Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Death Of A Political Dynasty

(Or, Rediscovering Apolinario Mabini)

by jun asuncion

 

“…  Political dynasty  is also subject to natural death as history has shown us: it dies due to lack of next generation that will continue it or the shift in interest or lack of energy of the new generation, or continued strife with other political dynasties has led to total annihilation of the dynasty/clan members, continued political turmoils and rebellion leading to mass murder of clan members, loss of properties (lands, houses) and financial capital, internal strife among dynasty members, or simply sickness and death of all the remaining members.” (from my post Nannette Vytiaco… A Retrospect)

I wrote these lines a few months ago. The decline of the Kennedy Political Dynasty seems to be because of the first and last causes I cited above, which are the shift of interest or lack of energy of the new generation and death of the remaining members.

 With the death of Eduard “Ted” Kennedy, the Kennedy Dynasty is “over”, says Ben Bradlee, vice -president of Washington Post, or as Wilfred Macclay- political professor at Pepperdine University- says, ” The family has lost its vigor or momentum”.

The Kennedy held the “Kennedy Seat ” in American senate since 1947. With Ted’s death, the citizens of Massachusetts will decide in January for his successor.  However, it’s no more certain if it would be somebody  from the dynasty. Two persons are in question, namely Victoria Kennedy- the widow of the deceased senator and Joseph F. Kennedy II, a nephew of Teddy, and son of Robert “Bobby Kennedy, the senator, justice minister and presidential candidate who was murdered in 1968. Though most of the younger Kennedys are active as philanthropists, educators, environmental activist, founders of  charity organizations,  it seems though that no one among them has the political  interest or the profile to fullfil what  Joseph Patrick Kennedy, the founder of the clan, has set as the Kennedy’s motto: ” Win, don’t come as second or third. That doesn’t count”.

Months before his death, the deceased senator has declared his niece Caroline Kennedy-  daughter of president John F. Kennedy- as his successor. She tried last year- perhaps pressured by this expectation- to apply for Hillary Clinton’s seat in the senate. The news spread like fire and soon there were  brigades of journalists around her. Some of them started asking for her qualifications aside from being a Kennedy and being a daughter of a famous president. Soon the pressure came from all sides and she gave up her candidacy.

There is shadow where light is. And the Kennedys were not without scandals that shed shadows to their brilliant status: women, alcohol and drug addictions have also a share in their clan history. Joseph Kennedy II has political experience in his portfolio being a member of the American congress for six legislative periods but a book published by his ex-wife where she revealed his shadows forced him to give up his further  political ambitions. He is at the moment the boss of his “Citizens Energy”, a non-profit organization which supplies heating oil to the socially disadvantaged. The same with Patrick Joseph Kennedy, the son of  Ted Kennedy himself. He would have been the carrier of the Kennedy’s political shining legacy for he is still a member of the American congress representing Rhode Islands. But politically, he pales against the bright shining background of the past Kennedys. And he was also in the headlines for his drug  and alcohol addictions. The future is bleak for the political Kennedy, for the once strongest American political dynasty. And the way things present themselves today, it’s almost over.

Worth mentioning also is  the other  twin shadows that have accompanied  the luminary Kennedys which is tragedy  and cancer. Some of them ended tragic like John F. Kennedy Sr., and Robert Kennedy who were both assassinated, Joseph was killed in a plane crash during the Second World War, to be followed  decades later by his nephew John F. Kennedy, Jr. whose plane crashed into the waters around New York, one Kennedy was accused of rape-  though acquitted later on, ski and car accidents. Ted Kennedy himself was involved in a plane crash which he luckily survived. But the 1969 Chappaquiddick-scandal where, after an  alcohol party, the car he was driving fell into the river, causing the death of  his woman front-seat passenger, had definitely ended his journey to the White House. To round it all up, Jaqueline Kennedy died of cancer and, just recently, Ted Kennedy himself of brain tumor. You may think of a curse against the Kennedy Dynasty. But for sure, their risky lifestyle and their popularity contributed much to all these tragedies.

Back to the Philippines, we should never confuse our understanding of  Philippine political dynasty and attempt to justify it by referring to that  of  American political dynasty, for with all its flaws, the  American democratic institutions still function and this is where the difference of meaning and practice of political dynasty between these two countries start. The American politicians-whether belonging to a dynasty or not- still work as public servants and not as public plunderers of the nation’s wealth. Ted Kennedy used his 46 years in the senate  vigorously representing the socially weak  and creating laws for their welfare. The   U.S. electoral process alone already tells us that anybody eyeing for an elected position would readily give up as soon as a slight bad personal record has leaked to the public. In the Philippines, anybody can be president as long as he has the support of the wealthy people or political clans or the media  popularity or the undifferentiated voters and masa (populace). An ex- convict ex-president, a national gambler and alcoholic may even run again for presidency; or an incumbent president who, with her allies who support her Constituent  Assembly, tampers the 1987 Constitution for her own dynastic needs, not really for the welfare of the socially weak.

But since the political logic runs different in the Philippines, it follows that there is more to the inner logic that dictates the end of a political dynasty. For instance,  the Marcos dynasty was ended by a revolution, the Jueting republic of  Estrada suffered the same fate. It’s not only the lack of interest of the new generation or  the natural death of dynasty members but a revolution is inherent in this logic of social change- whether we like it or not- as long as the present political condtions persist and the voters  continued to be politically undifferentiated, hence, manipulable. For otherwise, a differentiated populace expresses its concepts of change through democratic ways and a differentiated government supports only democratic ways.

Therefore, we can aptly say that the Sword of Damocles hangs over the political dynasties in the Philippines. Their destruction is pre-programmed by the very logic that it has in itself. We just have to look at the European welfare states how they attend to the public needs now. They, too,  were once dominated by all sorts of political dynasties but with time all of them were destroyed. Destruction and Creation of new forms- the  two forces of social evolution.

In our modern language, it is simply not sustainable, this kind of political landscape,  for it doesn’t allow for growth. The dynasties in our country- busy with their self-aggrandizement politics-  don’t realize their impending doom which could be very violent. We don’t presume to know when this will definitely end in the Philippines but it has  its own timetable. An evolving society changes its structure and adopts  a form that will keep it survive as a whole. For me, this form means higher civilization.

This is Self-Aggrandizement when you travel the Philippines: you see a school building with the inscription, “A Project of President Arroyo“, a  bus waiting shed with “A Project Of Governor…”, a basketball court with “A Project Of Barangggay Captain…” , a pavilion with  “A Project Of  Mayor…”… and so on. Arroyo has for sure some projects accomplished. But there is nothing personal about them for the money used was from the people, from the taxes paid, not from her own wallet. And as a public servant, you are elected and paid to work  and do something for your country or town. Or must the people  beg for you for these things, expect them to be overly thankful when you have done something?  Only a politician who has bought all his votes behaves this way for he feels he owns the people, he owns the country, he owns the town.

So why steal the money and honor from the people? Self-aggrandizement is defined like this by our politicians: I steal people’s money, make a project out of the rest of it and then use this project to cover up my stealing  and to improve my image. This is outright deception. So people of the Philippines, people of Bulan, I understand what you feel whenever you see such personalized, privatized  public amenities. Now,  the more you see such structures or banners with such inscriptions in your town, in our country when you’re traveling, the more you know that there are lots of public thieves around you, displaying their honorable names voluntarily to insult you.

This Self-Aggrandizement (and to my view, political corruption, nepotism and dynastic politics) has its root in Aguinaldo, according to Mabini, which to him also the reason why the Philippine Revolution in 1896/98 failed. In his book  La Revolution Filipina. he wrote:

“To sum it up, the Revolution failed because it was badly led; because its leader won his post by reprehensible rather than meritorious acts; because instead of supporting the men most useful to the people, he made them useless out of jealousy. Identifying the aggrandizement of the people with his own, he judged the worth of men not by their ability, character and patriotism but rather by their degree of friendship and kinship with him; and anxious to secure the readiness of his favorites to sacrifice themselves for him, he was tolerant even of their transgressions. Because he thus neglected the people forsook him; and forsaken by the people, he was bound to fall like a waxen idol melting in the heat of adversity.God grant we do not forget such a terrible lesson, learnt at the cost of untold suffering.”

He wrote further:

“Mr. Aguinaldo believed that one can serve his country with honour and glory only from high office, and this is an error which is very dangerous to the common welfare; it is the principal cause of the civil wars which impoverish and exhaust many states and contributed greatly to the failure of the Revolution. Only he is truly a patriot who, whatever his post, high or low, tries to do the greatest possible good to his countrymen. A little good done in an humble position is a title to honour and glory, while it is a sign of negligence or incompetence when done in high office. True honour can be discerned in the simple manifestations of an upright and honest soul, not in brilliant pomp and ornament wich scarcely serve to mask the deformities of the body. True honour is attained by teaching our minds to recognize truth, and training our hearts to love it. The recognition of truth shall lead us to the recognition of our duties and of justice, and by performing our duties and doing justice we shall be respected and honoured, whatever our station in life.”

This was probably what Apolinario Mabini had in mind also – a civilized Philippines-  when he wrote these  lines at the last chapter of his book  La Revolution Filipina :

“Let us never forget that we are on the first rung of our national life, and that we are called upon to rise, and can go upward only on the ladder of virtue and heroism. Above all let us not forget that, if we do not grow, we shall have died without ever having been great, unable to reach maturity, which is proper of a degenerate race.”

 A degenerate race? Well, that’s tough.

 jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

———————————————————————-end——————————————————–

Leave a comment

Filed under Over a Cup of Coffee, Politics

The Final Insult To The Filipino Mind

by jun asuncion

This SONA 2009 sounds like a desperate appeal to the public of one of the most unpopular presidents of the Philippines- Gloria Arroyo- to change their perception of her for the better before she steps down the throne of power where, for years, she overstretched the meaning of political corruption in the Philippines. Aside from that, she tarnished badly the image of a woman politician in the Philippines- to the disadvantage of some promising and competent women politicians in the country like Loren Legarda.

To divert the attention of the public, she used strategically such positive words as “work”, “lead”, “protect”, and “preserve”. To qoute her: “I did not become President to be popular. To work, to lead, to protect and preserve our country, our people, that is why I became President. When my father left the Presidency, we were second to Japan. I want our Republic to be ready for the first world in 20 years..”

She associated her name with the memory of her father who allegedly placed the Philippines second to Japan during his time. These are all cheap psychological tricks employed to manipulate the public mind and shape their perception of her- in other words, to polish her image. This going back to history to use it to one’s advantage in face of the actual desolate situation of the country in many levels- social, political and economic- is a typical myopic perception of somebody from a political dynasty. Myopic because vested interest has always the self- or ego, or the clan if you prefer it- as point of reference, and not the all-encompasing goals set by the Philippine Constitution.

 It is this megalomanic and egocentric political system in the country that prevents it from joining the first world, a goal set by Arroyo to achieve within 20 years. This is an illusion, a wishful thinking, and should not be confused with positive thinking and visonary leadership for she did not possess this patriotistic and moral uprightness characteristic of a visonary leader like Gandhi, Mandela or Obama. An illusion leads a country to nothing. To insult the Filipino mind several times by the number of corruption scandals within her family, the high records of human rights violation and killings of investigative journalists during her administration, the high rate of emigration of Filipino nationals, the astronomic foreign debts of the country which doubled during her presidency, etc. – all attest to misgovernace and dissatisfaction of her government and to the reality of her delusion. To join the first world, the Philippines must in the first place build a stable  political base, reform the electoral process, penalize corruption practices and must have a nationalistic, democratic and morally strong national leader. I think Arroyo have missed correcting these flaws in our country and even missed correcting her own self. So this good sounding dream of joining the first world lacks sincerity, just thrown into the air to insult you and me.

When people flee, it’s never a sign of happines. When killings and corruption scandals are never solved, it’s never an indicator of democracy, social justice and functioning five pillars of justice or checks and balance system- but of strings being pulled behind to the center- the self. Economic statistics never tell the truth when used by an unpopular president whose intention is to repair her broken public image. So it’s hard to buy the figures she’s selling out here. They are designed to insult the Filipino mind.

Being an economist, she claims authority on this subject, claiming that the world finacial crisis did not ruin the Philippines as it did to other countries. The Philippines was spared of it- thanks to her economic programs- like the OFW which sends her billions of dollars annualy. Again one must exercise caution here. The world crisis was a bank crisis in the first place. The Philippines do not have giant banks that invested huge amounts outside the country- like the UBS of Switzerland where it lost billions of dollars in the US. But this involves mainly the UBS and not the whole country of Switzerland. Jobs were lost naturally, but the whole Swiss economy is as strong as before. It is mainly because of a stable social and political system- not because of its giant banks like UBS and CS. Local and foreign investments abound because of peace and political stability.

 As we all know, political stability is never a strength of the Philippines since decades  already- so don’t expect economic stability as stressed in SONA 2009 by Arroyo. Her very own administration was from the very beginning  also unstable. It is ridiculous how she stands all alone before the nation and flamboyantly cites  proofs to the rising economic wealth of the Philippines under her presidency- but immediately calls the aid of her lawyer to explain for her before a group of inquiring concerned citizens  her own remarkable growth in wealth she has accumulated up to now. Why a lawyer? Does she honestly not consider her own wealth as a direct result of the rising economy of the Philippines under her own economic programs?It’s funny how she displays her honesty.

 Here’s the latest proof of this instability and the all-pervasive odor of corruption that has engulfed her administration from the beginning till the present:

***

 MBC asks Arroyo to explain remarkable growth in wealth

RUBY ANNE M. RUBIO, GMANews.TV 08/14/2009 | 07:08 PM | |

 An influential business group joined the growing calls for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to explain her accumulated wealth after her net worth doubled every three years as a public servant for 16 years. In a statement, the Makati Business Club said the business community would be particularly interested in the remarkable growth of Mrs. Arroyo’s net worth when her personal wealth soared by 2,032.84 percent to P143.54 million in 2008 from P6.73 million in1992 based on a report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). “Held against the light of economic reality and the First Couple’s declared assets and income sources, the impressive growth of Mrs. Arroyo’s wealth is difficult to fathom,” MBC said.

MBC noted Mrs. Arroyo’s stock portfolio grew by 41 percent per annum from P55 million in 2006 to P110 million in 2008, at a time when the Philippine Stock Exchange index fell by 21 percent. “Like Caesar’s wife, the President must be above suspicion. As the highest public servant in our country and in the interest of good governance, Mrs. Arroyo must set an example by making a full and transparent accounting of her and her family’s wealth. She owes the Filipino people an explanation,” the group added.

The group lauded PCIJ for a “job well done” on its three-part series on Mrs. Arroyo’s “still-to-be-explained wealth.” “The press serves a watchdog function and, disagreeable as it may be to those who have suffered its nasty bite, we must allow the press to perform this function, without coercion or threats,” MBC said. “It now behooves the President to personally respond to the issues raised by the PCIJ article. It is unfortunate that instead of clarifying matters, the President has opted to call in her legal advisers who have tried to attack the message as well as the messenger rather than respond in any meaningful and germane manner,” it added. Mrs. Arroyo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, defended the President, saying his client did not manipulate her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

Macalintal has served as her lawyer in an electoral protest. “Through her lawyer, the President has stated that she stands by the ‘truth and veracity’ of her SALN, but it is difficult to accept her statement at face value if all that she has to substantiate her claim is the paltry information provided in the document and her spokespersons’ explanations that only lead to more unanswered questions,” the MBC said.

See related articles:

“RP gets poorer, Arroyo gets richer”

‘Arroyo foreign travels cost P1.6-B more’

——————————end—————————-

2 Comments

Filed under Over a Cup of Coffee, Politics, Views and Concern

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo SONA 2009

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo SONA 2009 Full Text

Thank you, Speaker Nograles, Senate President Enrile, Senators, Representatives, Vice President de Castro, President Ramos, Chief Justice Puno, Ambassadors, friends…

The past twelve months have been a year for the history books. Financial meltdown in the West spread throughout the world…

Tens of millions lost their jobs; billions across the globe have been hurt—the poor always harder than the rich. No one was spared…

It has affected us already. But the story of the Philippines in 2008 is that the country weathered a succession of global crises in fuel, in food, then in finance and finally the economy in a global recession, never losing focus and with economic fundamentals intact…

A few days ago, Moody’s has just announced the upgrade of our credit rating, citing the resilience of our economy. The state of our nation is a strong economy. Good news for our people, bad news for our critics…

I did not become President to be popular. To work, to lead, to protect and preserve our country, our people, that is why I became President. When my father left the Presidency, we were second to Japan. I want our Republic to be ready for the first world in 20 years…

Towards that vision, we made key reforms. Our economic plan centers on putting people first. Higit sa lahat ang layunin ng ating mga patakaran ay tulungan ang masipag na karaniwang Pilipino. New tax revenues were put in place to help pay for better healthcare, more roads, a strong education system. Housing policies were designed to lift up our poorest citizens so they can live and raise a family with dignity. Ang ating mga puhunan sa agrikultura ay naglalayong kilalanin ang ating mga magsasaka bilang backbone ng ating bansa, at bigyan sila ng mga modernong kagamitan to feed our nation and feed their own family….

Had we listened to the critics of those policies, had we not braced ourselves for the crisis that came, had we taken the easy road much preferred by politicians eyeing elections, this country would be flat on its back. It would take twice the effort just to get it back again on its feet—to where we are now because we took the responsibility and paid the political price of doing the right thing. For standing with me and doing the right thing, thank you, Congress…

The strong, bitter and unpopular revenue measures of the past few years have spared our country the worst of the global financial shocks. They gave us the resources to stimulate the economy. Nabigyan nila ang pinakamalaking pagtaas ng IRA ng mga LGU na P40 billion itong taon, imparting strength throughout the country and at every level of government…

Compared to the past, we have built more and better infrastructure, including those started by others but left unfinished. The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway is a prime example of building better roads. It creates wealth as the flagship of the Subic-Clark corridor.

We have built airports of international standard, upgraded domestic airports, built seaports and the RORO system. I ask Congress for a Philippine Transport Security Authority Law….

Some say that after this SONA, it will be all politics. Sorry, but there’s more work….

Sa telecommunications naman, inatasan ko ang Telecommunications Commission na kumilos na tungkol sa mga sumbong na dropped calls at mga nawawalang load sa cellphone. We need to amend the Commonwealth-era Public Service Law. And we need to do it now….

Kung noong nakaraan, lumakas ang electronics, today we are creating wealth by developing the BPO and tourism sectors as additional engines of growth. Electronics and other manufactured exports rise and fall in accordance with the state of the world economy. But BPO remains resilient. With earnings of $6 billion and employment of 600,000, the BPO phenomenon speaks eloquently of our competitiveness and productivity. Let us have a Department of ICT….

In the last four years tourism almost doubled. It is now a $5 billion industry…

Our reforms gave us the resources to protect our people, our financial system and our economy from the worst of shocks that the best in the west failed to anticipate….

They gave us the resources to do reforms para palawakin ang suportang panlipunan and enhance spending power….For helping e raise salaries through joint resolution, thank you Congress.

Cash handouts give the most immediate relief and produce the widest stimulating effect. Nakikinabang ang 700,000 na pinakamahihirap na pamilya sa programang Pantawid Pamilya.

Our preference is to invest in projects with the same stimulus effects but also with long-term contributions to national progress….

Sa pagpapamahagi ng milyun-milyong ektaryang lupa, 700,000 na katutubo at mahigit isang milyong benepisyaryo ng CARP ay taas-noong may-ari na ng sariling lupa. Hinihiling ko sa Kongreso na ipasa agad ang pagpapalawig ng CARP, at dapat ma-condone ang P42 billion na land reform liabilities dahil 18% lamang ang nabayaran mula 1972. Napapanahon dahil it will unfreeze the rural property market. Ang mahal kong ama ang nag-emancipate ng mga magsasaka. Ii-mancipate naman natin ngayon ang titulo….

Nakinabang ang pitong milyong entrepreneurs sa P165 billion na microfinance. Nakinabang ang 1,000 sa economic resiliency plan. Kasama natin ngayon ang isa sa kanila, si Gigi Gabiola. Dating household service worker sa Dubai, ngayon siya ay nagtatrabaho sa DOLE. Good luck, Gigi…

Nakinabang ang isang milyong pamilya sa programang pabahay at palupa, mula sa PAG-IBIG, NHA, community mortgage program, certificates of lot awards, at saka yung inyong Loan Condonation and Restructuring Act….

Our average inflation is the lowest since 1966. Last June, it dropped to 1.5%. Paano nakamit ito? Proper policies lowered interest rates, which lowered costs to business and consumers.

Dahil sa ating mga reporma, nakaya nating ibenta ang bigas NFA sa P18.25 per kilo kahit tumaas ang presyo sa labas mula P17.50 hanggang P30 dahil sa kakulangan ng supply sa mundo. Habang, sa unang pagkakataon, naitaas ang pamimili ng palay sa mga magsasaka, P17 mula sa P11…

Dahil sa ating mga reporma, nakaya nating mamuhunan sa pagkain—anticipating an unexpected global food crisis. Nakagawa tayo ng libu-libong kilometro ng farm-to-market roads at kasama ng pribadong sector, natubigan ang dalawang milyong ektarya. Mga Badjao gaya ni Tarnati Dannawi ay tinuruan ng modernong mariculture. Umabot na sa P180,000 ang kinita niya mula noong nakaraang taon. Congratulations, Tarnati. We will help more fisherfolk shift to fish farming with a budget of P1 billion…

Dahi dumarami na naman daw ang pamilyang nagugutom, mamumuhunan tayo ng bago sa Hunger Mitgation program na nakitang mabisa. Tulungan nito ako dito Kongreso…

Mula noong 2001, Nanawagan tayo ng mas murang gamot. Nagbebenta na tayo ng mga gamot na kalahating presyo sa libu-libong Botika ng Bayan at Botika ng Barangay sa maraming dako ng bansa. Our efforts prodded the pharmaceutical companies to come up with low-cost generics and brands like RiteMed. I supported the tough version of the House of the Cheaper Medicine Law. I supported it over the weak version of my critics. The result: the drug companies volunteered to bring down drug prices, slashing by half the prices of 16 drugs. Thank you, Congressman Cua, Alvarez, Biron and Locsin….

Pursuant to law, I am placing other drugs under a maximum retail price. To those who want to be President, this advice: If you want something done, do it hard, do it well. Don’t pussyfoot. Just do it. Don’t say bad words in public.

Sa health insurance, sakop na ang 86% ng ating populasyon…

Sa Rent Control Law ng 2005 hanggang 2008, hanggang sampung porsyento lang maaaring itaas taon-taon ang upa. Iyong kakapirma nating batas naglagay ng isang taong moratorium, tapos pitong porsyento lang ang maaaring itaas. Salamat, Kongreso….

Noong isang taon, nabiyayaan ng tig-P500 ang mahigit pitong milyong tahanan bilang Katas ng Pantawid Koryente para sa mga small electricity users….

Iyong power rates, ang EPIRA natin ang pangmatagalang sagot. EPIRA dismantled monopoly. But minana natin iyong power purchase agreements under preceding administrations, so hindi pa natin makuha iyong buong intended effect. Pero happy na rin tayo, dahil isang taon na lamang iyan. The next generation will benefit from low prices from our EPIRA. Thank you…

Samantala, umabot na sa halos lahat ng barangay ang elektrisidad. We increased indigenous energy from 48% to 58%. Nakatipid tayo sa dollars tapos malaki pa ang na-reduce pa iyong oil consumption. The huge reduction in fossil fuel is the biggest proof of energy independence and environmental responsibility. Further reduction will come with the implementation of the Renewable Energy Act…and the Biofuels Act….again, thank you.

The next generation will also benefit from our lower public debt to GDP ratio. It declined from 78% in 2000 to 55% in 2008. We cut in half the debt of government corporations from 15% to 7. Likewise foreign debt from 73% to 32%. Kung meron man tayong malaking kaaway na tinalo, walang iba kundi ang utang, iyong foreign debt. Past administrations conjured the demon of foreign debt. We exorcised it….

The market grows economies. A free market, not a free-for-all…

To that end, we improved our banking system to complement its inherent conservatism. The Bangko Sentral has been prudent. Thank you, Governor Tetangco, for being so effective. The BSP will be even more effective if Congress will amend its Charter….

We worked on the Special Purpose Vehicle Act, reducing non-performing loans from 18% to 4% and improving loan-deposit ratios….

Our new Securitization Law did not encourage the recklessness that brought down giant banks and insurance companies elsewhere and laid their economies to waste. In fact, it monitors and regulates the new-fangled financial schemes. Thank you, Congress….

We will work to increase tax effort through improved collections and new sin taxes to further our capacity to reduce poverty and pursue growth. Revenue enhancement must come from the Department of Finance plugging leaks and catching tax and customs cheats. I call on tax-paying citizens and tax-paying businesses: help the BIR and Customs spot those cheats…

Taxes should come from alcohol and tobacco and not from books. Tax hazards to lungs and livers, do not tax minds. Ang kita mula sa buwis sa alak at sigarilyo ay dapat pumunta sa kalusugan at edukasyon. Sa kalusugan, pondohan ang Philhealth premiums ng pinakamahihirap. Ponhodhan ang mas maraming classroom at computers…..

Pardon my partiality for the teaching profession. I was a teacher….

Kaya namuhunan tayo ng malaki sa edukasyon at skills training….

Ang magandang edukasyon ay susi sa mas mabuting buhay, the great equalizer that allows every young Filipino a chance to realize their dreams…

Nagtayo tayo ng 95,000 na silid-aralan, nagdagdag ng 60,000 na guro, naglaan ng P1.5 billion para sa teacher training, especially for 100,000 English teachers. Isa sa pinakamahirap na Millennium Development Goals ay iyong Edukasyon para sa Lahat pagdating ng 2015, na nangunguhulugang lahat ng nasa edad ay nasa grade school. Halos walang bansang nakakatupad nito. Ngunit nagsisikap tayo. Binaba natin ang gastos ng pagpasok. Nagtayo tayo ng mga eskwela sa higit isang libong barangay na dati walang eskwelahan, upang makatipid ng gastos ng pasahe ang mga bata. Tinanggal natin ang miscellaneous fees para sa primary school.

Hindi na kailangan ang uniporme sa mga estudyante sa public schools…

We assist financially half of all students in private high schools….

We have provided 600,000 college and post-graduate scholarships. One of them Mylene Amerol-Macumbal, finished Accounting at MSU-IIT, went to law school, and placed second in the last bar exams–the first Muslim woman bar topnotcher. Congratulations…

In technical education and skills training, we have invested three times that of three previous administrations combined. Narito si Jennifer Silbor, isa sa sampung milyong trainee. Natuto siya ng medical transcription. Now, as an independent contractor and lecturer for transcriptions in Davao, kumikita siya ng P18,000 bawat buwan. Good job.

The Presidential Task Force on Education headed by Jesuit educator Father Bienvenido Nebres has come out with the Main Education Highway towards a Knowledge-Based Economy. It envisions seamless education from basic to vocational school or college….

It seeks to mainstream early childhood development in basic education. Our children are our most cherished possession. In their early years we must make sure they get a healthy start in life. They must receive the right food for a healthy body, the right education for a bright and inquiring mind—and the equal opportunity for a meaningful job….

For college admission, the Task Force recommends mandatory Scholastic Aptitude Tests. It also recommends that private higher education institutions and state universities and colleges should be harmonized. It also recommends that CHED will oversee of local universities and colleges. For professions seeking international recognition—engineering, architecture, accountancy, pharmacy and physical therapy—it recommends radical reform: 10 years of basic education, two years of pre-university, three years of university…

Our educational system should make the Filipino fit not just for whatever jobs happen to be on offer today, but also for whatever economic challenge life will throw in their way….

Sa hirap at ginhawa, ang ating overseas Filipinos ay pinapatatag ang ating bansa. Iyong padala nilang $16 billion noong isang taon ay record. Itong taon, mas mataas pa….

I know that this is not a sacrifice joyfully borne. This is work where it can be found—in faraway places, among strangers with different cultures. It is lonely work, it is very hard work….

Kaya nagsisikap tayong lumikha ng mga trabahong maganda ang bayad dito sa atin so that overseas work will just be a career choice, not the only option for a hardworking Filipino in search of a better life…

Meanwhile, we should make their sacrifices worthwhile. Dapat gumawa tayo ng mga mas malakas na paraan upang proteksyonan at palawak ang halaga ng kanilang pinagsikapang sweldo. That means stronger consumer protection for OFWs investing in property and products back home. Para sa kanila, pinapakilos natin ang Investors Protection Task Force….

Hindi ako nag-aatubiling bisitahin ang ating taong bayan at ang kanilang mga hosts sa buong mundo – mula Hapon…hanggang Brazil, mula Europa at Middle East hanggang sa American Midwest, nakikinig sa kanilang mga problema at pangangailangan, inaalam kung paano matulungan sila n gating pamahalaan—-by working out better policies on migrant labor, or by saving lives and restoring liberty….

Pagpunta ko sa Saudi, pinatawad ni Haring Abdullah ang pitong daang OFW na nasa preso. Pinuno nila ang isang buong eroplano at umuwi kasama ko….

Mula sa ating State Visit to Spain, it has become our biggest European donor. At si Haring Juan Carlos ay nakikipag-usap sa ibang mga bansa para sa ating mga namomoblemang OFW. Ganoon di si Sheikh Khalifa, ang Prime Minister ng Bahrain….

Pagpunta ko sa Kuwait, Emir al-Sabah commuted death sentences. For overseas workers, maraming salamat.

Our vigorous international engagement has helped bring in foreign investment. Net foreign direct investments multiplied 15 times during our administration.

Kasama ng ating mga Together with our OFWs, they more than doubled our foreign exchange reserves. Pinalakas ang ating piso at naiwasan ang lubhang pagtaasng presyo. They upgraded our credit because our reserves grew by $3 billion while those of our peers have shrunk…..

Our international engagement has also corrected historical injustice. The day we visited Washington, Senator Daniel Inouye successfully sponsored benefits for our veterans as part of America’s fiscal stimulus package…

I have accepted the invitation of President Obama to be the first Southeast Asian leader to meet him at the White House, this week…

That he sought us the Philippines testifies to our strong and deep ties…

High on our agenda will be peace and security issues. Terrorism: how to meet it, how to end it, how to address its roots in injustice and prejudice—and most and always how to protect lives…

We will also discuss nuclear non-proliferation. The Philippines will chair the review of the nuclear weapons non-proliferation Treaty in New York in May 2010. The success of the talks will be a major diplomatic achievement for us….

There is a range of other issues we will discuss, including the global challenge of climate change, especially the threat to countries with long coastlines. And there is the global recession, its worse impact on poor people, and the options that can spare them from the worst.

In 2008 up to the first quarter of 2009 we stood among only a few economies in Asia-Pacific that did not shrink. Compare this in 2001, when some of my current critics were driven out by people power, Asia was then surging but our country was on the brink of bankruptcy…

Since then, our economy has posted uninterrupted growth for 33 quarters; more than doubled its size from $76 billion to $186 billion. The average GDP growth from 2001 to the first quarter of 2009 is the highest in 43 years.

Bumaba ang bilang ng nagsasabing mahihirap sila, mula 59% sa 47%. Kahit na lumaki ang ating populasyon, nabawasan ng dalawang milyon ang bilang ng mahihirap. GNP per capita rose from a Third World $967 to $2,051. Lumikha tayo ng walong milyong trabaho, an average of a million per year, much, much more than at any other time…

In sum:

We have a strong economy in a strong fiscal position to withstand political shocks…

We built new modern infrastructure and completed unfinished ones.

The economy is more fair to the poor than ever before…

We are building a sound base for the next generation…

International authorities have taken notice that we are safer from environmental degradation and man-made disasters…

As a country in the path of typhoons and in the Pacific Rim of Fire, we must be as prepared as the latest technology permits to anticipate natural calamities when that is possible; to extend immediate and effective relief when it is not….The mapping of flood- and landslide-prone areas is almost complete. Early warning, forecasting and monitoring systems have been improved, with weather tracking facilities in Subic, Tagaytay, Mactan, Mindanao, Pampanga…

We have worked on flood control infrastructure like those for Pinatubo, Agno, Laoag, and Abucay, which will pump the run off waters from Quezon City and Tondo flooding Sampaloc. This will help relieve hundreds of hectares in this old city of its age-old woe…

Patuloy naman iyong sa Camanava, dagdag sa Pinatubo, Iloilo, Pasig-Marikina, Bicol River Basin, at mga river basin ng Mindanao…

The victims of typhoon Frank in Panay should receive their long-overdue assistance package. I ask Congress to pass the SNITS Law…

Namana natin ang pinakamatagal ng rebelyon ng Komunista sa buong mundo.

Si Leah de la Cruz isa sa labindalawang libong rebel returnee. Sixteen pa lang siya nang sumali sa NPA. Naging kasapi sa regional White Area Committee, napromote sa Leyte Party Committee Secretary. Nahuli noong 2006. She is now involved in an LGU-supported handicraft livelihood training of former rebels. We love you, Leah!

There is now a good prospect for peace talks both with both the Communist Party of the Philippines and the MILF, with whom we are now on ceasefire….

We inherited an age-old conflict in Mindanao, exacerbated by a politically popular but near-sighted policy of massive retaliation. This only provoked the other side to continue the war…

In these two internal conflicts, ang tanong ay hindi, “Sino ang mananalo?” kundi, bakit ba kailangang mag-away ang kapwa Pilipino tungkol sa mga isyu na alam ng dalawang panig over issues na malulutas naman sa paraang demokratiko.

There is nothing more that I would wish for than peace in Mindanao. It will be a blessing for all its people, Muslim, Christian and lumads. It will show other religiously divided communities that there can be common ground on which to live together in peace, harmony and cooperation that respects each other’s religious beliefs…

At sa lahat ng dako ng bansa, kailangan nating protektahan an gating mamamayan kontra sa krimen — in their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their communities.

How shall crime be fought? Through the five pillars of justice. We call on Congress to fund more policemen on the streets…

Real government is about looking beyond the vested to the national interest, setting up the necessary conditions to enable the next, more enabled and more empowered generation to achieve a country as prosperous, a people as content, as ours deserve to be….

The noisiest critics of constitutional reform tirelessly and shamelessly attempted Cha-Cha when they thought they could take advantage of a shift in the form of government. Now that they feel they cannot benefit from it, they oppose it.

As the process of fundamental political reform begins, let us address the highest exercise of democracy…voting!

In 2001, I said we would finance fully automated elections. We got it, thanks to Congress…

At the end of this speech I shall step down from this stage…but not from the Presidency. My term does not end until next year. Until then, I will fight for the ordinary Filipino. The nation comes first. There is much to do as head of state—to the very last day…

A year is a long time. Patuloy ang pamumuhunan sa tinatawag na three E’s ng ekonomiya, environment at edukasyon. There are many perils that we must still guard against…

A man-made calamity is already upon us, global in scale. As I said earlier, so far we have been spared its worst effects but we cannot be complacent. We only know that we have generated more resources on which to draw, and thereby created options we could take. Thank God we did not let our critics stop us…

As the campaign unfolds and the candidates take to the airwaves, I ask them to talk more about how they will build up the nation rather than tear down their opponents. Our candidates must understand the complexities of our government and what it takes to move the country forward. Give the electorate real choices and not just sweet talk…

Meanwhile, I will keep a steady hand on the tiller, keeping the ship of state away from the shallows some prefer, and steering it straight on the course I set in 2001…

Ang ating taong bayan ay masipag at maka-Diyos. These qualities are epitomized in someone like Manny Pacquiao….Manny trained tirelessly, by the book, with iron discipline, with the certain knowledge that he had to fight himself, his weaknesses first, before he could beat his opponent. That was the way to clinch his victories and his ultimate title: ang pinakadakilang boksingero sa kasaysayan………. Mabuhay ka, Manny!

However much a President wishes it, a national problem cannot be knocked out with a single punch. A President must work with the problem as much as against it, and turn it into a solution if I can…

There isn’t a day I do not work at my job or a waking moment when I do not think through a work-related problem. Even my critics cannot begrudge the long hours I put in. Our people deserve-a-government that works just as hard as they do…

A President must be on the job 24/7, ready for any contingency, any crisis, anywhere, anytime…

Everything right can be undone by even a single wrong. Every step forward must be taken in the teeth of political pressures and economic constraints that could push you two steps back-if-you flinch and falter.. I have not flinched, I have not faltered. Hindi ako umaatras sa hamon…

And I have never done any of the things that have scared my worst critics so much. They are frightened by their own shadows…

In the face of attempted coups, I issued emergency proclamations just in case. But I was able to resolve these military crises with the ordinary powers of my office. My critics call it dictatorship. I call it determination… We know it as strong government…

But I never declared martial law, though they are running scared as if I did. In truth, what they are really afraid of is their weakness in the face of this self-imagined threat…

I say to them: do not tell us what we all know, that democracy can be threatened. Tell us what you will do when it is attacked…

I know what to do:

I know what to do, as I have shown, I will defend democracy with arms when it is threatened by violence; with firmness when it is weakened by division; with law and order where it is subverted by anarchy; and always, I will try to sustain it by wise policies of economic progress, so that a democracy means not just an empty liberty but a full life for all…

I never expressed the desire to extend myself beyond my term. Many of those who accuse me of it tried to cling like nails to their posts…

I am accused of misgovernance. Many of those who accuse me of it left me the problem of their misgovernance to solve. And we did it…

I am falsely accused, without proof, of using my office for personal profit. Many of those who accuse me of it have lifestyles and spending habits that make them walking proofs of that crime…

We can read their frustrations. They had the chance to serve this good country and they blew it by serving themselves…

Those who live in glass houses should cast no stones. Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there…

Our administration, with the highest average rate of growth, recording multiple increases in investments, with the largest job creation in history, and which gets a credit upgrade at the height of a world recession, must be doing something right, even if some of those cocooned in corporate privilege refuse to recognize it…

Governance, however, is not about looking back and getting even. It is about looking forward and giving more—to the people who gave us the greatest, hardest gift of all: the care of a country.

From Bonifacio at Balintawak to Cory Aquino at EDSA and up to today, we have struggled to bring power to the people, and this country to the eminence it deserves…

Today the Philippines is weathering well the storm that is raging around the world. It is growing stronger with the challenge. When the weather clears, as it will, there is no telling how much farther forward it can go. Believe in it. I believe…

We can and we must-march-forward-with-hope, optimism and determination.

We must come together, work together and walk together toward the future.

Bagamat malaking hamon ang nasa ating harapan, nasa kamay natin ang malaking kakayahan. Halina’t pagtulungan nating tiyakin ang karapat-dapat na kinabukasan ng ating Inang Bayan.

And to the people of our good country, for allowing me to serve as your President, maraming salamat. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

—————————————————————-

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics