Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Inaugural Address of President Benigno Aquino III

Official English translation provided by Aquino media bureau

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.

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 a government 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 our government 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 our government 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 the trust 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 objectives for 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 make government 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!



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 diktadurya 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 po kami ng dugo at handa kong gawin ito kung muling 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 po 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 ng 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 na ang papasok na Secretary Alcala ay 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 lamang ng trabaho. Ngunit habang ito ay hindi pa natin naaabot, inaatasan ko ang mga kawani ng DFA, POEA at ng 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 proceso ng konsultasyon at pag-uulat sa taumbayan. Sisikapin naming isakatuparan ang nakasaad sa ating Konstitusiyon na kinikilala ang karapatan ng mamamayaan 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 maulit 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 Jr. 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 shall 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 karapatan na 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 pagtalikod 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 magkawanggawa.

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 mabilang 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 taos-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!

Source: ABS-CBN News

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Charice to sing anthem at Aquino inauguration

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Kris Aquino disclosed here on Monday that it would be the Philippines' international singing sensation Charice Pempengco who will sing the national anthem during her brother President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's inauguration on June 30.

Kris made this announcement after saying last week that the task of singing the national anthem during the inauguration was a toss-up between "Journey" lead vocalist Arnel Pineda and Charice.

Kris and elder sister Viel Aquino-Dee were in town to thank Zamboangeños for the support they gave their brother in the last elections.

They also came to Zamboanga to distribute school supplies to nearly 200 special children in 2 public schools Monday morning.

Viel also said they are expected to announce the complete list of Cabinet secretaries before the week ends.

Children from Sta. Maria Central School thanked the Aquino sisters for finding time to visit them. They also wrote a letter intended for the president-elect.

In the letter, they expressed their dreams and expectations from the new president, from fixing their broken arm chairs to giving their parents jobs.

Viel and Kris also went to Tetuan Central School amid the rain.

Kris admitted the family has to "woo" Zamboangeños more since their brother ranked second to former President Joseph Estrada in last month's presidential race.

But, she said, they believe the Aquino administration will be able to work with the local government.

In the last elections, re-electionist Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat did not endorse any presidential candidate.

Kris said the numbers in the last elections do not count.

Before the Aquino sisters arrived, Bishop Romulo Valles said he was looking forward to having a private moment with the Aquino family and Sister Agnes of the Carmelite sisters.

He said he will reiterate the prayer of hope and determination that the new president be true to his promise of "kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap" (if there is no corruption, there is no poverty).

Kris acknowledged that Bishop Valles and Sister Agnes have been a great help to the Aquino family, giving them guidance and prayers even before the elections.

She said they would take a moment during their stay in Zamboanga City to thank them personally.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Binay to Aquino: I won't accept any Cabinet post

MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - Vice-President-elect Jejomar Binay finally met with President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III Wednesday at his Times Street residence in Quezon City.

It was the first time for the two to meet after their proclamation by Congress on June 9.

Binay arrived on Times Street around 1:15 p.m. and emerged more than an hour later. He told media outside the gates of Aquino's residence that the meeting was social and cordial.

When asked who proposed the meeting, Binay said that matter wasn't important. He added that the meeting was something he and Aquino had discussed a long time ago.

"Basta kami nag-meeting, ayos na yun," Binay said.

Binay became evasive when asked if he had been offered a Cabinet portfolio or if he will lead a commission probing the Arroyo administration. "Tingnan na lang muna natin ang mga darating na araw," he said.

Binay a burden?

A statement from his office later said the vice-president-elect had told Aquino that he would decline any Cabinet position "so as not to burden the president and allow him to focus on the many challenges facing the nation."

ABS-CBN News obtained a copy of Binay's June 21 letter to Aquino.

In his letter, Binay thanked Aquino for including him in his short list for secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

However, he asked Aquino to remove his name from the list and "from any other list of nominees for the Cabinet."

No teamwork?

He said it was important that Aquino's official family "be able to work as a team."

Binay said it was clear that since he was not a member of the Liberal Party, or of any other group that supported the Aquino-Roxas tandem, he would "not be treated as a member of the team" and would only be seen as "disruptive" to the "existing relations among the members of the incoming official family."

He said he would not want to add to the difficulties the new government would have to face, "specially during its "crucial early stages."

'Never insisted on DILG'

Binay also said he never insisted that he be appointed secretary of the DILG.

"...I would like to put in its proper context, the matter of my supposed insistence that I be appointed to the DILG, a matter that has been blown out of proportion and has attracted negative comments from some quarters, among them your supporters," Binay said.

"When I stated my preference for the DILG, I was merely speaking from the point of view of how I can best contribute to your administration. Likewise, I was responding to the media's question on my preference should I be appointed in your Cabinet. Sadly, it has been misinterpreted and misrepresented as an imposition and motivated by politics. Indeed that is malicious and an outright falsehood. It also shows that partisanship, which should now be abandoned in favor of nation building, continues to be a motivating force among some quarters," he added.

The vice-president-elect was seen to have been very vocal about his aspiration to head the DILG, but Aquino said he was considering several people for the post, including Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, a Ramon Magsasay awardee.

Aquino earlier said that he will meet and discuss with Binay his possible appointment to a Cabinet post.

Pickets outside Aquino home

On Wednesday morning, members of the party-list group Gabriela held a picket outside Aquino's residence and urged the president-elect to release all female political prisoners and haul outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to jail.

Members of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) also picketed near the residence, but unlike Gabriela, with just about 20 members, PALEA wasn't allowed in front of the house and was just allowed to picket some meters away.

The PALEA asked Aquino to intervene in an ongoing labor dispute with the Philippine Airlines management.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Boy Abunda: I'm qualified to be tourism secretary

MANILA, Philippines - TV talk show host Boy Abunda on Wednesday said he was hurt by insinuations that an entertainer like himself is unfit to join the Cabinet of incoming President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Speaking on Showbiz News Ngayon (SNN) on Wednesday, Abunda said he was offended by comments saying entertainers are not qualified to become high-ranking government officials.

Aquino earlier said he was considering Abunda as his tourism secretary. (Click here for story.)

"At ngayon araw po, lumabas ang balita, at dito po ako medyo napipikon, sasabihin ko po sa inyo ang totoo. Kahit sinabi ko na po that I am inclined to decline two days ago, kung sakasakaling bigyan ako ng offer. Si Boy Abunda ay hindi inooffer, ay hindi tatanggapin dapat ang offer ng Secretary of Department of Tourism dahil siya ay hindi marketing man, dahil siya ay hindi abugado at he is just an entertainer.

"I take offense, sasabihin ko po iyan. I am an entertainer but I am not just an entertainer. Dahil gusto ko pong malaman ng mga taong nagsasalita na hindi po madali ang aming ginagawa. Ang puhunan po namin ay utak, puso, pawis, dugo, and to do what we do is not easy. This is not an easy job. And yes, I am proudly an entertainer," he said.

Selling the Philippines

Abunda pointed out that a major task of the head of the Department of Tourism (DoT) is to sell the Philippines' entertainment attractions, which includes its rich cultural heritage.

"Sa mga nagtatrabaho sa Department of Tourism, this is what you're missing out. A large part of the job of the Department of Tourism actually is to sell the entertainment angle of this country.

"It's entertainment that should draw so many people around the world to come to this country, entertainment in the form of food, national heritage, dance, destinations....It is also entertainment that should convince locals to travel around the country."

Abunda also said he was not ashamed of his job, and that, in fact, he was proud to be an entertainer.

"I am just an entertainer. I am a serious entertainer. At ikinararangal ko po maging isang entertainer," he said.

He thanked president-apparent Aquino for considering him to be tourism secretary.

Not financially ready

However, he said he was not financially ready to join government.

"Nais ko lamang malaman ninyo na naiintidihan ko po that when one is given the chance to serve in government, to occupy a government post, dapat kayo po ay intellectually ready, dapat emotionally ready, at financially ready.

"Intellectually ready, we can debate about it, it's debatable. Emotionally ready, it's judgment call. You know yourselves, you know when you are emotionally ready for some things.

"Financially ready, mga kaibigan, hindi po ako financially ready. Matagal na po akong nagtatrabaho dito sa industriyang ito. Nakaipon na po ng kaunti para sa komportableng buhay ng Nanay, ako at ng aking kapatid at ang aming maliit na pamilya. If I lose my job tomorrow, hindi po ako magsisinungaling, I am OK.

"Pero kung ako'y papasok po sa isang government post, wala po akong perang gagastusin pang-araw-araw. Kaya sinasabi ko po, I am not financially ready because I need a few years para mag-ipon. Sakasakali kung ako'y magdesisyon to join government, meron po akong disposable income ika nga."

Abunda also said he was still happy working in the entertainment industry, so he would rather not join government yet.

"Mga Kapamilya, mga kaibigan, I am happiest where I am right now. I cannot complain. I am happiest in the entertainment industry. I am blessed with a wonderful career. To get where I am today, kahit maliit po ang espasyong ito, was not easy. It was a difficult journey, pinaghirapan ko po ito," he said.

He also clarified that Aquino has not made him a formal offer to join his Cabinet, so there is nothing to either accept or reject.

Will honor contract with ABS-CBN

Abunda also said he was not ready to join government since he still has a contract to honor with ABS-CBN, which expires in 2011.

"At ngayon kung tatanungin n'yo po ako, bakit nahihirapan po akong magdesisyon, halimbawa kung sakasakali mang may offer. There are contracts to be fulfilled there are commitments to be fulfilled, there are talents to be discovered, there are talk shows to be produced, there are studies to be finished. Ang dami ko pa pong trabahong gagawin. Isa po 'yan sa mga dahilan.

"Nagsasara po ba akong pintuan? Am I closing my doors? I have a contract in ABS-CBN that I'd like to honor that will last until the end of 2011. I will respect and honor that contract.

"Am I interested, am I closing my doors? I'm not closing my doors. But is that gonna happen now? No, it is not going to happen now. So doon po sa mga nagsasabing hindi ko dapat tanggapin or tanggapin ko, sinabi ko na po, no, I am not going to take the offer. Ang mga dahilan ay sinabi ko na po lahat sa inyo ngayon gabi."

As a private citizen and friend of the Aquino family, Abunda said he is able to tell Aquino his ideas on various issues, and he would like this kind of relationship to continue.

"What is my relationship po with Noy Aquino? Alam n'yo po mga kaibigan, I'm able to write him memos, I'm able to write him short notes, I'm able to say and express things to him about matters that are relevant to the presidency, matters that are relevant to the country. Maraming bagay po.

"Ang iba ay kanyang binabasa, pinasasalamatan niya po ako. Ang iba naman po ay siguro narinig na rin po niya sa iba.

I would like to be able to continue serving my future president by being able to tell him honestly, without bias without agenda, political and personal interest. And to me that is the best place in the world today. I don't want to change it."

Abunda said those interested in becoming secretary of tourism should not worry since he is not yet prepared to accept a government job.

"Ok. Babalikan ko po ang tanong. Hypothetical. If and when I am offered the post of Secretary of Tourism, will I accept? The answer is no. Doon sa mga interesado sa posisyon, makakatulog na po kayo ng mahimbing."

Source: ABS-CBN News

Roxas prepares possible poll protest

MANILA, Philippines - Losing vice-presidential bet Manuel "Mar" Roxas II confirmed Tuesday that he has started the process of formally challenging the results of the vice-presidential election, which saw him lose to opposition bet Jejomar Binay.

In a statement, the Liberal Party candidate said he is happy that the party's standard-bearer, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, won the highest office of the land with a "clear and overwhelming mandate."

"Binabati ko po ang aking standard-bearer, si President-elect Noynoy Aquino. Wala na pong duda sa kanyang tagumpay. From day one, the success of his campaign has been as important to me as the success of my own. Karangalan ko po ang maging bahagi ng isang matagumpay, tapat, at malinis na kampanya. Karangalan ko po ang patuloy na pagtulong sa tagumpay ng sambayanang Pilipino sa pamumuno ng administrasyong Aquino," he said.

In his statement, Roxas thanked the 14 million voters who supported his candidacy as well as the approximately 3 million Filipinos whose votes were not counted by the Congressional Canvass.

He said he has asked his lawyers to gather records and evidence "and to study and prepare towards the possibility of filing an electoral protest."

"We have 30 days to do this. I owe it to our people to ensure that the electoral process will truly be an instrument of their will. Nananatili pong bukas ang pinto sa anumang pagkilos na hihilingin sa akin ng humigit-kumulang sa 14 na milyong Pilipinong sumuporta sa ating kilusan para sa makabuluhang pagbabago," he said.

Lawyers of the LP bet earlier called for an expanded random manual audit of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines after noting a high number of “null votes” in almost every certificate of canvass (COC) canvassed by the Joint Committee of Congress.

Roxas' lawyer Joey Tenefrancia of the Villaraza, Cruz, Marcelo and Angangco Firm, told ABS-CBN News that as much as 2.6 million votes for the vice-presidency alone were considered by PCOS machines as “null votes.”

Null votes refer to votes not counted by the PCOS machines for any of the following reasons---improper shading, undervoting or overvoting for a specific position.

The final tally of the National Board of Canvassers showed Binay winning the vice-presidential by a slim margin.

Binay won the vice presidency with 14,645,574 votes in the final count, while Roxas was in close second place with 13,918,490 votes.

Source: ABS-CBN News
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