[Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City | 27 July 2020]
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and the honorable members of the Senate; House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and the honorable members of the House of Representatives; Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo; former Presidents Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta and the justices of the Supreme Court; His Excellency Munther Mafoodh Salim Al-Mantheri and the esteemed members of the diplomatic corps; Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and the members of the Cabinet; mga mahal kong kababayan.
We live in a troubled time. Our dream of prosperity for our country was suddenly snuffed by a pandemic virulent virus. No nation was spared. Neither rich nor poor were exempt from the onslaught of this deadly disease.
But let us not despair. The vaccine is around the corner. Sooner and not later, the virus that gobbled up thousands of lives will itself be laid to rest.
In the meantime, let us express the nation’s gratitude to those who courageously and willingly put their lives on the line to serve the people and country. We share the griefs of their families and no amount of tears can compensate their great losses.
My countrymen, it is sad that while government focuses its attention and resources to battle the coronavirus, there are those who take advantage of a pre-occupied government.
One of them is Senator Frank Drilon. In an interview, he arrogantly mentioned among others that oligarchs need not be rich. Then he linked the anti-dynasty system with oligarchy and the topic was my daughter and son. This happened after the Committee on Franchise voted 70-11 to deny the grant of franchise to ABS-CBN. Obviously, he was defending the Lopezes that they are not oligarchs.
Great wealth enables economic elites and corporations to influence public policy to their advantage. Media is a powerful tool in the hands of oligarchs like the Lopezes who used their media outlets in their battles with political figures. I am a casualty of the Lopezes during the 2016 election.
The dealers and purveyors of illegal drugs, hiding in the shadow of COVID-19, have stepped up their activities. The amount of shabu valued at millions of pesos seized during police operations speak volumes of the enormity and weight of the problem that we bear.
The corrupt, the grafters and the influence peddlers also take advantage of the fear and confusion that the coronavirus generates. The financial and material assistance of the government to the unemployed, the sick and the destitute running into billions of pesos, are not spared from corruption and ineptitude. Even the donations from well-meaning private persons are skimmed before reaching their intended beneficiaries. It is like snatching food from the mouths of babes.
The profiteers, over-pricers and corrupt felons must be laughing while they stash their dirty monies. But not for long. They cannot outrun the long arm of the law.
In this regard, the words of former President Ramon Magsaysay ring fresh and relevant today as on the day they were said decades ago. He said:
“We need men of integrity and faith like Rizal and del Pilar, men of action like Bonifacio, men of inflexible patriotism like Mabini. We need their zeal, their self-reliance, their capacity for work, their devotion to service, their ability to lose themselves in the common cause of building a nation.”
If we allow greed, self-interest and ambition to rule us, then as stated by one prominent physician, we will “be left with nothing better than the lesser evil instead of the greater good.”
In my inaugural address four years ago, I said that no leader can succeed at anything of national importance [or] significance unless he has the cooperation and support of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve.
The efforts and resources which we poured out produced the momentum needed to bring our country closer to our goals. Suffice it to state, we made significant strides over time.
Over 4.3 million poor families benefitted from the Pantawid Pamilya; over 9.2 million beneficiaries received subsidies under the Unconditional Cash Transfer program; we also made available [free] tertiary education and universal health care. Public utility drivers were given assistance through the Pantawid Pasada Program. There are complaints that some drivers did not receive any assistance at all. I have directed the DSWD and DILG to look into this.
I welcome the passage of the law postponing the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. The postponement saved much-needed government funds and ensured implementation of projects under the current barangay officials. In hindsight, it also saved us from holding the polls while we dealt and continue to deal with the pandemic.
The Malasakit Centers Act has proven to be of great help to our less fortunate citizens needing medical services through a one-stop platform in government hospitals. We commend the initiative and work of Senator Bong Go in this regard as well as other significant pieces of legislation. As of today, there are 75 Malasakit Centers serving Filipinos all over the country. These centers will be of great help in ensuring that our people remain healthy and resilient during these challenging times.
The Salary Standardization Law of 2019 increases the salary of civilian government workers. I hope that this law will inspire our government workers to perform better and encourage young, brilliant citizens to join public service.
I appreciate the law establishing the National Academy of Sports. We can now give our deserving student-athletes the training and support they need to excel in their chosen field of endeavors.
With the commitment of key members of Congress and the Executive Department, the PHISGOC, Philippine Sports Commission, and the Philippine Olympic Committee were bound together with one vision to host the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Our athletes prevailed. More than that, we fostered pride, patriotism, genuine sportsmanship, and camaraderie in our South East Asian brothers and sisters. Indeed, we won as one.
To our business community and the general public, we assure you that the landmark Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act has been gaining momentum. We are closer to eliminating overregulation in government services.
Frontline processes, including consular services, processing of building and business permits, and services for overseas Filipinos and seafarers were streamlined. Passports and drivers’ license validity were lengthened to ease the burden of the public.
We received a BBB plus credit rating despite a sea of credit rating downgrades and negative outlook revisions worldwide. [applause] The Japan Credit Rating Agency upgraded us from BBB plus to A minus last month.
Meanwhile, Moody’s has affirmed and maintained the country’s ratings at B2 — Baa2 rather. [Understand. Because of the light I have … My eyesight is not as good as new.] Our fiscal position is strong, our economic and fiscal management prudent and our banking system robust. We are in a better position to weather the crisis caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
We have accomplished significant infrastructure projects under the Build Build Build Program. I will not dwell lengthily on the nitty-gritty of our infrastructure accomplishments now lest I bore you. Instead we will release a comprehensive written report on our collective milestones and the details of accomplishments to remind us that perseverance, patience and determination will help us move forward even in the most difficult of times.
We issued last year Executive Order No. 100 establishing the Diversity and Inclusion Program as a national program of the Government. We want to end the discrimination of persons on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and other character traits.
My administration always believed that freedom from illegal drugs, terrorism, corruption and criminality, is itself a [human right].
Part of our efforts to uphold human rights is protection of the rights of children and the right against discrimination. Early last year, I signed Executive Order No. 92 creating the National Council Against Child Labor. Government efforts to protect the rights of children will be amplified to prevent, reduce and eliminate any form of child labor.
Our achievements along these lines have been extolled by an overwhelming number of our fellow member-States in the UN Human Rights Council, during its recently held 44thsession last June.
Rest assured that we will not dodge our obligation to fight for human rights.
My countrymen, there are lessons to be learned from the coronavirus pandemic. It jolted us to realize that gains made after spending so much planning, effort, cost and time could diminish considerably and quickly for reasons beyond one’s anticipation; that it is much easier to destroy than to build; that in a crisis of national proportions that affects every aspect of human life, governments need to have the support and cooperation of the people if it is to succeed in battling the cause of that crisis, that there are people who ask for compassion but show none themselves; that life, after all, is fickle like the weather.
The gains we achieved in the first three and a half years were put to a test when the pandemic suddenly struck the global community. While I am aware that the road towards a comfortable life for all would be far easy if pandemic had not occurred and along the rest of the world we suffered.
The global scale and socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented. Yet in the throes of this global health emergency, we have been able to withstand the headwinds generated by this coronavirus.
In this regard I would like to express my gratitude to all those who made possible the steady supply of food, water, and basic utilities [to] our households [applause] and the provision of basic social services and financial assistance to our people. Our profound gratitude goes to everyone who helped keep our country’s food supply chain running, the valiant soldiers, policemen and security guards who kept peace and order [applause] in our communities; the dedicated personnel who kept our essential establishments operational. You showed us kindness and selflessness. You gave us strength. You risked your own lives to serve the greater good in keeping with the Filipino spirit of Bayanihan. [applause]
I also thank the men and women of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and the National Task Force against COVID-19 for all the countless hours it spent to keep the pandemic in check and for all the efforts it made to ensure the safety of our people. [applause]
Let me also recognize the efforts of the local government units that stepped up and initiated their own response measures to contain the effects of COVID-19 and its impact to their constituents. Have been — impact to its constituents. [The shadow says it’s a period there.]
I know exactly the difficulties you are undergoing. I pray that the officials of each LGU in our country – from the barangay to the autonomous regions – would set aside partisan politics and selfish interests to do what is right and good for all. [applause]
I likewise issued Executive Order No. 104, which imposed ceilings on the retail prices of at least 133 drugs and medicines, and directed a continuous review of the retail prices of others. This proved to be providential now that we are facing a pandemic.
To everyone who helped us in this time of great need, maraming salamat po. [applause]
Let me say that the strength of a nation rests in the hands of the people acting as one with government, in the pursuit of common goals and objectives.
When the pandemic struck, I decided to prioritize life over other considerations. According to experts, the interventions that the government had put in place prevented as much as 1.3 to 3.5 million infections. To me, even if the numbers were much lower, it would still be and would have been worth the sacrifice[s] we made. “Buhay muna, bago ang lahat.” [applause]
We initially encountered difficulties ramping up our testing capacity. We now have 93 accredited testing laboratories nationwide and we are aiming to conduct 1.4 million tests by end of July and ensure a quick turnaround time of 48 to 72 hours.
Under the Social Amelioration Program, we allotted [PhP205 billion] for poor and low-income households who were affected during this pandemic — who thrive on a “no-work, no-pay” arrangement. Admittedly, our implementation of the Social Amelioration Program was not perfect. And some opportunists turned crisis into opportunity. We will catch up with you sooner than you think.
We came up with the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program. We extended financial assistance to over 650,000 affected individuals in the formal sector, 110,000 OFWs abroad, and almost 83,000 repatriated OFWs. We also provided temporary wage employment [opportunities] to displaced marginalized workers through the TUPAD Project. Our indigent senior citizens were also provided with a stipend for the [first] semester of the current year.
This health emergency stretched the government’s resources to its limits. In response, the Office of the President worked closely with Congress for the quick passage of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
May I again reiterate my thanks to you, the men and women of Congress, for the effort you invested into passing that law. I hope that we can get some or the same treatment of clarity, purpose and the fastness [applause] to support the passage of the Bayanihan [to Recover as One Act], which will supplement funds for recovery and response against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We must facilitate the country’s economic recovery. I call on Congress to fast-track the passage of proposed measures such as the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE Act. [applause] This immediately cuts the corporate income levy from the current 30 to 25 percent and give the government flexibility to grant a combination of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, among others. The Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer or FIST Act will set up mechanisms allowing banks and other financial institutions to dispose of and transfer non-performing assets and loans to asset management companies similar to Special Purpose Vehicles.
Our economic managers have seen infrastructure investment as an effective tool to help spur high growth, attract investments, create jobs, and achieve financial inclusion for all Filipinos. The [DPWH] has resumed the construction of the North Luzon Expressway Harbor Link, the NLEX-SLEX Connector, the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, the R-1 Bridge Project, the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway Project, and the Subic Freeport Expressway Project, to name a few. To realize the maximum benefit from the country’s investments, the infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build Program, which are labor and capital intensive, are not mere springboards for the country’s swift recovery [post]-pandemic. They are economic benefits — economic benefits to be distributed to all corners of the country and push sustainability in urban centers, particularly [Metro] Manila.
The TESDA launched an online mode of livelihood and skills training. There are 71 free online training to help upskill trainees for the right opportunities. [opportunities, I’m sorry]
I ask the TESDA to come up with special training programs to retool our OFWs so they can find employment opportunities here at home. I am also calling on the CHED for scholarship programs for the qualified dependents of our OFWs. I direct the Department of Agriculture and DTI to come up with agri-business and entrepreneurship projects to help displaced OFWs rebuild their livelihood. Further, I ask the LANDBANK and other government financial institutions to continue providing low-interest loans to our OFWs. Sa mga kababayan ko na naghihirap sa ibang bansa, nandito ang inyong gobyerno para matulungan kayo at inyong mga pamilya, lalo na sa panahong ito. [applause]
The government will intensify its efforts to help businesses, especially our micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs, by providing responsive government assistance and services, capitalization, and business operations support as we adapt to the next normal. [applause]
Nananawagan po ako sa ating mga lessors – nananawagan po ako sa ating mga lessors: malasakit at Bayanihan po sana ang pairalin natin ngayon. This is not the time to drive away lessees. During normal times they were the primary source of your income stream. Now, it’s time to be fair and compassionate. Come up with amenable arrangement with your tenants. Huwag po natin silang ipagtabuyan, tanggalan ng tubig, kuryente, at bubong. Commercial establishments are requested to give grace periods [or] allow deferment of payments, especially for MSMEs that were forced to close down during the quarantine period. Let us help them recover. [applause]
We pump-primed the recovery and rehabilitation of MSMEs. The DTI, through the Small Business Corporation, set up the PhP1-billion COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises or CARES Program to provide zero-interest loans for MSMEs affected by the pandemic. As of July 10, 2020, over 2,600 loan applications worth [PhP182.5 million] have been approved. We are optimistic that this initiative will help our MSMEs stabilize and recover from their losses.
I also enjoin the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and banks operating in the country to provide regulatory relief for our MSMEs and allow loan payment extensions, without incurring penalties and charges. [applause]We need your help to prevent the collapse of companies saddled with accumulated amortizations and payables caused by the closure of their businesses at the height of the strict quarantine periods.
As we embark on these efforts towards inclusive recovery, we should acknowledge that all forms of government support will go to naught if the new MSMEs do not thrive because of lack of consumer support. Ito ang panahon para suportahan natin ang ating mga kababayan [applause] na nagnenegosyo at gumagawa ng mga produktong sariling atin.
In the same manner, the tourism and recreation industries, which are among the hardest hit by the pandemic, count on our full support. While we slowly try to put the fun back in our local travels, the national government agencies and LGUs must harmonize their policies to boost tourism [while] ensuring everyone’s well-being. We enjoin our people to help boost the economy by traveling locally [applause] [local na lang] once the necessary systems are in place.
The DoST offers its Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program to enable businesses to access training that will help them transition to online and contactless operations.
Now more than ever, we need to protect our consumers. I direct the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure the empowerment of Filipinos on their consumer rights, and coordinate strategies between public and private organizations in building a fair, safe, resilient, and sustainable economy. [applause]
There are welcome developments for the e-Commerce industry. But major economic activities take place in a borderless environment with meager regulatory controls. They expose consumers to various risks related to security, data privacy, and misrepresentation.
We must patrol the country’s cyberspace and enforce online consumer and data protection and privacy laws. We must run after online scammers and those undermining the people’s trust in online transactions. We must continue to protect Filipinos in the new normal and remind the world that we are responsible stewards of data. I am committed to protect both the physical and digital lives of our law-abiding countrymen. [applause]
The national government shall lead the way in our transition to online systems. I reiterate my call for all government instrumentalities to implement systems that shall make physical queuing a thing of the past.
Panahon na para mawala [applause] na ang pila para mapagsilbihan ang gobyerno nang walang kahirapan para sa tao. The DILG, DBM, and the ARTA, along with all agencies and instrumentalities of government, are hereby directed to make [all] possible services available online. We need to adjust to and adopt a paper-less type business and work performance. We need e-governance [to provide] our people with the services they need [from] the comfort of their homes or workplaces. It will enable our bureaucracy to better transition into in the ‘new normal’ and cut or minimize red tape.
Until the COVID-19 vaccine is available, I will not allow the traditional face-to-face teaching or learning unless [all] risks of exposure to sickness are eliminated. I cannot and will not put to risk the health and lives of our students and teachers. [applause]
Iyong…. About two weeks ago, I — I seemed to have said that I would allow the face-to-face classes to resume. But we were talking actually of January because my thinking is that by September, we would have the vaccine. How to get it from the producers or from other governments is really something which we have to deal with because everyone — the… It’s a global need and everyone will go for it.
But let me just mention it in passing that about four days ago, I made a plea to President Xi Jinping that if they have the vaccine, can they allow us to be one of the first or if it is needed, if we have to buy it, that we will be granted credit so that we can normalize as fast as possible.
Life that is lost is lost forever. Courses that are not substantial can be supplemented. Education that is delayed can be recovered.
We must implement online learning, modular learning, and TV- and radio-based broadcast, which students coming from different backgrounds can avail. DepEd will provide printed modules for those who cannot afford online learning.
In support of the Learning Continuity Program through blended learning, we plan to increase the number of schools with ICT equipment in the coming months.
The DepEd and the DICT are building up the Public Education Network or PEN that will connect all public schools and DepEd offices nationwide. We will prioritize the connection of all Last Mile Schools and those with no electricity supply can have it via satellite and energized via solar panels. By 2022, before I step down, the PEN shall be realized. [applause] I’m referring to the program. I will — I will do it.
TV frequencies reverted back to the government for whatever cause or reason [shall be used] exclusively to the exclusion of [private] persons or [their] dummies, to cope with the demand of the next normal. These will be used to provide uninterrupted quality education to our children in our shift to e-learning.
I am directing Secretary Guevarra, Secretary Dela Peña and Secretary Honasan, in collaboration with Secretary Briones, and Secretary Avisado, together with Secretary Dominguez, to come up with an integrated program and implementation mechanism to ensure that these TV frequencies are fully utilized by government through the facilities of PTV4 for the utmost benefit of the Filipino people. [applause]
Let me just — allow me to segue a little bit. For the remaining two years of my term, all that is good that belongs to government, whether it be the airwaves, whether it be the lines, or whatever that is good for the people, will belong to the government and it should be government who should be given the first option to utilize them. Ang sobra, kanila. [applause]
I call on our [telecommunication] companies to improve their services lest we be forced to take drastic steps to address the less-than-ideal service that the public is getting from you.
Alam mo sisingit na lang ako dito. I am… Sometimes we are a government pictured to be weak and incompetent because we cannot really force our mandate. Alam mo itong nagbibigay ng mga public services, you better improve.
Huwag naman ninyo kaming pahintayin sampung taon bago kami makakamit ng mga services that the other countries are enjoying. If it’s just a question of added capitalization or the infusion of money, go and look for it. Maghanap kayo because if you are not ready to improve — anak — I might just as well close all of you and we revert back to the line telephone at kukunin ko ‘yan, i-expropriate ko sa gobyerno.
Alam mo itong… I’ll be straight, iyong Smart pati itong Globe, ilang taon na ito, at ang sagot palagi sa akin, “the party cannot be reached.” Eh nasaan pala pumunta ‘yung y*** na ‘yon?
Eh kung ganoon lang naman ibigay ninyo sa amin, we are a republic, a sovereign country, bear that in mind because the patience of the Filipino people is reaching its limit, at I will be the one to articulate the anger of the Filipino people. And you might not want what I intend to do with you.
Kindly improve the services before December. I want to call Jesus Christ to Bethlehem. Better have that line cleared. [applause] Alam mo sa totoo lang, at the end — naa-ano na ako sa inyo. I have been a citizen of this country and parang nilalaro lang ninyo ang…
Kayong may pera, p***. May pera kayo? Negosyo kayo. Wala kayong pera? P***, umalis kayo dito. You know, you give us half deals, half-cooked transactions, lousy service. Tapos ang tao nagbabayad.
Tell us now if you cannot really improve on it because I will work by December. I have two years. The next two years will be spent improving the telecommunications of this country without you. I will find a way. I will talk to Congress and find a way how to do it.[applause]
Last year, I said that distributing economic and business activities is imperative to our country’s sustained and equitable growth. Today I reiterate that statement.
I issued Administrative Order No. 18, directing concerned agencies to strengthen the development of Special Economic Zones in areas outside Metro Manila.
I also issued Executive Order No. 114 to institutionalize the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program. This consolidates and refocuses existing economic and social welfare programs, activities and projects toward the countryside. It also [establishes] an [inter-agency] council, headed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, which will create a framework for the effective implementation of the project. [Kung hindi ninyo ako naiintindihan sa binabasa ko, mas lalo ako.] [laughter]
In 2021, we aim to increase access to healthcare services by continuously hiring and deploying more than 20,000 health professionals. This will augment health workforce in the LGUs, particularly in isolated and disadvantaged areas. We will implement projects to establish and improve Barangay Health Stations, Rural Health Units, and other healthcare facilities.
[But] we [still] need to address internal security. We are pursuing a whole-of-nation approach to bring peace and order and development in the countryside. We need to provide interventions and implement the Barangay Development Program. This would provide cleared and threatened communities and… This refers to a program where the Armed Forces would play a vital role in the one-nation approach. This is what simply — mean by this. And that everyone, every agency of the government including the Armed Forces of the Philippines should participate. And I am aware of the skirmishes and the assassination of our soldiers and I said, “Correct this so that we can proceed with the barangay implementation as fast as possible.”
We have made significant strides in the past four years, but we need the support of local government leaders. We need your help to implement the Barangay Development Program.
Certain sectors expressed concerns when I declared martial law in Mindanao and its extension three times. But 2019 ended without my office requesting any further extension.
Martial law in Mindanao ended without abuses by the civilian sector, by the police, by the military. [applause] It ended because this time I know that they know how to love the country.
I thank Congress for its support to this administration’s programs. Congress has been very productive. But much more remains to be done.
You know actually my speech if you followed it carefully, it’s all a plea to Congress to do this, to do that, to make a law or craft a whatever.
And this one, I strongly urge Congress to pass a law establishing the Department of Overseas Filipinos [focused] solely on addressing the concerns of Filipinos abroad and their families.
I reiterate the swift passage — before that — before this… Kawawa kasi itong ating mga overseas. If it’s only an office there in the Labor department they are overworked or for whatever reason, their needs, their pleas are not really attended to with dispatch and with care. OFW pati itong ano ngayon ito ‘yung sinabi ko kanina, they — I… I will go for it. We will need it to help them.
I reiterate the swift passage of a law reviving the death penalty [applause] by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous [Drugs] Act of 2002. I did not hear so much clapping so I presume that [applause] they are not interested. Wala kang… Someday I’ll tell you the story what happened to the Philippines.
Hindi ngayon. But when I’m — sasabihin ko sa inyo ang totoo bakit nagkaganito ’yung droga ng Pilipinas. Why the drug syndicates continue to operate just like the countries of Colombia, Mexico, and it is being played inside the national penitentiaries. Para tayong — talagang binababoy tayo. Sabihin ko sa inyo. But this is not a time for storytelling. SONA kasi ito so dito na lang.
This law will not only help us deter criminality but also save our children from the dangers posed by illegal and dangerous drugs.
May I be allowed with the indulgence of the body, itong bakit talaga ako galit sa droga. Let us make this a semi-formal speech. Alam mo kasi limang pamilya members o anim or pito, pagka bumagsak ‘yung tatay to drugs, the family crumbles. There’s no more home to them. Droga, and if he’s receiving a salary naglala — nagtatrabaho sa pantalan, 300 a day, tapos ang shabu is sold at two. He has about 100 to bring home. Kaya pagka ganun nagaaway-away na, ang mga bata hindi nakakapag-aral, ‘yung iba ligaw na mga babae into early prostitution kung ano-ano nangyari. Hindi lang alam nitong mga — na this is happening all over the country everyday. And what is really very tragic is this, when the family starts to crumble, there’s no home, and invariably the wife would look for another… Now the husband will look for a job usually easily doon sa abroad. At ‘yung asawa aalis, ‘yung bana — lalaki nasa droga, ‘yung mga anak iniiwan sa kapitbahay, sa kapatid. And the ferocity of the laws of the Filipino family home has been destroyed. Kaya kung anong mangyari nito the wife works in the Middle East. I am not zeroing on any particular country mind you. But alam naman natin there are tribes in the Middle East which would allow rape as part of the territory of being a househelp. Kasama ‘yan, kasama talaga ‘yan. So iyan ang mahirap diyan. You have a wife there being crucified, being used. Magpadala ng pera tapos ang mga anak nasa shabu na rin kasi these are the guys that the shabu people would really you know they stick by them until it crumbles, the resistance. And then you have plenty of this all over the country. Hindi lang nila alam ‘yung sinasabi nila na misery sa itong human rights, plus 10 ‘yan. Not to count the victims of crimes perpetrated by people addicted to shabu. That is the reason why I’m so vicious in my — galit talaga ako kasi nilalaruan tayo. Well, I don’t know any other president might — pero ako ayaw ko ‘yon. Ayaw kong lalaruan ang Pilipino. Do not do it in my country because I will really kill you. That is a commitment.
Owning safe, decent and affordable housing is every Filipino’s dream. But the housing market remains inaccessible to most of our countrymen.
I renew my call for Congress to pass the National Housing Development bill and the Rental Housing Subsidy bill. These will enable all Filipinos—regardless of social status—to live in decent homes where their families can lead meaningful lives.
I also call on Congress to amend Republic Act No. 10912 [or] the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016. In this time of great pandemic and forthcoming reconstruction, requiring our professionals to undergo seminars is burdensome and not realistic. This must end.
Ito pang isa, there are — may mga profession… Isingit ko na lang lahat tutal this is to inform the nation. May mga profession na they would require — I think it’s the nurses — they would require them to come to Manila to retrain and — for another round of expenses. Itong mga seminar-seminar na ito dapat mahinto. I don’t know in other provinces [applause] but during my time ‘yang — [ano ‘tong sa barangay na?]barangay expeditions ng mga opisyal, hininto ko rin ‘yan. Which reminds me, I will act on this also in due time.
We hail our health professionals as heroes. Now is the time to pass the Advanced Nursing — iyan ho — Nursing Education Act and the law instituting the Medical Reserve Corps.
COVID-19 will not only be the last pandemic. We need to create a National Disease Prevention and Management Authority to better respond to future outbreaks. We count on Congress’ full support. You can just let it remain for a while in the Department of Health kung wala pang pera but you have to expand the services or it will also entail a little bit of money but not really as much as expensive when you set up a department.
In the long term, we are looking into the creation of the National Disease Prevention and Management Authority to better prepare for pandemics, protect lives, and allow development to proceed even in the worst of times. We are counting on the full support of Congress for this critically important endeavor.
I don’t know but I’ll leave it to Congress to really… It’s another department. There seems that it could be a multilayer redundant thing between the health and the proposed department.
I call on Congress to prioritize the passage of a law for the Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension of the Military and Uniformed Personnel without however diminishing the benefits that our uniformed personnel are entitled to under existing laws. [applause] There is a need to adjust the pension system which will be applicable only to newly-hired uniformed personnel so as not to cause a “ballooning effect” against the budget of the military in the years to come and yet maintain the pension benefits of those already in service under the present law. This issue needs a solution now. Umpisahan natin ngayon para hindi na maging problema sa susunod na mga taon.
I want to… You know one of the… This is not politicking, I am not running. I cannot run anymore. Iyong dinoble ko ‘yung suweldo ng pulis pati army it was really a clarion call para for them also to have a decent life and they are able to get the things which ordinarily cannot be reached by any government employee. Ang akin doon is ‘yung corruption that maybe it might be a vain attempt but maybe dagdagan ang suweldo para it would be a hedge against corruption.
We must also modernize the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Bureau of Immigration with urgency.
Alam mo sa Davao and if you go there I can show you, one of the serviceable trucks, fire trucks that we have in the City of Davao… Of course ang city mayroon ng sarili aside from the Bureau of Fire — Bureau of Fire which is really national, mayroon ‘yung Bureau of Fire. Would you believe it? Serviceable still. Ang pangalan ng truck, Studebaker. Ang katawan — ang talagang matatag ang katawan. Kaya ang makina, Isuzu. [laughter] Pero okay pa rin. It can put out fire. Totoo. This is how this Bureau of Fire issue na medyo na — na-overlook natin nang matagal.
I emphasize the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience. Our people’s safety cannot be delegated to a council or commission. Equally important is the establishment of evacuation centers in every city, province and municipality throughout the country. We must act [now] before another major disaster shakes [us] into action.
The problem is disaster and even a fire cannot be — make — they cannot make a study for projection when the earthquake would suddenly come and make a big crack there. Hindi natin alam talaga.
Ang ibig kong sabihin, this will require more than just one brainwork kung paano talaga itong how to prevent or avoid disaster. It will be… By the way, just before starting, I was tempted to say it pero baka magtindigan kayo. It will be all right for me if Bong Go will just stay. Wala akong problema. Kasi sabi ko na this piece of speech of mine would be one of the longest SONAs that I will deliver. Nakita ko ‘yung page pagbigay sa akin. Iyong ibang input, akin. But ‘yung iba lahat. Ang nangyari po, binalik ko sa kanila. “Make it short.” Pagbalik sa akin, mas makapal na. “Naku, p***** i**.” Eh di nandiyan na ngayon. Ito na ngayon.
The responsible extraction and equitable distribution of natural resources remain among my non-negotiables. I reiterate the need for the passage of the National Land Use Act which has been pending for decades. Pakisilip lang ho ninyo ‘yan.
For the rest of my term, I hope to see concerted efforts in protecting the environment.
The rehabilitation of Boracay Island showcased our resolve to safeguard the environment. [applause] Boracay is doing well because of its scenery. If it’s only a coconut and a black — white sand and water, wala ‘yan. Pero you add the — the visitors there, then it becomes a very tempting destination.
We have seen the remarkable reemergence of the Island back to its former glory. I want this sustained. I ask Congress to enact a law creating — importante ito — the Boracay Island [Development] Authority or BIDA. We need it.
I cannot stress enough the importance of agriculture. The growth of our economy depends on a robust agricultural sector.
We must utilize the coconut — ito, isa — we must utilize the [coco levy funds] for the welfare our coconut farmers and the development of our coconut industry. I urge everybody — both of the Executive Department pati ito — that ito ‘yung pera na nakuha doon sa na-sequester. And itong perang malaking ito, gagamitin ito for the welfare of the farmers.
The problem is, we can no longer trace who are the farmers of yesterday. Marcos was — Marcos is a distant star. We do not know. Ako, alam ko because we had a little piece also that was covered by the land reform. Hindi na natin malaman kung sino ang may-ari.
So I think Congress should look again and try to sort out how best the money can be utilized. I will not make any suggestion but I leave it to Congress to decide what to do with it.
I once again urge both Houses of Congress to pass a version of the bill establishing the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund. Tulungan natin ang ating mga magsasaka pagka hindi mawawala ‘yang pera, bilyon ‘yan. [applause] Jusko po. Well anyway the… We have learned so many lessons along the way.
I am also requesting Congress to pass the Rural Agricultural and Fisheries Development Financing System Act.
We aim to provide adequate, accessible and affordable food for every Filipino [family] through the Plant, Plant, Plant Program. [applause] After the Build, Build, Build… I think this is easier to achieve. A few good men — a few good regional directors, DAR and the dedicated workers down below could make this thing a success. Mas madali ito kaysa Build, Build, Build. Ito Plant, Plant, Plant lang eh. It is more of a the — well, how you try to convince the farmers to cooperate with government for their benefit.
This PhP66-billion agricultural stimulus package will help the agriculture and fisheries sector recover. I hope so. [applause]
We need to build trust and confidence in online transactions, stronger protection for online consumers and enabling measures for online businesses is needed through the enactment of an Internet Transactions Act (ITA). [applause] This is very good.
I thus direct the Department of Trade and Industry and other relevant [government] agencies to work closely with Congress in ensuring that the provisions of the proposed bill are responsive to the needs of the consumers while promoting the growth of e-Commerce in the country. [applause] If you are tired of clapping, you just say so. I can make a shortcut. [laughter] Pabilisan lang ‘yan.
On the path to better governance, we travel with others. Partners – both old and new – have helped. For bolstering our antiquated public health system, for bringing home our laid off Filipinos overseas, for filling in supply gaps for crucial medical supplies and equipment and staple food, for these and many more, the Philippines thanks all friendly nations. We will never forget your kindness and your timely support.
Within ASEAN and beyond, the Philippines will continue to work with partners to address global perils and ramp up cooperation to secure for our peoples, greater peace, progress and prosperity.
The Filipino nation claims its rightful place in the community of sovereign states. Thus, we will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy. Let me be very clear about this.
May I cut my prepared speech? Alam mo, I read a little over three weeks or last month na the Americans would — intends to go back to Subic.
I will just put on record my thoughts. I have nothing against America, I have nothing against China but if you put bases here, you will double the spectacle of a most destructive thing just like Manila during the Second World War — during the retaking of this city. One of the most devastated cities in the world.
Kaya maglagay-lagay ka ng base at this time, this will ensure if war breaks out, because there would be atomic arsenals brought in, this will ensure the extinction of the Filipino race.
We worked without fail to protect our rights in the South China Sea, neither beholden nor a pawn to anyone. We broadened the boundaries of Philippine diplomacy. We built productive ties with everyone willing to engage us on the basis of equality and mutual respect. And, we redefined our relationships with our most important partners, placing the country in a far better position to advance our interests in an evolving regional order and emerging global problems. [applause]
Now, plenty of critics, both sides, claim about nothing has been done to retake forcefully or physically the South China Sea.
Alam mo, unless we are prepared to go to war, I would suggest that we better just call off and treat this, I said, with diplomatic endeavors.
China is claiming it. We are claiming it. China has the arms, we do not have it.
So, it is simple as that. They are in possession of the property. It will remain a property of a — if you’re a lawyer, property rights.
They are — it has nothing to do with the Philippine Laws of Property but it’s akin to — they are in possession. So what can we do? We have to go to war and I cannot afford it. Maybe some other president can, but I cannot. Inutil ako diyan, sabihin ko sa inyo. And I’m willing to admit it. Talagang inutil ako diyan. Wala akong magawa. I cannot…
The moment I send my Marines there at the coastal shores of Palawan, tinamaan ng cruise missile lahat iyan. Hindi pa nga naka-set sail iyan eh, sabog na.
Let me say again that victory in the global battle against COVID-19 would take longer than we expect. Everyone’s cooperation is needed. I know that you, the Filipino people, have sacrificed a lot. But we have no other choice but to work together and to do even more.
I must admit that our actions have been far from perfect — totoo iyan I admit it — and there could be improvements here or there—but all of us in government, including myself, assure you that we will not stop until we get things right and better for you. [applause]
I know that many of you are worried not only about health and safety but also about our ability to move around and ride public transportation; the depletion of your savings due to the rising cost of goods; and the loss of your incomes due to uncertainties in your jobs and livelihood. I assure you that your government will [squarely address] these problems and challenges to overcome them and proceed to the ‘new normal’.
Marami ho talagang mawawalaan ng — those for the middle-income. They buy a car on installment basis. If you cannot keep up with the amortization, you’ll lose it — you’ll lose the car and you are forced to ride on public utilities.
Concomitantly, didiretso rin itong mga criminal na rarami at crimes will increase. But let me assure you, for as long as I am President, there can never be a runaway crime in any of our cities. Hindi ako papayag ng ganun. I can assure you we will remain peaceful — relatively peaceful. [applause]Hindi naman very peaceful. Pero kung sabihin mo na kagaya ng holdup dito, holdup, ah… Alam naman nila kung ano mangyayari. You know what will happen to you.
I am addressing myself to the criminals. You commit holdups, you commit rapes, you commit all sorts of things and you harm the public, then kaaway mo na ako. Kapag bumalik kayo sa dati kagaya noon, patong-patong na naman ang patay dito. Sigurado hahanapin ko kayo. Do not ever go back to your old ways. Maghanap na lang kayo ng anong trabaho diyan. Magtiis kayo.
To open up the economy to pre-Covid-19 levels at this time is not an option because whatever good it can produce will only be gobbled up, or be outweighed, by the bad it will generate. Sometimes, haste does make waste. The recent upsurge of infections when we opened little windows to the resumption of business is proof of that.
I am happy that I have talked to you today.You know, in other places they opened up too early too soon. America is one. China — well fortunately, it was arrested on time. China and the rest for those who opened up and those who do not follow the protocols of the — at least the World Health Organization — they are suffering and they have at least 140 deaths.
Ang Amerika nagkukulang sila lahat. No nation on earth was really prepared for COVID. No amount of preparation because that kind of microbes visits about once every 100 years. Wala man ‘yung — mga tatay natin, what they suffered was Second World War, but tayo…
We are not ready and therefore we will not gamble with the lives and health of the people. Certainly, no one would want to end up on the negative side of the equation. Not me, not us.
All I ask is that you continue to put your faith in your government and work with us in achieving what is best for our country and our people. Together, let us do — mahirap basahin kasi dito eh — the most that we can to ensure that the health, safety and well-being of every Filipino—especially those severely affected —are taken care of.
Together, we shall fight this pandemic with the same fervor as our campaign against illegal drugs, criminality, insurgency, and corruption in high places and entrenched parochial interests.
As a government worker, I am addressing each and every Filipino that the government cannot do this without your help. More than ever, we need to reinvigorate the deep-seated Filipino spirit of pakisama and malasakit within each and everyone of us.
We are being — we are being tested, as a people and as a nation. Worse times loom ahead. But I do hope that this spirit of solidarity and unity will serve as the drumbeat to which we shall march in unison in our quest for the light at the end of the tunnel.
I appeal to each and every Filipino, let us take care of one another. Ito ang panahon para magtulungan. Hindi ito ang panahon para maglamanan — maglaman — lamang-lamangan — lamang. Mamang p*** — dila ko. [applause] Hindi maglamang — at pagkakaisa.
My faith in the Filipino innate patience, resilience and determination to bounce back is unwavering. Let us share our blessings with those who have little and those who have none. This is the time to bring out the best in us.
The woes that weigh heavily upon our shoulders may bend our back, but they shall not bend or break our spirit.
From the rubbles of adversity, a more resilient and stronger nation built on Bayanihan and Pagkakaisa shall rise.
Together, we shall overcome.
Before I… Pardon the time but it was really the allotted time for my speech. I would just like to give a statement between — between us sa gobyerno kung hindi tayo nagkakaintindihan.
You know Drilon, stand it — he was defending… I would like to ask Drilon, were you a part of ACCRA when this contract of Ayala water was being drafted?
And why are you fumigating? Bakit kasi ikaw lang ang galit? Na sabi mo na dynasty-dynasty. You are a hypocrite. You know that you cannot pass an anti-dynasty law. Ikaw ang nandiyan sa Congress, ‘di ikaw ang mauna dito.
But you know, to take it against me for protecting my country is something which I really resent. Alam mo you described using the dictionary the synonym ng mga oligarchs, oligarchy, kung ano, then you proceeded to characterize everyone every — every name and then said that oligarchy is not bad at all because sa — not all oligarchies are bad. True.
But ito, to my countrymen, the oligarchy that exists in this country is the oligarchy that existed during the Spanish time. And the Spanish lands and the friar lands and all the benefits that were passed on to the Insulares who did not go back to Spain or to the Spaniards and into their… But that was long ago, it has been forgotten. This is the oligarchy that controls the Philippines by what? By taking control of the water and the electricity and power. Iyan ang oligarchy mo Drilon. [applause]
Wala ng oligarchy dito except that. They have controlled. Look at… How can you now craft a new contract? Because I would insist that you pay the billions and billions that you collected.
For example, water treatment. O nandiyan sa kontrata. It’s in the billing, they are being collected since 1997. Ilang bilyon na nga wala ni isa, not even a faucet was built for a water treatment facility.
Iyan ang mahirap sa… You do not protect the oligarchs here. You are the one. Ikaw lang mag-isa. And I suspect that you were also the one — or helped when you were there in the ACCRA.
We do not even know the — ang mga abogado sa public documents hindi nga alam. Hindi nga natin alam kung naka-graduate ba o hindi. Wala. Would you think Ayala would get the services of those…? Ayala got ACCRA. ACCRA did it. Ikaw galing ka doon, most of you, more successful lawyers sa corporation, you handle big corporate. Iyan ang mahirap.
Bangga tayo dito. Me, hinawakan ninyo eh. Hindi ka puwede kay… Kita mo noong nag-increase, walang tubig, pinuputol ‘yung tubig, ang tao bumigay kasi hindi puwede man tayo hindi maligo, hindi uminom. Electricity ayaw mo mag-increase. O ayan, wala ka, palaging brownout, lahat.
I’m sorry but I have to say this to you. I do not like it. It’s not the time for it, but since it is the time for the SONA, for people to know and people to really get the facts, then — and the right of the people to be heard.
Tayo na naman ang tao magsabi. Hinawakan ninyo ‘yang tubig pati electricity, iyon ang oligarchy talaga. Kaya ako sinabi ko noong kampanya “corruption is not here.” Iyang mga Customs na ‘yan, maliit ‘yan. It’s there upstairs. And I was really — and providential, dumating ‘yung panahon na hindi ko hiningi. Then I saw the contract. Noong nakita ko ‘yung contract…
At saka ‘yang linya na ano, ‘yung choice — trans — ‘yung linya ng ano, it belongs to government. The best of the transmission lines, whatever, government gets it first before anybody else.
Thank you. I am through. [applause]
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