Monthly Archives: October 2012

November 5, 2012 holiday in Negros Occidental

November 15, 2012 holiday in Occidental Mindoro

Residents of Negros Occidental will be marking the 114th anniversary of the 1898 Negros Revolution on Monday, November 5. The day, which falls on a Monday, is a special non-working holiday in the entire province as stipulated in Republic Act 6709, which was enacted by President Corazon Aquino in 1989. Read the full text of RA 6709 here.

Also called Al Cinco de Noviembre or Negros Day (though Negros Oriental is not included in the declaration), the occasion commemorates the successful effort of Negrense freedom fighters to drive out remnants of the Spanish government from the province. This historical event led to the establishment of the Republic of Negros under the leadership of Aniceto Lacson. The Negros Republic however was eventually subdued by the American colonizers.

English: Map of Negros Oriental

English: Map of Negros Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meanwhile, people of Occidental Mindoro will also have a special non-working holiday this November 15, Thursday, to commemorate the province’s 62nd foundation anniversary. The Office of the President made the announcement through Proclamation 484, which was signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa last October 4. Click here to access Proclamation 484 in full.

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My experience with gallstones – one year after

Let me take you back to October 21, 2011. It was a usual Friday afternoon, and I and three officemates just came back from having lunch in a chicken restaurant. Suddenly, I felt intense pain in the left side of my stomach. Imagine yourself not being able to stand up straight because your stomach aches so much. I spent the rest of that work day rushing to the  restroom to vomit.

As I detailed in a blog post last year, it was eventually revealed through an ultrasound that I have gallstones (or cholelithiasis). Looking back now, it remains unclear to me how exactly I had those. I first experienced those flash stomach pains in 2007, and because of it, I assume I had gallstones since I was 17. What disturbed me however is that I don’t have the risk factors usually associated with people with this condition, which include the following:


*Age 40 and up

*Being overweight

*Experienced rapid weight loss

*People with diabetes

*People with high-fat and low-fiber diet

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there are two types of gallstones – cholesterol stones and pigment stones. Cholesterol stones are usually yellow-green and are made primarily of hardened cholesterol, and this accounts for about 80 percent of gallstones. Pigment stones, on the other hand, are small, dark stones made of bilirubin.

English: A 1.9 cm gallstone impacted in the ne...

Gallbladder stones or cholecystitis are usually discovered through an ultrasound. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A laboratory test showed that I have high cholesterol levels.  Studies have shown that cholesterol levels can be inherited, which means that even an average consumption of fatty foods can be dangerous. I had gallstones-induced stomach pains after eating foods like fried chicken, pizza, and even kangkong. The gallbladder contracts harder to produce the bile necessary to digest these foods. Gallstones hinder the flow of bile as it moves from the gallbladder to the small intestines through the bile ducts. These stones effectively renders the gallbladder useless.

“Bile trapped in these ducts can cause inflammation in the gallbladder, the ducts, or in rare cases, the liver,” the US health department added. According to this website, some people do not even know they have gallstones. This is not the case with me since my condition is obviously symptomatic. To alleviate the pain, I took painkillers (Celexocib). My doctors also advised me to avoid eating fatty foods.

However, the long-lasting solution to my problem is to have the gallbladder surgically removed. Since I’m a stone former (a person prone to having gallstones and kidney stones), then it means that I am likely to develop more gallstones in the future unless I have that surgery. The US health department continues: “Left untreated, the condition can be fatal. Warning signs of a serious problem are fever, jaundice, and persistent pain.”

What are the immediate impacts on me of that chain of events exactly a year ago? As I related in a blog, the revelation made me cry a lot out of uncertainty at first. After I successfully sought a second opinion from an internal medicine specialist, my anxiety loosened up. After all, I was told that my situation isn’t as hopeless as initially thought. Nevertheless, the risk posed to me by my high cholesterol levels cannot be underestimated.

I initially thought that my condition may affect my graduate studies. It didn’t. However, since this episode happened during the last week of the semester, I wasn’t able to focus anymore in accomplishing the final paper for one class given all the distractions. In fact, the night before the deadline, I sought a second opinion from another doctor.  I want to thank Dr.  Lou de Leon-Bolinao for being considerate during that challenging time. I eventually decided to go for an operation, and that’s one experience I will have to tell more about in a future post.

PS: If you’re experiencing sudden stomach pains in the left quadrant after eating hard-to-digest foods, ask your doctor for a recommendation for you to undergo an ultrasound. The sooner you know the real cause of the pains, the better.

Philippine Freedom of Information bill – Quo vadis?

The freedom of information (FOI) bill remains languishing in the House of Representatives two years after Benigno Aquino III, who campaigned on a platform of government transparency, won the presidency. Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III of Quezon, the bill’s main author, remains optimistic that the measure can be passed by the 15th Congress even if the 2013 midterm elections is just seven months away.

Tañada, who concurrently serves as the deputy speaker for Luzon, explained that the FOI bill has been forwarded to the House Committee on Public Information since November 2010. He pointed out that committee chair Rep. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar is yet to schedule a public hearing regarding the bill.

“He (Evardone) wants us to have a caucus first before the hearing, but it should be the other way around,” Tañada said during an interview at the University of the Philippines Diliman last September. Frequently mentioned as a potential senatorial candidate, Tañada is not included in the lineup of the Liberal Party for the 2013 polls.

Prior to his inauguration, Aquino reiterated that he will prioritize the passage of the FOI bill. However, the president failed to mention the measure in his three state of the nation addresses so far. The FOI is also not listed as one of the government’s priority bills during the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council meeting last August 2011. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said then that the Palace “needs more time” to study the measure.

lorenzo erin tanada III

Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III of Quezon is the principal author of the Freedom of Information bill

Tañada, upon instructions from the Palace, led a technical working group in consolidating the different versions of the FOI bill. Early this year, Malacañang released its proposed version of the FOI bill, but the measure is yet to reach the plenary. “No one has come out publicly to oppose the FOI, but there are those who want to delay the process,” Tañada said, specifically blaming Evardone for the bill’s slow progress.

A former president of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, Evardone served as Eastern Samar governor prior to his stint in Congress. Evardone defected to the Liberal Party despite being a former member of the LAKAS-KAMPI coalition shortly after Aquino’s victory.

Evardone announced last June that the FOI bill will be tackled after Aquino’s July 23 state of the nation address but in August 6, he canceled the scheduled vote on the measure because of “contending issues that needs to be resolved first.” The following day, 117 House solons announced their support for the FOI measure through a paid advertisement.

Early this month, the Right to Know, Right Now Coalition, a group advocating the passage of the FOI bill, decried what it sees as a “conspiracy” between Evardone and House majority leader Neptali Gonzales, Jr. to “kill” the measure. In a statement, the group pointed out that it is within Gonzales’ power to certify the FOI bill as urgent so that it can be included in the lower house’ calendar of business. “Gonzales’ inaction confirms Evardone’s earlier claim that his refusal to act on the bill was consistent with instructions from the House leadership,” the group said.

christopher lao i should be informed

Christopher Lao is one of the proponents of the Freedom of Information bill (Credits: Jeff Crisostomo)

The FOI bill was first filed in 1992 by then-Pangasinan Rep. Oscar Orbos. In June 2010, the measure passed the third and final reading in both houses of congress but the House of Representatives led by then-Speaker Prospero Nograles failed to ratify the measure for supposed lack of quorum. Tañada belied this, saying that almost all of his colleagues attended the last session day because it features a tribute for solons that have completed three successive terms.

Article III, section 7 of the 1987 Constitution says that the state should recognize “the right of the people to information on matters of public concern.” “Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen,” the provision further elucidates. This is in line with a 1946 declaration by the United Nations that freedom of information “is a fundamental human right” and that it is “an essential factor in promoting peace and progress in the world.”

The Palace-endorsed version of the FOI bill states that “all information pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as government research data used as basis for policy development, regardless of their physical form or format in which they are contained and by whom they were made” should be made accessible to the public. In case a request for information will be denied, the concerned agency shall do so within seven working days.

This decision can be appealed by the requesting party before the Office of the Ombudsman, who in turn should decide on the matter within 60 working days. The FOI bill will also require all government officials including military generals, to publicize their statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth in the Internet.

freedom of information bill - bulatlat

This article was also published in, an alternative media outlet

Meanwhile, documents about the following are exempted from the proposed measure, subject to determination by the government agency concerned:

*Those pertaining to national defense

*Those related to the country’s foreign affairs

*Those related to military and law enforcement operation

*Personal information about private individuals

*Industrial, financial, or commercial secrets of individuals or entities

* Drafts of decisions by any executive, administrative, judicial, or quasi-judicial body

For his part, Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino’s version of the FOI legislation includes a “right of reply” provision. In Antonino’s proposal, government officials who might be involved in issues arising from the release of public documents through FOI should be given the opportunity to reply in the same space of the printed material or in the same radio or television program where the issue was tackled.

This reply should be aired or published not later than three days after it has been received. Tañada expressed his objection to Antonino’s proposal, saying that it infringes on the editorial independence of media outfits. A right or reply bill has been pushed in the Senate in early 2009 but was subsequently withdrawn after receiving flak from media groups.

“The FOI bill can be a powerful tool in empowering people. People should always assert their right to information,” Tañada said, belying claims that only media persons will benefit if and when the measure gets passed. The solon from Quezon lamented that his colleagues are “not comfortable” with the FOI bill. “Will they (House solons) like it if people can examine how they spend their pork barrel?” Tañada asks. The 20-year delay in the passage of the FOI bill seems to answer this question already.

*This article also appeared in last October 18. Follow this link.

Cybercrime Law – repressive state apparatus?

There is no denying that just a handful of conglomerates control major media outlets in the Philippines, just like in the United States. And as the political and economic theory of the mass media argues, this set-up directly affects the way media messages are constructed (as well as whose values it seeks to protect and propagate)[1]. This is in line with Karl Marx’ contention that the “ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas[2].”

Expounding on this thought, we can all say that since media organizations are run by giant corporations, they will always produce content that reinforces the ruling ideology or the hegemony. In the Philippines, for instance, the media seldom produces reports detailing the questionable practices of multinational and local capitalists in the country (e.g. violation of labor laws, tax evasion, destruction of the environment, and many others) mainly out of fear of losing income from advertising.

For many years, the media has served as the only conduit by which information reaches the public. The media has invested upon it the role of a gatekeeper. Ergo, it has the power to decide the things which the public has the right to know about. In effect, the media gets to shape in profound ways how people perceive the reality around them. However, since the media can be used by the ruling class as an ideological state apparatus[3], this version of reality may in fact be corrupted.

Karl Marx 1882 (edited)

Karl Marx (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nevertheless, hegemony does not go unchallenged forever. Hegemony is also characterized by continuous resistance and instability[4]. People are not mere rubberstamps who will accept hook, line, and sinker whatever the ruling ideology prescribes them to do or to be. These “deviants” are active participants in the constant redefinition of what the ruling ideology should be. With its ready accessibility to essentially everyone, the cyberspace is one of the means by which these ideological battles happen.

Continue reading…

Previously, Filipinos will have to send a letter to the editor of a newspaper to express his or her views about a certain news report. This is by no means a failsafe way of expressing oneself. Readers are at the mercy of the newspaper editor. If the editor does not like what they wrote or if the space allotted for the publication of such is limited, most likely the letter won’t get published. Of course, news managers would prefer publishing the views of a well-known “thought leader” rather than that of a common folk.

The Internet has changed the game for the better – and this arguably helped in making the media more democratic. Nowadays, readers can react to a particular report through the comment section of a news website. They can also make their views known through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and their own blogs. Community and alternative press like and Pinoy Weekly can now reach a wider audience without worrying about printing and distribution costs.

It used to be that the only time the public can hold their elected leaders accountable for their actions are during elections. While the respective office addresses and phone numbers of most government officials can be easily known, is it really an effective way of making known one’s grievances against them?

Instances of activism among Filipinos netizens have been widely reported in recent times. In early 2011, they united in pointing out the inhumane way comedian Willie Revillame treated a young child who participated in his television variety show. In summer of this year, they once again united to lambaste Philippine Daily Inquirer’s insensitive caption on a photo featuring a Muslim woman that appeared in their front page. And this August, netizens were in fact the ones that discovered the plagiarized parts in Senator Vicente Sotto III’s series of privilege speeches against the reproductive health bill, for which he received well-deserved public ridicule. Meanwhile, various online groups had been put up to expose “epal” government officials.

Thanks to the Internet, the people can now do things they can’t for a long time, and certain individuals in the government apparently cannot take this sitting down. Hence, we now have the all-too-powerful Cybercrimes Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10175. To be sure, the practice of the freedom of expression online has sometimes gone overboard. While individuals like road rage suspect Robert Blair Carabuena truly deserved to be condemned for their abhorrent behaviour (in his case, he physically assaulted a traffic enforcer), making online death threats directed to him or to post his private details in the Internet is unjustifiable.

robert blair carabuena

Robert Blair Carabuena (photo taken from Facebook)

Nevertheless, it is apparent that RA 10175 will be used as a repressive state apparatus mainly by politicians like Sotto especially since they now know that the public is watching their every action and are more than capable of venting their frustration online. The provision on online libel is the most controversial provision of RA 10175, and for good reason. In the past, powerful politicians like former President Gloria Arroyo and ex-House Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr. have filed libel charges against journalists who published negative articles like them.

Repressive state apparatuses are used when ideological state apparatuses prove to be unreliable in controlling the people. Since it will be futile for the government to curb the Internet access of Filipinos unlike their counterpart in China, it is instead hoping to use RA 10175 to regulate the activities of Filipinos in cyberspace. By seeking to control the cyberspace through RA 10175, the state is trying to muzzle the harsh criticisms it has been enduring from its constituents.

[1] Chomsky, Noam and Edward S. Herman. (1998). Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon Books.

[2] Butler, Jeremy G. (1994). Television: Critical Methods and Applications. Belmont, California:Wadsworth.

[3] Baran, Stanley J & Dennis K. Davis. (1995). Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment and Future. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

[4] Storey, John. (1993). An Introduction to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture (2nd ed.). London: Prentice Hall.

November 1 and 2 2012 Philippine holiday

Filipinos nationwide are bound to have a rare four-day weekend just a week after the Eid’l Adha holiday which will be on October 26. All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day (November 1 and 2 respectively) are both listed as special non-working holidays by virtue of Proclamation 295.

Signed last year by President Benigno Aquino III, Proclamation 295 lists all regular holidays, special non-working days, and special holidays for the year 2012. Read the full text of Proclamation 295 here. On the other hand, October 31, 2012 has NOT been declared a holiday. 

This poses a tricky situation for employees. According to the Department of Labor and Employment’s Handbook on Worker’s Statutory Monetary Benefits (released in 2010), an employee is entitled to a holiday premium only when “he/she is present or is on leave of absence with pay on the work day immediately preceding the holiday.” Download the 2010 handbook in this link.

Pay rules

According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), employees who opt to not report for work during special non-working holidays  are not bound to get anything “unless there is a favorable company policy, practice or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment of wages on special days even if unworked.”

Meanwhile, workers are entitled to get an additional of 30% to their regular hourly rate if they render overtime service on these dates. See the complete list of DOLE holiday pay guidelines here.

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Lucy Liu racism vs Filipinos in the Letterman Show?

Lucy Liu racism vs Filipinos in the Letterman Show?

Did Charlie’s Angels actress Lucy Liu insult Filipinos in her appearance in The Late Night Show with David Letterman last October 11? Liu, a Chinese-American Hollywood celebrity, appeared on the said comedy talk show to promote Elementary, her new TV series that also airs in CBS. Based on the 30-second episode clip posted by, Liu told Letterman: “If I get really dark, I’ll start to look like a little Filipino. It wouldn’t match.”

A longer version of Liu’s interview with Letterman has been uploaded in the YouTube channel of CBS. Although the two-minute snippet omits the part where Liu mentioned “Filipino,” it nevertheless provides context as to what she is talking about.

Lucy Liu on the David Letterman Show (credits: Yahoo TV)

Liu is narrating to Letterman her fitness regimen which includes exercise and certain sports. It can be remembered that in May 2009, Letterman and actor Alec Baldwin caused uproar when they joked on the show about getting mail order brides from the Philippines.

In the field of literary criticism, the concept of “the author is dead” says that “an author’s intentions and biographical facts should hold no weight when coming to an interpretation of his or her writing.” Said in another way, this means that writers (and speakers, for that matter) have little control with how their audiences perceive their statements. Liu’s tongue-in-cheek quip was immediately framed negatively by and as evidenced by this video grab:

“Lucy Liu doesn’t want to be mistaken for Filipino” (credits:

Both (which is the entertainment blog of New York Magazine) and did not put the quote in its proper context. By doing so, it seems that they are merely trying to unnecessarily stoke anger from Filipinos, which probably won’t happen this time unlike in past cases (remember Teri Hatcher and her ‘med schools from the Philippines’ line?).

Liu did not say anything negative directly against Filipinos. Nevertheless, Liu’s remarks are similar to Serbian fashion designer Lara Bohinc’s controversial statement last year in The Telegraph. Bohinc said she wanted to make sure that supermodel Kate Moss will be the one wearing the belt she gave her because “I (she) didn’t want to see it on her Filipina maid.” Liu probably has no intention at all to offend “little Filipinos,” but come to think about it, she could have still made the same point (ergo, her desire not to be dark) without mentioning any nationality at all.

UPDATE: Lucy Liu has apologized for this incident, telling Ruben Napales of Philippine Daily Inquirer: “I am so sorry that my comment was taken out of context, as I would never insult another group or ethnicity.”

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Aquino announces new peace deal with MILF

Marami na pong solusyong sinubok upang matapos ang hidwaang ito; nakailang peace agreement na po tayo, ngunit hindi pa rin tayo umuusad tungo sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap para sa rehiyon. Nabigyan ng poder ang ilan, ngunit imbes na iangat ang kaledad ng buhay sa rehiyon, nagbunga ito ng istrukturang lalo silang iginapos sa kahirapan. Nagkaroon ng mga command votes na ginamit upang pagtibayin ang pyudal na kalakaran; naglipana ang mga ghost roads, ghost bridges, ghost schools, ghost teachers, at ghost students, habang tumaba naman ang bulsa ng iilan. Nag-usbungan ang mga warlord na humawak sa timbangan ng buhay at kamatayan para sa maraming mamamayan. Umiral ang isang kultura kung saan walang nananagutan, at walang katarungan; nawalan ng pagtitiwala ang mamamayan sa sistema, at nagnais na kumalas sa ating bansa.

The ARMM is a failed experiment. Many of the people continue to feel alienated by the system, and those who feel that there is no way out will continue to articulate their grievances through the barrel of a gun. We cannot change this without structural reform.

This is the context that informed our negotiations throughout the peace process. And now, we have forged an agreement that seeks to correct these problems. It defines our parameters and our objectives, while upholding the integrity and sovereignty of our nation.

This agreement creates a new political entity, and it deserves a name that symbolizes and honors the struggles of our forebears in Mindanao, and celebrates the history and character of that part of our nation. That name will be Bangsamoro.

We are doing everything to ensure that other Bangsamoro stakeholders are brought in to this process so that this peace can be claimed and sustained by all. Sovereignty resides in the people, and consistent with the constitution, a basic law will be drafted by a transition commission and will go through the full process of legislation in Congress. My administration has pledged to supporting a law that will truly embody the values and aspirations of the people of Bangsamoro. Any proposed law resulting from this framework will be subject to ratification through a plebiscite. Once approved, there will be elections.

This Framework Agreement paves the way for a final, enduring peace in Mindanao. It brings all former secessionist groups into the fold; no longer does the Moro Islamic Liberation Front aspire for a separate state. This means that hands that once held rifles will be put to use tilling land, selling produce, manning work stations, and opening doorways of opportunity for other citizens.


Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

National government will continue to exercise exclusive powers of defense and security, foreign policy, monetary policy and coinage, citizenship, and naturalization. The Constitution and lawful processes shall govern the transition to the Bangsamoro, and this agreement will ensure that the Philippines remains one nation and one people, with all of our diverse cultures and narratives seeking the common goal. The Filipinos of Bangsamoro, on the other hand, will be assured a fair and equitable share of taxation, revenues, and the fruits of national patrimony. They will enjoy equal protection of laws and access to impartial justice.

We have gotten this far because of the trust extended to us by Al Haj Murad and his Central Committee, and the members of the MILF negotiating panel led by Mohagher Iqbal. They recognized our administration’s sincerity, and our shared principles and aspirations. Together, we traversed the distance between us until we finally met in a handshake and an embrace as fellow citizens of the Philippines.

We would like to thank the government of Malaysia, who stood as facilitators as we realized our aspirations for peace; we thank in particular Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, whose commitment remained firm despite considerable political and personal risk. We would also like to thank the members of the International Contact Group: the governments of the United Kingdom, Japan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, and also international [SP]NGOs like Conciliation Resources, the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Asia Foundation, and Muhamadiyah. Our people are also grateful for the help of the International Monitoring Team composed of the governments of Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, Norway, Indonesia, the European Union and Japan. We would also like to thank the United States, Australia, and the World Bank, among several other countries and institutions, have also provided invaluable support during the course of this process.

None of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts also of Secretary Ging Deles, Dean Marvic Leonen, his negotiating panel, and their dedicated staff at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. There can be no better example of true peace advocates.

This framework agreement is about rising above our prejudices. It is about casting aside the distrust and myopia that has plagued the efforts of the past; it is about learning hard lessons and building on the gains we have achieved. It is about acknowledging that trust has to be earned–it is about forging a partnership that rests on the bedrock of sincerity, good will, and hard work.

The work does not end here. There are still details that both sides must hammer out. Promises must be kept, institutions must be fixed, and new capacities must be built nationally and regionally in order to effectively administer the Bangsamoro. The citizenry, especially the youth, must be empowered so that new leaders may emerge.

marvic leonen

Marvic Leonen, professor at the UP College of Law, is the chief government negotiator in the peace talks (Credits: LYN RILLON of Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Sa mga susunod na araw, ilalathala ang balangkas at mga prinsipyo ng kasunduang ito sa mga pahayagan; makikita ang kabuoan nito sa Official Gazette ng ating pamahalaan. Inaanyayahan ko po ang lahat na makilahok sa pampublikong diskurso ukol sa kasunduan, bago magkaroon ng pinal na pirmahan. Nakalahad po ang lahat, at wala kaming tangkang magkubli o maglihim. Sinuri po namin nang maigi ang kasunduang ito; balanse ang ating naabot. Itinatama nito ang mali, at naglalagay ng mga mekanismo upang hindi na maulit ang nangyari sa nakaraan.

Basahin po sana natin ang kasunduang ito hindi bilang “sila” at “kami,” kundi bilang nagkakaisang “tayo” sa ilalim ng bandilang Pilipino. Tapos na po ang panahon ng hindi pagkakaunawaan, at kung iisipin natin ang kapakanan ng isa’t isa, oras na lang ang usapan; oras na lang bago matapos ang karahasan; oras na lang bago maabot ang normalidad sa buhay ng mga Pilipinong nasa Bangsamoro.

Umabot tayo sa puntong ito dahil sa tiwalang pumalit sa pagdududa. May mga hamon pa po tayong kakaharapin, at hinihimok ko ang bawat Pilipinong naghahangad ng kapayapaan: Gumawa po tayo ng paraan upang lalo pang lumawak ang tiwala sa mga araw na parating. Manganganak ito ng sunud-sunod na tagumpay. Tuloy-tuloy ang magiging pag-abot ng istabilidad; damay-damay ang buong bayan sa pag-unlad ng isang bahagi ng Pilipinas; dire-diretso tayo sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap.

Alam po ninyo, may edad na RIN ako, at mas may edad po nang kaunti sa akin si Al Haj Murad. Darating ang panahong pareho kaming wala na sa poder. Nagkakaisa po kami sa hangaring magpamana sa susunod na salinlahi ng mas mabuting situwasyon sa mga bahagi ng Mindanao na matagal nang pinupunit ng hidwaan. At dahil po sa kasunduang ito, puwede na kaming mangarap: Malapit na ang panahon na kapag may dayuhang bibisita sa Pilipinas, kasama ang mga lalawigan ng Bangsamoro sa listahan ng kanyang pupuntahan. Malapit na ang panahon na ang gustong magbakasyon sa Pagudpud, puwede na ring sa Sulu magpunta. Magiging pareho ang kaalaman ng kabataang papasok sa eskuwela, sa Quezon City man o sa Lamitan; pumunta ka man sa ospital sa Pasig o sa Patikul, magagamot ang iyong karamdaman; lalago ang iyong negosyo, sa Marikina o sa Marawi ka man mamuhunan.

Ang tagal pong naging imposibleng isipin ng mga ito. Pero napatunayan natin: Walang imposible sa mga handang magkaisa, makiambag sa mga solusyon, at kumilos tungo sa pagkakasundo. Sa wakas, naabot na natin ang kapayapaang pundasyon ng ating mga mithiin para sa Bangsamoro, para sa Mindanao, at para sa buong Pilipinas.

  Maraming salamat po.

This speech was delivered by President Benigno Aquino III in a hastily-organized event in Malacanang this Sunday afternoon. Originally posted in the Palace’s Official Gazette

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