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I am not a political analyst, neither am I into politics but I appreciate President Obama’s visit here in our country. They say he is the most powerful man in the world on account of the USA being the most powerful country. I won’t delve into the nitty-gritty of the whys and the hows of his visit here because I am not qualified to do so. What I saw of the warm welcome, the warm smiles, the wonderful speeches that both leaders delivered yesterday are enough to gladden the hearts of the Filipino people who believe that peace could only be achieved not by arms and golds but through  a sincere dialogue and communication.

It was the second straight two days that I allowed myself to stay in front of the television to watch the canonization of  Saints John Paul II and Saint John XXIII in Rome the other day and the arrival of President Obama yesterday.  I enjoyed watching both. I found some pictures posted by the Gazette of the Republic of the Phils. on Facebook which I follow.

I love this.  he took his time shaking hands with the ordinary Malacanang employees, smiling and looks truly glad to step foot in the Philippines.

I love this. He took his time shaking hands with the ordinary Malacanan employees, smiling and looks truly glad to step foot in the Philippines.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama's inscription in the official guestbook of Malacañan Palace: "I thank President Aquino and the people of the Philippines welcoming me. May America's oldest alliance in Asia always be renewed by our friendship and mutual respect."

U.S. President Barack Obama’s inscription in the official guest book of Malacañan Palace: “I thank President Aquino and the people of the Philippines welcoming me. May America’s oldest alliance in Asia always be renewed by our friendship and mutual respect.”

 

The welcome ceremony at the Malacanan Palace grounds.

The welcome ceremony at the Palace grounds.

 

It was short (not even a twenty-four hour visit) but I saw a glimpse of the man who is so polite  and knows what he is talking about.  Report says this is the eight visit of a President of the United States to the Philippines.

 

(photo credits: Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)

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We are now under state of national calamity. I don’t know, since typhoon Yolanda, I have almost forgotten how to make a blog. Just crying my heart out and bombarding heaven with prayers for our unfortunate brothers and sisters affected by the strongest typhoon on earth ever recorded in the last three decades.  May I ask you all to say a prayer for our country? Thank you so much. (I have posted the English translation of PNoy’s statement below).

Pahayag
ng
Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Ukol sa bagyong Yolanda

[Inihayag noong ika-11 ng Nobyembre 2013]

Nitong Biyernes, humagupit sa malaking bahagi ng Kabisayaan ang Bagyong Yolanda. Isa ito sa pinakamalakas na bagyo sa kasaysayan ng bansa, kung di man ng buong mundo. Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa mga dalubhasa mula sa PAGASA, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Phivolcs, at DOST, na kumalap at nagbigay ng tama at detalyadong impormasyon na naging dahilan upang makapaghanda nang maayos ang ating mga kababayan. Ito ang nagbigay-daan para sa iniuulat na mababang casualty count mula sa ilang mga probinsyang dinaanan din ng bagyo, tulad ng Oriental at Occidental Mindoro, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Aklan, at Romblon, kung saan maagang nakapaghanda ang lokal na pamahalaan.

Sa kabila po nito, personal din nating nasaksihan ang matinding pinsalang idinulot ng bagyong ito sa Leyte at Samar. Dito sa kung saan tila naembudo ang mga storm surge ni Yolanda nakita ang pinakamabigat na pinsala, at dito nakatutok ang ating pagbibigay lingap sa mga sandaling ito.

Humihingi rin po tayo ng pang-unawa sa lahat. Sa paghahagupit ni Yolanda, nawalan ng kuryente at komunikasyon sa maraming lugar. Apektado po nito, hindi lamang ang pakikipag-ugnayan ng mga nais makasigurong ligtas ang kanilang mga kaanak, kundi pati na rin ang koordinasyon ng ating relief efforts. Para mapadala ang pangangailangan, kailangan nating malaman ang kakulangan ng bawat lugar; nahirapan po tayong makuha ang mga datos na ito. May ilang lokal na pamahalaan, sa lakas ng delubyo, na bumigay din po dahil kabilang sa mga nasalanta ang kanilang mga tauhan at opisyal. Isipin po ninyo, bumalik tayo sa situwasyon kung saan pasa-pasa ang impormasyon—walang TV, cellphone, o internet; sarado ang mga tindahan; hindi naging madali ang pag-oorganisa ng relief efforts. Naging ugat po ito ng kaguluhan sa ilang mga lugar.

Dito po’y papasok ang pambansang pamahalaan. Imbis na dumagdag lamang tayo sa lakas ng mga komunidad, kinailangang manguna ng pambansang gobyerno. Nilinis ng DPWH ang mga kalsadang binagsakan ng malalaking puno at mga poste ng kuryente ; lahat ng naireport na bara ay nabuksan na. Ayon na rin sa kahilingan ng mga lokal na opisyal, nagpadala tayo ng karagdagang 800 mga sundalo at pulis sa Tacloban upang ibalik ang kaayusan. May tatlong repacking center po tayong naglalabas ng di baba sa 55,000 mga family food pack kada araw; inatasan na po natin si Secretary Abaya ng DOTC upang imando ang pagdadala ng mga relief goods kung saan ito pinakakailangan.

Inuna natin ang pagdadala ng pagkain, tubig, at gamot sa mga pinakaapektadong lugar. Dadaanin po natin sa mga barangay ang pagpapamigay ng mga pangunahing pangangailangang ito; 24,000 family food packs na po ang napamudmod sa Tacloban kahapon, at nakasentro ang pagpapamigay sa walong pinakamalaking barangay doon. Mayroon tayong dalawang water purification facilities, at marami pa ang darating, upang masigurong may maiinom ang ating mga kababayan. Inaayos na natin ang mekanismo para mapalawak ang saklaw ng social housing program ng pamahalaan. Mula po sa ating mga calamity funds, contingency funds, at savings, mayroong 18.7 billion pesos na maaaring gamitin upang ibangon ang mga lugar na pininsala ni Yolanda.

Dumarating na rin po ang tulong mula sa ibang bansa; 22 bansa na po ang nagpanata o nagbigay na ng tulong, kabilang na ang Indonesia, Amerika, Inglatera, bansang Hapon, Singapore, New Zealand, pati na rin po ang Hungary. Tumutulong na rin po sa iba’t ibang paraan ang pribadong sektor upang ibangon ang mga nasalanta, gaya ng sa pagbabalik ng daloy ng komunikasyon at  pati ang pagmimintena ng krudo sa mga apektadong lugar.

Kasabay nito, idinedeklara po natin ang State of national calamity upang mapabilis ang mga pagkilos ng pamahalaan para sa pagsagip, paghahatid ng tulong, at rehabilitasyon ng mga probinsyang sinalanta ni Yolanda. Mahalaga rin ito, hindi lamang para panatilihing kontrolado ang mga presyo ng mga pangunahing produkto at serbisyo na kakailanganin ng ating mga kakabayan, kundi upang maiwasan din ang overpricing at hoarding ng mga mahahalagang bilihin. Inaprubahan din natin ang kabuuang P1.1 billion para pandagdag sa Quick Response Funds ng DSWD at DPWH, para sa agarang pagpapatupad ng mga kinakailangang suporta para sa muling pagbangon ng mga kababayan nating hinagupit nitong trahedya.

Bagaman nakapagtala ng mababang casualty count sa maraming mga probinsyang dinaanan ni Yolanda, sa mga lugar naman na tila naembudo ang bagyong ito, talaga naman pong malaki ang pinsalang nasaksihan natin. Tulad ninyo, gusto ko ring malaman kung paanong maiibsan ang situwasyon sa mga lugar na tulad nito.

Sa mga darating na araw, maaasahan ninyo, lalo pang papaspas ang ayuda. Ang panawagan ko lang po: Ang pagiging kalmado, pagdarasal, pakikisama, at pakikipagtulungan. Siya ang magpapabangon sa atin mula sa sakunang ito.

Maraming salamat po at magandang gabi sa inyong lahat.

 

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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)

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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.

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