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Tag Archives: politics

Why condemn Kristie Kenney for calling Corazon Aquino a “partial icon of democracy”?

Wikileaks’ posting of erstwhile confidential diplomatic cables has both good and bad effects. Some matters of public interest have been disclosed (FVR’s supposed financial connection to ex Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi), and that is a good thing. However, cables containing the private views of foreign missions here in the country need not be sensationalized. First, they may only be speaking for themselves. Second, it is really an envoy’s duty to monitor events happening in their respective assignments for their respective countries, and I think it is inevitable for them to give (typically undiplomatic, er, frank) analysis about those. Lest we forget, a diplomat’s mission is to foment smooth relations between two countries.

Because of Wikileaks, other diplomats may become wary of sharing their candid thoughts – knowing that this can cause embarrassment for themselves in the future. I don’t know how former US Ambassador to the Philippines Ms Kristie Kenney is regarded in Washington (especially by the current political establishment there), but you can’t help but admire how well-esteemed she is by most Filipinos. You can’t be an effective ambassador if you are reviled by your host country’s government (certainly experienced by Ms Kenney’s husband, the ex-US envoy to Venezuela) or by a majority of its people.

The adulation of Corazon Aquino - an instance of "veneration without understanding"?

As the has reported the past few days, Ms Kenney once wrote (http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/07/09MANILA1414.html) that former President Corazon Aquino’s credibility as a moral crusader “was tarnished when she was seen with disgraced former President Estrada in protest movements against President Arroyo.” She noted that the conflict between the two powerful women “continued after President Arroyo’s move to distribute Hacienda Luisita.”

She further expounded: “President Aquino leaves behind an incomplete transition to democratic governance that, while marked by great personal freedom for Philippine citizens, never seems to have properly taken root in the institutions that must handle the difficult task of governing a diverse and divided society.  Her moral leadership, while coming at an important time for the Philippines, never fully compensated for her weak leadership style.

Former US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney

Ms Kenney, now the ambassador to Thailand, is being criticized harshly, like by Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario (http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2011/08/31/foreign-affairs-chief-slams-ex-us-envoy-over-cable-remarks-176461), because of having unflattering views about the late former Pres. Aquino – a major taboo in our country. Ms Kenney’s views are refreshingly candid and, to me, accurate. Her sentiments merely echo the position taken by many political scientists and historians. Ms Kenney’s comments are not exactly catty, but it still raised the ire of those who venerate the Aquinos. As New York Times reporter Carlos Conde wrote (http://carlosconde.com/2011/02/27/cory-aquinos-betrayal-of-people-power) early this year, Pres. Cory herself betrayed People Power by having an alliance with Joseph Estrada. Mr. Conde wrote:

“Cory, for all her much-vaunted success in restoring democracy and all that, turned out to be one of the worst presidents we have had.

I am not sorry because ousting Marcos was the right thing to do, regardless of how it turned out later, regardless of how Cory and her minions bungled every opportunity to make this country great.

Corazon Aquino, who died in 2009, is viewed as a saint because we often compare her to the monster that was Marcos. But a look at what she had done as president should tell us that she was one deeply flawed saint.”

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Is COMELEC lawyer Ferdinand Rafanan being sidelined for speaking his mind?

Recently, there seems to be a concerted effort to sideline Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan within the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). He is the erstwhile head of the poll body’s legal department, which made him a favorite resource person for reporters during last year’s elections. He was also originally designated by COMELEC Chair Sixto Brillantes to be part of the COMELEC-DOJ joint body investigating the alleged massive cheatings during the 2004 and 2007 elections.

COMELEC Chair Sixto Brillantes: Rafanan has "a world of his own” and “has no friends in the commission.”

ABS-CBN’s Anthony Taberna reported yesterday () that the COMELEC en banc (meaning all its commissioners) “unanimously decided to fire Ferdinand Rafanan as law department head and as member of the COMELEC-DOJ panel. Rafanan will instead be transferred to the planning department. Brillantes was quoted as describing Rafanan as someone who “has a world of his own” and “has no friends in the commission.” Brillantes went as far as claiming that Rafanan was only bitter because he wasn’t appointed as a COMELEC commissioner. In retaliation, Rafanan said that “COMELEC insiders want him out of the commission after he implemented reforms and helped expose wrongdoing inside the poll body.”

Brillantes complained that Rafanan talks too much and that he is attacking the COMELEC as an institution. I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Rafanan two years ago for a news article about campaign finance. I found to be brutally honest especially on a sensitive topic like that. He described campaign overspending (said to be the root cause of corruption in our country) by Philippine candidates as a “reality.” Asked if the COMELEC double-checks the campaign receipts filed by the bets, he conceded that it is one function that the commission hasn’t really accomplished. During the interview, I can’t help but admire his honesty – something that is sorely lacking in our government right now. Here are excepts from my 2009 interview;

Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan: COMELEC officials "should not cater to the needs of those who placed them in their posts."

Campaign overspending in RP elections a “reality”, says Comelec official

by Mark Pere Madrona

With just seven months to go before the 2010 national and local polls a high-ranking Commission on Election (COMELEC) official said that campaign overspending among the candidates really happens.

“(Overspending) is not only a possibility. It is the reality,” COMELEC Legal Department head Ferdinand Rafanan said. And though all candidates are required to submit a statement of Expenditures and contributions to the poll body a month after the elections, “willful omissions of certain donations occur,” he said.

“Why will they (the candidates) submit something that will be incriminating?” Rafanan said. Asked if the COMELEC double-checks the campaign receipts filed by the bets, he conceded that it is one function that the commission hasn’t really accomplished.

“It hasn’t been performed because no one is interested in doing it. Our department is only taking orders from the higher-ups,” Rafanan said. “We don’t have the means and we are also lacking in manpower.”

The COMELEC’s hands are also tied as regards to the politicians’ infomercials. “They (the infomercials) are obviously intended to advance the aspirants’ acceptability to the public. This is not yet an election offense since no one has filed a certificate of candidacy (COC),” Rafanan said. The filing of COCs would be from November 20-30, 2009.

Premature campaigning can be committed by someone who has already filed his/her COC and has campaigned before the official campaign period, which begins on February 9, 2010 for national candidates. Parenthetically, the COMELEC is also powerless in monitoring how much has been spent by likely aspirants in their infomercials.

……..

Even if campaign overspending and its links to corruption appears to be an overwhelming problem, Rafanan still thinks the COMELEC can address it. “Simply implement the law. The COMELEC should work hard to do it. They (COMELEC officials) should not cater to the needs of those who placed them in their posts,” Rafanan said, noting that in his 11 years at the poll body, he cannot recall anyone who has been penalized for violating the country’s campaign finance laws.

Guia stressed the importance of updating the country’s campaign finance laws “to make them more relevant in the present context.” “One important aspect of campaign finance law that needs to be looked at is putting a cap on donations. Our laws fixes spending limits but do not provide for a campaign contribution limits. Moreover, compliance and disclosure requirements should be strengthened to force candidates to comply with the laws,” he said.

PS: That kind of honesty may be too hot to handle for some of his colleagues within the COMELEC.

 

News links:

Comelec en banc decided to transfer Rafanan – Brillantes

By Anthony Taberna, ABS-CBN News

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/08/30/11/comelec-en-banc-decided-transfer-rafanan-brillantes

Comelec ‘mafia’ behind law dep’t chief’s dismissal?

By David Dizon, abs-cbnNEWS.com

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/08/31/11/comelec-mafia-behind-law-dept-chiefs-dismissal


The moron Jeff Tamayo should resign for insulting PH paddlers

As the media had reported the past week, the bemedalled Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF)  team will neither receive any official remuneration for their winnings in Florida, USA nor get the chance to represent the country in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games and the 2014 Asian Games simply because they are “not a recognized national sports association (NSA) by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).”

This is very shameful! It is very disgusting to learn about this. Hindi nagagawa ng pamahalaan na kilalanin ang kakayahan ng Philippine Dragon Boat teamdahil lamang sa hidwaan sa pagitan ng mga sports associations.  Nakakahiya para sa bansa!

The moron Jeff Tamayo should resign for insulting our athletes!

Last October, retired Col Jeff Tamayo, POC board director, expressed extreme disbelief at the paddlers performance, saying that “our paddlers were super men and women, or were on super steroids.” Just last week, he said: “They (the PDBF squad) have the body, they have everything, but as we all know, ampaw na lang ‘yun.” To add insult to injury, he also urged the triumphant athletes to just retire ad give way to younger paddlers. For this very obnoxious remarks, Jeff Tamayo should resign out of shame. 

Come to think of it, intramurals in the field of sports is not really new. For two years, the Philippine basketball team was not able to participate in competitions sanctioned by the International Basketball Federation because of the bickering between BAP and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

As a result, the Philippines was disqualified from joining the 2005 SEA Games (which the country hosted) and the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. During the time when basketball leaders are squabbling with each other, other teams especially those from Middle East like Jordan, Lebanon, and Iran have already emerged as new powerhouses.

When will our sports leaders like Jeff Tamayo learn their lesson? Needless to say, they are the reason why Philippine sports is insuch a sorry state.


POC Official: Dragon boat team needs to retire

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/sports/08/11/11/poc-dragon-boat-team-needs-retire

Politics and paddles: No SEA Games action for PH dragon warriors

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/08/09/11/politics-and-paddles-no-sea-games-action-dragon-warriors

Phl dragon boat team robbed of gold, self-esteem

http://www.philstar.com/sportsarticle.aspx?articleid=635764&publicationsubcategoryid=69


Reading between the lines of President Aquino’s 2011 State of the Nation Address

1. Walang wang-wang sa ating administrasyon. At ngayon, patuloy nating itinitigil ito.

– Walang wang-wang? Ano tawag niya kay Kris? Sirena?

2. Kayo po ba, gusto ninyong makulong ang lahat ng tiwali? Ako rin po. – Ouch, Madame Gloria!

"Walang hiya ka, Noy! May shakit na nga ako, binibira mo pa rin ako..." (courtesy of Negros Chronicle)

3. Nitong taong ito, taumbayan na mismo ang nagsabing nabawasan ang nagugutom sa kanila. Mula sa 20.5 percent na self-rated hunger noong Marso, bumaba na ito sa 15.1 percent nitong Hunyo

– Isa ako sa nagugutom. I hunger for your love!

4. Wang-wang po ang pagbili ng helicopter sa presyong brand new, pero iyon pala ay gamit na gamit na.

– Did we hear PNoy say, “Mike Arroyo!”?

5. Ang bonus nila mula 2005 hanggang 2009 (mga opisyal ng Philippine National Construction Corporation), 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.

Where can I send my resume?

6. 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.

 – The pain caused by PGMA’s pinched nerve just got worse!

 

Everytime PNoy mentions the need to punish corruption, Arroyo's neck pain worsens!

7. Nakapag-abot na po tayo ng apat na libong Certificate of Entitlement to Lot Allocation sa magigiting nating kawal at pulis…Ang dating apat na libong ibinabayad para sa upa kada buwan, ngayon, dalawandaang piso na lang, para pa sa bahay na pagmamay-ari talaga nila. – Bakit ka mangungupahan pa, kung kaya mo namang magkabahay na?

8. Ang sa Pilipinas ay sa Pilipinas; kapag tumapak ka sa Recto Bank, para ka na ring tumapak sa Recto Avenue. – Wait! Ibig sabihin, may mga prostitutes na rin sa Spratlys?!?

8.1. Ang sa Pilipinas ay sa Pilipinas; kapag tumapak ka sa Recto Bank, para ka na ring tumapak sa Recto Avenue. – Ha? May nagbebenta na rin ng pekeng diploma sa Kalayaan Islands?!?

10. Wala tayong balak mang-away, pero kailangan ding mabatid ng mundo na handa tayong ipagtanggol ang atin. – The Chinese Ambassador just fell from his seat…

11. Ayon pa lang po sa website nating Philjobnet, may limampung libong trabahong hindi napupunan, napupunuan, kada buwan dahil hindi tugma ang kailangan ng mga kumpanya sa kakayahan at kaalaman ng mga naghahanap ng trabaho. – Nursing graduates! Nursing graduates! Wala lang…

12. Kung hindi nawala ang pondong ito (ARMM cash advances), nakatapos na sana ang isang batang sa ngayon ay tumatawid sa ghost bridge, para pumasok sa ghost school, kung saan tuturuan siya ng ghost teacher. – Ang daming ghost! Scary!

13. Pag sinabi nating malinis na pamamahala, may dadaloy na malinis na tubig sa mga liblib na lugar gaya ng Barangay Poblacion, sa Ferrol, Romblon. – Cheers, Congressman Budoy Madrona!

Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona of Romblon province

14. Sinusuportahan din natin ang pagpapalawak ng sakop ng scholarship na ipinagkakaloob ng DOST sa mahuhusay ngunit kapuspalad na mag-aaral – Sana hindi na delayed ang quarterly stipend…

15. Kung hindi magbabayad ang mga nagkasala, parang tayo na rin mismo ang nag-imbita sa mga nagbabalak gumawa ng masama na kung puwede, uulitin ninyo ang ginawa ninyo.

At this point, Gloria Arroyo asked Dr. Juliet Cervantes (of St. Luke’s Medical Center) for sedatives

16. Isang bilyong piso po ang ginastos ng dating pamunuan ng PAGCOR para sa kape; sa isandaang piso na lang po kada tasa, lalabas na nakakonsumo sila ng sampung milyong tasa ng kape. Hanapin nga po natin sila, at matanong: nakakatulog pa po kayo? – Now, that’s what free-flowing coffee is!

PAGCOR Coffee, anyone? *gold dust kasi ang creamer nyan kaya mahal*

16.1. Isang bilyong piso po ang ginastos ng dating pamunuan ng PAGCOR para sa kape; sa isandaang piso na lang po kada tasa, lalabas na nakakonsumo sila ng sampung milyong tasa ng kape. Hanapin nga po natin sila, at matanong: nakakatulog pa po kayo? – Representatives of Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, and Figaro are now looking forward to doing business with PAGCOR!

17. 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. – GMA failed to hear this. Tulog na sya…

18. Salamat po sa mga pari at obispo na masinsinang nakikipagdiyalogo sa atin, katulad nina Cardinal Rosales at Vidal. – RH bill advocates pretends not to hear anything

19. Salamat din po sa ating Gabinete, na walang kinikilalang panahon ng tulog o pahinga, maipatupad lang ang pambansang agenda. – Balay o Samar?

20. Special mention po ang PAGASA, na tunay na ngayong nagbibigay ng maaasahang babala – Albay Gov. Joey Salceda raises his eyebrows.

And last but not the least…

Bago ka umuwi galing eskuwela, lapitan mo ang guro mong piniling mamuhunan sa iyong kinabukasan kaysa unahin ang sariling ginhawa; sabihin mo, “Salamat po” – I’m inviting the President to be a contributor to our book “Growing Up Right” after his term!


Will Juan Miguel Zubiri really resign as Senator today?

IT’S OFFICIAL:

Philippine Daily Inquirer (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/35661/zubiri-resigns-amid-poll-fraud-scandal) becomes the first to confirm this story:

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri announced his resignation from his post on Wednesday, saying he and his family were deeply hurt by fraud allegation and trial by publicity being waged by his rival, lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who lost against him for the 12th slot in the 2007 senatorial elections.

“Without admitting any fault and with my vehement denial of the alleged electoral fraud hurled against me, I am submitting my resignation as a duly elected Senator of the Republic of the Philippines in the election for which I am falsely accused without mercy and compassion,” Zubiri said in a privilege speech.

“I am resigning, not because I am exhausted from the demands of my calling as a legislator.  Hindi po ako napagod sa paglilingkod sa inyo [I never got tired of being of service to you],” he said.

“I am resigning, not because I wish to evade the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. Handa ko pong tanggapin ang anumang hatol mula sa nasabing hukuman [I am ready to accept any verdict from the said tribubal].”

“Rather, I am resigning because of these unfounded accusations against me and these issues has systematically divided our nation and has casted doubts in our electoral system which has affected not only myself, this Institution but the public as well,” the senator added.

Earlier post:

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri will announce his resignation from the Senate in a privilege speech this afternoon, ABS-CBN reported in its website a little past noon today (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/08/03/11/zubiri-give-senate-seat-source). Zubiri, according to ABS-CBN, arrived at the decision after “new witnesses to fraud in the 2007 elections cast doubt on his mandate.”

Will he really announce his resignation today?

Will he really announce his resignation today?

They are referring to the recent testimonies of former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan. They were supposedly ordered by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to pad votes for Zubiri for him to surpass lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pinmentel III in the race for Senate.

 

UPDATE: Inquirer.net (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/35575/zubiri-expected-to-announce-resignation-from-senate) reports that he will indeed announce his resignation in a privilege speech this afternoon. Key members of the Zubiri family will also be present during his speech.

Far from being an admission of guilt, Zubiri will be resigning “to spare the Senate as an institution from the damage being brought by accusations of fraud (against Zubiri),” the Inquirer source added.

 

 


GMA said she phoned a COMELEC official just to “protect her votes” – read her 2005 statement here

Thirteen months after her term as president ended, allegations that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cheated in the 2004 elections, where she was the proclaimed winner over popular movie-actor Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ) persists. In fact, it even gained traction with the recent confession of former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol and ex-Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan that vote-rigging really happened not just in 2004, but also in the 2007 senatorial polls (that time in favor of administration candidate Juan Miguel Zubiri).

Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent Rafael Santiago surfaced last week to say that he and a handful of policemen sneaked into the premises of the House of Representatives in early 2005 to replace the 2004 election returns with fake ones. At that time, FPJ’s camp is still protesting the results of the eections. The alleged chief architect of this purported cheating, former COMELEC commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, meanwhile surfaced last July 30 to deny that he was in cahoots with President Arroyo in any of the claimed election irregularities.

Over six years ago, then President Arroyo made a four-minute national address about it. She admitted calling a COMELEC official (she did not mention who) while vote-counting is still ongoing. She says she did so out of anxiousness to protect her votes. She called her actions a “lapse in judgment.” Below are her complete remarks. I also have an audio file of this, but mp3 files cannot be uploaded in WordPress blogs for “security reasons.”

Photo taken during Arroyo's infamous "I Am Sorry" speech - June 27, 2005

Photo taken during Arroyo's infamous "I Am Sorry" speech - June 27, 2005

 

Mga minamahal kong kababayan.

For the last several weeks, the issue of the tape recordings has spun out of control. Tonight, I want to set the record straight. You deserve an explanation from me, because you are the people I was elected to serve.

As you recall, the election canvassing process was unnecessarily slow even after the election results were already in and the votes had been counted.

I was anxious to protect my votes and during that time had conversations with many people, including a Comelec official. My intent was not to influence the outcome of the election, and it did not. As I mentioned, the election has already been decided and the votes counted. And as you remember, the outcome had been predicted by every major public opinion poll, and adjudged free, fair and decisive by international election observers, and our own Namfrel.

That said, let me tell you how I personally feel. I recognize that making any such call was a lapse in judgment. I am sorry. I also regret taking so long to speak before you on this matter. I take full responsibility for my actions and to you and to all those good citizens who may have had their faith shaken by these events. I want to assure you that I have redoubled my efforts to serve the nation and earn your trust.

Nagagambala ako. Maliwanag na may kakulangan sa wastong pagpapasya ang nangyaring pagtawag sa telepono. Pinagsisisihan ko ito nang lubos. Pinananagutan ko nang lubusan ang aking ginawa, at humihingi ako ng tawad sa inyo, sa lahat ng mga butihing mamamayan na nabawasan ng tiwala dahil sa mga pangyayaring ito. Ibig kong tiyakin sa inyo na lalo pa akong magsisikap upang maglingkod sa bayan at matamo inyong tiwala.

I took office with a mandate to carry out a plan for the nation. Since that time, I have focused on making the tough but necessary decisions to make up for years of economic neglect. We passed a comprehensive, fiscally responsible national budget; raised new and necessary revenues to invest in the people; and implemented new anti-corruption measures that have led to the highest collection of taxes in history.

Nothing should stand in the way of this work, or the next phase of my reform agenda, which includes new investments in education and social services with our new revenues; and an expansion of our successful, anti-corruption and lifestyle checks.

That is why I want to close this chapter and move on with the business of governing. I ask each and everyone of you to join hands with me in a show of unity, to help forge one Philippines, where everyone is equal under the law, and everybody has the opportunity to use their God-given talents to make a better life.

Our nation is strong and getting stronger. The progress is steady and I ask you to walk with me on this journey to rebuild our great nation. I remain your humble servant and promise you that I will fulfill my constitutional oath of office to serve the people to the best of my ability.

God bless the Philippines. (emphasis supplied)

 

Credits:

Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism:

http://www.pcij.org/blog/2005/06/28/the-president-says-i-am-sorry-i-want-to-close-this-chapter-2

Philippine Daily Inquirer:

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/33431/garcillano-surfaces-to-deny-cheating-in-2004-polls

Journalist Raissa Robles’ blog:

http://raissarobles.com/2011/07/21/part-1-garci-tapes-lets-refresh-our-memories/

Be sure to check the Professional Heckler’s newly-published “transcript” of Arroyo’s conversation with Garci:

http://professionalheckler.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/success/


Transcript of President Noynoy Aquino’s 2011 State of the Nation Address

The Office of the President, through its official website, has just published the transcript of President Noynoy Aquino’s 2011 State of the Nation Address. He gave his address almost entirely in Filipino (http://www.gov.ph/2011/07/25/benigno-s-aquino-iii-second-state-of-the-nation-address-july-25-2011). I am reposting here the English translation, which I got from http://www.gov.ph/2011/07/25/benigno-s-aquino-iii-second-state-of-the-nation-address-july-25-2011-en. Readers are advised to also refer to media news reports since there might be minor differences between the actual speech he delivered and these texts.  

 

 [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 am heartened because you are with me, and we stand on the side of what is right." - Pres. Aquino

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.


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