Philippine Society. Politics. Rants. Critiques.

Noynoy Aquino is the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines

| Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I remember this quote from the movie, “Philadelphia” (Starring Tom Hanks in 1993), “Isn’t it true that when you send someone in a very important mission, you should choose the best, the most experienced, the TOP GUN?” [Rephrasing done by me].

Up to now, I don’t see Noynoy as the man fit for the job. (I bet I share the same sentiments with the pro-Gordon or pro-Gibo). And it depresses me how the electorate voted for him. But anyways, we are left but to support his new presidency. Tapos na eh, the non-calculating masses have spoken. All we have to do is support and cross our fingers that some miracles will be done by this man who came from a political pedigree.

Yesterday marked a new era for the Philippines. Five hundred thousand people flooded to the Quirino Grandstand to witness the historic event. The program lasted for two hours and it was sprinkled with performances from our singers.

Charice sang the national anthem while the APO Hiking Society also gave a song with the ringing chorus, “Mahal Ko ang Pilipinas”. I smirked when I saw Jim Paredes singing with Buboy and Danny. Why? As what I’ve said in my classes, it’s easy to say that one loves his country. My question for Jim Paredes is, if he really loves our country, isn’t it the wiser (and more patriotic) deed to remain and help our countrymen here than to live in Australia? Not all performers are doing what they sing. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

But one of the performances I enjoyed was that of Noel Cabangon. The catchy song that I heard months ago in Unang Hirit was also sung yesterday. The song’s entitled, “Panata” with catchy lyrics, “Pabor o lagay ay ’di ko pinapayagan/Tapat ang serbisyo ko sa mamamayaan/’Di ko binubulsa ang pera ng Bayan …”

Many scenarios were pretty funny and surprising. I was surprised that Corona was present despite the earlier reports by the media that he will not be coming. Before going to the grandstand, Pres. Gloria was smilingly shaking the hands of the new president. Whew. Sa politika nga naman, minsan, ang paplastik!

Here’s the transcript of Aquino’s speech in English which is followed by the original Filipino speech: (Click here for the source)

His Excellency Jose Ramos Horta, Former President Fidel V. Ramos, Former President Joseph Estrada, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and membersof the Senate, House Speaker Prospero Nograles and members of the House, justices of the Supreme Court, members of the foreign delegations,Your Excellencies of the diplomatic corps, fellow colleagues in government, aking mga kababayan.

My presence here today is proof that you are my true strength. I never expected that I will be here taking my oath of office before you, as your president. I never imagined that I would be tasked with continuing the mission of my parents. I never entertained the ambition to be the symbol of hope, and to inherit the problems of our nation.

I had a simple goal in life: to be true to my parents and our country as an honorable son, a caring brother, and a good citizen.

My father offered his life so our democracy could live. My mother devoted her life to nurturing that democracy. I will dedicate my life to making our democracy reach its fullest potential: that of ensuring equality for all. My family has sacrificed much and I am willing to do this again if necessary.

Although I was born to famous parents, I know and feel the problems of ordinary citizens. We all know what it is like to have a government that plays deaf and dumb. We know what it is like to be denied justice, to be ignored by those in whom we placed our trust and tasked to become our advocates.

Have you ever been ignored by the very government you helped put in power? I have. Have you had to endure being rudely shoved aside by the siren-blaring escorts of those who love to display their position and power over you? I have, too. Have you experienced exasperation and anger at agovernment that instead of serving you, needs to be endured by you? So have I.

I am like you. Many of our countrymen have already voted with their feet – migrating to other countries in search of change or tranquility. They have endured hardship, risked their lives because they believe that compared to their current state here, there is more hope for them in another country, no matter how bleak it may be. In moments when I thought of only my own welfare, I also wondered—is it possible that I can find the peace and quiet that I crave in another country? Is ourgovernment beyond redemption? Has it been written that the Filipino’s lot is merely to suffer?

Today marks the end of a regime indifferent to the appeals of the people. It is not Noynoy who found a way. You are the reason why the silent suffering of the nation is about to end. This is the beginning of my burden, but if many of us will bear the cross we will lift it, no matter how heavy it is.

Through good governance in the coming years, we will lessen our problems. The destiny of the Filipino will return to its rightful place, and as each year passes, the Filipino’s problems will continue to lessen with the assurance of progress in their lives.
We are here to serve and not to lord over you. The mandate given to me was one of change. I accept your marching orders to transform ourgovernment from one that is self-serving to one that works for the welfare of the nation.

This mandate is the social contract that we agreed upon. It is the promise I made during the campaign, which you accepted on election day.

During the campaign we said, “If no one is corrupt, no one will be poor.” That is no mere slogan for posters—it is the defining principle that will serve as the foundation of our administration.

Our foremost duty is to lift the nation from poverty through honest and effective governance.

The first step is to have leaders who are ethical, honest, and true public servants. I will set the example. I will strive to be a good model. I will not break thetrust you have placed in me. I will ensure that this, too, will be the advocacy of my Cabinet and those who will join our government.

I do not believe that all of those who serve in our government are corrupt. In truth, the majority of them are honest. They joined government to serve and do good.
Starting today, they will have the opportunity to show that they have what it takes. I am counting on them to help fight corruption within the bureaucracy.

To those who have been put in positions by unlawful means, this is my warning: we will begin earning back the trust of our people by reviewing midnight appointments. Let this serve as a warning to those who intend to continue the crooked ways that have become the norm for too long.

To our impoverished countrymen, starting today, your government will be your champion.

We will not disregard the needs of our students. We will begin by addressing the glaring shortage in classrooms and educational facilities.

Gradually, we will lessen the lack of infrastructures for transportation, tourism and trade. From now on, mediocre work will not be good enough when it comes to roads, bridges, and buildings because we will hold contractors responsible for maintaining their projects in good condition.

We will revive the emergency employment program established by former President Corazon Aquino. This will provide jobs for local communities and will help in the development of their and our economy.

We will not be the cause of your suffering or hardship. We will strengthen collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and we will fight corruption in the Bureau of Customs in order to fund our objectivesfor the public welfare, such as:

• Quality education, including vocational education, so that those who choose not to attend college or those who cannot afford it can find dignified livelihood;
• Improved public health services such as PhilHealth for all within three years;
• A home for every family, within safe communities.

We will strengthen the armed forces and the police, not to serve the interests of those who want to wield power with impunity, but to give added protection for ordinary folk. The armed forces and the police risk their lives daily so that the nation can live in peace and security. The population has doubled and yet their numbers remain unchanged. It is not right that those who make sacrifices are treated pitifully.

If there was a fertilizer scam in the past, today there will be security for farmers. We will help them with irrigation, extension services, and marketing their products at the best possible prices.

We are directing Secretary Alcala to set up trading centers that will directly link farmers and consumers thereby eliminating middlemen and opportunities for corruption. In this way, funds can be shared by farmers and consumers. We will make our country attractive to investors. We will cut red tape dramatically and implement stable economic policies. We will level the playing field for investors and makegovernment an enabler, not a hindrance to business. This is the only means by which we can provide jobs for our people.

Our goal is to create jobs at home so that there will be no need to look for employment abroad. However, as we work towards that end, I am ordering the DFA, POEA, OWWA, and other relevant agencies to be even more responsive to the needs and welfare of our overseas Filipino workers.

We will strengthen the process of consultation and feedback. We will strive to uphold the constitutional right of citizens to information on matters of public concern.
We relived the spirit of people power during the campaign. Let it take us to good and effective governance. Those who believe in people power put the welfare of others before their own.

I can forgive those who did me wrong but I have no right to forgive those who abused our people.

To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: there can be no reconciliation without justice. When we allow crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to their occurring over and over again. Secretary de Lima, you have your marching orders. Begin the process of providing true and complete justice for all.

We are also happy to inform you the acceptance of Chief Justice Hilario Davide of the challenge of strengthening and heading a Truth Commission that will shed light on many unanswered issues that continue to haunt our country.

My government will be sincere in dealing with all the peoples of Mindanao. We are committed to a peaceful and just settlement of conflict, inclusive of the interests of all — may they be Lumads, Bangsamoro or Christian.
We shalI defeat the enemy by wielding the tools of justice, social reform, and equitable governance leading to a better life. With proper governance life will improve for all. When we are all living well, who will want to go back to living under oppression?
If I have all of you by my side, we will be able to build a nation in which there will be equality of opportunity, because each of us fulfilled our duties and responsibilities equally.
After the elections, you proved that it is the people who wield power in this country.
This is what democracy means. It is the foundation of our unity. We campaigned for change. Because of this, the Filipino stands tall once more. We are all part of a nation that can begin to dream again.

To our friends and neighbors around the world, we are ready to take our place as a reliable member of the community of nations, a nation serious about its commitments and which harmonizes its national interests with its international responsibilities.
We will be a predictable and consistent place for investment, a nation where everyone will say, “it all works.”

Today, I am inviting you to pledge to yourselves and to our people. No one shall be left behind.

No more junkets, no more senseless spending. No more turning back on pledges made during the campaign, whether today or in the coming challenges that will confront us over the next six years. No more influence-peddling, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No more sirens, no more short cuts, no more bribes. It is time for us to work together once more.

We are here today because we stood together and believed in hope. We had no resources to campaign other than our common faith in the inherent goodness of the Filipino.

The people who are behind us dared to dream. Today, the dream starts to become a reality. To those among you who are still undecided about sharing the common burden I have only one question: Are you going to quit now that we have won?
You are the boss so I cannot ignore your orders. We will design and implement an interaction and feedback mechanism that can effectively respond to your needs and aspirations.

You are the ones who brought me here—our volunteers—old, young, celebrity, ordinary folks who went around the country to campaign for change; my household help who provided for all my personal needs; my family, friends, colleagues at work, who shared, cared, and gave their support; my lawyers who stayed all hours to guard my votes and make sure they were counted; and the millions of Filipinos who prevailed, kept faith, and never lost hope – I offer my heartfelt gratitude.

I will not be able to face my parents and you who have brought me here if do not fulfill the promises I made.

My parents sought nothing less, died for nothing less, than democracy and peace. I am blessed by this legacy. I shall carry the torch forward.

My hope is that when I leave office, everyone can say that we have traveled far on the right path, and that we are able to bequeath a better future to the next generation. Join me in continuing this fight for change.

Thank you and long live the Filipino people!

The following is the transcript of Pres. Aquino’s speech in Filipino: (Please click here for the source)

His Excellency Jose Ramos Horta, Former President Fidel V. Ramos, Former President Joseph Estrada, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and members of the Senate, House Speaker Prospero Nograles and members of the House, justices of the Supreme Court, members of the foreign delegations,Your Excellencies of the diplomatic corps, fellow colleagues in government, aking mga kababayan.

Ang pagtayo ko dito ngayon ay patunay na kayo ang aking tunay na lakas. Hindi ko inakala na darating tayo sa puntong ito, na ako’y manunumpa sa harap ninyo bilang inyong Pangulo. Hindi ko pinangarap maging tagapagtaguyod ng pag-asa at tagapagmana ng mga suliranin ng ating bayan.

Ang layunin ko sa buhay ay simple lang: maging tapat sa aking mga magulang at sa bayan bilang isang marangal na anak, mabait na kuya, at mabuting mamamayan.

Nilabanan ng aking ama ang diktaturya at ibinuwis niya ang kanyang buhay para tubusin ang ating demokrasya. Inalay ng aking ina ang kanyang buhay upang pangalagaan ang demokrasyang ito. Ilalaan ko ang aking buhay para siguraduhin na ang ating demokrasya ay kapaki-pakinabang sa bawat isa. Namuhunan na kami ng dugo at handang gawin itong muli kung kinakailangan.

Tanyag man ang aking mga magulang at ang kanilang mga nagawa, alam ko rin ang problema ng ordinaryong mamamayan. Alam nating lahat ang pakiramdam na magkaroon ng pamahalaang bulag at bingi. Alam natin ang pakiramdam na mapagkaitan ng hustisya, na mabalewala ng mga taong pinagkatiwalaan at inatasan nating maging ating tagapagtanggol.

Kayo ba ay minsan ring nalimutan ng pamahalaang inyong iniluklok sa puwesto? Ako rin. Kayo ba ay nagtiis na sa trapiko para lamang masingitan ng isang naghahari-hariang de-wangwang sa kalsada? Ako rin. Kayo ba ay sawang-sawa na sa pamahalaang sa halip na magsilbi sa taumbayan ay kailangan pa nila itong pagpasensiyahan at tiisin? Ako rin.

Katulad ninyo ako. Marami na sa atin ang bumoto gamit ang kanilang paa—nilisan na nila ang ating bansa sa kanilang paghahanap ng pagbabago at katahimikan. Tiniis nila ang hirap, sinugod ang panganib sa ibang bansa dahil doon may pag-asa kahit kaunti na dito sa atin ay hindi nila nakikita. Sa iilang sandali na sarili ko lang ang aking inaalala, pati ako ay napag-isip din—talaga bang hindi na mababago ang pamamahala natin dito? Hindi kaya nasa ibang bansa ang katahimikang hinahanap ko? Saan ba nakasulat na kailangang puro pagtitiis ang tadhana ng Pilipino?

Ngayon, sa araw na ito—dito magwawakas ang pamumunong manhid sa mga daing ng taumbayan. Hindi si Noynoy ang gumawa ng paraan, kayo ang dahilan kung bakit ngayon, magtatapos na ang pagtitiis ng sambayanan. Ito naman ang umpisa ng kalbaryo ko, ngunit kung marami tayong magpapasan ng krus ay kakayanin natin ito, gaano man kabigat.

Sa tulong ng wastong pamamahala sa mga darating na taon, maiibsan din ang marami nating problema. Ang tadhana ng Pilipino ay babalik sa tamang kalagayan, na sa bawat taon pabawas ng pabawas ang problema ng Pinoy na nagsusumikap at may kasiguruhan sila na magiging tuloy-tuloy na ang pagbuti ng kanilang sitwasyon.

Kami ay narito para magsilbi at hindi para maghari. Ang mandato ninyo sa amin ay pagbabago—isang malinaw na utos para ayusin ang gobyerno at lipunan mula sa pamahalaang iilan lamang ang nakikinabang tungo sa isang pamahalaang kabutihan ng mamamayan ang pinangangalagaan.

Ang mandatong ito ay isa kung saan kayo at ang inyong pangulo ay nagkasundo para sa pagbabago—isang paninindigan na ipinangako ko noong kampanya at tinanggap ninyo noong araw ng halalan.
Sigaw natin noong kampanya: “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” Hindi lamang ito pang slogan o pang poster—ito ang mga prinsipyong tinatayuan at nagsisilbing batayan ng ating administrasyon.

Ang ating pangunahing tungkulin ay ang magsikap na maiangat ang bansa mula sa kahirapan, sa pamamagitan ng pagpapairal ng katapatan at mabuting pamamalakad sa pamahalaan.

Ang unang hakbang ay ang pagkakaroon ng tuwid at tapat na hanay ng mga pinuno. Magsisimula ito sa akin. Sisikapin kong maging isang mabuting ehemplo. Hinding hindi ko sasayangin ang tiwalang ipinagkaloob ninyo sa akin. Sisiguraduhin ko na ganito rin ang adhikain ng aking Gabinete at ng mga magiging kasama sa ating pamahalaan.

Naniniwala akong hindi lahat ng nagsisilbi sa gobyerno ay corrupt. Sa katunayan, mas marami sa kanila ay tapat. Pinili nilang maglingkod sa gobyerno upang gumawa ng kabutihan. Ngayon, magkakaroon na sila ng pagkakataong magpakitang-gilas. Inaasahan natin sila sa pagsupil ng korapsyon sa loob mismo ng burukrasya.

Sa mga itinalaga sa paraang labag sa batas, ito ang aking babala: sisimulan natin ang pagbabalik ng tiwala sa pamamagitan ng pag-usisa sa mga “midnight appointments.” Sana ay magsilbi itong babala sa mga nag-iisip na ipagpatuloy ang baluktot na kalakarang nakasanayan na ng marami.

Sa mga kapuspalad nating mga kababayan, ngayon, ang pamahalaan ang inyong kampeon.

Hindi natin ipagpapaliban ang mga pangangailangan ng ating mga estudyante, kaya’t sisikapin nating punan ang kakulangan sa ating mga silid-aralan.

Unti-unti din nating babawasan ang mga kakulangan sa imprastraktura para sa transportasyon, turismo at pangangalakal. Mula ngayon, hindi na puwede ang “puwede na” pagdating sa mga kalye, tulay at gusali dahil magiging responsibilidad ng mga kontratista ang panatilihing nasa mabuting kalagayan ang mga proyekto nila.

Bubuhayin natin ang programang “emergency employment” ng dating pangulong Corazon Aquino sa pagtatayo ng mga bagong imprastraktura na ito. Ito ay magbibigay ng trabaho sa mga local na komunidad at makakatulong sa pagpapalago ng kanila at ng ating ekonomiya.

Hindi kami magiging sanhi ng inyong pasakit at perwisyo. Palalakasin natin ang koleksyon at pupuksain natin ang korapsyon sa Kawanihan ng Rentas Internas at Bureau of Customs para mapondohan natin ang ating mga hinahangad para sa lahat, tulad ng:

• dekalidad na edukasyon, kabilang ang edukasyong bokasyonal para makapaghanap ng marangal na trabaho ang hindi makapag-kolehiyo;
• serbisyong pangkalusugan, tulad ng Philhealth para sa lahat sa loob ng tatlong taon;
• tirahan sa loob ng mga ligtas na komunidad.

Palalakasin at palalaguin natin ang bilang ng ating kasundaluhan at kapulisan, hindi para tugunan ang interes ng mga naghahari-harian, ngunit para proteksyunan ang mamamayan. Itinataya nila ang kanilang buhay para mayroong pagkakataon sa katahimikan at kapayapaan sa sambayanan. Dumoble na ang populasyong kanilang binabantayan, nanatili naman sila sa bilang. Hindi tama na ang nagmamalasakit ay kinakawawa.

Kung dati ay may fertilizer scam, ngayon ay may kalinga na tunay para sa mga magsasaka. Tutulungan natin sila sa irigasyon, extension services, at sa pagbenta ng kanilang produkto sa pinakamataas na presyong maaari.

Inaatasan natin si papasok na Kalihim Alcala na magtayo ng mga trading centers kung saan diretso na ang magsasaka sa mamimili - lalaktawan natin ang gitna, kasama na ang kotong cop. Sa ganitong paraan, ang dating napupunta sa gitna ay maari nang paghatian ng magsasaka at mamimili.

Gagawin nating kaaya-aya sa negosyante ang ating bansa. We will cut red tape dramatically and implement stable economic policies. We will level the playing field for investors and make government an enabler, not a hindrance, to business. Sa ganitong paraan lamang natin mapupunan ang kakulangan ng trabaho para sa ating mga mamamayan.

Layunin nating paramihin ang trabaho dito sa ating bansa upang hindi na kailanganin ang mangibang-bansa para makahanap ng trabaho. Ngunit habang ito ay hindi pa natin naaabot, inaatasan ko ang mga kawani ng DFA, POEA, OWWA at iba pang mga kinauukulang ahensiya na mas lalo pang paigtingin ang pagtugon sa mga hinaing at pangangailangan ng ating mga overseas Filipino workers.

Papaigtingin namin ang proseso ng konsultasyon at pag-uulat sa taumbayan. Sisikapin naming isakatuparan ang nakasaad sa ating Konstitusyon na kinikilala ang karapatan ng mamamayan na magkaroon ng kaalaman ukol sa mga pampublikong alintana.

Binuhay natin ang diwa ng people power noong kampanya. Ipagpatuloy natin ito tungo sa tuwid at tapat na pamamahala. Ang naniniwala sa people power ay nakatuon sa kapwa at hindi sa sarili.

Sa mga nang-api sa akin, kaya ko kayong patawarin, at pinapatawad ko na kayo. Sa mga nang-api sa sambayanan, wala akong karapatan na limutin ang inyong mga kasalanan.

To those who are talking about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: there can be no reconciliation without justice. Sa paglimot ng pagkakasala, sinisigurado mong mauulit muli ang mga pagkakasalang ito. Secretary de Lima, you have your marching orders. Begin the process of providing true and complete justice for all.

Ikinagagalak din naming ibahagi sa inyo ang pagtanggap ni dating Chief Justice Hilario Davide sa hamon ng pagtatatag at pamumuno sa isang Truth Commission na magbibigay linaw sa maraming kahinahinalang isyu na hanggang ngayon ay walang kasagutan at resolusyon.

Ang sinumang nagkamali ay kailangang humarap sa hustisya. Hindi maaaring patuloy ang kalakaran ng walang pananagutan at tuloy na pang-aapi.

My government will be sincere in dealing with all the peoples of Mindanao. We are committed to a peaceful and just settlement of conflicts, inclusive of the interests of all – may they be Lumads, Bangsamoro or Christian.

We shalI defeat the enemy by wielding the tools of justice, social reform, and equitable governance leading to a better life. Sa tamang pamamahala gaganda ang buhay ng lahat, at sa buhay na maganda, sino pa ang gugustuhing bumalik sa panahon ng pang-aapi?

Kung kasama ko kayo, maitataguyod natin ang isang bayan kung saan pantay-pantay ang pagkakataon, dahil pantay-pantay nating ginagampanan ang ating mga pananagutan.

Kamakailan lamang, ang bawat isa sa atin ay nanindigan sa presinto. Bumoto tayo ayon sa ating karapatan at konsensiya. Hindi tayo umatras sa tungkulin nating ipaglaban ang karapatang ito.

Pagkatapos ng bilangan, pinatunayan ninyo na ang tao ang tunay na lakas ng bayan.

Ito ang kahalagahan ng ating demokrasya. Ito ang pundasyon ng ating pagkakaisa. Nangampanya tayo para sa pagbabago. Dahil dito taas-noo muli ang Pilipino. Tayong lahat ay kabilang sa isang bansa kung saan maaari nang mangarap muli.

To our friends and neighbors around the world, we are ready to take our place as a reliable member of the community of nations, a nation serious about its commitments and which harmonizes its national interests with its international responsibilities.

We will be a predictable and consistent place for investment, a nation where everyone will say, “it all works.”

Inaanyayahan ko kayo ngayon na manumpa sa ating mga sarili, sa sambayanan, WALANG MAIIWAN.

Walang pangingibang-bayan at gastusan na walang wastong dahilan. Walang pagtatalikod sa mga salitang binitawan noong kampanya, ngayon at hanggang sa mga susunod pang pagsubok na pagdadaanan sa loob ng anim na taon.

Walang lamangan, walang padrino at walang pagnanakaw. Walang wang-wang, walang counterflow, walang tong. Panahon na upang tayo ay muling magkawang-gawa.

Nandito tayo ngayon dahil sama-sama tayong nanindigan at nagtiwala na may pag-asa.

The people who are behind us dared to dream. Today, the dream starts to become a reality. Sa inyong mga nag-iisip pa kung tutulong kayo sa pagpasan ng ating krus, isa lang ang aking tanong – kung kailan tayo nanalo, saka pa ba kayo susuko?

Kayo ang boss ko, kaya’t hindi maaaring hindi ako makinig sa mga utos ninyo. We will design and implement an interaction and feedback mechanism that can effectively respond to the people’s needs and aspirations.

Kayo ang nagdala sa akin sa puntong ito—ang ating mga volunteers—matanda, bata, celebrity, ordinaryong tao, na umikot sa Pilipinas para ikampanya ang pagbabago; ang aking mga kasambahay, na nag-asikaso ng lahat ng aking mga personal na pangangailangan; ang aking pamilya, kaibigan at katrabaho, na dumamay, nag-alaga at nagbigay ng suporta sa akin; ang ating mga abogado, na nagpuyat para bantayan ang ating mga boto at siguraduhing mabibilang ang bawat isa; ang aking mga kapartido at kaalyado na kasama kong nangahas mangarap; at ang milyun-milyong Pilipinong nagkaisa, nagtiwala at hindi nawalan ng pag-asa—nasa inyo ang aking taus-pusong pasasalamat.

Hindi ko makakayang harapin ang aking mga magulang, at kayong mga nagdala sa akin sa yugto ng buhay kong ito, kung hindi ko maisasakatuparan ang aking mga binitawang salita sa araw na ito.

My parents sought nothing less and died for nothing less than democracy, peace and prosperity. I am blessed by this legacy. I shall carry the torch forward.

Layunin ko na sa pagbaba ko sa katungkulan, masasabi ng lahat na malayo na ang narating natin sa pagtahak ng tuwid na landas at mas maganda na ang kinabukasang ipapamana natin sa susunod na henerasyon. Samahan ninyo ako sa pagtatapos ng laban na ito. Tayo na sa tuwid na landas.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!
Let us hope that change will come. We pray that the new leaders in the national sphere will do their job honestly as the lives of 90 million people are at stake. Long live the Philippines, and may the Almighty have mercy on us!


Here's the result of the poll last week:

In the scale of 1 to 10 (1-lowest; 10-highest), how would you rate Pres. Arroyo's Performance?

25% answered MAGALING.
25% answered OKEY NA RIN.

We have a new survey, please vote now.

Gloria: "Goodbye Palace, Hello Pampanga"

| Wednesday, June 23, 2010

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, last night, finally gave a farewell speech. I was able to watch in on 24 Oras and boy, isn't she a cheerful lady!

She was all-smiles as she gave her five-minute speech last night. She confidently called on the nation to unite behind president-elect Benigno Aquino III. She said she made unpopular economic decisions but this resulted in continued economic growth throughout her nine years in office even when economic crises swept the globe.

Here's the transcript of her Farewell Speech last night: (Click here for the source).

My fellow Filipinos:

We come together tonight as we approach a hallmark of democracy for our great nation: the smooth transition of power to a new leader. We have just come through a historic election. It was open and it was modern. As a result, we were able to declare winners in hours and days rather than weeks and months.

The face of politics in our nation has changed forever. Tonight I once again congratulate president-elect Aquino and vice president-elect Binay.

Nine years ago I came to the presidency at the time of great turmoil in our nation. I accepted the challenge to the office when it was thrust upon me. At that time our country was reeling from political intrigue and a distressed economy we set to work to reform our economy and invest in our people. Along the way we had to make unpopular choices such as raising taxes but we did so against the odds for a very simply reason. We had to have new money for more and better health care, education, and job creation. We needed new and better roads, bridges, ports and a technology backbone to attract new businesses and investors to create new jobs. Through hard work, determination and a clear plan of action we helped achieve many of these objectives. As a result we have had 37 quarters of uninterrupted economic growth even against the head winds of a major global recession.

Look around you in our cities, as you drive by the office towers that have changed the skylines. Look around you in our provinces, as you drive around the roads, bridges, and Ro-Ro ports where we have made massive investments. This is the face of change. Eight-five percent of our people now have access to PhilHealth insurance. Over a hundred thousand new classrooms have been built and 9 million jobs have been created. We developed the call center industry almost from scratch. Today we have almost 500 thousand centers and BPO jobs when only 5 thousand existed when i took office yet these accomplishments are merely part of the continuum of history.

The gains I made were built on the efforts of previous leaders. Each successive government must build on the successes and progress of the previous one. Advance the programs that work, leave behind those that don’t. I feel confident that we are leaving this nation much stronger than when I came to office but I leave that for history to judge.

Tonight I call on everyone to unite behind our new leaders. I am optimistic and I am hopeful about our future yet until every Filipino child is born to a family free of poverty. We cannot rest. We must always set our sights on the future, and keep an eye on improving our economy, investing in people and building bridges — not just bridges of iron and steel, but bridges between people, generations, and government. The bridges we must build to the future must rest on the hard work, grace and compassion of our people — the people of our nation, our greatest asset. You are the backbone that drives our nation forward everyday: from the fisherman to the farmer to the taxi driver and the teacher. We are a nation of industrious and hard working people. I thank each and everyone for your contribution to have the Philippines achieve our potential.

This time next week, I will be moving in a new phase in life, leading a quieter public role. We are all in a journey together as our nation moves forward. Let us all join hand in unity and walk confidently towards a better tomorrow. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for giving me the honor and privilege of serving you. Malaking karangalan ang makapaglingkod sa sambayanan bilang Pangulo sa inyong lahat na napagsilbihan ko sa mahirap ngunit makasaysayang landas. Maraming, maraming salamat.

To be safe, I guess, president-elect Aquino said to the media earlier this morning that he failed to watch President Arroyo's farewell speech. I found myself laughing.

After nine years of Arroyo presence in the Palace, what really has she given us? Well, there should be part-truths in the above statements she bragged last night but there are A LOT MORE scandals and controversies that marred her administration.

As contrast to her so-called achievements above, below are her Top 10 controversies:

10. Extra Judicial Killings (Jonas Burgos, Karen Empelio, Shirley Cadapan, etc.)

9. Juetengate (game kickbacks)

8. Nani Perez Power Plant Deal ($2 Million)

7. Jose Pidal Bank Account (Unexplained Wealth, P200 Million)

6. Millions of Bribe money to Congressmen and Governors in October 2007

5. Use of Road User's Tax for Campaigning

4. Billion Peso Macapagal Boulevard (Overprice of P532 Million)

3. Joc Joc Bolante Case (Fertilizer Scam, P728 Million)

2. Cheating in 2004 Elections ("Hello Garci")

1. NBN ZTE Scandal. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

But don't worry with the above controversies, she will never be tried anyway because of her parliamentary immunity. Just best of luck to you, Rep. Gloria M. Arroyo. I hope you will face those charges against you like a real woman. (I'm crossing my fingers that my countrymen would not be quick to forget your offenses).

How would you rate President Arroyo's Performance? This is our new survey, please vote now.

My Thoughts on Basketball in the Philippines

| Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Filipinos love basketball. It is indeed the most popular sport in the islands. Less than a week ago, Lakers edged the Celtics in the deciding game for the 2010 NBA Finals.

Basketball, not soccer, is the most loved sport by the Filipinos. Come to think of it, the sport is a clear manifestation of the American influence. After more than a century of its creation by the Canadian physical education instructor, Dr. James Naismith, basketball has reached the globe and we were never spared.

It was introduced in the islands, less than a decade after its initial creation by YMCA. Years later, we developed the oldest professional basketball league in Asia which is the PBA (the Philippine Basketball Association) in 1975. The Toyota-Crispa rivalry, as many old-timers would agree, is one of the notable rivalries in the league ever.

I grew up conscious of the game’s popularity. I grew up to the headlines of the Gordon’s Gin-Alaska rivalry. In my high schooldays, I and my friends would play at their home-made court just beside the highway in South Cotabato. Basketball is a national obsession with makeshift rings visible at town plazas, parking lots, sidestreets, forest clearings, or even in mountains of Maguindanao. All this time, we had been passionate of the sport.

We were once Asia’s greatest team. In the 1954, the Philippine Team with Carlos “Caloy” Loyzaga steering, placed third in the FIBA World Championship. It was during the time when the sport is not as popular as it is now in the world.

Right now, Philippine basketball is at its dark days. As time goes by, I realize that we loved a sport that is “not meant for us”. For a very simple and logical reason - in basketball, “Height is might”. In basketball, height is an advantage.

The average Filipino height is 5 feet and four inches. Yes, we have a lot of good and nimble players but they are no match to the giant ballers in the West. Very few have the height of or more than six feet. That is the same reason why even though we had been competing in the Olympics since 1936, we just couldn’t get any medal. From last year’s FIBA Asian men's championships, we even placed NINTH. It may be embarrassing but I am not surprised.

“Import” players usually outshine the locals in our basketball leagues. We keep on getting players from abroad yet we can not “export” Filipino players to play in other leagues overseas. We, Asians as we are, will never outplay the giants.

And it seems I am not alone with this view. Hall of Famer Carlos Loyzaga, the greatest Filipino basketball player of all time, once said there is too much importance given to basketball when there are other sporting disciplines where the Filipino can excel. Sports critic and former POC president Julian Malonso also agreed that basketball is not the game for Filipinos.

Let’s take a look at Japan. Baseball, and not sumo wrestling, is their favorite pastime and it seems they are doing pretty well. A multitude of Japanese batters are superstars in America’s major league baseball. It is time for us to switch our focus out of basketball.

I believe we should instead concentrate more on sports where we have better chances of winning, like the sweet science of boxing, billiards, bowling, golf, tennis, chess, or soccer. A sport that does not have height as a factor that is our only chance in the world of sports. Period.

JR's Thoughts on Philippine Independence Day

| Friday, June 11, 2010

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day. Being a social science teacher lecturing about history and politics, I see it timely to share my piecemeal thoughts on our “Independence Day”.

We call today’s occasion as the “Independence Day” or “Araw of Kalayaan”. But if we look closely, Araw ng Kalayaan does not literally translate to “Independence Day”; it is “Freedom Day” (kalayaan=freedom). Therefore, Independence Day should be formally translated as Araw ng Pagsasarili, isn’t it?

Anyway, about one hundred and twelve years ago, Filipino revolutionary forces under General Aguinaldo proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the islands from the Spanish colonizers. Eventhough this declaration was not recognized by other countries during that time, this date was proclaimed as the “Independence Day”in 1963 by then President Macapagal. This is due to, above other reasons, that the people themselves should proclaim their own independence from the colonial master (and not the other way around, as what in July 4, 1946 happened). “Freedom should not be bestowed but be achieved”, Pres. Roosevelt once said.

Freedom is a country's right to rule itself, without interference from, or domination by, another country or power. But we Filipinos, in many ways, are still bound by other forces that cripple our chances of economic prosperity and development.

Are we really free? My answer is both yes, and no. Thanks to our system, this blog can not be closed down by the government because of my freedom to express myself.
But in many ways, we as a country, are still bound by the very basic of problems.

One is, to quote lines from Gloc 9’s song, “Balita”: Alam ba ng lahat ng mga husgado at lahat ng hukom/ Na mayroong mas masahol pa sa hatol ng kamatayan / Yan ay ika’y maging mahirap sa sarili mong bayan?”

. Forty percent of the 90-plus million Filipinos still can hardly get by. Apparently, a hungry stomach cannot imbibe civic pride from our rich history and trace their lineage from brave ancestors who defied foreign invaders.

The wealthiest 10 percent of families earn more than twice as much as the poorest 40%. The last elections, the supposed-to-be manifestation of our freedom, has been an event manipulated by the oligarchs for them to put their Kamag-anak Incorporated back to business. We are blinded and bounded.

We lost track of where we came from and where we are heading. We are even very forgiving and very quick to forget of the wicked ones that should be punished. We may not be virtually run by foreigners yet, the multinational companies flourish in the market. Most small Filipino products just don’t stand a chance. New form of colonialism at its best, contributed to the Philippines’ dependency while domestically not raising our own standards of living.

A country that is free should be able to provide jobs internally for people to freely engage to whatever enterprise they want. This is not true here in the Philippines. Ten million people are outside the country, flying over to foreign shores for greener pastures. And the worst, majority of them just don’t want to work there, they want to flee from the Philippines and migrate there. It’s either they work outside the country to serve foreign masters, or live abroad and be one with the masters.

That is why I am not wondering why very few of us think and ponder about our “kalayaan”. The very government that we have even show minimum importance to this annual holiday. It is even moved to be celebrated on Monday (June 14), this is in line with the “Holiday Economics” that “promotes tourism and strengthens family ties”. The Proclamation 1841 while I agree to be good and logical, should exclude sacrosanct days (like today).

Our Independence Day is the only day yearly that Filipinos should totally devote to strengthening pride in our legacy of heroism and sacrifice against foreign colonizers. As inheritors of the patriotic legacy of exemplary forebears, we now seem to take Independence Day for granted, which is absolutely deplorable.

What we were yesterday, what we are today, and whatever we will be in the future are made possible only because of our freedom to live our lives to their fullest potential. The nice thing about our freedom is that we have the free will to do good, let’s bank on that and do our share for the country. Padayon ta!


Finally, I am back.
A pleasant day to all my readers.
Please comment, join the poll or follow this blog.
May God bless us all!

June 6: To My Readers

| Sunday, June 6, 2010
A pleasant day to all of you.
A couple of days have passed since my last entry.
Sorry for the much delay on my updates due to my busy schedule.
I am currently preparing for the incoming schoolyear (I am preparing my lessons for my students).

But don't worry, The Official Weblog of JR Lopez Gonzales will back in business, hopefully, within this week.

Thanks for checking out my blogs.
I shall return.