, he took on nine Japanese Zero fighters—then considered among the most modern planes; three of these, he shot down. In fact, he would have continued fighting had he not received an order from his superiors to surrender. This type of bravery is what our soldiers display every day as they patrol our most remote mountains and our farthest islands; soldiers who continuously bear the distance from their families, who proudly stand their ground against anyone who challenges our sovereignty. It is no exaggeration either when I say that the triumphs we have achieved along the straight path might still be distant aspirations had it not been for the members of our Cabinet. When I asked them to join the government, they knew their jobs were not going to be easy. That they accepted the challenges was a blessing. They took an oath to help in transforming the country, and from the beginning, they have made sacrifices every day so that the privilege of serving you does not go to waste.

There are those like Secretary Albert del Rosario. Going by tradition, a Secretary’s first official travel outside the Philippines would be to a country with whom we enjoy strong and peaceful relations. But only a few hours after taking his oath as Foreign Affairs Secretary, Secretary del Rosario only took the time to possibly pack a change of clothes before immediately flying to Libya. He went through more than twenty checkpoints in the middle of crossfire and led the evacuation of more than 20,000 Filipinos who were caught in the conflict in Libya. You might also be surprised to hear the nationalities of the men and women we also ended up evacuating. Truly, the Philippines is different today: From a country that was always just the recipient of help, we have become a country capable of providing help.

All things considered, Secretary Albert could have said “no” to working in government. He is a successful and respected businessman, and, certainly, he would be much more comfortable living a private life. He had also already served as ambassador to America. He could have become disillusioned after being removed from his position, because he opposed the past administration’s declaration of a State of Emergency back in 2006. But we asked him to return to government, and he did. Now, he is contributing even more as Secretary. He is ready to put himself in harm’s way, because he knows that no one else will save Filipinos but fellow Filipinos. For continuing to stand up for our rights, I salute you, Secretary Albert del Rosario.

We also know that excellent public servants do not just transform a society; they inspire. Millions of Filipinos grieved when Jesse Robredo passed. For almost two decades, he served and led Naga with skill, compassion, and humility. These principles of his are the exact reasons we borrowed him from Congresswoman Leni and their three children, and from the Nagueños, so that he could become part of our Cabinet. This is why one of the hardest things I ever had to do as President was to deliver the news to Leni and their daughters, after the tragedy.

Apart from grieving, I could not avoid blaming myself for what happened to Jesse. Maybe if I had not asked him to join my Cabinet, he would still be alive today. Maybe if he had remained in Naga, he would still be with us. Maybe there would still be a Jesse Robredo in public service today.

But I also know that Jesse would not allow the transformation and righting of society to end with him. Jesse and I were only given opportunities to serve the country because of all of you. We cannot have just one face for transformation and change. We should not have to wait another hundred years before the next good citizen is born, before the next good Filipino rises to the occasion.

There are those who always ask: What will happen in 2016? What will happen when you step down? Will that be the end of good, honest governance? Will we have reached the end of the straight and righteous path?

My Bosses, let us remember: where did we begin? If you have doubts now, compare them with the doubts we all carried in 2010. Were we not happy enough then just to see the darkness end? Was it not enough for us to be able to replace those in power?

Now, we are experiencing change. Change that has sprung from the seeds of kindness, solidarity, and good will; change that was brought about by the million of Filipinos who have, in their own ways, big and small, pitched in and transformed the country.

And just look at where working together as one people has brought us: Did anyone imagine that peace would be within reach for a region that has, for the past 40 years, been torn apart by conflict? Who else could be responsible for this but the Moros who laid down their arms and said: “Come. Let’s talk. I trust you.” Who else but the common Filipino citizen who said: “Brother, we are all Filipinos. Let us put an end to this conflict.”

When the Pantawid Pamilya program was initially proposed, there were some who asked: How could we possibly achieve the program’s desired effects; where are the funds to cover all poor Filipinos? Did anyone imagine that in just three years, we will have expanded the scope of our project to cover four million household beneficiaries? And isn’t it they themselves who continue to help this program succeed? Each mother who wakes up early to send her child off to school? Each child that studies hard?

Did anyone imagine that from importing millions of tons of rice, we would be 94 percent rice self-sufficient by the end of 2012? Did anyone imagine that a country known as the “Sick Man of Asia” would, within three years of good governance, reach investment-grade status? Who would have thought that all the social interventions the government is providing right now would be doable without raising taxes, apart from the Sin Tax? And did they not have a part in this—each accountant, each doctor, each lawyer who now pays the right taxes? Didn’t we all have a part in this?

Is there any space left for doubt? Especially now that we are achieving things we never thought we could achieve; especially now that we have made progress—that our shared goals are within reach? My Bosses: Is this really the time for doubt?

For every Filipino who believes in the strength of small acts of kindness: You made this transformation possible. This is your SONA.

For every teacher who wakes at dawn just to teach children in far-flung areas: This is your SONA. For every policeman who serves and asks for nothing in return: This is your SONA.

For every Filipino who, unhappy with the list of candidates in an election, chose to knock on the doors of your neighbors to say: “We can’t be content. Let us find a rightful leader together,” this is your SONA.

For every student who strives to be aware of social issues, and does not just complain on Facebook but actually proposes solutions: This is your SONA.

For Brigadier General Ramon Mateo Dizon, the soon-to-retire head of the PSG, who stood alongside me even in facing coups d’état during my mother’s term: Up until my presidency, you have protected me, and my first and official family. I am able to go to different countries and to far corners of the Philippines with full confidence. Chito, you have done your part in changing our country. You are truly loyal to your flag, to the Constitution, and to the Filipino people. Of course, you could not have accomplished all this without your wife Jo-ann by your side. This SONA is for both of you as well.

And to all who roused their fellow citizens from apathy, those who challenged the cynics in our midst, and those who made the stubborn see reason: This is your SONA.

The road ahead of us is long; and we never said it would be easy—or that we could tread this path free of challenge. But I do not doubt our capacity to overcome any obstacle. We did not achieve our current success by chance. Let us not allow this transformation to be temporary; let us seize this opportunity to make the change permanent.

This is our fourth SONA. When I was a congressman, the people of Tarlac were my strength. When I became a senator and until now, in my Presidency, the people of our country have been there. Philippines, you are my strength. As we continue doing our part—and as we continue placing faith in our fellowmen and in God—I tell you: It will still be you who will make certain that what we have begun here will continue; you will be the ones who will make sure that we will completely eradicate corruption; you will be the ones who will make sure that we will never again stray from the straight and righteous path.

Once, I was told: “Noynoy, just begin the change.” So we did, and we can all see how far we have come. Now, my countrymen, let us continue to stand arm-in-arm. Together, let us foster, accelerate, and expand the transformation of society. I am Noynoy Aquino, and I proudly say to the world: I am a Filipino. How wonderful it is to be a Filipino in these times.

Thank you.

(This is the English version of Pres. Noynoy’s SONA. It was originally delivered though in Tagalog. Source: http://www.gov.ph)

Read Full Post »


This is good news, Pres. Aquino declaring the holidays for 2013 early.  Now you can plan your trips and vacations for next year.

A. Regular Holidays
New Year’s Day
Maundy Thursday
Good Friday
Araw ng Kagitingan
January 1 (Tuesday)
March 28
March 29
April 9 (Tuesday)
Labor Day
Independence Day
National Heroes Day
Bonifacio Day
Christmas Day
Rizal Day
May 1 (Wednesday)
June 12 (Wednesday)
August 26 (Last Monday of August)
November 30 (Saturday)
December 25 (Wednesday)
December 30 (Monday)
B. Special (Non-Working) Days
Black Saturday
Ninoy Aquino Day
All Saints Day
Additional special (non-working days)  Last Day of the Year
March 30
August 21 (Wednesday)
November 1 (Friday)
November 2 (Saturday)
December 24 (Tuesday)
December 31 (Tuesday)
C. Special Holiday (for all schools)
EDSA Revolution Anniversary February 25 (Monday)

Read Full Post »


I watched this from beginning to end – the requiem mass, the 19 gun salute, Pres. PNoy’s eulogy/tribute  but Leni’s response as recorded in this video is the one I love best. He was an ideal father, an ideal husband, a  man who loved  his family and found time to be with them despite his being busy with his government post as Secretary of DILG. The President conferred  on him a posthumous Philippine Legion of Honor, with the rank of Chief Commander,  and presented it to his wife, Atty. Leni Robredo.

You can never put a good man down. He will always occupy a special place in your heart.

I salute you SEC. ROBREDO for making us so proud that good governance is not lost in our country. May this be a wake-up call to those government officials who only think of their own selfish motives instead of sincerely serving the people. It’s never too late to put into action what they promised to do and serve the Filipino people with sincerity just like you did.

(Thank you ABS CBN for sharing these videos).

Read Full Post »


I love to address the first few lines to those Filipinos who have nothing in mind but to badmouth everything that is happening in our present government. It’s as if they are all perfect and they exactly know how to run our country  and offer viable solutions and make the Philippines  a country we could all be proud of. If you are so smart enough, why don’t you  offer solutions to the problems besetting every one of us, why do you just stay in the sidelines and let yourself rant and whine or is that your way of pulling down the rest of us who still feel optimistic that there is a great chance for us to achieve our goals as one collective voice? Such a pathetic attitude. I didn’t vote for PNoy but I believe that he has that sincere desire to make it work. At saan ba nag-uumpisa kundi  dapat sa malinis at hindi corrupt na gobyerno?

It was delivered in Tagalog  which is more easily understood by Juan dela Cruz.  It took all of an hour  and a half, with around 115  applause in between, not that the applause matters much but  there are highlights in his speech that  are really worth-admiring for want of a better word. Walang hindi makakaya ang nagkakaisang Pilipino, he said. Nothing is impossible to a united Filipino nation. How true, we dreamed of a change, we dreamed of a corrupt-free government run by honest people we elected in office. He mentioned about responsible parenthood in relation to the shortages of classrooms, school chairs and books and it was the most applauded highlight of his speech. I wonder though if it equates to the controversial RH Bill which I hope will never be passed into law. There is a continuing opposition on the part of the Catholic Church. But I guess, responsible parenthood does not necessarily mean that you have to use  contraceptives, I take it to mean that you can plan your family the natural way so you can give them a good future in the end. It’s up to individual couple to observe the natural means (without using drastic measures to prevent conception) of family planning – that’s responsible parenthood for me. You can’t measure a progress of one nation by curtailing  a younger  generation which is the hope of a country’s future. And here’s Pres. Aquino’s stand on responsible parenthood.

He touched on economic reforms, agriculture, flood control, health care and the stable rise of the price index in  the stock market, tourism,  rehabilitation of NAIA 3, infrastructures, agrarian reform, criminality and strengthening the Armed Forces.  He has  a good vision for the Philippines which he wants in place before he leaves by 2016. They are doable as long as he stay focused and put it all into action. For now, the challenge remains but I am sure that if he has our support, everything is possible. It would have been more significant if he touched on the plight of our OFWs who for the past several years were  helping the government through their dollar remittances. Rising cost of commodities, fuel and electricity should also be given importance because they are everyday necessities for Juan  dela Cruz to survive.

Overall, the SONA was  very good, may he continue his unblemished records  for the past two years as far as corruption is concerned. We really need a president who is clean, honest and not corrupt. Ituloy ang matuwid na daan, we are following you.

Read Full Post »


State of the Nation Address of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III President of the Philippines To the Congress of the Philippines

[Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City, on July 23, 2012]

Maraming salamat po. Maupo po tayong lahat.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; Bise Presidente Jejomar Binay; mga dating Pangulong Fidel Valdez Ramos at Joseph Ejercito Estrada; ang ating mga kagalang-galang na mahistrado ng Korte Suprema; mga kagalang-galang na kagawad ng kalipunang diplomatiko; mga kagalang-galang na miyembro ng Kamara de Representante at ng Senado; mga pinuno ng pamahalaang lokal; mga miyembro ng ating Gabinete; mga unipormadong kasapi ng militar at kapulisan; mga kapwa kong nagseserbisyo sa taumbayan; at siyempre sa akin pong mga boss, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Ito po ang aking ikatlong SONA, at parang kailan lang nang nagsimula tayong mangarap. Parang kailan lang nang sabay-sabay tayong nagpasyang tahakin ang tuwid na daan. Parang kailan lang nang sinimulan nating iwaksi ang wang-wang, hindi lamang sa kalsada kundi sa sistemang panlipunan.

Dalawang taon na ang nakalipas mula nang sinabi ninyo, “Sawa na kami sa korupsyon; sawa na kami sa kahirapan.” Oras na upang ibalik ang isang pamahalaang tunay na kakampi ng taumbayan.

Gaya ng marami sa inyo, namulat ako sa panggigipit ng makapangyarihan. Labindalawang-taong gulang po ako nang idineklara ang Batas Militar. Bumaliktad ang aming mundo: Pitong taon at pitong buwang ipiniit ang aking ama; tatlong taong napilitang mangibang-bansa ang aking pamilya; naging saksi ako sa pagdurusa ng marami dahil sa diktadurya. Dito napanday ang aking prinsipyo: Kung may inaagrabyado’t ninanakawan ng karapatan, siya ang kakampihan ko. Kung may abusadong mapang-api, siya ang lalabanan ko. Kung may makita akong mali sa sistema, tungkulin kong itama ito. [Applause]

Matagal nang tapos ang Batas Militar. Tinanong tayo noon, “Kung hindi tayo, sino pa?” at “Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?” Ang nagkakaisang tugon natin: tayo at ngayon na. Ang demokrasyang ninakaw gamit ang paniniil at karahasan, nabawi natin sa mapayapang paraan; matagumpay nating pinag-alab ang liwanag mula sa pinakamadilim na kabanata ng ating kasaysayan.

Ngunit huwag po nating kalimutan ang pinag-ugatan ng Batas Militar: Kinasangkapan ng diktador ang Saligang Batas upang manatili sa kapangyarihan. At hanggang ngayon, tuloy pa rin ang banggaan sa pagitan ng gusto ng sistemang parehas, laban sa mga nagnanais magpatuloy ng panlalamang.

Mula sa unang araw ng ating panunungkulan, walang ibang sumalubong sa atin kundi ang mga bangungot ng nawalang dekada.

Nariyan po ang kaso ng North Rail. Pagkamahal-mahal na nga nito, matapos ulitin ang negosasyon, nagmahal pa lalo. Sa kabila nito, binawasan ang benepisyo. Ang labingsiyam na trainsets naging tatlo, at sa mga estasyon, mula lima, naging dalawa. Ang masaklap pa po, pinapabayaran na sa atin ang utang nito, now na.

Nariyan ang walang pakundangang bonus sa ilang GOCC, sa kabila ng pagkalugi ng kanilang mga ahensya. Nariyan ang isang bilyong pisong pinasingaw ng PAGCOR para sa kape. Nariyan ang sistemang pamamahala sa PNP na isinantabi ang pangangailangan sa armas ng 45 porsiyento ng kapulisan, para lang kumita mula sa lumang helicopter na binili sa presyong brand new.

Wala na ngang iniwang panggastos, patung-patong at sabay-sabay pa ang mga utang na kailangang bayaran na. Mahaba ang iniwang listahan na tungkulin nating punuan: Ang 66,800 na backlog sa classrooms, na nagkakahalaga ng tinatayang 53.44 billion pesos; ang 2,573,212 na backlog sa mga upuan, na nagkakahalaga naman ng 2.31 billion pesos. Nang dumating tayo, may halos tatlumpu’t anim na milyong Pilipinong hindi pa miyembro ng PhilHealth. Ang kailangan para makasali sila: maaaring umabot sa 42 billion pesos. Idagdag pa po natin sa lahat ng iyan ang 103 billion pesos na kailangan para sa modernisasyon ng Hukbong Sandatahan. Sa harap ng lahat ng ito, ang iniwan sa ating pondo na malaya nating magagamit: 6.5 percent ng kabuuang budget para sa natitirang anim na buwan ng 2010. Para po tayong boksingerong isinabak sa laban nang nakagapos na nga ang mga kamay at paa, nakapiring pa ang mga mata, at kakampi pa ng kalaban ang referee at ang mga judge.

Kaya nga sa unang tatlong buwan ng aming panunungkulan, inaabangan namin ang pagdating ng Linggo para maidulog sa Panginoon ang mga bangungot na humaharap sa amin. Inasahan naming mangangailangan ng ‘di bababa sa dalawang taon bago magkaroon ng makabuluhang pagbabago. Bibigyan kaya tayo ng sapat na pag-unawa ng taumbayan?

Subalit kung may isang bagay mang nakatatak na sa ating lahi, at makailang ulit na nating pinatunayan sa buong mundo: Walang hindi makakaya ang nagkakaisang Pilipino. Nangarap po tayo ng pagbabago; nakamit natin ang pagbabago; at ngayon, karaniwan na ito. [Applause]

Ang kalsadang pinondohan ninyo ay tuwid, patag, at walang bukol; ang tanging tongpats ay aspalto o semento. Karaniwan na po ito.

Ang sitwasyon kung paparating ang bagyo: nakaabang na ang relief, at hindi ang tao ang nag-aabang ng relief. Nag-aabang na ring umalalay ang rescue services sa taumbayan, at hindi tayo-tayo lang din ang sumasaklolo sa isa’t isa. Karaniwan na  po ito.

Ang wang-wang sa lansangan, galing na lang sa pulis, ambulansya, o bumbero—hindi sa opisyal ng gobyerno. Karaniwan na rin po ito. Ang gobyernong dating nang-aabuso, ngayon, tunay na kakampi na ng Pilipino. [Applause]

Nagpatupad po tayo ng reporma: tinanggal ang gastusing hindi kailangan, hinabol ang mga tiwali, at ipinakita sa mundong open for business under new management na ang Pilipinas.

Ang dating sick man of Asia, ngayon, punung-puno na ng sigla. Nang nagkaroon tayo ng positive credit rating action, ang sabi ng iba, tsamba. Ngayong walo na po sila, tsamba pa rin kaya? [Applause] Sa Philippine Stock Exchange index, nang una nating nahigitan ang 4,000 na index, may mga nagduda. Ngayon, sa dami ng all-time high, pati economic managers, nahirapan yata sa pagbilang, at ako rin po ay nagulat: nakakaapatnapu’t apat na pala tayo, at bihira nang bumaba sa 5,000 ang index. [Applause] Nito pong first quarter ng 2012, ang GDP growth natin, 6.4 percent; milya-milya ang layo niyan sa mga prediksyon, at pinakamataas sa buong Southeast Asian region; pangalawa po ito sa Asya, sunod lang tayo sa Tsina. [Applause] Kung dati po, tayo ang laging nangungutang, ngayon, hindi po birong tayo na ang nagpapautang. [Applause] Dati, namamalimos tayo ng investments; ngayon, sila na ang dumadagsa. Ang mga kumpanyang Hapon, sa isang pagpupulong po namin, ang sabi ay, “Baka gusto n’yo kaming silipin. Hindi nga kami ang pinakamura, pero una naman kami sa teknolohiya.” Pati pinuno ng isa pong malaking bangko sa Inglatera, kamakailan nakipag-usap sa atin, ang sinabi, maisali sana sila sa ating kinukunsulta sa usapang pinansyal.

Sa bawat sulok ng mundo, nagpapakita ng paghanga ang mga komentarista. Ayon sa Bloomberg Businessweek, and I quote: “Keep an eye on the Philippines.” Ang Foreign Policy magazine, pati isa sa mga pinuno ng ASEAN 100, nagsabing maaari daw tayong maging, and I quote, “Asia’s Next Tiger.” [Applause] Sabi ni Ruchir Sharma, pinuno ng Emerging Market Equities and Global Macro ng Morgan Stanley, I quote: “The Philippines is no longer a joke.” At mukha naman pong hindi siya nambobola, dahil tinatayang isang bilyong dolyar ang ipinasok ng kanyang kumpanya sa atin pong bansa. [Applause] Sana nga po, ang kaliwa’t kanang paghanga ng taga-ibang bansa, masundan na ng lokal na tagapagbalita. [Applause]

Sinisiguro po nating umaabot ang kaunlaran sa mas nakakarami. Alalahanin po natin: Nang mag-umpisa tayo, may 760,357 na kabahayang benepisyaryo ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Tinarget [target] natin itong paabutin sa 3.1 million sa loob ng dalawang taon. Pebrero pa lang po ng taong ito, naiparehistro na ang ikatlong milyong kabahayang benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilya. [Applause] Sa susunod na taon naman, palalawakin pa natin ang sakop nito sa 3.8 milyong bahay; limang beses po ang laki niyan sa dinatnan natin.

Pangmatagalan po ang impact ng proyektong ito. Hindi pa kumpleto ang mga pag-aaral, pero ngayon pa lang, maganda na ang ipinapakita ng numero. Base sa listahan ng DSWD: May 1,672,977 na mga inang regular nang nagpapacheck-up. 1,672,814 na mga batang napabakunahan laban sa diarrhea, polio, tigdas at iba pa. Four point fifty-seven million na estudyanteng hindi na napipilitang mag-absent dahil sa kahirapan. [Applause]

Sa kalusugan naman po: Nang dumating tayo, animnapu’t dalawang porsiyento lamang ng mga Pilipino ang naka-enrol sa PhilHealth. Ang masaklap, hindi pa masiguro kung lahat sila ay kabilang sa mga totoong nangangailangan ng kalinga ng estado, o buwenas lang na malapit sa politiko. Ngayon po, 85 percent ng lahat ng mamamayan, miyembro na nito. [Applause] Ang ibig pong sabihin, 23.31 million na Pilipino ang naidagdag sa mga saklaw ng PhilHealth mula nang bigyan tayo ng mandato. [Applause]

Ang maganda pa rito: ang 5.2 million na pinakamahirap na kabahayang tinukoy ng National Household Targeting System, buong-buo at walang-bayad nang makikinabang sa benepisyo ng PhilHealth. [Applause] Dahil po sa No Balance Billing policy ng Department of Health, ang lunas para sa dengue, pneumonia, asthma, katarata, gayundin ang pagpapagamot sa mga catastrophic disease tulad ng breast cancer, prostate cancer, at acute leukemia, makukuha na nang libre ng mga pinakamahirap nating kababayan. [Applause]

Ito po ang proseso ng pagpapagamot para sa kanila: Papasok ka sa alinmang ospital ng gobyerno. Ipapakita mo ang iyong PhilHealth card. Magpapagamot ka. At uuwi kang maginhawa nang walang inilabas ni isang kusing.

Sabi nga po sa isa sa mga briefing na dinaluhan natin, apat sa sampung Pilipino, hindi man lamang nakakakita ng health professional sa tanang buhay nila. Sa iba po, mas malaki pa: may nagsasabing anim sa bawat sampung Pilipino ang pumapanaw nang malayo sa kalinga ng health professional. Anuman ang ating pagbatayan, hindi po maikakaila: nakakabahala ang bilang ng mga Pilipinong hindi naaabot ang serbisyong pangkalusugan ng pamahalaan. Tinutugunan na po natin ito. Mula sa sampung libo noong dumating tayo, umabot na sa 30,801 ang mga nurse at midwife na ating nai-deploy sa ilalim ng RNHeals Program. [Applause] Idagdag pa po natin sa kanila ang mahigit labing-isang libong Community Health Teams na nagsisilbing tulay upang higit na mapatibay ang ugnayan ng mga doktor at nurse sa komunidad.

At kung dati tutungo lamang ang mga nurse kung saan makursunadahan ng kanilang hepe, ngayon, dahil sa tamang targeting, kung saan sila kailangan, doon sila ipinapadala: [applause] sa mga lugar na matagal nang naiwan sa laylayan ng lipunan. Ipinadala po ang ating mga health professional sa 1,021 na pook na saklaw ng Pantawid Pamilya, at sa 609 na pinakamahihirap na lungsod at munisipyo, ayon sa pag-aaral ng National Anti-Poverty Commission. [Applause]

Dalawang problema po ang natutugunan nito: bukod sa nagkakatrabaho at nabibigyan ng work experience ang libu-libong nurse at midwife na dati ay walang mapaglalaanan ng kanilang kaalaman, nagiging abot-kamay din ang dekalidad na kalinga para sa milyun-milyon nating kababayan.

Subalit hindi pa po tayo makukuntento rito, dahil ang hangad natin: kalusugang pangkalahatan. Nagsisimula ito, hindi sa mga pagamutan, kundi sa loob mismo ng kanya-kanya nating tahanan. Ibayong kaalaman, bakuna, at checkup ang kailangan upang mailayo tayo sa karamdaman. Dagdag pa po diyan ang pagsisikap nating iwasan ang mga sakit na puwede namang iwasan.

Halimbawa: Nabanggit ko ang mosquito traps kontra dengue noong nakaraang taon.Alam naman po ninyo, ang mga syantipiko mahigpit sa pagsisiyasat. Maaga pa para sabihing siguradong-sigurado na tayo, pero nakaka-engganyo po ang mga paunang resulta nitong programang ito.

Sinubok natin ang bisa ng mosquito traps sa mga lugar kung saan naitala ang pinakamataas na insidente ng dengue. Sa buong probinsya ng Bukidnon noong 2010, may 1,216 na kaso. Nang inilagay ang mga mosquito trap noong 2011: mukhang nakatulong dahil bumaba ito sa tatlumpu’t pito; 97 percent raw po ang reduction po ito. Sa bayan ng Ballesteros at Claveria sa Cagayan, may 228 na kaso ng dengue noong 2010. Pagdating ng 2011, walo na lang ang naitala. Sa Catarman, Northern Samar: 434 na kaso ng dengue noong 2010, naging apat na lang noong 2011. [Applause]

Panimulang pag-aaral pa lamang po ito. Pero ngayon pa lang, marapat na yata nating pasalamatan sina Secretary Ike Ona ng DOH at Secretary Mario Montejo ng DOST, [Applause] Wala naman tayong masyadong umento, [palakpak ninyo na lang] para naman ganahan silang lalong magsaliksik at mag-ugnayan.

Marami pa po tayong kailangang solusyonan. Nakakabahala ang mataas pa ring maternal mortality ratio ng bansa. Kaya nga po gumagawa tayo ng mga hakbang upang tugunan ang pangangailangan  sa kalusugan ng kababaihan. Nais din nating makamit ang Universal Health Care, at magkaroon ng sapat na kagamitan, pasilidad, at tauhan ang ating mga institusyong pangkalusugan.

Sa pagtugon natin sa mga ito, malaki ang maiaambag ng Sin Tax Bill. Maipasa na po sana ito sa lalong madaling panahon. [Applause] Mababawasan na ang bisyo, madadagdagan pa ang pondo para sa kalusugan.

Ano naman kaya ang sasalubong sa kabataan pagpasok sa paaralan? Sa lilim ng puno pa rin kaya sila unang matututo ng abakada? Nakasalampak pa rin kaya sila sa sahig habang nakikipag-agawan ng textbook sa kaklase nila?

Matibay po ang pananalig natin kay Secretary Luistro: Bago matapos ang susunod na taon, ubos na ang minana nating 66,800 na kakulangan sa silid-aralan. [Applause] Ulitin ko po, next year pa po ‘yan; 40,000 pa lang this year. Ang minana po nating 2,573,212 na backlog sa upuan, tuluyan na rin nating matutugunan bago matapos ang 2012. [Applause] Sa taon din pong ito, masisimot na rin ang 61.7 million na backlog sa textbook upang maabot na, sa wakas, ang one is to one ratio ng aklat sa mag-aaral. [Applause] Sana nga po, ngayong paubos na ang backlog sa edukasyon, sikapin nating huwag uling magka-backlog dahil sa dami ng estudyante. Sa tingin ko po, Responsible Parenthood ang sagot dito. [Applause]

At para naman po hindi mapag-iwanan ang ating mga State Universities and Colleges, mayroon tayong panukalang 43.61 percent na pag-angat sa kanilang budget para sa susunod na taon. [Applause] Paalala lang po: lahat ng ginagawa natin, may direksyon; may kaakibat na kondisyon ang dagdag-budget na ito. Kailangang ipatupad ang napagkasunduang SUC Reform Roadmap ng CHED at ng kaukulang state colleges and universities, upang siguruhing dekalidad ang magiging produkto ng mga pamantasang pinopondohan ng estado. Kung mataas ang grado ninyo sa assignment na ito, asahan ninyong dodoblehin din namin ang kayod para matugunan ang mga natitirang pangangailangan po ninyo. [Applause]

Panay addition po ang nagaganap sa ating budget sa edukasyon. Isipin po ninyo: ang budget ng DepEd na ipinamana sa atin noong 2010, 177 billion pesos. Ang panukala natin para sa 2013: 292.7 billion pesos. [Applause] Noong 2010, 21.03 billion pesos ang budget para sa SUCs. Taunan po iyang dinagdagan upang umabot na sa 37.13 billion pesos na panukala natin para sa 2013. [Applause] Pero sa kabila nito, ngayon pa lang, may nagpaplano nang magcut-classes para mag-piket sa Mendiola. Ganito po kasimple: ang 292.7 ay mas malaki sa 177, at ang 37.13 ay mas malaki sa 21.03. Kaya kung may magsasabi pa ring binawasan natin ang budget ng edukasyon, kukumbinsihin na lang namin ang inyong mga paaralan na maghandog ng remedial math class para sa inyo. [Laughter and applause] At sana po, sa mga klaseng iyon, pakiusap po, pasukan naman ninyo.

Nang maupo tayo, at masimulan ang makabuluhang reporma, minaliit ng ilan ang pagpapakitang-gilas ng pamahalaan. Kundi raw buwenas, ningas-kugon lang itong mauupos rin paglaon. May ilan pa rin pong ayaw magretiro sa paghahasik ng negatibismo; silang mga tikom ang bibig sa good news, at ginawang industriya na ang kritisismo.

Kung may problema kayo na bago matapos ang taon, bawat bata ay may sarili nang upuan at aklat, tingnan ninyo sila, mata sa mata, at sabihin ninyong, “Ayaw kong makapag-aral ka.”

Kung masama ang loob ninyo na ang 5.2 million na pinakamahihirap na kabahayang Pilipino ay maaari nang pumasok sa ospital nang hindi iniintindi ang gastos sa pagpapagamot, tingnan ninyo sila ulit, mata sa mata, at sabihin ninyong, “Ayaw kong gumaling ka.”

Kung nagagalit kayo na may tatlong milyong pamilyang Pilipino nang tumutungo sa katuparan ng kanilang mga pangarap dahil sa Pantawid Pamilya, tingnan ninyo sila, mata sa mata, at sabihin ninyong, “Ibabalik ko kayo sa kawalan ng pag-asa.” [Applause]

Tapos na ang panahon kung kailan choice lang ng makapangyarihan ang mahalaga. Halimbawa, ang dating namumuno sa TESDA, nagpamudmod ng mga scholarship voucher; ang problema, wala palang nakalaang pondo para rito. Natural, tatalbog ang voucher. Ang napala: 2.4 billion pesos ang sinisingil ng mahigit isanlibong eskwelahan mula sa pamahalaan. Nagpapapogi ang isang tao’t isang administrasyon; sambayanang Pilipino naman ang pinagbabayad ngayon.

Pumasok si Secretary Joel Villanueva; [applause] hindi siya nagpasindak sa tila imposibleng pagbabagong dapat ipatupad sa kanyang ahensya. Sa kabila ng malaking utang na minana ng TESDA, 434,676 na indibidwal  pa rin ang kanilang hinasa sa ilalim ng Training for Work Scholarship Program. [Applause] Kongkretong tagumpay din po ang hatid ng TESDA Specialista Technopreneurship Program (mas mahirap pong bigkasin kaysa sa resulta). Biruin po ninyo: Bawat isa sa 5,240 na sertipikadong Specialistas, kumikita na ngayon ng 562 pesos kada araw o 11,240 pesos kada buwan. Mas malaki pa po ito sa minimum wage. [Applause]

Mula sa pagkasanggol, hanggang sa pagkabinata, gumagana na ang sistema para sa mamamayan. Sinisiguro nating manganganak ng trabaho ang pagsigla ng ating ekonomiya.

Alalahanin po natin: para tumabla lang, kailangang makalikha taun-taon ng isang milyong bagong trabaho para sa mga new entrants.  Ang nalikha po natin sa loob ng dalawang taon: halos 3.1 million na bagong trabaho. [Applause]

Ito po ang dahilan kung bakit pababa nang pababa ang unemployment rate sa bansa. Nang dumating tayo, eight percent ang unemployment rate. Naging 7.2 ito noong Abril ng 2011, at bumaba pa lalo sa 6.9 ngayong taon, sa buwan rin ng Abril. ‘Di po ba makatwirang mangarap na balang araw, bawat Pilipinong handang magbanat ng buto, may mapapasukang trabaho?

Tingnan na lamang po natin ang BPO sector. Noong taong 2000, limanlibo katao lang ang naempleyo sa industriyang ito. Fast forward po tayo: 638,000 katao na ang nabibigyang trabaho ng mga BPO, at labing-isang bilyong dolyar ang ipinasok nito sa ating ekonomiya noong taong 2011. Ang projection nga po, pagdating ng 2016, kung saan ako po ay magpapaalam na sa inyo, 25 billion dollars na ang maipapasok nito, at makakapag-empleyo ng 1.3 million na Pilipino. [Applause] Hindi pa po kasama rito ang tinatayang aabot sa 3.2 million na mga taxi driver, barista, mga sari-sari store, karinderya, at marami pang ibang makikinabang sa mga indirect jobs na malilikha dahil sa BPO industry.

Malaking bahagi din po ng ating job-generation strategy ang pagpapatayo ng sapat na imprastruktura. Sa mga nakapagbakasyon na sa Boracay, nakita na naman ninyo ang bagong-binyag nating terminal sa Caticlan. Nakalatag na rin po ang plano upang palawakin ang runway nito.

Magkakaroon pa po ‘yan ng mga kapatid: bago matapos ang aking termino, nakatayo na ang New Bohol Airport sa Panglao, [applause] New Legaspi Airport sa Daraga, at Laguindingan Airport sa Misamis Oriental. [Applause] Ia-upgrade na rin po natin ang ating international airports sa Mactan, Puerto Princesa, at Tacloban. [Applause] Dagdag pa po diyan ang pagpapaganda ng mga airport sa Butuan, Cotabato, Dipolog, Pagadian, Tawi-Tawi, Southern Leyte, at San Vicente sa Palawan. [Applause] Kami po sa Tarlac ay maghihintay na lang. [Laughter]

Pang-apat na Pangulo na po akong sasalo sa problema ng NAIA 3. Hindi lang po eroplano ang nag-take off at nag-landing dito: maging mga problema’t anomalya, lumapag din. Nagbitiw na po ng salita si Secretary Mar Roxas: bago tayo magkita sa susunod na SONA, maisasaayos na ang mga structural defects na minana natin sa NAIA 3. [Applause]

Nitong Hunyo po, nagsimula na ring umusad ang proseso para sa LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension project, na magpapaluwag sa trapik sa Las Piñas, Parañaque, at Cavite. [Applause] Dagdag pa diyan, para lalong mapaluwag ang traffic sa Kamaynilaan at mapabilis ang pagtawid mula North Luzon hanggang South Luzon Expressway, magkakaroon ng dalawang elevated NLEX–SLEX connector. Matatapos po ang mga ito sa 2015. [Applause] Magiging one hour and 40 minutes na lang ang biyaheng Clark papuntang Calamba oras na makumpleto ang mga ito. Bago po tayo bumaba sa puwesto, nakatayo na rin ang mga dekalidad na terminal sa Taguig, Quezon City, at Parañaque na paparadahan ng bus biyaheng probinsya, [applause] upang hindi na sila makisiksik pa sa EDSA.

Nagbago na po ang takbo ng usapan tungkol sa ahensyang dati’y itinuturing na pugad ng kapalpakan. Naalala ko po dati: Kapag tag-ulan at umapaw ang Tarlac River, nalulunod ang MacArthur Highway. Tutunawin nito ang aspalto; magbabaku-bako ang kalsada hanggang sa tuluyan na nga itong mawawala. Bilang kinatawan noon ng aking distrito, inireklamo ko po ito. Ang tugon ng DPWH: alam namin ang problema, alam namin ang solusyon, pero wala kaming pera. Kinailangan ko pong makiusap sa aking mga barangay, at ang sabi ko po sa kanila ay “Kung hindi natin ito uunahin, walang gagawa nito, at tayo rin ang mapeperhuwisyo.” Dati, panay ang “hoy, gising!” sa gobyerno, bakit wala daw kasing ginagawa. Ngayon ang reklamo, “sobra namang trapik, ang dami kasing ginagawa.” [Laughter and applause] Paalala lang din po: naisasaayos na natin ang mga kalsadang ito nang hindi nagtataas ng buwis. [Applause]

Bubuo tayo ng mga daanan, hindi ayon sa kickback o kursonada, pero ayon sa isang malinaw na sistema. Dahil hindi na bara-bara ang paglalagak natin ng pondo para sa mga proyekto, hindi na ito mapapako sa plano, totoong kalsada na ang pakikinabangan ng Pilipino. Nang maupo po tayo sa puwesto, 7,239 kilometers sa ating national road network ang hindi pa naisasaayos. 1,569 kilometers na nito ang naipaayos natin sa ilalim ng pamamahala ni Secretary Babes Singson; [applause] sa 2012—2,275 kilometers pa ang maidadagdag na natapos na rin po. Pati po ang mga kalsada at kurbadang mapanganib, tinutukoy at inaayos na gamit ang teknolohiya. Taun-taon po nating bubunuin ito, upang bago matapos ang aking termino, bawat pulgada ng ating national road network, maayos na po. Siyempre ‘wag la lang po n’yo dagdagan ang national road network.

Hindi lang kalsada, kundi pati sistema, isinasaayos sa DPWH. Dahil sa pagsunod sa tamang proseso ng bidding at procurement, 10.6 billion pesos na ang natipid ng kanilang ahensya mula 2011 hanggang nitong Hunyo. [Applause] Maging mga kontratista, batid ang positibong bunga ng reporma sa DPWH. Sabi nga po nila, “ang top 40 na kontratista, fully booked na raw po.”

Sana po hindi maantala ang pagpapatayo natin ng iba pang imprastraktura para hindi rin mapurnada ang paglago ng ibang industriya.

Kaakibat ng pagpapaunlad ng imprastruktura ang paglago ng turismo. Isipin po ninyo: Noong 2001, ang tourist arrivals sa ating bansa, 1.8 million. Nang dumating po tayo noong 2010, naglalaro ito sa 3.1 million. Mantakin po ninyo: sa hinaba-haba ng kanilang administrasyon, ang naidagdag nilang tourist arrivals, 1.3 million lamang; may ambag pa kaming kalahating taon diyan. Tayo naman po, Hunyo pa lang ng 2012—2.1 million na turista na ang napalapag. [Applause] Mas marami pang dadagsa sa peak season bago matapos ang taon, kaya hindi ako nagdududang maaabot natin ang quota na 4.6 million na turista para sa 2012. [Applause] Ibig sabihin po: 1.5 million na turista ang ating maidadagdag. Samakatuwid, sa dalawang taon, mas malaki ang magiging paglago ng ating tourist arrivals, kumpara sa naidagdag ng pinalitan natin sa loob ng siyam at kalahating taon. Hindi po tayo nagtataas ng bangko; nagsasabi lang po tayo ng totoo. [Applause]

Pero hindi nakuntento rito si Secretary Mon Jimenez. Sabi niya, kung sa Malaysia may bumisitang 24.7 million na turista noong 2011, at kung sa Thailand naman tinatayang 17 million, sa dinami-rami ng magagandang tanawin sa ating bansa, hindi naman siguro suntok sa buwan kung mangarap tayong pagdating ng 2016, sampung milyong turista na ang bibisita sa Pilipinas kada taon. [Applause] Kung patuloy na magkakaisa ang sambayanang Pilipino, gaya ng ipinamalas nating hirangin ang Puerto Princesa Underground River bilang isa sa New Seven Wonders of Nature, walang dudang makakamtan natin ito. Ang pahayag nga po natin sa daigdig: “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” [Applause] Kahit wala pang isang taon sa puwesto si Secretary Mon Jimenez, nagagapas na natin ang positibong bunga ng ating mga naipunlang reporma. Masasabi nga po nating pagdating sa turismo, “It’s really fun—to have Secretary Mon Jimenez as our Secretary.” [Applause]

Kung paglago po ang usapan, nasa tuktok ng listahan ang agrikultura. Kayod-kalabaw po si Secretary Alcala upang makapaghatid ng mabubuting balita. Dati, para bang ang pinapalago ng mga namumuno sa DA ay ang utang ng NFA. Twelve billion pesos ang minana nilang utang; ang ipinamana naman nila sa atin, 177 billion pesos.

Hindi po ba’t noon, pinaniwala tayo na 1.3 million metric tons ang kakulangan sa bigas, at para tugunan ito, ‘di bababa sa two million metric tons ang kanilang inangkat noong 2010. Parang unlimited rice sila kung maka-order ng bigas, pero dahil sobra-sobra, nabubulok lang naman ito sa mga bodega. Ang 1.3 million metric tons, unang taon pa lang, napababa na natin sa 860,000 metric tons. [Applause] Ngayong taon, 500,000 na lang, kasama pa ang buffer sakaling abutin tayo ng bagyo. [Applause] Huwag lang po tayong pagsungitan ng panahon, harinawa, sa susunod na taon ay puwede na tayong mag-export ng bigas. [Applause]

Ang sabi po ni Secretary Alcala: ang susi dito, makatotohanang programa sa irigasyon, at masigasig na implementasyon ng certified seeds program. [Applause] Ang masakit po, hindi bagong kaalaman ito; hindi lang ipinapatupad. Kung dati pa sila nagtrabaho nang matino, nasaan na kaya tayo ngayon?

Tingnan rin po natin ang industriya ng niyog at ang cocowater na dati tinatapon lang, ngayon, napapakinabangan na ng magsasaka. Noong 2009—483,862 liters ng cocowater ang iniluwas natin. Umangat po ito ng 1,807,583 liters noong 2010. Huwag po kayong magugulat: noong 2011: 16,756,498 liters [applause]—puwede ho bang ulitin iyon?—16,756,498 liters ng cocowater ang in-export ng Pilipinas. Ang coco coir naman, kung dati walang pumapansin, ngayon may shortage na dahil pinapakyaw ng mga exporter. Hindi natin sasayangin ang pagkakataong ito: bibili pa tayo ng mga bagong makinang magpoproseso ng bunot para makuha ang mga hiblang ginagawa mula sa coco coir. Sa susunod na taon, lalo nating mapapakinabangan ang industriya ng niyog: Naglaan na tayo ng 1.75 billion pesos upang mamuhunan at palaguin ito. [Applause]

Sinimulan po ng aking ina ang Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Nararapat lamang na matapos ang programang ito sa panahon ng aking panunungkulan. [Applause]

Isinasaayos na po ang sistema upang mapabilis ang pagpapatupad ng repormang agraryo. Ginagawa ng pamahalaan ang lahat ng hakbang upang maipamahagi sa ating magsasaka ang mga lupaing diniligan at pinagyaman ng kanilang pawis. Subalit mayroon pa rin pong ayaw paawat sa pagtatanim ng mga balakid. Ang tugon ko sa kanila: susunod tayo sa batas. Ang atas ng batas, ang atas ng taumbayan, at ang atas ko: Bago ako bumaba sa puwesto, naipamigay na dapat ang lahat ng lupaing sakop ng CARP. [Applause]

Liwanagin naman po natin ang nangyayari sa sektor ng enerhiya. Mantakin po ninyo: Dati po, umabot lang ang kawad ng kuryente sa barangay hall, “energized” na raw ang buong barangay. Kaya ganun na lang kung ipagmalaki nilang 99.98 percent na raw ng mga barangay sa bansa ang may kuryente. Pati ba naman sa serbisyong dapat ay matagal nang napapakinabangan ng Pilipino, nagkakagulangan pa? Kaya nga po, para subukan ang kakayahan ng DOE at NEA, naglaan tayo ng 1.3 billion pesos para pailawan ang unang target na 1,300 sitios, sa presyong isang milyong piso bawat isa. Nang matapos sila, ang napailawan sa inilaan nating pondo: 1,520 sitios, at gumastos lamang sila ng 814 million pesos. [Applause] Nagawa nila ito sa loob lamang ng tatlong buwan, at mas marami pa pong gagawin dito hangga’t matapos ang 36,000 sitios, na dati’y inaabot ng dalawang taon. Kay Secretary Rene Almendras, bilib talaga ako sa iyo; parang hindi ka nauubusan ng enerhiya. Sa paghahatid-serbisyo, hindi ka lang eveready, nagmistulang energizer bunny ka pa—you keep on going, and going, and going. [Applause]

Nangingibabaw na nga po ang liwanag sa ating bayan—liwanag na nagsiwalat sa krimeng nagaganap sa madidilim na sulok ng lipunan. Ang pinagsisikapang kitain ng Pilipino, hindi na magagantso. Patuloy po ang pagbaba ng crime volume sa buong bansa. Ang mahigit limandaan libong krimen na naitala noong 2009, mahigit kalahati po ang nabawas: 246,958 na lamang iyan nitong 2011. Dagdag pa rito: ang dating dalawanlibo’t dalawandaang kaso ng carnapping noong 2010, lampas kalahati rin ang ibinaba: 966 na lang po iyan pagdating ng 2011.

Ito nga po sana ang dalhin ng ating mga headline. Hindi po natin sinasabing wala nang krimeng nagaganap, pero palagay ko naman po, wala dapat magalit na nangalahati na ito. Si Raymond Dominguez na matagal nang labas-masok sa kulungan, hindi ba’t sa loob lamang ng mahigit isang taon, nasentensyahan at naipakulong na? Ang dalawa pa niyang kapatid ay sinampahan na rin natin ng kaso at kasalukuyan na ring nakabilanggo. May dalawang suspect sa bus bombing sa Makati noong nakaraang taon, ang isa po’y pumanaw na; ‘yung isa, humihimas na ng rehas. Kakosa niya ang mahigit sampung libong sangkot sa ilegal na droga na inaresto ng PDEA nitong 2011. [Applause]

Alam po nating hindi araw-araw ang laban ni Pacman, at hindi puwedeng iasa dito ang pagbaba ng krimen. Kaya nga po pinalalakas natin ang puwersa ng kapulisan. ‘Di po ba, nang dumating tayo, apatnapu’t limang porsyento ng ating kapulisan ang walang baril at umaasa sa anting-anting habang tumutugis ng masasamang-loob? [Laughter] May nanalo na po sa bidding, tinitiyak na lamang nating dekalidad ang kanilang mga produkto. Pagkatapos ng proseso, at itong taon po nating inaasahan ito, maipagkakaloob na ang 74,600 na baril na magagamit nila upang ipagtanggol at alagaan ang bayan, lipunan, at sarili. [Applause]

Dumako naman po tayo sa usapin ng pambansang tanggulan. May mga nagsabi na po na ang ating Air Force, “all air, at no force.” [Laughter] Imbes na alagaan ng estado, para bang sinasadyang ilagay sa alanganin ang ating mga sundalo. Hindi po tayo makakapayag na manatiling ganito.

Makalipas nga lang po ang isang taon at pitong buwan, nakapaglaan na tayo ng mahigit dalawampu’t walong bilyong piso para sa AFP Modernization Program. Aabutan na nito ang tatlumpu’t tatlong bilyong pisong pondo na ipinagkaloob sa nasabing programa sa nakalipas na labinlimang taon. [Applause] Bumubuwelo pa lang po tayo sa lagay na ‘yan: kapag naipasa na ang panukala nating AFP modernization bill sa Kongreso, makakapaglaan tayo ng pitumpu’t limang bilyong piso para sa susunod na limang taon.

Kasado na rin po ang tatlumpung milyong dolyar na pondong kaloob ng Estados Unidos para sa Defense Capability Upgrade and Sustainment of Equipment Program ng AFP. Bukod pa po ito sa tulong nila upang pahusayin pa ang pagmanman sa ating mga baybayin sa ilalim ng itatayong Coast Watch Center ng Pilipinas.

Nagka-canvass na rin po ang Sandatahang Lakas ng mga kagamitan tulad ng mga kanyon, armored personnel carrier, at frigates. Hindi magtatagal, dadaong na ang karelyebo ng BRP Gregorio del Pilar sa ating pampang. Sa Enero, aangkla na po sa Pilipinas ang BRP Ramon Alcaraz, ang pangalawa nating Hamilton class cutter. ‘Di na po bangkang papel ang ating ipapalaot; [applause] ngayon po, mga hi-tech at dekalidad na barko na ang tatanod sa 36,000 kilometers nating coastline.

Mainam na rin po siguro kung maglilinis-linis na ng mga hangar ang ating Sandatahang Lakas, dahil darating na ang mga kagamitang lalong magpapatikas sa ating tanggulan. Sa wakas, may katuwang na po ang kaisa-isa nating C-130 na tatlumpu’t anim na taon nang rumoronda sa himpapawid: dalawa pang C-130 ang magiging operational ulit sa taong ito. Bago matapos ang taong ito, inaasahan nating mai-dedeliver na ang binili nating dalawampu’t isang refurbished UH-1H Helicopter, apat na combat utility helicopters, mga radyo’t iba pang communication equipment, rifles, mortars, mobile diagnostic laboratories, kasama na ang bullet station assembly. [Applause] Pagdating naman po ng 2013, lalapag na ang sampung attack helicopters, dalawang naval helicopters, dalawang light lift aircraft, isang frigate, at mga force protection equipment. [Applause]

At hindi lang po natin sa armas ipinaparamdam ang pagkalinga sa ating pulis at kasundaluhan. Nabawasan na rin po ang mga pasanin nila sa pamumuhay dahil sa mahigit dalawampu’t dalawang libong bahay ang naipatayo na sa ilalim ng AFP–PNP housing program. [Applause]

Hindi po ito tungkol sa pakikipaggirian o pakikipagmatigasan. Hindi ito tungkol sa pagsisiga-sigaan. Tungkol ito sa pagkamit ng kapayapaan. Tungkol ito sa kakayahan nating ipagtanggol ang ating sarili—isang bagay na kaytagal nating inisip na imposible. Tungkol po ito sa buhay ng isang sundalong araw-araw sumasabak sa peligro; tungkol ito sa pamilya niyang nag-aabang na makabalik siyang ligtas, ano man ang kanyang makaharap. Hayaan po nating ang ilang mga benipisyaryo ang magbigay ng kani-kanilang mga kuwento:

[Video]

At ngayon ngang inaaruga na sila ng taumbayan, lalo namang ginaganahan ang ating kasundaluhan na makamtan ang kapayapaan. Tagumpay pong maituturing ang dalawandaan at tatlong rebeldeng sumuko at nagbabalik-loob na sa lipunan, at ang 1,772 na bandidong nawakasan na ang karahasan. Halimbawa po ang kilabot na teroristang si Doctor Abu, na hindi na makakapaghasik ng kaniyang lagim. Nagpupugay rin po tayo sa panunumbalik ng katahimikan sa mga lugar na matagal nang biningi ng putukan. Ang resulta nga po ng bayanihan: 365 na barangay ang naagaw sa kamay ng kaaway, 270 na gusali’t paaralan ang naipaayos, at 74 health centers ang naipagawa. [Applause]

Kung kapayapaan na lang din po ang usapan, dumako naman tayo sa lugar na matagal naging mukha ng mga mithiing ‘di makamtan-kamtan. Bago po magsimula ang mga reporma natin sa ARMM, at alam naman po n’yo, may mga ghost students doon, na maglalakad sa isang ghost road, tungo sa isang ghost school, para magpaturo sa isang ghost teacher. Ang mga aparisyon pong gumulantang kay OIC Governor Mujiv Hataman: [applause] Apat na eskuwelahan na natagpuang may ghost students; iniimbestigahan na rin ang mga teacher na hindi lumilitaw ang pangalan sa talaan ng Professional Regulation Commission, gayundin ang mga tauhan ng gobyernong hindi nakalista sa plantilya. Limampu’t limang ghost entry ang tinanggal sa payroll. Ang dating paulit-ulit na pagsasaboy ng graba sa kalsada para lang pagkakitaan ng pera, bawal na. Wala nang cash advance sa mga ahensya, para maiwasan ang pagsasamantala. Ang mga multo sa voters list, mapapatahimik na ang kaluluwa. [Applause] Kaya nga po kay OIC Gov. Mujiv Hataman, ang masasabi natin: talaga namang isa ka nang certified ghost buster.

Ang pumalit po, at pinapalit na: pabahay, tulay, at learning center para sa mga Badjao sa Basilan. Mga community-based hatchery, lambat, materyales para maglinang ng seaweeds, at punlang napakinabangan ng 2,588 na mangingisda. Certified seeds, punla ng gabi, cassava, goma, at mga punong namumunga para sa 145,121 na magsasaka. Simula pa lang po iyan: nakalaan na ang 183 million pesos para sa mga municipal fishing port projects sa ARMM; 310.4 million pesos para sa mga istasyon ng bumbero; 515 million pesos para sa malinis na inuming tubig; 551.9 million pesos para sa mga kagamitang pangkalusugan; 691.9 million pesos para sa daycare centers; at 2.85 billion pesos para sa mga kalsada at tulay na babagtas sa rehiyon. Ilan lang po iyan sa patutunguhan ng kabuuang 8.59 billion pesos na ipinagkaloob ng pambansang gobyerno para isakatuparan ang mga reporma sa ARMM. [Applause] Lilinawin ko rin po: hindi pa kasama rito ang taunang suportang natatanggap nila, na ngayong 2012 ay umabot sa 11.7 billion pesos. [Applause]

Miski po ang mga dating gustong tumiwalag, nakikita na ang epekto ng reporma. Kinikilala natin bilang pahiwatig ng kanilang tiwala ang nakaraang pitong buwan, kung kailan walang nangyaring sagupaan sa pagitan ng militar at ng MILF. Sa peace process naman po: hayag at lantaran ang usapan; nagpapamalas ang magkabilang panig ng tiwala sa isa’t isa. Maaaring minsan, magiging masalimuot ang proseso; signos lang po ito na malapit na nating makamit ang nag-iisa nating mithiin: Kapayapaan.

Mapayapang pag-uusap rin po ang prinsipyong isinulong natin upang mabuo ang ating Executive Order ukol sa pagmimina. Ang kaisipan sa likod ng nabuong consensus: mapakinabangan ang ating likas na yaman upang iangat ang buhay ng Pilipino, hindi lamang ngayon kundi pati na rin sa susunod na salinlahi. Hindi natin pipitasin ang ginintuang bunga ng industriyang ito, kung ang magiging kabayaran ay ang pagkasira ng kalikasan. [Applause]

Ngunit unang hakbang lamang ito. Isipin po ninyo: Noong 2010, 145 billion pesos ang kabuuang halaga na nakuha mula sa pagmimina, subalit 13.4 billion pesos lamang o siyam na porsyento ang napunta sa kaban ng bayan. Ang likas na yaman, pag-aari ninyo; hindi tayo papayag na balato lang ang mapupunta sa Pilipino. Umaasa po tayo sa pakikiisa ng Kongreso upang makapagpasa ng batas na sisigurong napapangalagaan ang kalikasan at matitiyak na makatarungan ang magiging pakinabang ng publiko at pribadong sektor sa mga biyayang makukuha natin mula sa industriyang ito. [Applause]

Pag-usapan po natin ang situwasyon sa Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. Dati, ang gobyernong dapat tumutulong, nanghihingi rin ng tulong. Ngayon, nasa Pasipiko pa lang ang bagyo, alam na kung saan idedestino ang ayuda, at may malinaw nang plano upang maiwasan ang peligro.

Tuwing pag-uusapan nga po ang sakuna, lagi kong naaalala ang nangyari po sa amin sa Tarlac noong minsang bumagyo. Sa lakas ng ulan, bumigay ang isang dike. Nang nagising ang isang barangay captain, tinangay na ng baha ang kanyang pamilya at mga kagamitang pangsaka. Buti nga po’t nakaligtas ang buong mag-anak. Malas lang po ng kalabaw nilang naiwang nakatali sa puno; nabigti ito sa lakas ng ragasa.

Walang kalaban-laban din po ang marami sa tinamaan ng bagyong Ondoy, Pepeng, at Sendong. Napakarami pong nasawi sa paghagupit ng mga delubyong ito. Sa ilalim ng bagong-lunsad na Project NOAH, isinakay natin sa iisang bangka ang mga inisyatiba kontra-sakuna, at hindi na rin po idinadaan sa tsamba ang paglilikas sa mga pamilya. Gamit ang teknolohiya, nabibigyan na ng wastong babala ang Pilipino upang makapaghanda at makaiwas sa disgrasya.

Real-time at direkta na ang pakinabang ng walumpu’t anim na automated rain gauges at dalawampu’t walong water level monitoring sensors natin sa iba’t ibang rehiyon. Bago matapos ang 2013, ang target natin: animnaraang automated rain gauges at apatnaraan at dalawampu’t dalawang water level sensors. Ipapakabit po natin ang mga ito sa labingwalong pangunahing river basins sa buong bansa. [Applause]

Isa pa pong pagbabago: Dati, ang mga ahensya’y kanya-kanyang habulan ng numero, kanya-kanyang agenda, kanya-kanyang pasikatan. Ngayon, ang kultura sa gobyerno: bayanihan para sa kapakanan ng taumbayan. Convergence po ang tawag natin dito.

Dati pa naman po naglipana ang mga programa sa tree planting. Pero matapos magtanim, pababayaan na lang ang mga ito. Kapag nakita ng mga komunidad na naghahanap din ng kabuhayan, puputulin ang mga ito para gawing uling.

May solusyon na po rito. Mayroon na pong 128,558 hectares ng kagubatang naitanim sa buong bansa; bahagi lang po iyan ng kabuuang 1.5 million na ektaryang matatamnan bago tayo bumaba sa puwesto. [Applause] Nakapaloob po rito ang mga komunidad na nasa ilalim ng National Convergence Initiative. Ang proseso: pagkatanim ng puno, makikipag-ugnayan ang DSWD sa mga komunidad. Kapalit ng conditional cash transfer, aalagaan ang mga puno; mayroon ding mga magpapalago ng bagong punla sa nursery. 335,078 na po ang mga Pilipinong nakakakuha ng kabuhayan mula dito.

Sa isa nga pong programa, nakiambag din ang pribadong sektor, na nagbibigay ng espesyal na binhi ng kape at cacao sa komunidad, at tinuturuan silang alagaan at siguruhing mataas ang ani. Itinatanim ang kape sa lilim ng mga puno, na habang nakatayo ay masisigurong hihigop ng baha at tutulong makaiwas tayo sa pinsala. Ang kumpanyang nagbigay ng binhi, sure buyer na rin ng ani. Panalo po ang mga komunidad nay may dagdag kita, panalo ang pribadong sektor, panalo pa ang susunod na salinlahing makikinabang sa matatayog na puno. [Applause]

Matagal na pong problema ang illegal logging. Mula nga po nang lumapag ang EO 23, nakasabat na si Mayor Jun Amante ng mahigit anim na milyong pisong halaga ng troso. Nagpapasalamat tayo sa kanya. Sa Butuan pa lang ito; paano pa kung magpapakita ng ganitong political will ang lahat ng LGU?

Ang mga trosong nakukumpiska ng DENR, lalapag sa mga komunidad na naturuan na ng TESDA ng pagkakarpintero. Ang resulta: upuan para sa mga pampublikong paaralan na hawak naman ng DepEd. Isipin po ninyo: ang dating pinagmumulan ng pinsala, ngayon, tulay na para sa mas mabuting kinabukasan. Dati, imposible nga ito: Imposible kung nagbubulag-bulagan ang pamahalaan sa ilegal na gawain.

Kaya kayong mga walang konsensya; kayong mga paulit-ulit isinusugal ang buhay ng kapwa Pilipino: maghanda na kayo. Tapos na ang maliligayang araw po ninyo. [Applause] Sinampolan na natin ang tatlumpu’t apat na kawani ng DENR, isang PNP provincial director, at pitong chief of police. Pinagpapaliwanag na rin po natin ang isang Regional Director ng PNP na nagbingi-bingihan sa aking utos at nagbulag-bulagan sa mga dambuhalang trosong dumaan sa kanilang tanawin. Kung hindi kayo umayos, isusunod namin kayo. Magkubli man kayo sa ilalim ng inyong mga padrino, aabutan namin kayo. Isasama na rin namin ang mga padrino ninyo. [Applause] Kaya bago pa magkasalubong ang ating landas, ako po’y muling makikiusap, mas maganda sigurong tumino na kayo.

Mula sa sinapupunan, sa pag-aaral at pagtatrabaho, may pagbabago nang haharap sa Pilipino. At sakaling piliin niyang magserbisyo sa gobyerno, tuloy pa rin ang pag-aaruga ng estado hanggang sa kanyang pagreretiro. Tatanawin ng pamahalaan ang kanyang ambag bilang lingkod-bayan, at hindi ipagdadamot sa kanya ang pensiyong siya rin naman ang nagpuhunan.

Isipin po ninyo, at ako po’y nagulat dito: may mga pensyonado tayong tumatanggap ng 500 pesos lamang kada buwan. Paano kaya niya ito pagkakasiyahin sa tubig, kuryente, at pagkain araw-araw? Ang atin pong tugon: Pagsapit ng bagong taon, hindi na bababa sa limanlibong piso ang matatanggap na buwanang pensyon ng ating old-age and disability pensioners. [Applause] Masaya tayong matutugunan natin ang pangangailangan nila ngayon, nang hindi isinusugal ang kapakanan ng mga pensyonado bukas.

Iba na po talaga ang mukha ng gobyerno. Sumasabay na po sa pribadong sektor ang ating pasahod para sa entry level. Pero kapag sabay kayong na-promote ng kaklase mong piniling mag-pribado, nagkakaiwanan na.

Mahahabol din po natin iyan; pero sa ngayon, ang good news natin sa mga nagtatrabaho sa pamahalaan: Performance-Based Incentives. Dati, miski palpak ang palakad ng isang ahensya, very satisfactory pa rin ang pinakamababang rating ng empleyado. Dahil sa pakikisama, nahihirapan ang bisor na bigyan ng makatarungang rating ang mga tauhan niya. Nakakawawa tuloy ang mga mahusay magtrabaho; nawawalan sila ng dahilan para galingan dahil parehas lang naman ang insentibo ng mga tamad at pursigido.

Heto po ang isa lamang sa mga hakbang natin upang tugunan ito. Simula ngayong taon, magpapatupad tayo ng sistema kung saan ang bonus ay nakabase sa pagtupad ng mga ahensya sa kanilang mga target para sa taon. [Applause] Nasa kamay na ng empleyado ang susi sa kanyang pag-angat. Ang insentibo, maaaring umabot ng tatlumpu’t limang libong piso, depende sa pagpapakitang-gilas mo sa iyong trabaho. Dagdag pa ito sa across-the-board na Christmas bonus na matatanggap mo.

Ginagawa natin ito, hindi lamang para itaas ang kumpiyansa at ipakita ang pagtitiwala natin sa ating mga lingkod-bayan. Higit sa lahat, para ito sa Pilipinong umaasa sa tapat at mahusay na serbisyo mula sa lingkod-bayan, at umaasang sila at sila lamang ang itinuturing na boss ng kanilang pamahalaan.

Alam po niyo, sa simula pa lang mayroon nang mga kumuwestiyon sa sinasabi nating, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” Hanggang ngayon mayroon pa rin pong mangilan-ngilang nagtatanong: nakakain ba ang mabuting pamamahala? Ang simpleng sagot, “Siyempre.”

Isipin po natin ang ating pinanggalingan: Dati, parang “Wild West” ang pamumuhunan sa Pilipinas. May peligro na nga ang negosyo, sinagad pa ang risko dahil sa di tiyak at nakalihim na patakaran. Kakamayan ka nga gamit ang kanan, kokotongan ka naman na gamit ang kaliwa.

Ngayon, dahil patas na ang laban, at may hayag at hindi pabagu-bagong mga patakaran, patuloy ang pagtaas ng kumpiyansa sa ating ekonomiya. Patuloy ang pagpasok ng puhunan; patuloy ang pagdami ng trabaho; patuloy ang positibong siklo ng pagkonsumo, paglago ng negosyo, at pagdami ng mamamayang naeempleyo. [Applause]

Dahil maayos ang paggugol ng gobyerno, walang tagas sa sistema. Dahil maayos ang pangkolekta ng buwis, lumalago ang kaban ng bayan. Bawat pisong nakokolekta, tiyak ang pupuntahan: Piso itong diretso sa kalsada, piso para sa bakuna, piso para sa classroom at upuan, piso para sa ating kinabukasan. [Applause]

Dahil maayos ang paggawa ng tulay, kalsada, at gusali, itinatayo ang mga ito kung saan kailangan. Maayos ang daanan, mas mabilis ang takbo ng produkto, serbisyo, at mamamayan.

Dahil maayos ang pamamahala sa agrikultura, tumataas ang produksyon ng pagkain, at hindi pumapalo ang presyo nito. Stable ang pasahod, at mas malakas ang pambansang ekonomiya.

Tunay nga po: Ang matatag at malakas na ekonomiyang pinanday ng mabuting pamamahala ang pinakamabisang kalasag laban sa mga hamon na kinakaharap ng daigdig. Dalawang taon po nating binaklas ang mga balakid sa pag-unlad, at ngayon, tayo na lang mismo ang makakapigil sa ating sariling pag-angat.

Ginawa po natin ang lahat ng ito habang binubuno rin ng bawat bansa sa iba’t ibang sulok ng daigdig ang kani-kanilang problema’t pagsubok.

Hindi po tayo nag-iisa sa mundo, kaya’t habang tinutugunan natin ang sarili nating mga suliranin, angkop lamang na bantayan din ang ilang pangyayaring maaaring makaapekto sa atin.

Naging maugong ang mga kaganapan sa Bajo de Masinloc. May mga mangingisdang Tsinong pumasok sa ating teritoryo. Nasabat ng barko natin at nasabad sa kanilang mga barko ang endangered species. Bilang pinuno, kailangan kong ipatupad ang batas na umiiral sa ating bansa. Sa pagsulong nito, nagbungguan ang Nine-Dash Line Theory ng mga Tsino, na umaangkin sa halos buong West Philippine Sea, at ang karapatan natin at ng marami pang ibang bansa, kasama na ang Tsina, na pinagtibay naman ng United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea.

Ibayong hinahon ang ipinamalas natin. Ang barko ng Hukbong Dagat, bilang tanda ng ating malinis na hangarin, ay agad nating pinalitan ng barkong sibilyan. Hindi tayo nakipagsagutan sa mga banat ng kanilang media sa atin. Hindi naman po siguro kalabisan na hilingin sa kabilang panig na galangin ang ating karapatan, gaya ng paggalang sa kanilang mga karapatan bilang kapwa bansang nasa iisang mundong kailangang pagsaluhan.

Mayroon po tayong mga miron na nagsasabing hayaan na lang ang Bajo de Masinloc; umiwas na lang tayo. Pero kung may pumasok sa inyong bakuran at sinabing sa kanya na ang kanyang kinatatayuan ay sa kanya na, papayag ba kayo? Hindi naman po yata tamang ipamigay na lang natin sa iba ang sadyang atin talaga. [Applause]

Kaya nga po hinihiling ko sa sambayanan ang pakikiisa sa isyung ito. Iisa lang po dapat ang kumpas natin. Tulungan ninyo akong iparinig sa kabilang panig ang katuwiran ng ating mga paninindigan.

Hindi po simple ang sitwasyon, at hindi magiging simple ang solusyon. Magtiwala po kayo: kumokonsulta tayo sa mga eksperto, at sa lahat ng pinuno ng ating bansa, pati na sa kaalyado natin—gayundin sa mga nasa kabilang panig ng usaping ito—upang makahanap ng solusyon na katanggap-tanggap sa lahat. [Applause]

Sa bawat hakbang sa tuwid na daan, nagpunla tayo ng pagbabago. Ngunit may mangilan-ngilan pa ring pilit na bubunot nito. Habang nagtatalumpati ako ngayon, may mga nagbubulung-bulungan sa isang silid at hinihimay ang aking mga sinasabi; naghahanap ng butas na ipambabatikos bukas. Sasabihin nila, “Salita lang ito, at hindi totoo ang tuwid na landas.” Sila rin po ang magsasabing hayaan na, magkaisa na; forgive and forget na lang para makausad na tayo.

Hindi ko po matatanggap ito. Forgive and forget na lang ang sampung taon na nawala sa atin? Forgive and forget na lang para sa magsasakang nabaon sa utang dahil sa kakaangkat natin ng bigas, gayong puwede naman palang pagyamanin sa ating sariling lupa?

Forgive and forget na lang ba para sa pamilya ng isang pulis na namatay nang walang kalaban-laban, dahil batuta lang ang hawak niya habang hinahabol ang armadong masasamang-loob?

Forgive and forget na lang ba para sa mga naulila ng limampu’t pitong biktima ng masaker sa Maguindanao? Maibabalik ba sila ng “forgive and forget?” [Applause] Forgive and forget ang lahat ng atraso ng mga naglubog sa atin sa bulok na estado? Forgive and forget para maibalik ang lumang status quo? Ang tugon ko, “Ang magpatawad, maaari; ang makalimot, hindi.” [Applause] Kung ang nagkasala ay hindi mananagot, gagarantiyahan mo ang pagpapahirap muli sa sambayanan.

Ang tunay na pagkakaisa at pagkakasunduan ay magmumula lamang sa tunay at ganap na katarungan. Katarungan ang tawag sa plunder case na isinampa laban sa dating pangulo. [Applause] Katarungan na bigyan siya ng pagkakataong harapin ang mga akusasyon at ipagtanggol ang kanyang sarili. Katarungan ang nasaksihan natin noong ika-dalawampu’t siyam ng Mayo. Noong araw na iyon, pinatunayan natin: Posibleng mangibabaw ang katarungan kahit na ang kabangga mo ay may mataas na katungkulan. [Applause] Noong araw na iyon, may isang Delsa Flores sa Panabo, Davao del Norte, na nagsabing, “Posible palang iisang batas lang ang kailangang sundin ng court interpreter na tulad ko, at ng Punong Mahistrado.” [Applause]  Posible palang maging patas ang timbangan; maaaring isakdal at panagutin miski ang mayaman at makapangyarihan.

Kaya po sa susunod na magiging Punong Mahistrado, malaki ang inaasahan sa inyo ng sambayanan. Napatunayan na po nating posible ang imposible; ang trabaho natin ngayon, siguruhing magpapatuloy ang pagbabago tungo sa tunay na katarungan, matapos man ang ating termino. [Applause]  Marami pong sira sa sistemang kailangan ninyong kumpunihin, at alam kong hindi magiging madali ito. Alam ko po kung gaano kabigat ang pasanin ng isang malinaw na mandato; ngunit ito ang atas sa atin ng taumbayan; ito ang tungkuling ating sinumpaan; ito ang kailangan nating gampanan.

Simple lang ang hangad natin: kung inosente ka, buong-loob kang haharap sa korte, dahil kampante kang mapapawalang-sala ka. Kung ikaw ang salarin, anuman ang apelyido mo, o gaano man karami ang titulong nakakabit sa iyong pangalan, may katiyakan din na pananagutan mo ang ginawa mong kasalanan. [Applause]

Salamat din po kay Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, [applause] sa pagtanggap ng hamon na maging tunay na tanod-bayan. Kung tutuusin, pwede na niyang tanggihan ang responsibilidad at sabihing, “Retirado na ako, puwede bang ‘yung iba na lang?” Subalit nangibabaw ang kaniyang malasakit sa bayan. Sa kabila nito, may nagregalo pa rin sa kanya ng granada sa bahay. [Laughter] Ma’am, may mga darating pa pong pagsubok; baka po paglaon, magaya na kayo sa akin na tinatawag, sabay-sabay pang tinatawag, na ganid na kapitalista na komunista din patungong diktador dahil sa masigasig na mga repormang ipinapatupad natin.

Bilib po ako sa inyong pagpapakitang-gilas at maraming salamat sa pagiging instrumento ng katarungan, lalo na noong kasagsagan ng impeachment trial. Salamat din po sa dalawang institusyong bumubuo ng Kongreso: Sa Senado at Kamara de Representante, na tinimbang ng taumbayan at nakitang sapat na sapat.

Sa lahat po ng tumulong sa pagpapagana ng mga prosesong pangkatarungan: Dumaan kayo sa matinding pagsubok, batikos, at agam-agam; kasama pa ang kaba na kung natalo tayo, kayo ang unang pupuntiryahin ng kalaban. Pero ‘di kayo natinag. Umasa sa inyo ang Pilipino, at pinatunayan ninyong tama ang pag-asa sa inyo. Hindi ninyo binigo ang sambayanan; ipinaliwanag ninyo lalo ang ating kinabukasan. [Applause]

Paalala lang po: hindi natatapos ang laban sa isang tiwaling opisyal na natanggal sa puwesto, sa isang maanomalyang kontratang napigil ipatupad, o sa isang opisinang naituwid ang pamamalakad. Kaya naman nananawagan po tayo sa Kongreso na ipasa ang panukala nating sa pag-amyenda sa Anti-Money Laundering Act, upang mas mapaigting pa natin ang pagpapanagot sa mga tiwali.

Itong tinatamasa natin ngayon: ang bawat nailawan at iilawan pang sitio; ang bawat daan, tulay, paliparan, tren, at daungan; ang bawat kontratang walang bukol; ang kaligtasan at kapayapaan mula lungsod hanggang nayon; ang pagbalik ng piring sa sistemang pangkatarungan; ang bawat classroom, upuan, at aklat na napasakamay ng kabataan; ang bawat Pilipinong nahahandugan ng bagong kinabukasan—ang lahat ng ito, naabot natin sa loob lamang ng dalawang taon.

Pagtabihin po natin ang dalawang taon na ito, at ang nakaraang siyam at kalahating taon na ating pinagdusahan. ‘Di po ba’t sumusulong na ang agenda ng pagbabago? Ang kapareho namin ng adhikain, malamang, kasama namin sa agendang ito. At kung kontra ka sa amin, siguro kontra ka rin sa ginagawa namin. Kung kumukontra sila sa agenda ng pagbabago, masasabi ba niyang sila’y nasa panig ninyo?

Paparating na naman po ang halalan. Kayo po, ang aming mga boss, ang tangi naming susundan. Ang tanong ko sa inyo, “Boss, saan tayo tatahak? Tuloy ba ang biyahe natin sa tuwid na landas, o magmamane-obra ba tayo’t paatras, pabalik sa daan na baluktot at walang patutunguhan?”

Naalala ko pa po noong nagsimula tayo. Mulat na mulat ako sa bigat ng pasaning sasalubong sa atin. Kabilang ako sa mga nag-isip: Kaya pa bang ituwid ang ganito kabaluktot na sistema?

Heto po ang aking natutuhan sa dalawampu’t limang buwan ng pagkapinuno: Walang pong imposible. [Applause] Walang imposible dahil kung nakikita ng taumbayan na sila ang tanging boss ng kanilang pamahalaan, bubuhatin ka nila, gagabayan ka nila, sila mismo ang mamumuno tungo sa makabuluhang pagbabago. Hindi imposible na ang Pilipinas ang maging kauna-unahang bansa sa Timog-Silangang Asya na magbibigay at nagbibigay ng libreng bakuna laban sa rotavirus. Hindi imposible para sa Pilipinas na tumindig at sabihing: “Ang Pilipinas ay sa Pilipino—at handa kaming ipagtanggol ito.” Hindi imposible na ang Pilipinong kaytagal nang yumuyuko tuwing may nakakasalubong na dayuhan—ang Pilipino, ngayon, taas-noong tinitingala ng buong mundo. [Applause] Talaga namang ang sarap maging Pilipino sa mga panahong ito.

Noon pong nakaraang taon, hiniling ko sa taumbayan: Magpasalamat sa mga nakikiambag sa positibong pagbabago sa lipunan. Hindi po biro ang mga pagsubok na dinaanan natin, kaya angkop lamang na pasalamatan ang mga taong nakibalikat, sa pagkukumpuni sa mga maling idinulot ng masamang pamamahala.

Sa lahat ng miyembro ng aking Gabinete: Maraming, maraming salamat. [Applause] Mapalad po ang sambayanan at may mga tulad ninyong handang isuko ang pribado at mas tahimik na pamumuhay para maghatid serbisyo-publiko, kahit pa batid ninyong ang kapalit nito ay mas maliit na sweldo, panganib, at pambabatikos. Maraming salamat muli.

Huwag din po sana nilang masamain dahil personal ko silang papangalanan: Kina Father Catalino Arevalo, at Sister Agnes Guillen, na dumidilig at nagpapalago sa aking buhay spirituwal, lalo na sa mga panahong sukdulan ang pagsubok sa amin, maraming, maraming salamat din po. [Applause]

Ito po ang aking ikatlong SONA, tatlo na lamang din po ang natitira. Papasok na po tayo sa kalagitnaan ng ating liderato. Noong nakaraang taon, ang hamon ko sa inyo: iwaksi ang kultura ng negatibismo; sa bawat pagkakataon, iangat ang kapwa-Pilipino.

Batid po sa tinatamasa natin ngayon: hindi kayo nabigo. Sa inyo nagmula ang pagbabago. Ang sabi ninyo: posible.

Humaharap po ako sa inyo bilang mukha ng isang gobyernong kayo ang boss at kayo pa rin ang lakas. Inuulat ko lamang ang mga pagbabagong ginawa ninyong posible.

Kaya nga po sa lahat ng nurse, midwife, o doktor na piniling magsilbi sa mga baryo; sa bawat bagong graduate na piniling magtrabaho sa gobyerno; sa bawat atletang Pilipinong bitbit ang watawat saan mang panig ng mundo; sa bawat kawani ng pamahalaan na tapat na nagseserbisyo: Kayo po ang gumawa ng pagbabago. [Applause]

Sa tuwing haharap ako sa isang ina na nagsasabing, “Salamat at nabakunahan na ang aking sanggol,” ang tugon ko: Ikaw ang gumawa nito.

Sa tuwing haharap ako sa isang bata na nagsasabing, “Salamat sa papel at lapis, sa pagkakataong makapag-aral,” ang tugon ko: Kasama ka sa gumawa nito.

Sa tuwing haharap ako sa isang OFW na nagsasabing, “Salamat at puwede ko na muling pangaraping tumanda sa Pilipinas,” ang tugon ko: Ikaw ang gumawa nito.

Sa tuwing haharap ako sa isang Pilipinong nagsasabing, “Salamat, akala ko hindi na magkakakuryente sa aming sitio. Akala ko hindi ko na aabuting buhay ang liwanag na ganito,” ang tugon ko: Ikaw ang gumawa nito.

Sa bawat pagkakataon na haharap ako sa isang magsasaka, guro, piloto, inhinyero, tsuper, ahente sa call center, karaniwang Pilipino; sa bawat Juan at Juana dela Cruz na nagsasabing “Salamat sa pagbabago,” ang tugon ko sa inyo: Kayo ang gumawa nito. [Applause]

Inuulit ko po: posible na ang dating imposible. Humaharap po ako sa inyo ngayon, at sinasabing: hindi ko SONA ito. Kayo ang gumawa nito. SONA ito ng sambayanang Pilipino. Maraming, maraming salamat po at magandang hapon po sa lahat. (Applause)

SOURCE:  Official Gazette of the Office of the President of the Philippines

Read Full Post »


It’s been my dream to blog in Tagalog. Although I speak the language fluently, I still find it easier expressing myself in English. I feel though that the title of this post sounds better in Tagalog than in English. It simply means, “What does a billion dollar coffee taste like?”

For those of you who have read PNoy’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) which he delivered last Monday, July 25, 2011, you’ve probably noticed his mentioning what the Commission on Audit found out about the more than a billion worth of coffee spent by PAGCOR in all its 12 branches of operation.  This has a particular impact on a nation whose lower percentage of the population is  barely on a hand-to-mouth existence. Allow me to quote his exact words . I won’t attempt to translate them here because I have previously posted both versions of the SONA earlier.

Ang totoo nga po, marami pang kalokohan ang nahalungkat natin. Halimbawa, sa PAGCOR: kape. Isang bilyong piso po ang ginastos ng dating pamunuan ng ahensya para sa kape; sa isandaang piso na lang po kada tasa, lalabas na nakakonsumo sila ng sampung milyong tasa. Baka po kahit ngayong iba na ang pamunuan ng PAGCOR ay dilat na dilat pa rin ang mata ng mga uminom ng kapeng ito. Hanapin nga po natin sila, at matanong: nakakatulog pa po ba kayo?

My gosh, a billion worth of coffee! I was telling my friends that perhaps, it’s a gold coffee in a gold cup. Later reports say that it was overpriced by 70%. How can a government agency spend that much on coffee alone?  On valued clients, maybe?

As usual, there are more negative remarks about the SONA than positive ones. Doomsayers never believe that the Philippines would be able to lift itself up again. They always think that the success of one nation depends on its government alone, more particularly its president. I ask you, as I have always asked before in my previous blogs about such similar subject, are you doing your share? And is there a perfect SONA that would cover all aspects in one hour delivery? Do you expect the president to be a magician and wave his magic wand and all the problems of the nation will be solved in a year? Aren’t  we asking too much?

Our nation is like a victim of typhoon Ondoy or typhoon Juaning for that matter. There was a devastation, read – corruption in massive amounts that we could not even imagine.  We need a complete clean-up in order to start on a clean slate and do what is necessary. PNoy couldn’t have expressed it better when he said:

Ang mali—gaano katagal man ito nanatili—ay mali pa rin. Hindi puwedeng “Oks lang, wala lang iyan.” Kapag kinalimutan natin ang mga ito, mangyayari lang ulit ang mga kamalian ng nakaraan. Kung hindi magbabayad ang mga nagkasala, parang tayo na rin mismo ang nag-imbita sa mga nagbabalak gumawa ng masama na umulit muli.

Just my thoughts…what’s yours?

Read Full Post »


State of the Nation Address
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
To the Congress of the Philippines

[English translation of the speech delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City on July 25, 2011]

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.; Vice President Jejomar Binay; former Presidents Fidel Valdez Ramos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Chief Justice Renato Corona and the honorable Justices of the Supreme Court; honorable members of the diplomatic corps; members of the House of Representatives and the Senate; Local Government Officials; members of our Cabinet; members of the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police; to my fellow servants of the Filipino people;

And to my beloved countrymen, my Bosses:

I stood before you during my inauguration and promised: we would do away with the use of the wang-wang. This one gesture has become the symbol of change, not just in our streets, but even in our collective attitude.

Over the years, the wang-wang had come to symbolize abuse of authority. It was routinely used by public officials to violate traffic laws, inconveniencing ordinary motorists—as if only the time of the powerful few, and no one else’s, mattered. Instead of behaving like public servants, they acted like kings. This privilege was extended to their cronies and patrons, who moved along the streets as if they were aristocracy, indifferent to those who were forced to give way and were left behind. Abusing privilege despite promising to serve—this is the wang-wang mindset; this is the mindset of entitlement.

They had no right to do this. The law authorizes only the President, the Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker, the Chief Justice, and police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances to use sirens in the fulfillment of their official duties—no one else. Yet the flagrant abuse we bore witness to prompts us to ask: if they felt it their privilege to flout the simplest traffic laws, how could we expect them not to help themselves to a share of projects funded by the Filipino people?

Do you want the corrupt held accountable? So do I. Do you want to see the end of wang-wang, both on the streets and in the sense of entitlement that has led to the abuse that we have lived with for so long? So do I. Do you want to give everyone a fair chance to improve their lot in life? So do I.

We have fought against the wang-wang, and our efforts have yielded results. Just this year, the number of Filipinos who experienced hunger has come down. Self-rated hunger has gone down from 20.5% in March to 15.1% this June—equivalent to a million Filipino families who used to go hungry, but who now say they eat properly every day.

As for business, who would have thought that the stock market would reach seven record highs in the past year?  At one time, we thought that for the PSE Index to reach 4,000 points would be, at best, a fluke. We now routinely exceed this threshold.

Our once low credit ratings have now been upgraded by Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch, and Japan Credit Ratings Agency—in recognition of our prudent use of funds and creative financial management. These improved credit ratings mean lower interest on our debts. Our innovative fiscal approach has saved taxpayers 23 billion pesos in the first four months of this year. This is enough to cover the 2.3 million conditional cash transfer beneficiaries for the entire year.

Let me remind you: in the nine and a half years before we were elected into office, our credit ratings were upgraded once, and downgraded six times by the different credit ratings agencies. Compare this to the four upgrades we have achieved in the single year we have been in office. This was no small feat, considering that the upgrades came after ratings agencies have grown considerably more conservative in their assessments, especially in the wake of criticism they received after the recent American financial crisis.  But while they have downgraded the ratings of other countries, they have upgraded ours, so that we are now just one notch below investment grade. Our economic team is hard at work to sustain the momentum.

And allow me to share more good news from the Department of Energy: having rid the DOE of wang-wang, we have revived the confidence of investors in our energy sector. 140 companies, all ready to participate in the exploration and strengthening of our oil and natural gas resources, can attest to this. Compare this to the last energy contracting round in 2006, which saw the participation of only 35 companies. Just last Friday, a new contract was signed for a power plant to be constructed in the Luzon grid, so that by 2014, our country will have a cheaper, more reliable source of energy.

There is confidence and there is hope; the government is now fulfilling its promises. And I cannot help but remember a woman I spoke with during one of my first house-to-house campaigns. She lamented: “It won’t matter who wins these elections. Nothing will change. I was poor when our leaders campaigned, I am poor now that they are in office, and I will still be poor when they step down.” This is a grievance echoed by many: “Our leaders didn’t care about us then, our leaders don’t care about us now, and our leaders will not care about us tomorrow.”

Given the persistence of the wang-wang attitude, wasn’t their sentiment justified? This was the attitude that allowed helicopters to be bought as if they were brand new, but had in fact already been extensively used. This was the attitude that allowed GOCC officials, like those in the Philippine National Construction Corporation, to pay themselves millions of pesos in bonuses, even as they failed to render decent service and plunged their respective agencies deeper into debt. Before they stepped down from their positions, the former heads of the PNCC gifted themselves with two hundred and thirty-two million pesos. Their franchise had lapsed in 2007; their collections should have been remitted to the national government. They did not do this, and in fact even took advantage of their positions: the bonuses they allotted to themselves in the first 6 months of 2010 was double the amount of their bonuses from 2005-2009. Yet they had the audacity to award themselves midnight bonuses, when they had already drowned their agencies in debt.

To end the wang-wang culture in government, we employed zero-based budgeting to review programs. For this year and the last, zero-based budgeting has allowed us to end many wasteful programs.

For example, we uncovered and stopped an ill-advised plan to dredge Laguna Lake. We would have borrowed 18.7 billion pesos to remove 12 million cubic meters of silt—which would have re-accumulated within three years, even before the debt could be fully paid. We also uncovered a food-for-school program with no proper targeting of beneficiaries, and other initiatives that were funded without apparent results. All of these were discontinued, and the funds rechanneled to more effective programs.

The budget is the clearest manifestation of the straight path upon which we tread. I say to those who would lead us astray: if you will further disadvantage the poor, do not even think about it. If all you would do is to fill your own pockets, do not even think about it. If it is not for the benefit of the Filipino people, do not even think about it.

I wish we could say that we had completely eliminated the wang-wang attitude, but in some parts of our consciousness, it still persists.

It still exists in the private sector. According to the BIR, we have around 1.7 million self-employed and professional taxpayers: lawyers, doctors, businessmen who paid a total of 9.8 billion pesos in 2010. This means that each of them paid only an average of 5,783 pesos in income tax—and if this is true, then they each must have earned only 8,500 pesos a month, which is below the minimum wage. I find this hard to believe.

Today we can see that our taxes are going where they should, and therefore there is no reason not to pay the proper taxes. I say to you: it’s not just the government, but our fellow citizens, who are cheated out of the benefits that these taxes would have provided.

We are holding accountable—and we will continue to hold accountable—those who practice this culture of entitlement in all government offices, as there are still some who think they can get away with it. A district in Region 4B, for example, began a project worth 300 million pesos, well beyond the 50 million pesos that district engineers can sign off on their own.  But they could not leave such a potentially large payday alone.

So they cut the project up into components that would not breach the 50 million peso limit that would have required them to seek clearance from the regional and central offices. They tried to keep this system going. And often, since lump-sum funding was being used for the projects, no questions were asked about the plans or project details. They could have been spinning webs and they would have still been given the funds, so long as they knew someone in power.

Secretary Babes Singson did not let them get away with this. He removed the district engineer from his post, and suspended the awarding of the project in an effort to uncover other anomalies that may have happened. A thorough investigation of all those involved in the case is underway; we will blacklist all contractors proven to have engaged in foul play.

Because the project had to be delayed, Filipinos who would have otherwise benefited from them are still made to face unnecessary inconveniences.

These anomalies are not limited to Region 4B. We are putting an end to them. We are eliminating the patronage politics that had been prevalent in DPWH, and replacing it with a culture in which merit prevails. All projects must have work programs; we will require those involved in projects to submit well thought out plans for consideration, so that each project complements the other. We have also instituted an honest and transparent bidding process to provide equal opportunity to interested contractors.

Because of this, we have already saved 2.5 billion pesos, and expect to save 6 to 7 billion by the end of this year. The most important thing, however, is that now, we can count on well-paved roads—as opposed to the fragile pothole-ridden paths that our people had grown used to. Once, we believed that the system in the DPWH was impossible to fix; but look—it’s possible, and we’re fixing it.

Even in agriculture, the culture of wang-wang once persisted. Before we came into office in 2010, the Philippines imported 2.3 million metric tons of rice, which was already a million metric tons more than the 1.3 million that we needed. We even had to pay extra for warehouses to store the rice acquired through excessive importation.

How many years have we been over-importing rice? Many Filipinos thought that there was nothing we could do about it.

We proved them wrong in the span of a year. What was once an estimated yearly shortage of 1.3 million metric tons is down to 660,000—that’s almost half of the original amount. Even with our buffer of 200,000 metric tons as contingency against natural calamities, it is still significantly less than what was once the norm.

Our success in this sector was not brought about by mere luck. This is simply the result of doing things right: using the most effective types of seedlings, and careful and efficient spending on irrigation. In the past year, we irrigated an additional 11,611 hectares of fields, not to mention the near 212,000 hectares of land we were able to rehabilitate. The result: a 15.6 percent increase in rice production.

We envision two things: first, an end to over-importation that only serves to benefit the selfish few. Second: we want rice self-sufficiency—that the rice served on every Filipino’s dinner table is planted here, harvested here, and purchased here.

Let us look back on the situations of many of our policemen a year ago. The average salary of a common PO1 in Metro Manila is around 13,000 pesos. Around 4,000 pesos or abour a third of their salaries goes directly to paying the rent. Another third goes to food, and the final third is all that is left for electricity and water bills, commuting, tuition fees, medicine, and everything else. Ideally, their salaries match their expenses—but this is not always the case. Those whose salaries are not enough would probably resort to taking out some loans. What happens when the interest piles up and they end up having to spend even more of their salaries? Will they still be able to do the right thing when tempted with an opportunity to make a quick buck?

This is why, this July, we have followed through on the housing promise we made in February. We were able to award 4,000 Certificates of Entitlement to Lot Allocation. This is only the first batch of the 21,800 houses we will have constructed by the end of the year. Awarding our men in uniform these houses will turn their 4,000 peso rent expense into an initial 200 peso per month payment for a house that is all theirs. The cash they once paid for rent can now be used for other needs.

I hear that there are still more than a thousand houses left, so for our policemen and our soldiers who have not yet submitted their papers, this is the last call for this batch of houses. But do not worry, because this housing program will continue next year, covering even more people and more regions. The NHA is already preparing the sites for housing projects in Visayas and Mindanao, with an expanded list of beneficiaries that will also include employees of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and of the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Speaking of security, does enhanced security not also enhance our national pride? There was a time when we couldn’t appropriately respond to threats in our own backyard. Now, our message to the world is clear: What is ours is ours; setting foot on Recto Bank is no different from setting foot on Recto Avenue.

At times I wonder if the stories about some of our past stand-offs are true—that when cannons were aimed at our marines, they could only reciprocate by cutting down a coconut tree, painting it black, and aiming it back. True or not, that time is over. Soon, we will be seeing capability upgrades and the modernization of the equipment of our armed forces. At this very moment, our very first Hamilton Class Cutter is on its way to our shores. We may acquire more vessels in the future—these, in addition to helicopters and patrol crafts, and the weapons that the AFP, PNP, and DOJ will buy in bulk to get a significant discount. This goes to show how far we can go with good governance; we can buy equipment at good prices, without having to place envelopes in anyone’s pockets.

We do not wish to increase tensions with anyone, but we must let the world know that we are ready to protect what is ours. We are also studying the possibility of elevating the case on the West Philippine Sea to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, to make certain that all involved nations approach the dispute with calm and forbearance.

Our efforts to enhance the capabilities of our men and women in uniform are already succeeding. In the first six months of 2010, we had 1,010 cases of car and motorcycle theft. Compare that to the 460 cases in the first six months of 2011. Unfortunately, it is the one or two high-profile cases that make the headlines, and not the bigger picture—the fact that there is a large drop in car and motorcycle thefts, and that we have returned a higher percentage of stolen cars to their rightful owners.

And here is another example of positive change in law enforcement. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act was signed in 2003. Unfortunately, because the government did not properly implement it, only 29 individuals were convicted in a period of seven years. In just one year, we have breached that amount, convicting 31 human traffickers. Perhaps, this is the “sea change” that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was referring to; and because of this change, the Philippines has been taken off the Tier 2 Watchlist of their Trafficking in Persons Report. If we had not been removed from this watchlist, the assistance we have been receiving from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, among others, would have been jeopardized.

Allow me to talk about jobs now. Our foremost pledge to the Filipino people was to create more jobs, and we have delivered. In April 2010, the unemployment rate was at 8%; in April 2011, it was at 7.2%.

To put things into perspective: We must all remember that the ranks of the unemployed represent a moving target. Every year, thousands of fresh graduates join the ranks of job hunters. Last year, the number of unemployed Filipinos in our labor force grew after many of our countrymen who earned a temporary living from election-related jobs—the people assigned to hanging buntings, the people tasked with clearing a path for politicians in crowds of people, the drivers, and other campaign staff—were laid off. But, despite all this, our results make our success evident: one million and four hundred thousand jobs were created last year.

Before, our foremost ambition was to work in another country. Now, the Filipino can take his pick. As long as he pursues his dreams with determination and diligence, he can realize them.

The number of jobs generated in our country can only grow from here. According to the Philjobnet website, every month there are 50,000 jobs that are not filled because the knowledge and skills of job seekers do not match the needs of the companies. We will not allow this opportunity to go to waste; at this very moment, DOLE, CHED, TESDA, and DepEd are working together to address this issue. Curricula will be reviewed and analyzed to better direct them to industries that are in need of workers, and students will be guided so that they may choose courses that will arm them with the skills apt for vacant jobs.

Despite the demand for these jobs, there are still people who are being left behind. What do we do with them? First, we identified the poorest of the poor, and invested in them, because people are our greatest resource. Of the two million families registered with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, 1.6 million are already receiving their conditional cash transfers. Through the initiative and leadership of Secretary Dinky Soliman, we have been able to give much needed assistance to an average of more than 100,000 families per month. I am optimistic that we will reach our target of 1.3 million additional beneficiaries this year. With a compliance rate of 92%, millions of mothers are already getting regular check-ups at public health centers, millions of babies are being vaccinated against common diseases, and millions of school-aged children are now attending classes.

With these significant early results, I am counting on the support of the Filipino people and Congress to expand our Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Before the end of 2012, we want to invest in the future of 3 million poor families.

We are giving these poor families a chance to improve their lives, because their progress will be the country’s progress. How can they buy products and services from businesses if they do not have a proper income? When a poor father turns to crime in order to feed his family, who would he victimize, if not us? When people cannot properly take care of themselves and fall ill, do we not run the risk of getting sick as well?

We are laying down the foundations for a brighter future for the poor. For example, in the health sector: PhilHealth beneficiaries increased during elections, as the agency was used as a tool for dispensing political patronage. Today, we identify beneficiaries through the National Household Targeting System, to make sure that the 5.2 million Filipino families who benefit from PhilHealth are those who really need it.

Let us turn our attention to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The politics there have been dominated by horse-trading and transactional politics. During national elections, whoever is in power in ARMM is free to manipulate the electoral machinery in his region, ensuring that non-allies do not get votes. That Mayor or Governor then demands payment for his services come the ARMM election, and it is the administration’s turn to manipulate the electoral machinery to secure the win of their candidate.

According to the Commission on Audit, in the office of the regional governor of ARMM, eighty percent of the funds disbursed were for cash advances that cannot be justified. If those funds had not gone to waste, a child could have gone to school. Instead, we built ghost bridges to reach ghost schools where only ghost teachers went to work.

We want ARMM to experience the benefits of good governance. And so, the solution: Synchronization—candidates in ARMM will run at the same time as candidates in other parts of the country. There would be less opportunity for them to employ command votes for political patrons. The result would be fairer elections. Thank you to Congress for passing the law synchronizing ARMM with the national elections.

And why do we need to postpone the elections? Because, in their desire to return to or retain power, many are prepared to engage in corrupt practices just to win again. Imagine if we had listened to the critics, and allowed the election to proceed under these circumstances. We would have perpetuated the endless cycle of electoral fraud and official abuse that has led ARMM to become one of the poorest regions in the country.

I do not doubt that the reforms we are putting in place will yield concrete results. When we talk about the straight and righteous path, we talk about that new road that was built in Barangay Bagumbayan in Sta. Maria, Laguna. When we say clean government, we are talking about the clean water that residents in Barangay Poblacion in Ferrol, Romblon now enjoy. When we refer to the light of change, we also refer to the electricity that now powers light bulbs in Barangay San Marcos in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. This is happening in many other places, and we will make it happen everywhere in our country.

Government agencies are now focused on realizing this; they are working together to creatively solve the problems that have long plagued our country.

Have we not had flooding problems, which we know are caused by the incessant and illegal cutting down of trees? The old solution: A tree-planting photo opportunity, whose sole beneficiaries are politicians who want to look good. They plant trees, but they do not ensure that the trees would remain standing after they leave.

One of the possible solutions we are studying is to make the stewardship of these trees beneficial to communities. They will be given coffee and cacao seeds to plant. While they wait for harvest, they will receive stipends for safeguarding the trees planted to mitigate flooding. We are looking at informal settlers, who are currently crammed into our cities, as possible beneficiaries of this program.  We will be investing in the people, even as we invest in the environment.

Who could have thought that little over a year ago, we could accomplish this? Today, we dream; one day soon, these dreams will be a reality.

This same creativity is in display with the innovations that are already being implemented. We have developed low-cost traps that kill mosquito larvae, probably contributing to the nearly fourteen percent decrease in dengue incidents; coconut coir fibers that are normally just disposed of have been used as a cost-effective way to strengthen our roads; we have landslide sensors that warn when soil erosion has reached dangerous levels; we have developed early flood warning systems for riverside communities. All of these are products of Filipino creativity.

DOST and UP have even teamed up to develop a prototype monorail system, which could potentially provide a home grown mass transport solution that would cost us as little as 100 million pesos per kilometer, much cheaper than the current cost of similar mass transit systems. The potential savings could result in more kilometers of cheap transport, decongesting our urban centers and allowing rural communities easier access to centers of commerce and industry.

Let me reiterate: These proposals were developed by Filipinos for Filipinos. Do you remember the time when we were unable to even dream of these kinds of projects? I am telling you now: We can dream about them, we are capable of achieving them, and we will achieve them. Isn’t it great to be a Filipino living in these times?

All of these things we are doing will be wasted if we do not do something to end the culture of corruption.

To my colleagues in public service, from those at the top and to every corner of the bureaucracy: Do we not feel the pride that working in government now brings? That, now, we are proud to be identified as workers in government? Will we waste this honor?

I call on our Local Government Units: Those of you who are in the best position to understand the needs of your constituents can expect greater freedom and empowerment. But we trust that in providing for your communities, you will remain committed to the straight path, and will not lose sight of the interest of the whole nation.

For instance, there are some municipalities that want to tax the electricity transmission lines that run through their jurisdictions. Although this will augment local coffers, the rest of the Filipino people will have to deal with higher electricity rates. Let us try to balance the interests of our constituencies with that of the nation as a whole.

It is imperative that our programs remain in sync, because the progress of the entire country will also redound to progress for your communities. Let us do away with forward planning that only looks as far as the next election, and think of the long-term national good.

Ultimately, we have to unite and work together towards this progress. I thank the Congress for passing laws regarding GOCC Governance, ARMM Synchronization, Lifeline Electricity Rates Extension, Joint Congressional Power Commission Extension, Children and Infants’ Mandatory Immunization, and Women Night Workers.

Last year, Congress demonstrated their support by approving the budget even before the year ended. The timely passage of the budget allowed projects to be implemented more quickly. Tomorrow we will deliver to Congress our budget proposal for 2012. I look forward once again to its early passage so that we can build on our current momentum.

We have already made progress, but we must remember: This is only the beginning, and there is much left for us to do. Allow me to present to Congress some of the measures that will bring us closer to the fulfillment of our pledge to the nation.

We aim to give due compensation to the victims of Martial Law; to grant our house help the salaries and benefits that they deserve; and to improve the system that awards pensions to our retired soldiers. We likewise support the expansion of the scope of scholarships granted by DOST to outstanding yet underprivileged students; the advancement of universal quality healthcare; the responsible management of the environment; and the formation of facilities that will ensure the safety of our citizens during times of great need and calamity.

Our agenda also includes the development of BuCor, NBI, NEA, and PTV 4, so that, instead of lagging behind the times, they will better fulfill their mandate of public service.

Not everything we want to do will be explained today, but I invite you to read the budget message, which contains a more comprehensive plan for the coming year.

Some of my critics say that I take this campaign against corruption personally. It’s true: doing what’s right is personal. Making people accountable—whoever they may be—is personal. It should be personal for all of us, because we have all been victimized by corruption.

What is wrong remains wrong, regardless of how long it has been allowed to persist. We cannot simply let it pass. If we ignore the crimes of the past, they will continue to haunt us. And if we do not hold people accountable, then they will do it again and again.

The truth is, we have uncovered so many anomalies. In PAGCOR, the previous management apparently spent one billion pesos on coffee alone. At one hundred pesos per cup, that would be ten million cups of coffee over the last several years. Where did all that coffee go? Who drank it? Perhaps we can find the people who consumed all that coffee and ask if they have been able to sleep in the last few years.

When the new Ombudsman, former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, takes office, we will have an honest-to-goodness anti-corruption office, not one that condones the corruption and abuses in government. I expect that this year, we will have filed our first major case against the corrupt and their accomplices. And these will be real cases, with strong evidence and clear testimonies, which will lead to the punishment of the guilty.

We are aware that the attainment of true justice does not end in the filing of cases, but in the conviction of criminals. I have utmost confidence that the DOJ is fulfilling its crucial role in jailing offenders, especially in cases regarding tax evasion, drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, graft and corruption, and extrajudicial killings.

We are not leaving anything to chance; good governance yields positive results. Think about it: We have realized our promise of providing the public with the services that it needs and implementing programs to help the poor without having to raise our taxes.

This has always been the plan: to level the playing field; to stop the abuse of authority; and to ensure that the benefits of growth are available to the greatest number.

We have put an end to the culture of entitlement, to wang-wang: along our roads, in government, in our society as a whole. This will bring confidence that will attract business; this will also ensure that the people’s money is put in its rightful place: Funding for infrastructure that will secure the sustained growth of the economy, which will then give rise to jobs, and public service that guarantees that no one will be left behind. More opportunities for livelihood will be opened by tourism; the strengthening of our agriculture sector will ensure that every Filipino will have food on his table. We will invest on those who were once neglected. All this will create a cycle wherein all available jobs are filled, and where businesses flourish through the empowerment of their consumers.

I am aware that, until now, there are still a few who complain about our style of governance. But you have seen our style, and its ensuing results. You have seen their style, and, especially, where that took us. Anyone with their eyes open can clearly see which is right.

We are steering our government in a clear direction. A country where opportunity is available; where those in need are helped; where everyone’s sacrifices are rewarded; and where those who do wrong are held accountable.

I remember a woman warning me during the campaign: “Noy, be careful, you will be stepping on many toes.”

Sometimes, I do worry about what I am doing. But I am heartened because you are with me, and we stand on the side of what is right.

I thank the priests and bishops who have continued to dialogue with us, like Cardinals Rosales and Vidal. Cardinal Rosales and I may not be the closest of friends, but I believe that he did all that he could to reduce the tensions between the church and the government. The election of Archbishop Palma, defender of human rights and of the environment, as head of the CBCP only bolsters my confidence that the state and the clergy will be able to engage each other in a positive manner. I likewise thank my Cabinet, who have sacrificed their personal comfort to fulfill the national agenda. I give special mention to PAGASA, who now truly delivers reliable advice and warnings during times of calamity.

And to those who may resist the change we are trying to bring about, this I say to you: I know what I must do, and my personal interests are nothing when compared to the interests of the nation. There are many of us who want what is right for this country; and there are more of us than you. To those of you who would turn back the tide of reform: you will not succeed.

To those who have chosen to tread the straight and righteous path alongside us: it is you who created this change, and it is you who will bequeath our success to your children. To the jeepney driver plying his route; to the teachers and students coming home from class; to the artists whose work inspires our sense of nationhood; to our policemen, our soldiers, our street sweepers, and our firemen; to you who work with honor, in the Philippines, in the oceans, or in other countries; our colleagues in government who stand steadfast with us, whatever province you come from, whatever party you belong to; every Filipino listening to me now—you made this happen.

You created a government that truly works for you. We still have five years left to ensure that we will not return to what once was. We will not be derailed, especially now that what we have begun has yielded so many positive results.

If you see a loophole in the system, do not take advantage of it. Let us not acquire through patronage what we can acquire through hard work. No more cheating, no more taking advantage of others, no more one-upmanship—because in the end we will all realize our shared aspirations.

Let us end the culture of negativism; let us uplift our fellow Filipinos at every opportunity. Why are there people who enjoy finding fault in our country, who find it so hard—as though it were a sin—to say something nice? Can we even remember the last time we praised a fellow Filipino?

Let us stop pulling our fellow man down. Let us put an end to our crab mentality. Let us make the effort to recognize the good that is being done.

If you see something right, do not think twice—praise it. If you see a policeman directing traffic, coatless beneath the rain—go to him and say, “Thank you.”

If you fall sick, and you see your nurse caring for you, when she could easily be treating foreigners for a higher salary—say, “Thank you.”

Before you leave school for home, approach your teacher who chose to invest in your future—say, “Thank you.”

If you chance upon your local leader on a road that was once riddled with holes, but is now smooth and sturdy—go to him and say, “Thank you, for the change you have brought.”

And so, to the Filipino nation, my Bosses who have steered us toward this day: Thank you very much for the change that is now upon us.

The Philippines and the Filipino people are, finally, truly alive.

Read Full Post »


State of the Nation Address
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
To the Congress of the Philippines

[Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City on July 25, 2011]

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; Bise Presidente Jejomar Binay; mga dating Pangulong Fidel Valdez Ramos at Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Chief Justice Renato Corona at ang ating mga kagalang-galang na mahistrado ng Korte Suprema; mga kagalang-galang na kasapi ng diplomatic corps; mga butihing miyembro ng Kamara de Representante at ng Senado; mga Local Government officials; mga miyembro ng ating Gabinete; mga unipormadong kasapi ng militar at kapulisan; mga kapwa ko nagseserbisyo sa taumbayan;

At sa mga minamahal kong kababayan, ang aking butihing mga boss:

Humarap po ako sa inyo noong aking inagurasyon at sinabing: Walang wang-wang sa ating administrasyon. At ngayon, patuloy nating itinitigil ito. Naging hudyat at sagisag po ito ng pagbabago, hindi lamang sa kalsada, kundi pati na rin sa kaisipan sa lipunan.

Sa matagal na panahon, naging simbolo ng pang-aabuso ang wang-wang. Dati, kung makapag-counterflow ang mga opisyal ng pamahalaan, para bang oras lang nila ang mahalaga. Imbes na maglingkod-bayan, para bang sila ang naging hari ng bayan.  Kung maka-asta ang kanilang mga padrino’t alipores, akala mo’y kung sinong maharlika kung humawi ng kalsada; walang pakialam sa mga napipilitang tumabi at napag-iiwanan. Ang mga dapat naglilingkod ang siya pang nang-aapi. Ang panlalamang matapos mangakong maglingkod—iyan po ang utak wang-wang.

Wala silang karapatang gawin ito. Ayon sa batas, tanging ang Presidente, Bise Presidente, Senate President, House Speaker, Chief Justice, at pulis, bumbero, at ambulansya lang ang awtorisadong gumamit ng wangwang para sa kanilang mga opisyal na lakad. Kung sa trapiko nga ay di masunod ang batas, paano pa kaya sa mga bagay na mas malaki ang makukuha, tulad ng sa mga proyektong pinopondohan ng kaban ng bayan?

Kayo po ba gusto ninyong makulong ang lahat ng tiwali? Ako rin. Gusto ba ninyong matanggal ang wang-wang, hindi lamang sa kalsada, kundi sa kaisipang nagdulot ng baluktot na sistema na pagkatagal-tagal na nating pinagtiisan? Ako rin. Gusto po ba ninyong mabigyan ng patas na pagkakataon ang lahat na umasenso? Ako rin.

Narito po ang halimbawa ng resulta ng ating kampanya kontra wang-wang sa sistema. Nitong taong ito, taumbayan na mismo ang nagsabi, nabawasan ang nagugutom sa kanila. Mula 20.5% na self-rated hunger noong Marso, bumaba na ito sa 15.1% nitong Hunyo, katumbas ng isang milyong pamilyang Pilipinong nagugutom dati, pero ngayon ay nakakakain na nang tama kada araw.

Sa larangan po ng negosyo, sino ba ang nag-akalang pitong ulit nating malalampasan ang all-time-high ng stock market? Ang dating 4,000 index na inaakalang hindi maaabot, o kung maabot man ay pansamantala lang, ngayon, pangkaraniwan nang hinihigitan.

Kung dati napako na ang bansa sa mababang credit ratings, itinaas ng Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch, at Japan Credit Ratings Agency ang ating ranking, bilang pagkilala sa ating tamang paggugol ng pondo at sa malikhain nating pananalapi. Ang mataas na credit rating, magpapababa ng interes sa perang inuutang natin. Kumpara sa unang apat na buwan ng nakaraang taon, mas malaki po ng 23 billion pesos ang natipid nating interest payments mula Enero hanggang Abril ng 2011. Maaari na po nitong sagutin ang dalawang milyon at tatlongdaan libong benepisyaryo ng CCT hanggang sa katapusan ng 2011.

Paalala ko lang po, sa siyam at kalahating taon bago tayo maitalaga sa puwesto, iisang beses lang tayong nakatikim ng ratings upgrade, at anim na beses pang na-downgrade ng iba’t ibang ratings agency. Sa isang taon pa lang po natin, apat na beses na tayong nabigyan ng upgrade. Alam naman po natin na hindi madaling ma-upgrade sa panahon ngayon. Itong mga ratings agency, nabatikos na mali raw ang payo bago magkakrisis sa Amerika, kaya ngayon ay mas makunat na sila sa pagbibigay ng magandang ratings, at nakikita nga natin ito sa sunud-sunod na pag-downgrade sa ibang bansa. Pero tayo po, inupgrade pa nila. Sang-ayon silang lahat: gumanda at lalo pang gaganda ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas. Isang hakbang na lang po, aabot na tayo sa investment grade, at wala pong tigil ang ating economic team upang tuluyan na tayong makaarangkada.

At may mabubuting balita pa pong parating. Dahil wala nang wang-wang sa DOE, muling nabuhay ang kumpiyansa ng mga namumuhunan sa ating energy sector.  Patunay dito ang isandaan at apatnapung kumpanya na nakahandang tumaya sa eksplorasyon at pagpapalakas ng ating oil at natural gas resources. Sa huling energy contracting round noong 2006, tatlumpu’t lima lang po ang nakilahok. Nitong Biyernes lamang po, nilagdaan na ang panibagong kasunduan para sa isang bagong power plant sa Luzon grid upang pagdating ng 2014, may mas mura at mas maaasahang pagmumulan ng enerhiya ang bansa.

May kumpiyansa, may pag-asa, at tinutupad po natin ang ating mga pangako. Naaalala ko nga po ang babaeng nakausap ko nang ako’y unang nagha-house-to house campaign. Ang kaniyang hinaing: “Miski sino naman ang manalo, pare-pareho lang ang kahihinatnan. Mahirap ako noong sila ay nangangampanya; mahirap ako habang nakaupo sila, at mahirap pa rin ako pag nagretiro na sila.” Sa madaling salita, ang hinaing po ng marami, “Walang pakialam ang mga pinuno namin kahapon, wala silang pakialam ngayon. Bukas, wala pa rin silang pakialam.”

Di po ba’t may katuwiran naman siya sa pagsasabi nito, dahil sa pagwawang-wang sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno? Wang-wang po ang pagbili ng helicopter sa presyong brand new, pero iyon pala ay gamit na gamit na. Wang-wang ang milyun-milyong pabuya na tinanggap ng mga opisyal ng GOCC, tulad ng sa Philippine National Construction Corporation, gayong hindi naman sila nakapaghandog ng disenteng serbisyo, at ibinaon pa sa utang ang kanilang mga ahensya. Bago sila bumaba sa puwesto, dalawandaan, tatlumpu’t dalawang milyong piso po ang inomento ng dating pamunuan ng PNCC sa kanilang sarili. 2007 pa lang po, wala na silang prangkisa; lahat ng kikitain, dapat diretso na sa pambansang gobyerno. Hindi na nga nag-abot ng kita, sinamantala pa ang puwesto. Ang bonus nila mula 2005 hanggang 2009, dinoble pa nila sa unang anim na buwan ng 2010. Ibinaon na nga po nila sa bilyun-bilyong pisong utang ang kanilang tanggapan, nasikmura pa nilang magbigay ng midnight bonus sa sarili.

Para po pigilan ang pagwang-wang sa kaban ng bayan, sinuyod at sinuri natin ang mga programa. Dalawang magkasunod na taon na po nating ipinatutupad ang zero-based budgeting, na nagsisilbing kalasag sa walang-saysay na paggastos.

Sa Laguna Lake po, magtatanggal nga ng 12 million cubic meters sa dredging, pero pagkatapos ng tatlong taon, garantisado naman itong babalik. 18.7 billion pesos ang magiging utang natin para lang maglaro ng putik. Hindi pa bayad ang utang, nag-expire na ang pakinabang. Pinigilan po natin iyan. Ang food-for-school program na bara-bara lang ang paghahanap ng benepisyaryo, at iba pang inisyatibang pinondohan ngunit walang pinatunguhan—binura na natin sa budget upang ang pera namang nalibre, ay mailaan sa mga proyektong totoong may silbi.

Ang budget po ang pinakamalinaw na pagsasabuhay ng ating tuwid na landas. Ang aking pahiwatig sa lahat ng gusto pang ilihis tayo rito: Kung mang-aagrabyado ka lang ng mahirap, huwag ka nang magtangka. Kung sarili mo lang ang papayamanin mo, huwag ka nang magtangka. Kung hindi iyan para sa Pilipino, huwag ka nang magtangka.

Sana masabi na natin na tapos na ang utak wang-wang, pero nakikita po natin ang latak ng ganitong kaisipan na pilit bumubulahaw sa aliwalas ng ating biyahe sa tuwid na landas.

Mukhang marami rin po kasi ang nagwawang-wang sa pribadong sektor. Ayon sa BIR, mayroon tayong halos 1.7 million na self-employed at professional tax payers gaya ng mga abogado, doktor, negosyante na nagbayad lamang, sa suma total, ng 9.8 billion pesos noong 2010. 5,783 pesos lang ang ibinayad na income tax ng bawat isa sa kanila—ang ibig sabihin, kung totoo po ito, ang kabuuang kita nila ay umaabot lang ng 8,500 pesos lamang kada buwan. Mababa pa sa minimum wage. Naman.

Nakikita naman po ninyong napupunta na sa tama ang buwis ninyo, kaya wala na pong dahilan upang iwasan natin ang pagbabayad. Nananawagan po ako sa inyo: Hindi lang po gobyerno, kundi kapwa natin Pilipino ang pinagkakaitan sa hindi pagbabayad ng tamang buwis.

Pinananagot at pananagutin po natin ang wang-wang saanmang sulok ng gobyerno. Ang masakit, hanggang sa mga araw pong ito, may sumusubok pa ring makalusot. Mayroon nga pong isang distrito sa Region 4B, may proyektong gagastusan ng 300 million pesos. Kaso hanggang 50 million pesos lang ang puwedeng aprubahan ng district engineer.

Kaya naisip nilang ichop-chop ang proyekto para di lumampas sa 50 million pesos ang halaga, at di na umabot sa regional at central office ang mga papeles. Kani-kaniyang diskarte, kani-kaniyang kaharian ang nadatnan nating situwasyon sa DPWH. Sinubukan nilang ipagpatuloy ang nakasanayan na nila. Kadalasan, dahil sa lump-sum na pagbibigay ng pondo, wala nang tanung-tanong kung ano ang plano at detalye ng proyekto. Miski yata bahay ng gagamba ang ipapatayo, bibigyan ng pondo, basta may padrino.

Hindi ito pinalusot ni Secretary Babes Singson. Tinanggal na niya sa puwesto ang district engineer. Pinigilan din po ang pag-award ng proyektong ito para busisiin kung ano pang magic ang nangyari. Masusi na ring iniimbestigahan lahat ng nagkuntsabahan. Ang mga kontratistang mapatunayang nakipagsabwatan para mag-tongpats sa mga proyekto, ibablack-list natin.

Tingnan nga po ninyo ang idinulot na perhuwisyo ng pagwawang-wang sa sistema: Tuloy ang pagdusa ng mamamayang dapat nakikinabang na sa proyekto ng bayan.

Hindi lang po iyan sa region 4B nadiskubre. Ngunit natigil na po ito dahil hindi na padrino kundi tamang proseso ang naghahari sa DPWH. Hindi na puwedeng walang work program; kailangang magpakita ng pinag-isipang plano para hindi magkasalungat ang pagsasagawa ng mga proyekto. Malinis at hayag na ang bidding, at pantay na ang pagkakataon sa pagpasok ng mga kontratista.

Sa sistemang pinaiiral ngayon sa DPWH, nakatipid na tayo ng dalawa’t kalahating bilyong piso, at umaasa tayo na aabot pa sa anim hanggang pitong bilyong piso ang matitipid sa taon na ito. Ang pinakamahalaga po, nakakaasa na tayo sa mga kalsadang matino, hindi ‘yung maambunan lang ay lulundo o mabibiyak agad. Paniwala natin dati, imposibleng maitama ng DPWH ang sistema nila. Hindi lang po ito posible; sa unang taon pa lamang, ginagawa na natin ito.

Kahit po sa mga bukirin, may mga nagwawang-wang din. Bago tayo maupo noong 2010, nag-angkat ang bansa ng 2.3 million metric tons ng bigas. 1.3 million metric tons lamang ang kailangan nating angkatin, ngunit pinasobrahan pa nila ito ng isang milyon. Dahil nga sobra-sobra ang inangkat, kinailangan pa nating gumastos muli sa mga bodegang pagtatambakan lang naman ng barko-barkong bigas.

Ilang taon bang walang saysay na pinasobrahan ang bigas na inaangkat? Dahil dito, umiral ang pag-iisip na habambuhay na tayong aangkat ng bigas. Ang akala ng marami, wala na talaga tayong magagawa.

Ngunit sa loob lamang ng isang taon, pinatunayan nating mali sila. Ngayon, ang dating 1.3 million metric tons na kakulangan natin sa bigas, halos nangalahati na; 660,000 metric tons na lang po ang kailangan nating angkatin. Kahit dagdagan pa natin iyan ng panangga laban sa sakuna at gawing 860,000 metric tons—na ginagawa na nga po natin—mas mababa pa rin ito sa tinatayang taunang kakulangan na 1.3 million metric tons.

At hindi po buwenas lang ang nangyaring pag-angat ng ating rice productivity. Bunga po ito ng matinong pamamalakad: ng paggamit ng maiinam na klase ng binhi, at masusi at epektibong paggastos para sa irigasyon. Nito nga pong nakaraang taon, labing-isang libo, animnaraan at labing-isang bagong ektarya ng bukirin ang napatubigan natin. Dagdag pa iyan sa halos dalawandaan at labindalawang libong ektarya na nakumpuni o nabigyang muli ng irigasyon matapos ang panahon ng pagkakatiwangwang. Ang resulta: umangat ng 15.6% ang inani nating palay noong nakaraang taon.

Ang gusto nating mangyari: Una, hindi tayo aangkat ng hindi kailangan, para lang punan ang bulsa ng mga gustong magsariling-diskarte ng kita sa agrikultura. Ikalawa: Ayaw na nating umasa sa pag-angkat; ang isasaing ni Juan dela Cruz, dito ipupunla, dito aanihin, dito bibilhin.

Balikan din po natin ang dinatnang kalagayan ng ating mga kawal at kapulisan. Labingtatlong libong piso po ang karaniwang suweldo ng isang PO1 sa Metro Manila. Apat na libong piso daw rito ang napupunta sa upa ng bahay. Tila tama nga po na isang-katlo ng kanilang sahod diretso na sa upa. Isang-katlo pa nito, para naman sa pagkain. At ang natitirang isang-katlo, para sa kuryente, tubig, pamasahe, pampaaral sa anak, gamot sakaling may magkasakit, at iba pa. Maganda na nga po kung tumabla ang kita niya sa gastusin. Kapag naman kinapos, malamang sa five-six po sila lalapit. At kapag nagpatung-patong ang interes ng utang nila, makatanggi kaya sila sa tuksong dumelihensya?

Kaya ang ipinangako nating pabahay nitong Pebrero, ngayong Hulyo ay tinutupad na. Nakapag-abot na po tayo ng apat na libong Certificate of Entitlement to Lot Allocation sa magigiting nating kawal at pulis. Bahagi pa lang po ito ng target nating kabuuang dalawampu’t isang libo at walong daang bahay sa pagtatapos ng taong ito. Ang dating apatnalibong ibinabayad para sa upa kada buwan, ngayon, dalawandaang piso na lang, para pa sa bahay na pagmamay-ari talaga nila. Ang dating nalalagas na halaga na pambayad sa buwanang renta, maaari nang igugol para sa ibang gastusin.

Mayroon pa raw pong mahigit isang libong bahay na natitira, kaya po sa mga pulis at sundalo nating di pa nakakapagpasa ng papeles, last call na po para sa batch na ito. Pero huwag po kayong mag-alala, sa susunod na taon, lalawak pa ang ating pabahay, at hindi lang pulis at kawal sa Luzon ang makikinabang. Inihahanda na ng NHA ang lupang patatayuan sa Visayas at Mindanao, para sa susunod na taon, makapagpatayo na tayo ng mga bahay doon. Sa ating mga kawani ng Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at Bureau of Fire Protection, may good news po ako: kasama na po kayo rito.

Kung seguridad na rin lang po ang ating pag-uusapan, di ba’t karugtong din nito ang ating pambansang dangal? Dati, hindi man lang natin makuhang pumalag tuwing may sisindak sa atin sa loob mismo ng ating bakuran. Malinaw ang pahiwatig natin ngayon sa buong mundo: Ang sa Pilipinas ay sa Pilipinas; kapag tumapak ka sa Recto Bank, para ka na ring tumapak sa Recto Avenue.

Tama nga po kaya ang kuwento tungkol sa isang stand-off noong araw? Tinapatan daw ang mga marino natin ng kanyon. Ang ginawa nila, pumutol ng puno ng niyog, pininturahan ito ng itim, saka itinutok sa kalaban. Tapos na po ang panahong iyan. Parating na ang mga capability upgrade at modernization ng mga kagamitan ng ating Sandatahang Lakas. Literal na pong naglalakbay sa karagatan papunta rito ang kauna-unahan nating Hamilton Class Cutter, isang mas modernong barko na magagamit natin para mabantayan ang ating mga baybayin. Maaari pa po tayong makakuha ng mga barkong tulad nito. Idadagdag iyan sa kukunin na nating mga helicopter, patrol craft, at sandata na bultong bibilhin ng AFP, PNP, at DOJ upang makakuha ng malaking diskuwento. Lahat po ito, makakamtan sa matinong pamamahala; mabibili sa tamang presyo, nang walang kailangang ipadulas kung kani-kanino.

Wala tayong balak mang-away, pero kailangan ding mabatid ng mundo na handa tayong ipagtanggol ang atin. Pinag-aaralan na rin po natin ang pag-angat ng kaso sa West Philippine Sea sa International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, upang masigurong sa mga susunod na pagkakataon ay hinahon at pagtitimpi ang maghahari tuwing may alitan sa teritoryo.

Alam ko pong magbubunga ang pag-aarugang ipinapamalas natin sa mga lingkod-bayan na nakatutok sa ating seguridad. Mantakin po ninyo: sa unang anim na buwan ng 2010, umabot sa isanlibo at sampung (1,010) kotse at motorsiklo ang nanakaw. Ikumpara po natin iyan sa apatnaraan at animnapung (460) kotse at motorsiklong nanakaw mula Enero hanggang Hunyo ng taong ito. Ang laki po ng naibawas. Malas ko lang po siguro na ‘yung isa o dalawang kaso ng carnapping ang nai-heheadline, at hindi ang pagbawas sa mga insidente nito o ang mas mataas na porsyento ng mga nanakaw na kotse na naibalik sa may-ari.

Isa pa pong halimbawa ng pagbabagong tinatamasa natin: Mayo ng 2003 nang lagdaan ang Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, pero dahil hindi sineryoso ng estado ang pagpapatupad nito, dalawampu’t siyam na indibiduwal lamang ang nahatulan sa loob ng pitong taon. Nalagpasan na po natin iyan, dahil umabot na sa tatlumpu’t isang human traffickers ang nahatulan sa ating administrasyon. Ito na po siguro ang sinasabing “sea change” ni Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ng Amerika. Dahil dito, natanggal na tayo sa Tier 2 Watchlist ng Trafficking in Persons Report nila. Kung hindi tayo natanggal sa watchlist na ito, siguradong napurnada pa ang mga grant na maaari nating makuha mula sa Millenium Challenge Corporation at iba pa.

Dumako po tayo sa trabaho. Dagdag-trabaho ang unang panata natin sa Pilipino. Ang 8% na unemployment rate noong Abril ng nakaraang taon, naibaba na sa 7.2% nitong Abril ng 2011. Tandaan po natin: moving target ang nasa hanay ng ating unemployed, dahil taun-taon ay may mga bagong graduate na naghahanap ng trabaho. Nito nga pong huling taon, nadagdag pa sa bilang nila ang libu-libong hawi boys, tagasabit ng banderitas, at iba pang mga Pilipinong kumuha ng pansamantalang kabuhayan mula sa eleksyon. Ang resulta po natin: Isang milyon at apatnaraang libong trabahong nalikha nitong nakaraang taon.

Dati, nakapako sa pangingibang-bansa ang ambisyon ng mga Pilipino. Ngayon, may pagpipilian na siyang trabaho, at hangga’t tinatapatan niya ng sipag at determinasyon ang kanyang pangangarap, tiyak na maaabot niya ito.

Malaki pa po ang puwedeng madagdag sa trabahong nalilikha sa ating bansa. Ayon pa lang po sa website nating Philjobnet, may limampung libong trabahong hindi napupunan kada buwan dahil hindi tugma ang kailangan ng mga kumpanya sa kakayahan at kaalaman ng mga naghahanap ng trabaho. Hindi po natin hahayaang masayang ang pagkakataong ito; ngayon pa lang, nagtatagpo na ang kaisipan ng DOLE, CHED, TESDA, at DEPED upang tugunan ang isyu ng job mismatch. Susuriin ang mga curriculum para maituon sa mga industriyang naghahanap ng empleyado, at gagabayan ang mga estudyante sa pagpili ng mga kursong hitik sa bakanteng trabaho.

Ngunit aanhin naman po natin ang mga numerong naghuhudyat ng pag-asenso ng iilan, kung marami pa rin ang napag-iiwanan? Ang unang hakbang: tinukoy natin ang totoong nangangailangan; namuhunan tayo sa pinakamahalaga nating yaman: ang taumbayan. Sa dalawang milyong pamilyang rehistrado sa ating Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, isang milyon at animnaraang libo na ang nakakatanggap ng benepisyo nito. Sa pagpapakitang-gilas ni Secretary Dinky Soliman, tinatayang may mahigit isandaang libong pamilya ang naiaahon natin mula sa kahirapan kada buwan. Kaya naman mataas ang aking kumpiyansang makukumpleto ang 1.3 million na dagdag na pamilya, mula sa kabuuang 2.3 milyong pamilyang target na benepisyaryo ng CCT bago matapos ang taong ito. At sa compliance rate nito na hindi bababa sa 92%, milyun-milyon na rin po ang inang regular na nagpapacheck-up sa mga health center, ang mga sanggol na napabakunahan, at ang mga batang hindi hinahayaan sa labas ng paaralan.

Simula pa lang po ito, at sa ganitong kalinaw na mga resulta, umaasa ako sa suporta ng bawat Pilipino, lalo na ng lehislatura, sa mungkahi nating salinan pa ng pondo ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Inaasam po natin na bago matapos ang 2012, tatlong milyong pamilya na ang mabibigyan ng puhunan para sa kanilang kinabukasan.

Binibigyan natin ang mga maralitang pamilyang ito ng pagkakataong makaahon sa buhay, dahil ang pag-asenso nila ay pag-angat rin ng buong bansa. Sino ang tatangkilik sa mga produkto at serbisyo ng mga negosyante, kung isang kahig, isang tuka naman ang mamimili? Kapag may amang kumakapit sa patalim para may kainin ang kanyang pamilya, at siya ay nagnakaw o nangholdap, sino ba ang puwedeng mabiktima ng krimen kundi tayo rin? Kung ang mga kababayan natin ay walang maayos na pagkain o tahanan, mahina ang kalusugan at may malubhang karamdaman, hindi ba’t tayo rin ang nasa peligrong mahawa sa kanilang kapansanan?

Naglalatag po tayo ng pagbabago upang mas mapatibay ang pundasyon ng maaliwalas na bukas para sa lahat. Halimbawa, sa kalusugan: Di ba’t kapansin-pansin ang pagtaas ng bilang ng mga benepisyaryo ng PhilHealth tuwing maghahalalan? Ngayon, sa pamamagitan ng National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), tiniyak natin na ang limang milyon at dalawandaang libong pamilyang Pilipino na nakikinabang sa PhilHealth ay ang talagang mga nangangailangan nito. Malawakang pag-unlad at pag-asenso ng lahat: Iyan po ang panata natin. Walang maiiwan sa tuwid na landas.

Tumungo naman po tayo sa ARMM. Ang dating sistema: Nagbabatuhan lang ng huwad na utang ng loob ang mga baluktot na kandidato. Kapag pambansang halalan, malaya ang nakaupo sa ARMM na imane-obra ang makinarya sa kaniyang rehiyon para matiyak na bokya ang boto ng mga hindi kaalyado. Kapag naman eleksyon sa ARMM at maniningil na ng utang si Mayor o Governor, ang administrasyon naman ang magpapatakbo ng makinarya para manalo ang kanilang kandidato.

Ayon nga po sa naungkat ng COA, sa opisina ng regional governor ng ARMM, mula Enero 2008 hanggang Setyembre 2009, walumpung porsyento ng mga disbursement ang napunta sa mga cash advance na wala namang maayos na paliwanag. Kung hindi nawala ang pondong ito, nakatapos na sana ang isang batang tumawid sa ghost bridge, para pumasok sa ghost school, kung saan tuturuan siya ng ghost teacher. Walang humpay na paghihirap, at walang pag-asa ng pag-asenso.

Gusto nating maranasan ng ARMM ang benepisyo ng tamang pamamahala. Kaya ang solusyon: synchronization. Dahil dito, kailangan nilang tumutok sa kani-kanilang mga kampanya; magiging mas patas ang labanan, at lalabnaw ang command votes. Salamat sa Kongreso at naipasa na ang batas na magsasabay ng halalan sa ARMM sa halalang pambansa.

At bakit po postponement ang kailangan? Sa kagustuhang makabalik sa puwesto, nakahanda ang ilan na ulitin ang nakagawian para manalo. Isipin na lang po ninyo kung pumayag tayo sa kagustuhan ng mga kontra, at itinuloy natin ang eleksyon. Wala po silang ibang gagawin sa loob ng dalawang taon kundi paghandaan ang susunod na halalan at isiksik ang kalokohan nila sa mas maigsing panahon. Habang nananatili sa pwesto ang mga utak wang-wang na opisyal, naiiwan namang nakalubog sa kumunoy ng kawalang-pagasa ang taumbayan.

Wala akong duda sa kahihinatnan ng mga repormang inilatag natin. Hindi po tayo nagbubukambibig lang; may kongkretong resulta ang ating mga paninindigan. Kapag sinabi nating tuwid na daan, may katapat itong kalsada sa Barangay Bagumbayan sa Sta. Maria, Laguna. Kapag sinabi nating malinis na pamamahala, may dadaloy na malinis na tubig sa mga liblib na lugar gaya ng nasa Barangay Poblacion, sa Ferrol, Romblon. Kapag sinabi nating liwanag ng pagbabago, titiyakin nating may liwanag na tatanglaw sa mga pamayanang dati ay nangangapa sa aandap-andap na gasera, gaya ng ginawa natin sa Barangay San Marcos, sa Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. Ganito na ang nangyayari sa marami pang ibang lugar; pinipilit nating ito rin ang mangyari sa kabuuan ng Pilipinas.

Nakatutok na po ang iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno; nag-uugnayan at nagtutulungan sila upang maabot at mapabilis ang mga solusyon sa mga problemang kaytagal nang pinapasan ng bayan.

Di po ba’t may problema tayo sa baha, na alam naman nating dulot ng walang humpay at ilegal na pagputol ng mga puno? Ang dating solusyon: photo-op ng  pagtatanim na ang tanging benepisyaryo ay nagpapapoging pulitiko. Nagtanim nga ng puno kontra-baha, pero hindi naman siniguro na mananatiling nakatayo ang mga ito pag-alis nila.

Isa sa mga solusyong pinag-aaralan ay ang gawing kapaki-pakinabang sa mga pamayanan ang pagbabantay ng puno. Bibigyan sila ng binhi ng kape at cacao para itanim at mamunga ng kabuhayan. Habang hinihintay ang ani, makakakuha sila ng stipend upang bantayan naman ang mga punong itinanim laban sa baha. Puwedeng maging benepisyaryo ng programang ito ang mga informal settlers, na ngayon ay nagkukumpulan sa siyudad. Mamumuhunan tayo sa taumbayan, habang namumuhunan din sa kalikasan.

Noon bang isang taon, inisip ninyo na kaya nating gawin ito? Sa ngayon, tinutupad na natin ang ating mga pangako. Bukas makalawa, katotohanan na ang lahat ng ito.

Marami pa pong malikhaing konsepto na inilalapit sa atin. May mosquito trap na pinapatay ang mga kiti-kiti ng lamok, na siguro naman po ay may kinalaman sa halos labing-apat na porsiyentong pagbaba ng insidente ng dengue; may hibla ng niyog na itatapon na sana, pero puwede palang murang solusyon sa mga daanang madaling mabitak; may landslide sensor na magbababala kung tumaas na ang panganib na gumuho ang lupa; may mga kagamitang magbibigay ng senyales kung malapit nang umapaw ang tubig sa mga ilog. Lahat po ito, gawa ng Pilipino.

Pinag-aaralan na rin po ng DOST at UP ang pagkakaroon ng monorail system, para tugunan ang problema sa pangmalawakang transportasyon. Sa malikhaing pag-iisip ng kapwa Pilipino, may pag-asa palang magtayo ng light rail system nang hindi hihigit sa 100 million pesos ang gagastusin kada kilometro. Sa matitipid na pondo, mas mahabang kilometro ng riles ang mailalatag at makaka-abot sa mga lugar na malayo sa sentro ng komersyo. Ang mga dating sumisiksik sa siyudad para maghanap ng trabaho, maaari nang tumira sa malayo, nang hindi pahirapan ang biyahe.

Uulitin ko po: ang mungkahing ito ay galing sa kapwa natin Pilipino, para sa Pilipinas. Naaalala po ba ninyo ang panahon kung kailan ni hindi man lang maabot ng mga pangarap natin ang ganitong mga proyekto? Ngayon, sinasabi ko sa inyo: pinapangarap natin ito, kaya natin ito, gagawin natin ito. Hindi ba tayo nagagalak, Pilipino tayong nabubuhay sa ganitong panahon?

Sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, huwag po sana nating lilimutin: masasayang lang ang lahat ng ating narating kung hindi tuluyang maiwawaksi ang kultura ng korupsyon na dinatnan natin.

Sa mga kapwa ko empleyado ng sambayanan, mula sa tuktok hanggang sa bawat sulok ng burukrasya: Di po ba’t napakarangal na ngayon ang magtrabaho sa gobyerno? Di po ba’t ngayon, sa halip na ikahiya, gusto mo pang isuot ang iyong ID kung sumasakay ka ng bus o jeep papasok sa iyong ahensya? Sasayangin po ba natin ang karangalang kaloob sa atin ng sambayanan?

Iyan din po ang aking panawagan sa ating Local Government Units. Kabilang po ako sa mga sumasang-ayon na kayo ang pinaka-nakakaalam sa pangangailangan ng taumbayan sa inyong mga lungsod at munisipyo. Makakaasa po ang ating mga LGU sa higit na kalayaan at kakayahan, kung makakaasa rin tayong gagamitin ito sa tuwid na paraan, at isasaalang-alang ang kapakanan ng buong sambayanan.

Halimbawa po, may ilang munisipyo na naisipang magbuwis sa mga transmission lines ng kuryente na dadaan sa kanilang mga pook. Magpapasok nga po ng kita sa kanilang lokal na kaban, pero kapalit nito, tataas din ang gastusin ng mas nakararaming Pilipino sa kuryente. Tiwala po akong kaya nating balansehin ang interes ng inyong mga nasasakupan sa interes ng sambayanan.

Kailangan pong manatiling magkatugma ang ating mga programa, dahil ang ikauunlad ng buong bansa ay manganganak din ng resulta sa inyong mga pook. Wakasan na po sana natin ang agendang nakatuon sa susunod na eleksyon lamang, at ang kaisipang isla-isla tayong maihihiwalay ang sariling pagsulong sa pag-unlad ng bansa.

Tayo-tayo rin po ang dapat magtulungan tungo sa kaunlaran. Malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa Kongreso sa pagpapasa ng mga batas ukol sa GOCC Governance, ARMM Synchronization, Lifeline Electricity Rates Extension, Joint Congressional Power Commission Extension, Children and Infants’ Mandatory Immunization, at Women Night Workers.

Noong isang taon nga po, nagpakitang-gilas ang Kongreso sa pagpasa ng budget bago matapos ang taon. Dahil dito, nasimulan agad ang mga proyekto at hindi na inabot ng tag-ulan. Bukas na bukas po, ihahain na namin sa lehislatura ang budget para sa susunod na taon. Umaasa po ako na muli kayong magpapakitang-gilas, upang tuluyan na nating mapitas ang bunga ng mga naitanim nating pagbabago.

Maganda na po ang ating nasimulan. Pero mahalaga pong maalala natin: simula pa lang ito. Marami pa tayong gagawin. Hayaan po ninyong ilatag ko sa Kongreso ang ilan sa mga batas na magpapaigting sa pagtupad ng ating panata sa bayan.

Layon nating bigyan ng kaukulang kompensasyon ang mga biktima ng Martial Law; ang pagkakaloob ng makatarungang pasahod at benepisyo para sa mga kasambahay; at ang pagpapatupad ng isang mas maayos na sistema ng pensyon para sa mga kawal. Sinusuportahan din natin ang pagpapalawak ng sakop ng scholarship na ipinagkakaloob ng DOST sa mahuhusay ngunit kapuspalad na mag-aaral; ang pagtataguyod ng pinaigting na pangkalahatang kalusugan; at ang pangangalaga sa ating kalikasan at sa mga pasilidad na titiyak sa kaligtasan ng mga mamamayan sa oras ng sakuna.

Kabilang din po sa ating agenda ang pagpapalakas ng BuCor, ng NBI, ng NEA, at ng PTV 4, upang sa halip na mapag-iwanan ng kaalaman at panahon, mas maayos nilang magagampanan ang kanilang pagbibigay-serbisyo sa publiko.

Hindi ko po nailagay ang lahat ng gustong magpasali ng kanilang adbokasiya dito sa SONA. Pero kumpleto po ang detalye sa budget at budget message. Sa mga interesado po, pakibasa na lang.

May mga nagsasabing pinepersonal ko raw ang paghahabol sa mga tiwali. Totoo po: Personal talaga sa akin ang paggawa ng tama, at ang pagpapanagot sa mga gumagawa ng mali—sino man sila. At hindi lamang dapat ako ang namemersonal sa usaping ito. Personal dapat ito sa ating lahat, dahil bawat Pilipino ay biktima nito.

Ang mali—gaano katagal man ito nanatili—ay mali pa rin. Hindi puwedeng “Oks lang, wala lang iyan.” Kapag kinalimutan natin ang mga ito, mangyayari lang ulit ang mga kamalian ng nakaraan. Kung hindi magbabayad ang mga nagkasala, parang tayo na rin mismo ang nag-imbita sa mga nagbabalak gumawa ng masama na umulit muli.

Ang totoo nga po, marami pang kalokohan ang nahalungkat natin. Halimbawa, sa PAGCOR: kape. Isang bilyong piso po ang ginastos ng dating pamunuan ng ahensya para sa kape; sa isandaang piso na lang po kada tasa, lalabas na nakakonsumo sila ng sampung milyong tasa. Baka po kahit ngayong iba na ang pamunuan ng PAGCOR ay dilat na dilat pa rin ang mata ng mga uminom ng kapeng ito. Hanapin nga po natin sila, at matanong: nakakatulog pa po ba kayo?

Pagpasok ng bagong Ombudsman na si dating Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, magkakaroon tayo ng tanod-bayan na hindi magiging tanod-bayad ng mga nagwawang-wang sa pamahalaan.  Inaasahan ko nga po na sa taon na ito, masasampahan na ng kaso ang lahat ng nagkuntsabahan sa katiwalian, at naging sanhi ng situwasyong ating inabutan. Tapos na rin po ang panahon kung kailan nagsasampa ang gobyerno ng malalabnaw na kaso. Kapag tayo ang nagsampa, matibay ang ebidensya, malinaw ang testimonya, at siguradong walang lusot ang salarin.

Tutok tayo na ang pagkakamit ng ganap na katarungan ay hindi natatapos sa pagsasakdal kundi sa pagkukulong ng maysala. Buo ang kumpiyansa ko na tinutupad ng DOJ ang malaki nilang bahagi upang maipiit ang mga salarin, lalo na sa mga kaso ukol sa tax evasion, drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, graft and corruption, at extrajudicial killings.

Wala pong tsamba: ang tapat at mabuting pamamahala ay nanganganak ng mabuti ring resulta. Isipin po ninyo: naipatupad natin ang mga ipinangakong serbisyo ng gobyerno, at nakapaglaan pa ng sapat na pondo para sa mga proyekto nang hindi kinailangang magtaas ng buwis.

Iyan naman po talaga ang plano: siguruhin na patas ang laban; itigil ang panlalamang ng mga makapangyarihan; at tiyakin na ang dating sistema kung saan nakikinabang ang iilan ay magiging bukal ng oportunidad para sa lahat.

Tinutuldukan na po natin ang wang-wang: sa kalsada, sa gobyerno, sa kalakhang lipunan. Ito po ang manganganak ng kumpiyansa na magdadala ng negosyo; ito rin ang sisiguro na ang pondo ng taumbayan ay mapupunta sa dapat nitong kalagyan: Imprastruktura na titiyak sa tuluyang pag-angat ng ekonomiya at pagmumulan ng trabaho, at serbisyong panlipunan na sisigurong walang mapag-iiwanan. Bubukas ang marami pang pintuang pangkabuhayan sa pamamagitan ng turismo; sisiguruhing hindi magugutom ang Pilipino sa pagpapalakas ng agrikultura. Ang mga dating kinakaligtaan, bibigyang-puhunan ang kinabukasan.

Magbubunsod ito ng siklo kung saan tiyak na may pupuno sa mga nalilikhang trabaho, at may mga konsumer na lalong magpapalago sa mga negosyo.

Batid ko po na hanggang ngayon ay may kakaunti pang nagrereklamo sa ating estilo ng pamamahala. Nakita po ninyo ang aming estilo, at ang kaakibat nitong resulta. Nakita po ninyo ang estilo nila, at kung saan tayo nito dinala. Sa mga taong bukas ang mata, maliwanag kung saan ang tama.

Ngayong tayo na ang nagtitimon sa gobyerno, malinaw ang direksyong tinatahak ng ating bayan. Isang bansa kung saan ang pagkakataon ay abot-kamay; kung saan ang mga nangangailangan ay sinasaklolohan; kung saan may saysay ang bawat patak ng pawis, bawat sandali ng pagtitiis, at bawat butil ng hinagpis na dinaanan natin. Kung may gawin kang mabuti, may babalik sa iyong mabuti. At kung may gawin kang masama, tiyak na mananagot ka.

Naaalala ko nga po ang isang ginang na lumapit sa akin noong kampanya; ang babala niya, “Noy, mag-iingat ka, marami kang kinakabangga.”

Tama po ang sabi niya: Tao po akong may agam-agam din. Pero wala po akong alinlangang tumahak sa tuwid na daan: Buo ang loob ko dahil alam kong nasa likod ko kayo.

Salamat po sa mga pari at obispo na masinsinang nakikipagdiyalogo sa atin, katulad nina Cardinal Rosales at Vidal. Di naman po kami ganoong kalapit ni Cardinal Rosales, pero naniniwala akong ibinuhos niya ang lahat para mabawasan ang hindi pinagkakaunawaan ng gobyerno at simbahan. Sa paghahalal kay Archbishop Palma, tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao at kalikasan, lalo pong tumibay ang aking kumpiyansang ugnayan, at hindi bangayan, ang mabubuo sa pagitan ng estado at simbahan.

Salamat din po sa ating Gabinete, na walang kinikilalang panahon ng tulog o pahinga, maipatupad lang ang pambansang agenda. Special mention po ang PAGASA, na tunay na ngayong nagbibigay ng maaasahang babala.

At sa mga nasasagasaan po natin sa landas ng katapatan at integridad sa pamamahala, ito naman po ang aking masasabi: Pinili ninyo ang landas kung saan naaapi ang sambayanan. Pinili naman namin ang landas na ipagtanggol ang taumbayan. Nasa tama po kami; nasa mali kayo. Sa inyong magbabalik ng pang-aapi sa sambayan, hindi kayo magtatagumpay.

Sa lahat ng mga kasama natin sa tuwid na daan: Kayo ang lumikha ng pagkakataong baguhin ang dinatnan, at gawing mas maganda ang ipapamana natin sa susunod na salinlahi ng mga Pilipino. Kayo pong mga tsuper na pumapasada pa rin; kayong mga guro at estudyanteng pauwi pa lang mula sa klase; kayong patuloy ang paglikha ng mga obrang nagpapaalab sa apoy ng ating pagka-Pilipino; kayong mga pulis, sundalo, kaminero at bumbero; kayong mga marangal na nagtatrabaho, sa Pilipinas man, sa gitnang dagat, o sa ibang bansa; kayong mga tapat na kasama natin sa gobyerno, anumang probinsya o partido; kayong mga Pilipinong nakikinig sa akin ngayon—kayo po ang lumikha ng pagkakataong ito.

Lumikha po kayo ng gobyernong tunay na nagtatrabaho para sa inyo. May limang taon pa tayo para siguruhing hindi na tayo babalik sa dating kalagayan. Hindi tayo magpapadiskaril ngayong napakaganda na ng resulta ng ating sinimulan.

Kapag may nakita tayong butas sa sistema, huwag na po tayo magtangkang lumusot. Huwag na nating daanin sa pakiusap ang madadaan sa pagsisikap. Tama na ang unahan, tama na ang tulakan, tama na ang lamangan, dahil lahat naman po tayo ay makakarating sa minimithi nating kinabukasan.

Tapusin na po natin ang kultura ng negatibismo; iangat natin ang kapwa-Pilipino sa bawat pagkakataon. Bakit po ang iba, ang hilig maghanap ng kung anu-anong pangit sa ating bayan? At napakahirap—parang kasalanan—na magsabi ng maganda? Naalala pa po ba natin noong huling beses tayong pumuri sa kapwa Pilipino?

Itigil na po natin ang paghihilahan pababa. Ang dating industriya ng pintasan na hindi natin maitakwil, iwaksi na po natin. Tuldukan na po natin ang pagiging utak-alimango; puwede bang iangat naman natin ang magaganda nating nagawa?

Kung may nakita kang mabuti, huwag kang magdalawang-isip na purihin ito. Kapag nakita mo ang pulis sa kanto, nagtatrapik nang walang kapote sa ilalim ng ulan, lapitan mo siya at sabihing, “Salamat po.”

Kung magkasakit ka at makita mo ang nars na nag-aruga sa iyo, sa halip na magserbisyo sa dayuhan kapalit ng mas malaking suweldo, sabihin mo, “Salamat po.”

Bago ka umuwi galing eskuwela, lapitan mo ang guro mong piniling mamuhunan sa iyong kinabukasan kaysa unahin ang sariling ginhawa; sabihin mo, “Salamat po.” Sa aking guro, Salamat po Ginang Escasa.

Kung makasalubong mo ang iyong kinatawan sa kalsadang dati ay lubak-lubak, at ngayon ay puwede nang daanan nang maaliwalas, lapitan mo siya at sabihing: “Salamat po.”

Kaya po, sa sambayanang Pilipino, ang aking Boss na nagtimon sa atin tungo sa araw na ito: maraming, maraming salamat po sa pagbabagong tinatamasa natin ngayon.

Buhay na buhay na ang Pilipinas at ang Pilipino.

Read Full Post »


Pardon if the translation on the above quote is not exactly right but that sums up PNoy’s speech in his Unang Taon, Ulat Sa Bayan which he delivered at around 4pm yesterday at the Philippine Sports Arena in Pasig City. Of course he has yet to deliver his second SONA, a more detailed description on what has changed and what he has done during his first year in office.

Ulat sa Bayan was just that, some good news on what happened the past year. Many people think that he hasn’t done anything that they could see clearly. If ever there is, they are not affected by it. I didn’t vote for PNoy although I admire his parents to the hilt. This is not the first time that I blogged about the Aquinos – from Ninoy to PNoy to Cory to Kris, the most visible and popular members of the clan. I felt that he was not yet ripe for the presidency but he got my nod and approval when he made his first SONA promising to curve if not to completely eliminate corruption in the government.  I believe it was not just a lip service on his part because he is honest and trustworthy. Granting he is still learning the ropes and adjusting to the gargantuan problems that he inherited from the past administration, at least let us give him the chance to prove himself.  One year is not enough, right? Laying the ground rules, being after the big fish who are  continuously emptying the coffers of the government is no mean feat.

Ang sinabi ko po noon: Pilipino, kasama mo ako. Itutuwid natin ang baluktot, tatanggalin natin ang tiwali, at itatama natin ang mali.

He reaffirmed his commitment to fight corruption.  Some of his detractors are so outspoken about what they think  and how they assess his one year in office.  Their negativity is rubbing off on other people, all they do is whine and complain. And here’s my question to all of you,  what are you doing to help our country rise  again, a country we can be proud of? Are you doing your share or just contented with finding faults instead of finding ways to help? If you can honestly say that you do, then I salute you.

Let us  all be counted, let us  do our share to make this country a better one. Be proud you are Pinoy!

Read Full Post »


Talumpati
ng
Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas

Sa anibersayo ng kanyang panunumpa bilang pangulo

[Inihayag sa PhilSports Arena, Pasig City noong ika-30 ng Hunyo 2011]

Mga minamahal ko pong kababayan,

Isang taon na rin nga po pala ang lumipas. Naaalala pa po kaya ng lahat ang pinagdaananan na po natin? Dati, kapag nakarinig ka ng wangwang sa kalsada, wala ka nang magawa, hindi ho ba, kundi tumabi. Ang pinakamatayog mong pangarap ay makakuha ng VISA para makapagtrabaho sa ibang bansa. Matutulog ka nang mahimbing sana, ngunit gigisingin ka ng bahang halos umabot na sa iyong higaan, dahil wala man lang babalang ipinaabot sa iyo ang PAGASA. Ilan po ba sa atin ang sumuko na at nagsabing wala na sigurong makakamit na hustisya ang limampu’t pitong Pilipinong minasaker sa Maguindanao?

Naalala po ba ninyo ang panahon kung kailan kapag may maririnig kang masamang balita, ‘di mo man lang makuhang umiling dahil alam mong may mas masahol pang parating? Noon, sabay-sabay ang mga Pilipinong nagbuntong-hininga: tiisin na lang natin, tutal patapos na rin naman ito. ‘Di po ba’t nabigla tayong lahat nang umangat ang ekonomiya bago mag-eleksyon noong isang taon—iyon po pala, kaya umangat, nakaantabay na, hindi lang tayo kundi ang buong mundo, sa pagbaba ng administrasyong Arroyo, at sa napipintong pagtatapos ng kalbaryo ng Pilipino. ‘Di po ba’t parang kahapon lang nang iabot ninyo sa akin ang naghihingalong liwanag ng pag-asa, at tinawag ninyo ako upang ipaglaban ang atin pong daang matuwid?

Sa panahon pong tinawag ako ng taumbayan, ni isang karatula o polyeto ay wala pa po akong naiimprenta, dahil alam naman po n’yo, wala po talaga akong kabalak-balak tumakbo. Hindi ko po inambisyon na sagupain ang dambuhalang problema na ipapamana ni Ginang Arroyo—mga problemang pilit kong hinadlangan noong nasa Kamara de Representantes tayo, at sa Senado pa lang ako. At nakita ko na rin naman, sa karanasan ng pumanaw kong ina, kung gaano kabigat ang tungkulin maging isang Pangulo, lalo pa kung mamanahin niya ay sistemang nilapastangan. Tinanong ko ang aking sarili: kakayanin ko kayang kumpunihin ang lahat ng ito?

Malalim ang pagmumuning dinaanan ko bago tumugon sa inyong panawagan. Ngunit nang abutan po ako ng garapong puno ng barya para lamang makatulong sa kampanya; nang salubungin ako ng madlang ‘di man lamang makabili ng payong na panangga sa init ng araw; nang sinabi ninyo sa aking hindi ako nag-iisa—hindi ko po itong masikmurang tanggihan. Hindi ko po kinayang sabihin na, “pasensya na kayo, naduduwag po ako, at gusto ko pa sanang humaba ang buhay ko.” Ang sinabi ko po noon: Pilipino, kasama mo ako. Itutuwid natin ang baluktot, tatanggalin natin ang tiwali, at itatama natin ang mali.

Narito po tayo ngayon, isang taon matapos markahan ang wakas ng pamahalaang bulag at bingi sa hinaing ng kanyang mamamayan. Ipinasa po sa atin ang isang tahanang lumulundo ang kisame at bitak-bitak ang mga pader. Kinahoy na nga po ang mga muwebles, ipinangutang pa ang pamalit. Ang masaklap niyan, alam kong mamanahin natin ang mga utang na iyon, sampu ng lahat ng dumi na ikinalat nila.

Ang pinangangambahan nating pangit na daratnan, mas sukdulan at kasuklam-suklam pa pala ang tunay na kalagayan. Halimbawa: mula taong 1972 hanggang taong 2000, umabot sa 12.9 billion pesos ang utang ng NFA. Nang dumating si Ginang Arroyo, sa loob lamang po ng isang taon, o 2001, naiangat niya ang utang na iyan sa 18 bilyong piso. Ulitin ko lang po: Mula 12, isang taon na lumipas, naging 18 bilyong piso ang pagkakautang ng NFA. Hindi pa po siya nakuntento; pagbaba niya sa puwesto, ‘yung dating 12 billion na minana niya, nasa 177 billion pesos na po ang utang na ipinamana sa ating lahat. Isanlibong porsyento at mahigit pa ang itinaas ng utang ng NFA: record-breaking po talaga ang ginawa nilang pagbabaon sa atin sa utang, hindi ho ba?

Ganitong uri ng administrasyon ang humihikayat sa ating kilalanin ang kanilang mga nagawa, at tumuntong sa kanilang mga balikat. Ganitong uri ng administrasyon ang nagsasabing wala daw pagbabago, at sa malalim na bangin lamang tayo dadalhin ng tuwid na daan. Magpapaloko po pa ba tayo sa pagpupumilit nilang padudahin tayo, para sa pagkalito natin, magkaroon ng puwang na bumalik ang lumang sistema?

Hindi na po ako magsasayang ng panahon para makipagbangayan sa kanila. Nagpapasalamat na lamang po ako sa pag-amin ni Ginang Arroyo na ‘di umano’y kabaliktaran raw niya ako. Sa wakas, magkasundo rin po kami. Talagang magkabaliktad po kami.

Dahil hindi na nga po ako sasagot, hahayaan ko na lamang tumugon ang 21,800 pamilya ng sundalo at kapulisan na maaari na ngayong magkaroon ng disenteng tahanan bago matapos ang taong ito.

Dalawang linggo po, o halos dalawang linggo, inaasahan ko na tutuparin ng NHA na 4,000 doon sa unang 21,000 iyan ang ipagkakaloob na natin sa mga nararapat na kawani po ng gobyerno na bibilang sa hanay ng kapulisan at kasundaluhan—at umpisa pa lang ho iyan.

Hahayaan ko na lang tumugon ang mga maralitang kababayan nating nakarehistro na sa Conditional Cash Transfer program. Apat na araw mula ngayon, sasaksihan ko po mismo ang paglagda ng ika-dalawang milyong benepisyaryo ng CCT. Uulitin ko lang po, two million na po ang na-i-enroll natin sa CCT pagdating ng July 4.

Hahayaan ko na lang din pong tumugon ang halos 240,000 magsasaka na nakikinabang na ngayon sa mahigit 2,000 kilometrong farm-to-market roads na nailatag natin sa loob lamang ng isang taon.

Sila nga po ang tanungin natin? ‘Di ba’t malinaw ang pagbabago? Noon pong isang taon, barko-barkong toneladang bigas ang inaangkat, at katakut-takot din ang gastusin sa mga bodegang pinagtatambakan nito. 1.3 million metric tons lang po ang kailangan natin pampuno sa kakulangan ng ating ani, pero umangkat sila ng dalawang milyong metriko tonelada. Ngayon po, halos kalahati na lang ang inaangkat nating 660,000 metriko tonelada.

Hindi po tayo nag-magic para dumami ang bigas na inaani natin dito: itinutok lang po natin ang pondo ng irigasyon sa kung saan ito pinakamura at mabisa; pinalawak ang paggamit ng maiging klase ng binhi; at pinalawig din ang upland rice farming. Lahat po ito, nagdulot ng dagdag na labinlimang porsyento sa ating inani noong huling taon, at ng pinakamataas na ani sa kasaysayan ng dry season cropping. Pasensya na po kayo, bihira lang ako magtayo ng sariling bangko: 1.3 million tons kulang natin taon-taon. Itong unang taon natin, ang aangkatin 800,000—para may konting reserve—perso 600,000 tons na lang ang kakailanganin natin. (Kailangan pong i-irrigate ang atin pong lalamunan.) Palagay ko po, sa 2013, talagang pupurihin ko kaliwa’t kanan si Secretary Alcala ‘pag totoo nga po na self-sufficient sa rice na tayo sa 2013.

Noon pong isang taon, ilan po ba sa atin ang nangahas mangarap na ang bigas na ating isasaing, dito rin sa Pilipinas itatanim, aanihin, at bibilhin. Mukhang pong matutupad nga: nasabi ko nang ipinangako ni Secretary Proceso Alcala (dinidiin ko po para maalala natin lahat kung sino nangako) na bago matapos ang 2013, hindi na natin kailangan pang mag-angkat ng bigas mula sa ibang bansa.

Mantakin po ninyo: dahil sa tamang paggugol at pagtapal sa mga sugat sa sistema na tinatagasan ng pera ng bayan, nakalikom tayo ng dagdag na pondo upang magpatupad ng mga programang higit pa sa napaglaanang pondo sa ating General Approprations Act. Nagawa natin itong walang itinataas na buwis. Labindalawang bilyong piso na po ang tumutustos sa ating mga pangangailangan: mula sa Pantawid Pasada sa mga pampublikong sasakyan na tinamaan ng pagtaas ng presyo ng langis; hanggang sa pampasahod ng 10,000 nurse na nakadestino sa mga maralitang lalawigan; mula sa pambili ng mga modernong barko na magtatanod sa ating mga baybayin; hanggang sa marami pang ibang mga programa at proyektong totoong napapakinabangan ng kabuoan ng atin pong bansa.

Isipin na lang po ninyo kung hinayaan lang natin ang walang-saysay na paglustay sa kaban ng bayan. Baka po naglalakad na lang ang mga tsuper natin. Baka po ang mga nakaratay sa mga lalawigan ay nananatili pang ngumunguya ng dahon para lunasan ang kanilang mga karamdaman. At baka po patuloy na ngang miski mga isda ay hindi man lang masindak sa ating Hukbong Pandagat.

Pabahay, bigas, seguridad, pasahod, kalsada, pantawid pasada, at salbabida para sa mga kababayan nating nilulunod ng kahirapan: iyan po ang pagbabagong inaani natin ngayon. Alam naman po ninyo, hindi naman po natin nahukay ang kayamanan ni Yamashita para maipatupad ang mga ito. Hinabol lang po natin ang mga tiwali sa gobyerno, itinama natin ang pag-gugol ng pera, at itinuwid natin ang mga baluktot sa sistema.

Tingnan nga po lang natin ang ginawa nila sa Philippine National Construction Corporation: ni hindi nga po nila magawang mag-remit ng disenteng kita sa taumbayan, may kapal ng mukha pa silang umentuhan ang kanilang mga sarili. Limang pahina po ang memo na ipinasa sa akin ng bagong mga opisyal ng PNCC, na nagdedetalye ng mga katiwaliang kanilang naungkat at isinasaayos: mula sa mga walang-katuturang posisyon na pinasasahuran ng kalahating milyon kada buwan, hanggang sa mga cellphone plan na wala namang silbi sa kanilang katungkulan; mula sa mga kagamitang ibinebenta ng palugi para lamang di umanong kumapal ang kanilang bulsa, hanggang sa mga inimbento nilang fixed allowance na hindi bababa sa siyento mil kada buwan; lahat po iyan ay itinigil natin. Kaya naman ang dating monthly expense na 22 million pesos, naibaba na natin sa 11 million pesos.

Isa pa pong halimbawa itong kalokohang natuklasan natin sa PCSO. May pera sila para mag-over-budget sa patalastas na nagbabalandra ng mukha ng kung sino-sinong politiko sa telebisyon, pero wala silang pera para magbayad ng tatlong bilyong pisong utang sa mga ospital ng gobyerno. Dahil sa utang na di mabayaran—dahil sa katiwalian—ang mismong ospital na pinopondohan ng gobyerno, ayaw nang tanggapin ang garantiya ng kapwa nila sangay ng gobyerno. Isipin po n’yo iyon, itinayo, ‘di ba, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office—iba ho ang ginugulan ng charity.

‘Di po ba’t sasakit din ang batok ninyo sa kalakarang ito? Pagsisiwalat sa kalokohan, sa halip na pakikisawsaw sa katiwalian: ito po ang pagbabagong sinasabi natin.

Alam ko rin pong marami sa atin ang nag-aapurang anihin na ang mga bunga ng naipunla nating reporma. ‘Di ko naman po masisi ang taumbayang, dumaan sa isang dekada ng katiwalian, at ayaw nang maniwalang posibleng magkaroon ng gobyernong handang tumahak sa tuwid na daan. May ilan pong nahihirapang mapagtanto na kailangan nating magtulungan, magsaluhan, at mag-ambagan para maabot ang ating mga mithiin. Alam ko po ang pinanggagalingan ninyo: Ako man po ay nangangarap na bukas makalawa ay magising tayong may solusyon na sa bawat problemang minana natin. Ngunit alam ko pong mulat din kayo na wala ring maitutulong ang mabilisan, ngunit walang bisang solusyon. Kailangan ang maingat na paglalatag ng reporma, ang pagsigurong epektibo ang ating mga programa, at ang pangmatagalang mga tugon na hindi na magpapamana ng problema sa susunod na salinlahi.

Simple lang naman po, hindi ba? Nakita naman natin kung paano tayo nagdusa noong nakaraan, at nakita rin natin ang situwasyong gusto nating makamit sa kinabukasan. ‘Di po ba’t ngayon, buong-loob na nating pinupunan ang puwang sa pagitan ng mga tagang “sana” at ng “kaya,” at nakikilahok na rin ang bayan upang ang ating mga mithiin ay maabot na nating lahat sa wakas? ‘Di po ba’t ngayon, nasaang panig man tayo ng usapan, ang nagbubuklod pa rin sa atin ay malasakit para sa bayan? Ngayon po, bawat kibot natin, nasusundan na. Nagtataka ako: kung may isyu at magtikom ka ng labi, di maubos ang batikos sa akin. Kapag naman naghahayag ka ng kuro-kuro, pakialamero ang bansag sa akin. Kulang na lang po, kung minsan iniisip ko, hatiin ko ang aking katawan at maging manananggal na lang po ako para mapagbiyan ang lahat ng bumabatikos sa akin. Pero iyon po kasi, tanda lamang talaga na mayroong mga tao, ayaw nilang gumanda ang atin pong inang bansa.

Sinabi ko po sa inyo noong araw: kung walang corrupt walang mahirap. Katumbas ng tamang pamamahala ang direktang benepisyo sa taumbayan, lalo na sa mga kapos po sa buhay: bawat tableta ng gamot na pinopondohan ng gobyerno para sa ating maralitang kababayan, bawat pulgada ng kalsada, bawat pagkakataong makahanap ng disenteng pagkakakitaan—lahat po iyan ay bunga ng integridad at malasakit ng inyo pong pamahalaan na nakikipagtulungan sa sambayanan. Maliwanag po ang patutunguhan natin, at diretso tayong tutungo po doon. Ang serbisyong nakalaan para sa inyo ay dumarating sa inyo: hindi napupunta sa bulsa ng mga naghahari-hariang kung tinignan ampaw naman pala.

Malayo na po ang narating natin sa loob lamang ng isang taon. Isipin na lang po ninyo kung gaano pa katayog ang mga maaabot natin sa susunod na limang taon. Saksi ang Pilipino at ang buong mundo: Nagbubunga na ang pagbagtas natin sa tuwid na landas. Ngayon pa ba tayo aatras?

Sinisikap pa rin pong buwagin ng mga tiwali ang pananalig na nagtulak sa aking tumugon sa inyong panawagan, at nagbunsod sa ating tagumpay noong nakaraang halalan. Inaasahan po natin ito, at alam kong nasa likod ko po rin kayo sa pakikipagsagupa natin sa mga mapang-api. Sinabi ko po dati: kayo ang aking lakas, ang lakas na bukal ng mga tagumpay na inaani na natin ngayon, at ng tuluyan at napipinto nating pagpitas sa katuparan ng atin pong mga pinapangarap.

Hindi kailanman magbabago po ito. Kayo pa rin ang boss ko.

Iyong unang taon po ay puwede na rin ‘yung nagawa natin. Pero ‘yung susunod na taon, inaasahan kong lahat ng kawani ng gobyerno, sampu na ng sambayanan, ay lalong magtutulungan—dahil gusto ko pong tumulin nang tumulin, ang pagbabago nating ninanasa na marating ay lalong maging katuparan na.

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat. Maraming salamat po.

(Source:  Official Gazette of the Rep. of the Phils.)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 743 other followers