Author Archive

Progressive Youth Groups’ Statement Against GMA’s Escape

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 22, 2011 by MASP

We, the Filipino Youth, condemn the brazen acts of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to evade culpability for her crimes. The recent temporary restraining order (TRO) granted by eight justices of the Supreme Court (SC) is a clear tailor-fit court order to favor Arroyo. The unusually speedy process to grant the TRO and even the release of the TRO to Arroyo’s lawyers beyond office hours were all indicative of the leverage granted to Arroyo.

What is even more abhorrent is the cavalier use of the words “rights” and “democracy” to justify her escape from the country and that any attempt to prevent her from doing so would constitute a violation of those two cherished words. It seems that Arroyo wishes to taunt her victims, the Filipino public, by using the very rights they deprived from others to escape accountability.

Arroyo deserves no compassion from the Filipino public. First, her situation is not dire. The statement of Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona confirms that there are sufficient medical facilities and skilled medical experts to treat her ailment. Moreover, Dr. Leo Olarte of the Philippine Medical Association has opined that Mrs. Arroyo is on her way to recovery.

Second, she has the sufficient resources to pay for the best facilities and doctors in the country. Unlike millions of Filipinos, she has a team of doctors to attend to her medical needs and has foreign medical experts abroad to treat her common illness.

Third, and most important, the nine years of her presidency were marked by much grave abuse of rights and democracy. Now, Arroyo’s camp speaks of rights but during her presidency, human rights violations against media practitioners, political activists, and ordinary citizens were rampant.

Now, they speak of democracy when during her term, she orchestrated massive cheating during the 2004 and 2007 elections. This huge irony seems to escape them. No amount of disastrous acting or theatrics to garner sympathy can whitewash the gross acts of corruption, electoral sabotage, plunder, and impunity she and her cohorts committed.

We challenge the eight justices of the Supreme Court to resign should Arroyo not return to the country as she promised. We believe that those who aided Arroyo in her attempt to escape should not go scot-free and wash their hands.

We also call on the public to express their indignation against Arroyo’s attempt to flee the country. We must never take this sitting down. We cannot allow those who have robbed us of our rights to use the same rights to escape accountability.

No to GMA’s escape!

Movement for the Advancement of Student Power | Student Council Alliance of the Philippines | Akbayan! Youth

OUR DEMOCRACY IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR: The SILVER YEAR and the SILVER LEGACY of EDSA PEOPLE POWER I

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2011 by MASP

Twenty-five years had passed.The EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986 benchmarked the worldwide struggle for democracy and on its silver year, the silver legacy continues to support and fight for the existence of equal voice among the people of every country. In one way or another, the event brought back the majesty and dignity of our country. EDSA Uno—as what they call it—is impressive to Filipinos and foreigners alike who understand the real meaning of being deprived of basic social liberties. At the same time, this minute yet influential piece of history means a lot to us youth progressives who take pride on our militant roots.

As an offshoot of EDSA, the Philippines moved to restore the democratic political structure yet still faithful to the elite’s entrenchment of their economic ascendancy over the social order. We acknowledge that the revolution ousted the elites Marcos put into place, and those who lost their power then restored their influence and placed themselves in the circulation. Nevertheless we cannot deny that EDSA Revolution put the despicable display of dictatorship to an end.

EDSA Uno served as our grand means of regaining self-respect. In the February 25, 1986 peaceful protests around the country (particularly at the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue or EDSA) were done to counter the efforts by the Marcos administration to cheat on the results of the snap elections he called for with the intention of legitimizing his term of office as President. The people power denouement paved the way for the careful transition to democracy under Corazon C. Aquino—the widow of Marcos’ harshest critic, Benigno Aquino, Jr.—who assumed the presidency. The event inspired many uprisings in the post-Cold War era, such as the ones that took place in Germany, China, Czech Republic, and former Yugoslavia. The people power in Manila was even given its ample share of airtime on broadcast media and space in various international newsmagazines such as Time and Newsweek.

The emblems of 1st EDSA People Power Revolution—yellow ribbons, the crucifix, roses, and the Laban sign—had their revival when adopted by successive popular revolts in the country such as the EDSA Dos, which ousted an equally corrupt president in 2001. People power, in its basic sense, has proven in many circumstances to be the most effective tool to chase off those who betray the trust of the electorate.

The Movement for the Advancement of Student Power (MASP) had been an instrument of people power in the country. Our core values which upholds student militancy and student empowerment reflects the whole picture of democratic struggles in the country. The student activism mobilized by MASP and other progressive student organizations during the time took direct actions in order to effectuate political goals in the national level.

Twenty-five years have passed, MASP celebrates also its 25th year. MASP continues to consider its everyday militancy as an extension of EDSA Uno—of people power. Given the newer modes of acquiring information, MASP’s newer breed of student activists will mobilize the generation of technology-savvy, experimental, and abstractly idealistic Filipino youth in order to reclaim the spirit of the two EDSAs. The internet and mobile has become closely attached with the culture of the Y generation. In the Philippine experience, it has become an instrument of mobilizing the youth during major national uprisings.

Youth activism is an important aspect of public life, basing on the premise that youth is a major part of civil society. The students of colleges and universities are potent partners in effective and conscientious governance, because of their capacity to imagine and to realize these imaginative ideas. Their idealism does is not boxed in their sector but also for the entire populace as well.

Up to now, the spirit of EDSA People Power Revolution continues to haunt the tyrants of democracy everywhere in the world.And the spirit of youth activism embedded in EDSA continues to inspire the infant revolutionaries in dictatorship-laden areas such as Tunisia, Eritrea, Egypt, and Libya. The outbreak of civil accountability have trembled and torn down the outward and indestructible facets of despotism.

The Movement for the Advancement of Student Power salutes to the heroes who fought for our democracy in the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986. Twenty five years may have gone to pass, but MASP’s militancy as a community of student leaders does not stop with our clamor for a new regime. As being accountable for any effected state, be it electorally or by force, we need to take account of the dynamic shift of concern from civil militancy to actual participation in governance. Every EDSA has its own lesson to look upon, because of the actors and the power struggles. But from these we will base our continued efforts towards a more humanized, progressive, and responsive society.###

Why Risa is the Best Youth Senator?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2010 by MASP

Well frankly, aside from her charm, beauty and intelligence, what else can we get from this enthusiastic yet progressive woman in the name of Risa Hontiveros?

Risa’s progressive stance started when she was in high school. Very youthful and yet, she was able to establish herself as a young lady of perseverance. Like us, when she was still young, she used to join several campaigns concerning national issues.

She didn’t let her activism become a hindrance to her academics. She graduated Cum Laude at the Ateneo de Manila University—a mark of a true scholarly youth progressive activist.

6 years in the Philippine House of Representatives are not enough for others to run for a higher position in government. But Risa’s short term in Congress is not a thing. She already manifested a lot of qualifications why she should be a senator. Her legislative record already says it.

She was an awardee of Nobel Peace Price for her undying commitment in facilitating peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) despite the endless attack of this group against her and her party Akbayan. She was also the Secretary-General of the Coalition for Peace and was also awarded Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award for Peace Advocacy in 2001.

While in Congress, she already filed more than 80 resolutions and bills. An advocate of student’s rights and welfare, she, together with Akbayan Party-list, pushes the passage of the Magna Carta of Students Bill which was always held up and delayed by income-minded-private school owner-legislators and adamant ‘pro-student’ representatives.

Believing in the capability of the youth as the first reformer of the government, she spearheaded the campaign for the passage of the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Bill. She did not even deem propositions to abolish the SK as Risa doesn’t believe that doing this is not the answer and should not be considered, as well. She said that we should not take away the only venue where the youth can widen their political participation. If there are flaws in the SK, should we confront and reform such but abolition is not the solution.

Main promoter of land reform, she championed the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reforms Law (CARPER). This bill led to more benefits for women Filipino farmers and for the whole peasant sector in general.

She fought for the amendments in Tax Code to give justifiable tax exemptions for minimum wage earners.

She also championed the Cheaper Medicines Law in the House of Representatives. She worked with civil society organizations to legislate the bill so more citizens can avail affordable medicines.

The controversial Reproductive Health Bill also sponsored by Risa Hontiveros is now in a peak flight. The Bill seeks for proper information and necessary healthcare for women. With this bill, Risa, with Akbayan   Party-list, ensures the decrease or better, total elimination of unwanted pregnancy and abortion.

Risa Hontiveros is also always present in demonstrations in streets to show the strength of the mass to voice their sentiments out. She was even illegally arrested during a women’s rally and at the height of ‘Hello Garci’ scandal.

She was widowed in the middle of her fight and was left single mother with her four children.

Despite all the hardships in life, Risa Hontiveros transpires positive energy and great enthusiasm in every step that she makes—a mere inspiration why the youth should take her as an example.

She always considers the marginalized. This is very evident in the laws that she made and actions that she did.

Now, the judgment is for you to make. Is Risa the best youth senator?

Magna Carta for the Students: The Revival

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2009 by MASP

Magna Carta for the Students: The Revival

It has already been a decade since the first version of the Magna Carta of Students was authored by Cong. Edcel Lagman and was presented by progressives at the House of Representatives, with hopes of being supported and passed to be a law that shall be the assemblage of all the rights of the students, only to be disappointed by the apathy and the lack of interest by the legislators, in which the people have fully rested their confidence and deference. In the previous session of the 14th Congress, a recent and more audacious one has been instigated by Rep. Risa Hontiveros- baraquel which focused on the current student’s legitimate rights and welfare, a more comprehensive and up-to-date bill which tackles and provides alternative solution to the current context of the education dilemma in our country. However, it did not thrived well as it found its adversaries in each form of unexpected and undeniable ones, which in fact are most of the legislators themselves.

The preceding session of the lower house has been quite disruptive, in paving the way for the bill, by solons who do not act according to what their official duties expect them to be, such as by not being present in the public hearings which led to technical working groups without congressmen, halted votations due to insufficient numbers and bringing up-to-the-last-minute repudiation of what has already been collectively agreed upon by the present members of the committee. The government agencies such as the Department of Education, the Commission for Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority has been indeed lukewarm, indifferent and yielding to the process, which proves that they are really undetermined to support the bill which aims to empower and give them the authority to secure the students. It was also surprising that the other stakeholders in the consultation process where on the warpath to the salient features of the bill, in which the student body found teachers, school owners, and the institution itself as their opponents.

It is really quite upsetting that education, is being taken for granted by this government, and by the previous repercussion of this endeavored reform in its system’s policy and directives, the anticipation of a better future for students lie at the brink of extermination. As the upcoming resumption of the technical working group’s consultation process become near, the steadfast and uncompromising students are expected to be more restless, to do more than their previous efforts and their hopes of achieving their highest aspirations to free themselves from the bondage of a rotten, traditional and repressive education system.

It is therefore of utmost importance, for every student to be tactful, at guard and to be in focus, so as to reclaim what is theirs, and prove to those who look down upon them that they know where should they stand in the issue of their rights and their interests.###

Contributed by: Ebenezer R. Bonbon

Movement for the Advancement of Student Power

Polytechnic University of the Philippines

Ang hamon ni Cory Aquino sa kilusang kaliwa Pagninilay ng isang kristiyanong maka-kaliwa

Posted in Uncategorized on August 13, 2009 by MASP

Nang bumuhos ang mga tao sa Ayala nang ilipat ang mga labi ni dating Pangulong Aquino mula La Salle Greenhills patungong Manila Cathedral, magkahalong saya at inggit ang pumuno sa akin: saya dahil sa dami ng taong nakikiramay at nagkakaisa; na nakakapukaw ng marubdob na damdaming makabayan at pag-asa; at inggit, sa kakayanan ni cory, buhay man o patay, na manawagan at pakilusin ang mga mamamayan- mayaman man o mahirap, at pagkaisahin sa isang landas.

Bilang isang maka-kaliwa na laging umaasam ng maraming taong kikilos nang bigkis tungo sa pagpapalaya, at batid ang hirap, gastos, pagpaplano, walang katapusang pulong upang magpakilos- na hindi umaabot sa ganyang proporsyon- nasabi ko sa aking sariling, “may ginagawang tama ang taong (Cory) ito kung bakit siya nakakapagbigay ng inspirasyon sa ganito karaming pilipino na hindi natin nagagawa o naibibigay o hindi nakikita sa atin (kilusang kaliwa) ng mga mamamayan“.

Kontribusyon ko ito sa di mabilang na pagninilay sa buhay at kamatayan ni Cory Aquino at bahagi na rin ng ating tuluy-tuloy na pagpuna sa sarili at sa kapwa lalo na sa kilusang kaliwa. Sa ganitong diwa o adhika nais kong ibahagi ang sulating ito.

I Si Tita Cory na Mahal ko.

A. Si Cory-ang mabuting pulitiko

Pagkatapos ng dayaan sa snap elections, nagyaya ng rally si Cory. Sabi ko, sige, ihahanda ko. Sa Plaza Miranda. Bakit dun-tanong niya.” Sa Luneta!”. Sabi ko, “kakalog tayo dun. Baka kaunti lang pumunta. Sabi niya “Bayaan mo. Kung walang pumunta, ibig sabihin, hindi sila naniniwala sa atin. At pwede na tayong tumigil.” At ang sumunod ay bahagi na ng kasaysayan: ang tagumpay ng bayan na nangyari sa Luneta na kung saan halos 2 milyon ang dumating.
-Jose Peping Cojuangco

Kapag umaalis siya papuntang ibang bansa noong presidente pa siya, isa lang sa amin ang isinasama niya, at sa bulsa niya kinukuha ang pambayad sa aming pamasahe, hindi sa kaban ng bayan.
Pinky Aquino-Abelleda

Kapag tinatanong ng tao kung bakit hindi pa niya ako pinapapasok sa pulitika, ang sagot niya ay, “kapag simple na ang kanyang lifestyle. Sa ngayon, sa kanyang lifestyle, hindi siya pwedeng mabuhay sa sahod ng isang government employee”
Kris Aquino-Yap

Pinagbawalan niya kaming magsimula ng anumang negosyo habang siya ay presidente. Lahat kaming kaanak at kamag-anak niya.
-Peping Cojuangco

Kapag kumukuha ako ng litrato at nagustuhan niya at kanyang itatago sa sarili niyang koleksyon, binabayaran niya ito at hindi gastos ng malacanang.
-photographer ni Cory Aquino

Nang anyayahan niya akong maglingkod sa departamento ng sakahan, sinabihan niya akong sundin ang batas, masipag na gawin ang trabaho, at huwag magnakaw.
-Philip Juico

Matapang siya. Buo ang loob. Malinaw sa kanya na ipagtatanggol niya ang demokrasya, laban sa lahat ng coup, kahit pa man mabuwis ang kanyang buhay.
PSG head

She never saw business as a milking cow. Whenever she would ask me for help, believe it or not, I never felt burdened but distinctly honored.
-Ramon del Rosario

Marami sa aking mga kakilalang eksperto sa batas ang nagsabi na hindi ka bawal tumakbo sa 1992. Ngayon lang nasisimulan ang pagtatayong muli ng ating demokrasya. Mabuway pa. Kailangan ka pa. Bakit hindi ka tumakbo ulit? Ang sagot niya “Isa lang. Illipat natin ito sa susunod nang mapayapa.”
-Peping Cojuangco

At mapayapa, walang arte, na ipinasa niya ang trono sa sumunod. At ito ang malaking pagakakaiba niya sa lahat.

Si Cory, katulad ng maraming namuno at humawak ng kapangyarihan, ay mula sa elitistang pamilya, at angkan, at kamag-anakan. Subalit naiiba siya sa lahat. Hindi siya narahuyo sa kapangyarihan. Alam niyang pansamantala lamang ito, at hindi monopolyo ng sinuman. At alam niya rin at isinabuhay kung para saan ito. Hindi ito para sa sarili kundi para sa bayan at sa mamamayan.
At sa pagtangan sa kapangyarihan-kakaiba siya. Sa gitna ng mga magagaling, hindi basta-basta, at mga beteranong pulitiko, namuno siya, hindi lamang sa talino, sa pagalingan ng argumento at katwiran, at lalong hindi sa paggapi sa kaharap upang lumutang siya at manaig kundi sa kakaibang lengguwahe ng feministang pagtanaw at pagtangan sa kapangyarihan-nagpapalakas

sa iba hindi sa sarili, mahinahon ngunit matatag, nakikinig ngunit matibay sa paniniwala at paninindigan. At hindi ginamit ang posisyon para payamanin ang sarili, o lustayin ang pera ng bayan.

Marami pang kwentong ganito. Tiyak ako na pwedeng maging isang librong makapal. Cory Aquino, Kakaibang pulitiko. Mabuting pulitiko. Kasi, hindi siya pulitiko. O pulitiko siya, sa ibang depinisyon ng salita. Kasi, binago niya ang ibig sabihin ng pulitiko. Isa siyang bayani na sa salita ni Patricia Evangelista ay “This is what a hero is- a man or a woman, who is confronted by the choice to do right, and who chooses it, not because of convenience, or power, or vengeance but because it is right.”

At hindi niya ito ginawa minsan lamang, pagkatapos mapaslang si Ninoy, kundi araw-araw, sa loob at labas ng Malacanang-at kahit sa paligid niya, ay nagkalat ang mga taong bawat hakbang ay gumagawa ng mali para sa sarap, sa kapangyarihan, sa paghihiganti, o sa ambisyon.

Araw-araw na pagkabayani-ito ang laman ng buhay-pulitika ni Cory. Araw-araw na pagtitipid, masinop na paggastos sa pera ng bayan. Araw-araw na pag-iisip kung ano pa ang ikabubuti ng bayan. Unang araw pa lang, maliwanag na sa kanya ang lahat-6 na taon lang siyang pangulo. Ito ang nagpa-iba sa kanya sa ibang pulitiko.

Bukod dyan, Sa kanya, naghalo, masarap na natimpla-ang pulitikal at personal dahil

B. Si Cory-ang mabuting tao

Kapag may nakikita tayong mabuting tao- hindi tayo nag-aatubili. Alam natin-basta nararamdaman natin-mabuting tao siya. May masasamang tao-at maraming nagkalat diyan. Basta. Nalalaman natin na masamang tao sila. Ganun si Cory. Mabuting tao. Basta. Alam nating mabuting tao siya. She was a damn good person! Good people of the world , unite- you have nothing to loose but your vane!
-de quiros

Minsang nagpunta kami sa painting lesson niya at siya ang toka na magpamiryenda, sinama niya ang cook. Pag-uwi, nauna kami. Wala pang pagkain sa bahay. Maya-maya ay lumabas siyang may dalang sopas na niluto niya at pinakain sa amin. Ganoon siya. Hindi niya kami nakakalimutan. Lagi niyang tinatanong kung nakakain na kami. Tinuring niya kaming pamliya. Iniangat niya ang aking self-confidence.
Spo4 Mallari, close-in security ni Cory

Maysakit na siya at hindi makatayong mag-isa, kapag sinasamahan ko sa banyo-laging nagpapasalamat.
Pinky Abelleda, pangatlong anak ni Cory

I didn’t notice that my anger was slowly receding- and my desire for vengeance was banishing the more I was close to this woman in yellow; now, I just want to make sure that I live every moment of my life to the fullest-without anger and vindictiveness; I did not notice I was being transformed the more I got closer to this woman in yellow;
-Teodoro Locsin Jr.

Hindi kakaunti ang ganitong mga kuwento. Sa palagay ko, pwede itong gawing panibagong libro- Cory Aquino, isang mabuting tao. Ngunit maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw- ang kanyang asal, at ugali sa harap ng sinuman, malaki mang tao o maliit-ay isang huwaran ng pakikipagkapwa-tao. Araw-araw. Tiyak ako na paminsan-minsan, nanigaw naman siguro siya, umismid, at nagsalita ng masakit sa iba, kahit nakatalikod. Hindi naman tayo nag-uusap tungkol sa isang santo, ika nga ni Patricia Evangelista sa kanyang column sa Inquirer noong Agosto 2.

K. Si Cory ang mabuting mananampalataya

Sa simula pa lang ng biyahe, nagdadasal na siya. Kaya naging madasalin din ako.
-drayber ni Cory

Biro man, totoo rin talaga. Sa teamwork nila ni Cardinal Sin, si Cardinal Sin ang political officer at si Cory ang spiritual warrior.

Kapag nakaismid ako at angal nang angal sa buhay, sasabihin niya…Maur, magdasal ka na lang.
Maur Lichauco

She was not ashamed to proclaim her faith in God in the public arena; without being imposing; and she draws us to pray; her life of prayer taught us and draws us to prayer; without her pressuring or forcing us;
-Bishop Chito Tagle, Bishop of Imus

Mom, now I believe, without an iota of doubt, that you have run your course, you have finished the race, and you have kept the faith.
Sen.Noynoy Aquino

Magkasabay na nagbukas ang langit at lupa-upang ipagdiwang ang buhay ni tita cory —-Mrs. Tuazon

Tama si Patricia Evangelista- hindi santo si Cory. Ngunit baka mali rin siya dahil kalaunan, hindi malayong ideklara siyang santo ng Iglesia Katolika dahil sa kanilang batayan, ang mga santo ay mga taong nanatiling tapat sa kanilang pananampalataya sa bawat sandali ng kanilang buhay-sa gitna ng uri ng buhay na kanilang kinasadlakan; oo nga pala, hindi ibig sabihin ng mga santo sa simbahan ay yung mga taong hindi nagkakamali-sa katotohanan, ang kabaligtaran ang totoo; ang mga santo ay mga taong lubos ang pag-amin sa kanilang kasalanan-kaya sila naging mga santo; sila ang mga taong sobra-sobrang batid ang kanilang kasalanan, kaya natutulak na lubos na umasa at magtiwala lamang sa awa at habag ng diyos; kasi sa kanilang pagkamakasalanan, alam nilang mula sa biyaya lang ng Diyos sila makakagawa ng anumang kabutihan para sa kapwa-kaya sila nagiging santo-at tiyak ako na si Cory, ay isa sa mga taong may malalim na pag-amin sa kanyang mga kasalanan, kakulangan at kahinaan; kaya hindi ako magtataka kung ipaglaban ng iglesya katolika ng pilipinas na gawin siyang santo ng buong simbahan sa kalaunan;

Tama si Mrs. Tuazon nang sabihin niyang sa pagkamatay ni cory at pagpunta sa kabilang-buhay, sabay na nagbukas ang langit at lupa; sa lupa, masaya nating ipinagdiwang ang kanyang buhay- at ang langit, kung mayroon man at kung tama ang simbahang may langit nga-ay tiyak akong masaya, buong lugod, bukas ang bisig na tinanggap nila si Cory, at buong pagmamalaking niyakap at pinatuloy ng Diyos ang isang tunay na anak ng Diyos sa kanyang tahanan. At si Cory, masayang umuwi sa kanyang tunay at permanenteng tahanan.

Sa totoo lang, sa aking paniniwala na may kabilang buhay dahil tayong tao ay immortal , at ang buhay natin ay di natatapos sa daigdig na ito lamang, ngayon lang ako nakaramdam ng katiyakang, ang taong ito ay sa langit pupunta, at nakakatiyak din ako nang walang pag-aalinlangan, na nagbubunyi ang langit sa pagdating niya. Ako, baka 50-50 ang tsansa. Mabuti na lamang at walang impyerno! (ayon sa isang pinagpipitagang theologo mula sa Belgium, si Fr. Schilebeeckx, sa kanyang aklat na “I am a Happy Theologian”). Na lubos ko namang pinininiwalaan.

Ganyan si Cory: isang mabuting pulitiko, isang mabuting tao, at isang mabuting mananampalataya. At napag-isa niya ang tatlong aspetong ito ng kanyang buhay, sapagkat para sa kanya ang kabutihan ay siyang damit na sinusuot natin saan man mapunta. Sa buhay niya nga lang, inakyat niya sa isang antas ang kabutihan-kaya binuhay niya ang 3 aspetong ito sa antas ng pagkabayani at kabanalan-sa mata nating mga anak ng mas mababang diyus-diyosan. May iba pang aspeto ang kanyang pagkatao-mabuting ina, mabuting lola, matapat na asawa….mangangailangan pa ito ng mas maraming pahina at sa ibang sulatin.

II Ang hamon ni Cory sa ating kilusan

A. Ang mga “kasalanana ni Cory sa sambayanan”

Siyempre, sa salamin ng pananampalataya, ang aking malaking tanong ay: bakit sa kabila ng kanyang pagiging madasalin at malapit sa Diyos ay hindi niya narinig ang bulong ng Diyos, na ang lupa ay hindi sa sinuman kundi para sa lahat; at ang hacienda luisita ay dapat nang ipamahagi sa mga tunay na nagbubungkal nito?

Bakit hindi niya narinig ang bulong ng Diyos ng katarungan na ang walang habas na pangungutang ni Marcos na hindi nagsilbi sa kagalingan ng bayan ay hindi dapat bayaran upang may sapat na pondo para sa mga pangangailangan ng bayan, na nung panahong yaon, ay kulang na kulang? O, hindi muna bayaran upang unahin ang kapakanan ng bayan, at hindi ng mga bangkong nagpakasangkapan kay Marcos upang tumubo kahit pa lalong mabaon sa utang ang sambayanan?

Bakit hindi niya narinig ang bulong ng Diyos ng Katwiran at kalayaan, na ang mga base militar ng E.U. ay dapat isara sa ating bansa.

Ang sagot ko mula sa isang malungkot at masakit na paglilimi na may pagbubunyi: “Walang himala!”. Walang taong may diretsong linya ng komunikasyon sa Diyos. Ang Diyos ay nakakausap natin mula sa ating pagkatao; mula sa ating konsiyensiya. Kailangang gamitin ng Diyos ang mga mayroon tayong tao-upang maipahatid niya ang kanyang kalooban-ang ating budhi, ang ating loob, ang ating mga kaibigan, ang mga tao at institusyong ating pinakakatiwalaan, kasama ng lahat ng mga kakulangan at kasalanan nito: sa maikling salita- mula sa ating karanasan, bilang isang indibidwal na nakaugat sa isang komunidad.

Tulad ng lahat ng taong nais makipag-usap sa Diyos, ang budhi ni Cory, bukod sa mga turo at aral ng mga paaaralan (St. Scho at Assumption dito at sa ibang bansa) at simbahang humubog sa kanya, ay isang budhing hinubog ng kanyang pamilya, ng kanyang angkan, at ng kanyang kapaligiran- mayaman, elitista, naliligiran ng kayamanan at luho. Marahil, mula sa kanyang karanasan ng kaunting pagdarahop at halos pagka-inutil (helplessness) nang ikulong si Ninoy ni Marcos-natutunan niyang iwaksi ang personal na luho- ngunit hindi niya maalpasan ang paniniwala ng kanyang elitistang pinanggalingan na kanila ang hacienda luisita at karapatan nilang angkinin habang buhay. Kung may pagkukulang man, mas hihingin ko sa mga taong relihyoso na malapit sa kanya-sa kanilang kakulangang ulit-ulitin na sa turo ng simbahan ang lupa ay pag-aari ng Diyos para sa lahat at hindi lamang para sa kanilang pamilya.

Ikalawa, ang pinakamasasayang taon ng buhay-pamilya niya ay nangyari sa Estados Unidos. Paano sasagi sa kanyang isip na dapat baklasin ang mga base-militar ng Amerika sa ating bansa gayung ito ay nagsilbing kanlungan ng kanilang pamilya sa panahon ng paninil ng diktador?

Pangatlo, marahil, masyado tayong humingi (na hindi naman dapat) o umasa (na hindi naman dapat asahan) sa isang taong, ni kailanman ay hindi nagsabing kanya itong gagawin. Kahit na kailan, hindi siya nangakong isusulong ang repormang agraryo. Kahit na kailan, hindi niya sinabing laban siya sa utang panlabas na dapat bayaran. Kahit na kailan hindi niya sinabing laban siya sa mga base militar ng amerika sa ating bansa.

Marahil, mas tamang sisihin, o singilin ang ilang mga taong naging bahagi ng kanyang gabinete at opisyal sa gobyerno na noong panahon ng pakikibaka kay Marcos ay inihihiyaw ang mga programang ito, gunit nang mapuwesto ay nabawasan ang paninindigan na ipaglaban ito sa mga pulong ng gabinete at sa ibang mga paraan.

Marami siyang kakulangan. Sana , bagaman mga sariling kilos ng mga elemento ng military (lalo na ng mga adbenturistang ang akala, dahil sila ay naging mahalaga sa EDSA 1, dapat ay malaki ang papel nila sa gobyerno) ang pagpaslang kay Lean Alejandro at Lando Olalia, at ang mismong mendiola massacre, bilang pinuno, may mga dapat kinulong, pinanagot sa batas, at pinarusahan. Dapat, sa kanyang pamumuno, nailipat sa magsasaka ang hacienda nila-magsimula sa sariling bakuran! Hindi man siya naniniwala ditto, dahil ito ang batas, dapat nyang sinunod at pinatupad. Walang exempted sa batas. At maging magandang halimbawa sa mga kapwa niya panginoong may-lupa. Dapat, hiningi niya, hindi man lubos na pagbura sa utang, ay kahit man lang, hindi muna magbayad ng utang, nong 1986 upang may dagdag na pondo sa pangangailangan ng bayan, kaysa hindi matawag na walang palabra de honor.

Ngunit sa dulo, hindi ito kasama sa kanyang tinanggap na misyon. Mga programa ito ng mga progresibo at kaliwang puwersa. Hindi progresibo at kaliwa si Cory. Siya ay isang lider ng modernong kaayusan. Progresibo kung ihahambing sa pyudal at pulitika ng paglilimos bago at sa panahon ng Batas Militar ngunit hindi lalampas sa Jeffersonian democracy na kiling sa kagalingan ng may-kaya at malapit sa kapangyarihan. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit habang patakas si Marcos, habang nagbubunyi ang lahat, ako ay nagmumukmok, tumatangis, dahil naniniwala ako noon na , “umalis si Marcos, ngunit hindi niya dinala ang ating mga problema”-at alam kong ang mga papalit sa kanya, ay walang muwang sa tunay na makakaalwan sa buhay ng maraming mahihirap. Nasabi ko sa aking sarili noon:”Noong EDSA 1, alam ng tao kung ano ang ayaw nila, ngunit hindi kung ano gusto nila”.

At kasama si Cory sa mga ang nais lamang ay ibalik ang lumang demokrasyang niyurakan ng Batas Militar ni Marcos. Ang kanyang tinanggap na responsibilidad ay ang pagbuhay ng mga institusyon upang panumbalikin ang demokrasya sa bansa na isina-isantabi ng diktadura ni Marcos. Isang anyo ng demokrasya na kasya ang Hacienda Luisita at base militar ng Estados Unidos (Gary Granada, EDSA). Isang anyo ng demokrasya na mayaman sa mga porma nito tulad ng eleksyon, check and balance sa gobyerno, rule of law, due process, etc. Isang anyo ng demokrasya na nakasandig sa malayang pamamahayag, malayang pagtitipon at pag-oorganisa, na sumampalataya o hindi, at iba pa. Isang uri ng demokrasya na malinaw na mas maalwan sa diktaturya ni Marcos saang angulo man tignan. Isang pampulitikang kaayusang malinaw na isang hakbang pag-unlad mula sa kalunus-lunos na lipunang pinamahalaan ni Marcos. Kaya sa kabila ng kakulangan ng demokrasyang ito- sinumang pilipino nang panahong yaon ay magbubunyi at sasamang ipundar. Hindi sapat para sa atin-ngunit mahalaga at hakbang pag-unlad. At tinupad niya ito, kahit mabingit siya sa kamatayan. At sa kabila ng napaka-nakakaliyong temtasyon ng kapangyarihan, hindi siya nag-alinlangan, o nag-ibang landas o narahuyo sa sarap ng kapangyarihan. Buong puso, buong buhay niyang sinikap na gampanan ang kanyang tinanggap na responsibilidad, na inari niyang bokasyon. At nang matupad niya, walang lingon-likod na bumitaw sa kapangyarihan-sapagkat ang pagpapalit sa trono ng kapangyarihan ay isa sa mga batayang salalayan ng anyo ng demokrasyang kanyang niloloob. Ang bokasyon pa lang na ito ay hiningan na siya ng di matatawarang sakripisyo. At malinaw na hindi siya kukulangin kung titimbangin. Ibinigay niya ang lahat ng kaya niyang ibigay.

Subalit hindi lang ito ang demokrasyang niloob natin sa kaliwa. Maaaring sandigan, ngunit kulang.

Kaya ang buong panahong ito ng paglalamay sa kamatayan ni Cory ay hindi lamang panahon ng pagluluksa o taus-pusong pasasalamat, tulad ng nangyari nitong nagdaang linggo. Ito ay panahon ng pagpupunla ng mga sibol na iniwan ni Cory na pati tayo sa kaliwa ay nararapat lamang payabungin; mga punlang kailangang-kailangan ng kilusang kaliwa, upang sa kalaunanan ay maibigay sa atin ng sambayanan ang pagtitiwala at pag-asa (na kanilang iginawad sa babaeng nakadilaw) na kaya rin nating painugin at pamunuan ang bayan hindi lamang upang ipagtangol ang demokrasya, kundi gawing katotohanan ito sa mas maraming mahihirap na mamamayan tungo sa tunay na kasarinlan, kaunlaran, katarungan at kapayapaan.

B. Mga malilit na binhi ni Cory na kailangan pa nating itanim, alagaaan, diligin at payabungin sa bawat isa sa atin, sa ating mga samahan at sa ating mga alyansa

Siya na mayaman. Ngunit napakatipid at masinop na ginastos ang pera ng bayan. Gaano tayo masinop na gumastos sa mga pondong natatanggap natin mula sa loob at labas ng bansa?
Gaano natin nagagamit sa personal na silbi ang mga gamit o bagay na dapat a pang-opisina lamang?
Siya na mayaman. Ngunit pinasimple ang buhay sa kung ano ang kailangan lamang. Gaano tayo namumuhay sa kapayakan sa kabila ng ating maliit na sahod, o sa medyo umaangat na lifestyle?

Siya na naging pangulo ngunit nanatiling mahinahon at mapagkumbaba at hindi tinuring na katulong at tagasilbi lamang ang mga malilit na taong itinalagang magbantay, magmaneho, magluto at maglinis ng kanyang bahay;
Tayo, paano tayo maki-ugnay sa ating mga kasambahay? Paano rin tayo nakikiugnay sa mga malilit na tao sa kilusan at sa ating mga maliliit na opisina? Ang mga drayber, ang mga utility, ang mga taga-zerox sa ating mga ngo’s- lalo ba natin silang pinapahanga habang nalalapit sila sa ating mga buhay at nakikita tayo kahit wala ang kamera, at wala tayo sa mga rally at presscon? At lalo bang lumalalim ang kanilang komitment at pagyakap sa ating mga isinusulong habang nalalapit sila sa ating buhay at nakikita nila ang ating tunay na pamumuhay at pag-uugali?

Siya, na itinuring na walang muwang sa pulitika ay umasa, nagtiwala at naniwala sa kapangyarihan ng mamamayan, sa kabutihan ng karamihan, at nanindigang ang pilipino ay “worth living and dying for?”
Tayo, hanggang saan talaga tayo naniniwala sa lakas, talino, kapangyarihan at muwang ng nakararami? At nakikita ba sa atin ng mga kasapi at inorganisa natin ang tunay at malalim na sampalatayang ito sa kanila?

Siya, na isinilang sa kapangyarihan ngunit hindi narahuyo dito, at tinanganan ito nang may malinaw na hangganan, hindi ginamit para sa sariling interes, at laging ginamit na nstrumento upang isulong ang kabutihan ng bansa.
Tayo, paano talaga natin tinitignan ang kapangyarihan? At sa kasalukuyan, paano tayo nanghahawakan nito sa ating mga opisina, samahan, at alyansa? Ang mga party-lists na naniniwalang maka-kaliwa sila, may ipinapakitang bang kaibahan sa pagtangan sa kapangyarihan kumpara sa regular na pulitiko sa kongreso?

Marahil, sa simula pa lang ng pag-oorganisa, dapat ay maituro at mahikayat natin ang mga umuusbong na lider na isang term lang! Mapa- unyon, mapa-samahang komunidad, mapa-alyansa, mapa-partido pulitikal, o mapa-ngo! Malinaw na hindi magandang halimbawa sa paghawak sa kapangyarihan sina Fidel Castro, Kim Jong Pil, at wag kalimutan-si Marcos! At ang mga hindi na napalitang presidente, executive-director, chairperson, o sec-gen ng mga ngo, union, alyansa, sentro, o partido pulitikal!

Ayon sa umuusbong na pagtanaw sa daigdig mula sa salamin ng quantum science, ang black holes ay hindi maliliit na butas na walang laman sa isang malawak na uniberso ng materyal na daigdig-kundi, sa kabaligtaran, ay ang siyang malawak na kinalalagyan ng mga maliliit na solidong bagay tulad ng mga planeta, buwan at mga bituin.

Tayo, sa kilusang kaliwa ay may maliliit na solidong bagay- ang buwan ng mga programa ng repormang sakahan, ang planeta ng demokratikong pamamahala, ang mga bituin ng kasarinlan at kaunlarang pambayan, sosyalistang kabuhayan, at iba pa; sa totoo lang, mas daig natin si Cory- nagsisimula tayo sa mga programa at adhikaing malapit sa adhikain at inaasam ng sambayanan. Subalit bakit wala tayong kapasidad na manawagan at magbigay-inspirasyon, katulad ng nagawa ni Cory?

Tulad ng nagdaang agham, akala nila, ito na ang katotohanan-ang mga solidong bagay na nakikita at nasusukat; ngunit tinuturo ng quantum science na ang mga iyon ay napakaliit lamang na bahagi ng buong katotohanan. At lulutang lamang ito at makikita dahil may di nasusukat na black hole. Ganundin sa ating buhay-pulitika at pagkamamamayan. Ang mga programang ito na nakaugat sa adhikain at saloobin ng mga mamamayan ay lulutang lamang at magsisilbing inspirasyon kung isinusulong ito at pinagkakaisahan ng mga mabubuting tao at mga namumunong nangunguna sa paghahandog, sa pagsasakripisyo at sa pag-aalay ng buhay, nang walang hinihinging kapalit (hindi pasalamat, hindi pagtanaw ng utang na loob, lalong hindi yaman o salapi, hindi kaginhawahan, at lalong hindi kapangyarihan) kundi ang paniniwalang kailangan itong gawin dahil ito ang tama at matuwid, araw-araw. Ang anumang pangarap ay dapat lang nakatuntong sa integridad, ng mga taong nagsusulong nito, ng mga samahang nakikibaka para dito, lalung-lalo na ng mga nagsisilbing lider nito.

Ipinakita ni Cory Aquino ito sa kanyang buhay, bilang pangulo at bilang ordinaryong mamamayan. Hindi minsan, at sa ilaw ng kamera lamang. Ngunit araw-araw. Sa bawat sandali ng kanyang buhay-paglilingkod. Dahil dito, kaya niyang manawagan sa laksa-laksang Pilipino-at kaya ganun na lamang ang balik-pagmamahal ng bayan sa kanya.

Ito ang hamon sa atin, sa bawat isa, sa mga kasapi ng ating mga samahan, sa ating pinapanday na mga samahan, at lalo na sa mga lider ng ating kilusan.

Mabuhay si Cory!
Mabuhay ang Kilusan!
Mabuhay ang Sambayanan!
Mabuhay si Hesus na pinatay, ipinako sa Krus, at Muling Nabuhay!

Siya nawa. Siya nawa. Siya nawa. At Siya nawa!

Arcy Garcia
Kasapi, OIKOS
Barangka, Lungsod ng Marikina
9 Agosto 2009

A Leftist’s Reflection on the Death of Former President Corazon C. Aquino

Posted in Uncategorized on August 6, 2009 by MASP
By Emmanuel M. Hizon

I will readily admit, when news of former president Corazon C. Aquino reached me, I couldn’t care less. Why would I sympathize with somebody who was given the unique opportunity to lead a revolutionary government, only to squander almost all the opportunities that came with it to realize the people’s dream of a truly transformative democratic transition? Whom instead of repudiating Marcos’ odious debts and thereby putting some closure to his nightmarish dictatorship, instead, chose to honor it to the last cent and in so doing prescribed the future generations to a life of poverty and forced indebtedness?

I have learned, then as a young activist, how Mrs. Aquino as President, sinned by omission on the issue of Mendiola massacre. In this case, would it be just to give my condolences when the martyrs of that fateful day are still without justice while the perpetrators are free and unaccountable – the foremost of which is now the mayor of Manila.

Why would I shed tears for her when the farmers and workers of Hacienda Luisita are still tied to the same grueling class conditions which her government had perpetuated? Clearly, as much as she was a symbol of liberal democracy, is an agent of, consciously or unconsciously, by flaw or by will, her own class compulsions.

And why would I mourn with Mrs. Aquino’s family when they did not even bother to express their grief to the countless farmers, unionists, activists and leaders who were summarily executed under the Aquino administration? How could I possibly identify to such interment, when ordinary people cannot even afford their own coffins much less have the attention and help they so badly need from the media, the church and the do-gooders?

Why will I then mourn the death of a reputed member of the oligarchy, a known cacique, a defender of elite democracy, an unrepentant associate of the landed and elite class which for almost all written history has treated the masses, “the great unwashed” as mere subjects, possessions and playthings to advance their whims and elite dispositions?

Who could forget the Aquino government’s pro-US military bases stance? Who could not recall her government’s US-backed low intensity conflict and total war policy against “insurgents” which in truth harmed the masses more than its perceived enemies?

Are we not entitled to our anger, to our discernment, to dredge up old yet throbbing wounds, to tell the people’s real stories which many of us have chosen to disregard? Why not? Because it’s rude? Because we are disrespecting the dead? How about our dead? Is it ill-timed or inappropriate? Then when is the right time? When will the time of the people come?

These are just some of the many questions that swirled on my head these past few days like confetti dropping wildly from some high-rise building in Makati. Nevertheless, I contented myself with the proposition that my current disposition is valid, politically correct and consistent with the masses’ interest and pulse. Cory will not have my sympathy.

But then again, as I was watching Mrs. Aquino’s funeral service, I cannot help but notice the continuing pouring of support and sympathy from many people. I am not talking about here of middle class people who we often associate with Cory but rather, of ordinary, everyday people; the labanderas, the obreros, the manangs, the urban poor, the probinsyanos; the very same masses we from the broad left movement have sworn to serve with utmost passion and dedication.

They have no anger in their eyes, no impassioned tirades on the Aquino government’s horrible mistakes, no finger pointing, no rage, no resentment. All I saw on television was a long yellow line of sad heart-broken faces waiting for their turn to view their president one last time; mourning as if they too have lost a loved one, grieving as if they too lost something important in their life.

My first reaction was sheer amusement and bewilderment which immediately turned into anger. How could the people have possibly forgotten? How could have they possibly forgiven Cory and her regime when they were never given any exoneration from their misery and poverty in the first place? How could they idolize her and identify with her?

I concluded this could be the result of the Filipino people’s overt romanticism, its legendary propensity to easily forgive and forget which inevitably fused with corporate media’s proclivity for creative spins and spectacles. I said to myself, this would quickly fade as it was quickly created with the people going back to reality; back to their wowowee dreams, back to our same old rubbish shitty lives.

However, each passing day was a revelation. Particularly, what struck me most was when people were asked why they were there. Almost all answered that they wanted to pay tribute to the woman who helped them restored democracy, who helped them reclaimed what was rightfully theirs. From the mother who brought her daughter all the way from Isabela to teach her about democracy, the students who were too young to even remember Edsa 1 up to the laborers and the poor who proudly claimed to have been participants to people power 1, 2 and even 3, all said it was because of democracy.

Then it finally dawned on me why this woman despite her regime’s numerous social and economic transgressions is so loved and cherished by a people representing three generation of Edsas. It’s not so much because she is religious, a mother-like figure to many, a glorified widow or simply a martyr; beyond the labels, our ideological flexing and the comfortable branding of pundits, Cory has been duly recognized by the people as an icon in their transition from despotism to rule of law, their struggle from tyranny towards a sense of freedom and democracy. Cory is first and foremost the representation of that ideal, of that difficult journey towards democratization, of that collective national experience.

And it did not stop there. She will also be remembered as a defender of that particular form of democracy flawed and wanting it may be in so many ways, not measuring up to our Marxist concept of a democratic archetype. From people power 2 which removed an incompetent and corrupt regime up to her participation in the fight to throw out the illegitimate Arroyo regime and its sinister plan to amend the constitution, Cory will be remembered and respected as a person who despite her privileged status joined the people in their most trying and important political junctures.

She will also be remembered for her seemingly incorruptible disposition and her lack of desire to cling to power more than what was bestowed to her. This is in sharp contradiction with the succeeding governments that followed her especially the current Arroyo regime which has shown its penchant to further its illegitimate rule through a combination of brute force and fake consent.

However, beyond Cory and beyond the mourning, the public must also be encouraged to use this period as a time of reflection and deliberation. We, the Filipino people and as a national polity must realize now more than ever that Philippine democracy and freedom must not only be celebrated and acknowledged as it is; it must be furthered, deepened and enlarged.

While leviathan icons may emerge in historic political moments, the people must become conscious of the fact that they themselves are their own icons. They are the real power behind the people power uprisings, they are the undeniable force which restored and have defended this young and fragile democracy; and yes, they are the image and symbol of the struggle for meaningful change. Once the people have realized and embraced this basic yet powerful fact, any conversation concerning the so-called poverty of icons will be naught.

Moreover, while the nation grieve Mrs. Aquino’s passing, let us also remember and grieve for the countless and nameless people that have been wronged, oppressed and in so many ways been deprived because of decades of systemic neglect and elite rule which unfortunately, Ms. Aquino’s government was a part of. Justice and accountability must be extracted from the “invulnerables”, the so-called privileged ones, the ruling class without any exemption to a particular regime or personality; even it means revisiting old yet unhealed wounds and/or bringing to the ground heaven-like reputations.

Let us not forget the martyrs and survivors of Mendiola massacre, the workers and farmers of Hacienda Luisita, our beloved Lean Alejandro and all the brave kasamas who were tortured, incarcerated and summarily executed before and under Aquino’s term as well as the succeeding regimes. Any celebration of democracy without the accordance of justice to those who thirst for it will not only be empty and meaningless, it will also be insulting and degrading to us as a people.

Hence, we as a people must undergo this profound process, a period of mourning and grief for the loss of a symbol as well as a time of contemplation and renewal of our national aspiration for genuine change, justice and equality. This is the only way to have a complete and truthful celebration of what Cory represents and symbolizes without the illusions, the frills, the romanticized concepts and wrong notions while remaining faithful and true to the people’s cause and interest. ###

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 9th State of the Nation Address (SONA)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 30, 2009 by MASP

Full Text of Arroyo’s 9th SONA

Source: Office of the Press Secretary

Thank you, Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Before I begin my report to the nation, please join me first in a moment of prayer for President Cory Aquino. Senate President Enrile, Speaker Nograles, Senators, Representatives, Vice President de Castro, former 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, economy in a global recession, never losing focus and with economic fundamentals intact.

A few days ago, Moody’s upgraded 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 patakaran ay tulungan ang masisipag na karaniwang Pilipino. New tax revenues were put in place to help pay for better healthcare, more roads, and a strong education system. Housing policies were designed to lift up our poorer 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 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 roll on/roll off transport 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 extend welfare support and enhance spending power.

For helping me raise government salaries through Joint Resolution 4, 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.

We prioritize projects with the same stimulus effects plus long-term contributions to 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, it’s timely because 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 loans.

Nakinabang ang sandaan libo sa emergency employment ng ating 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 Pag-Ibig, NHA, community mortgage program, certificates of lot award, at saka iyong loan condonation.

Our average inflation is the lowest since 1966. Last June, it dropped to 1.5%. Paano?

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, nagawa nating itaas 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 P 180,000 ang kinita niya mula noong nakaraang taon. Congratulations, Tarnati. We will help more fisherfolk shift to fish farming with a budget of P1 billion.

Dahil dumarami na naman daw ang pamilyang nagugutom, mamumuhunan tayo ng panibago sa ating hunger mitigation program na sa nakaraan ay napatunayang mabisa. Tulungan ninyo ako dito, Kongreso.

Mula pa noong 2001, nanawagan na tayo ng mas murang gamot. Nagbebenta tayo ng 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, Congressmen Cua, Alvarez, Biron, Locsin.

Pursuant to law, we are placing other drugs under a maximum retail price. To those who want to be President, this advice: If you really want something done, just do it. Do it hard, do it well. Don’t pussyfoot. Don’t pander. And don’t say bad words in public.

Sa health insurance, sakop na ang 86% ang ating populasyon.

Sa Rent Control Law ng 2005 hanggang 2008, di pwedeng lumampas ng 10% ang pagtaas ng upa taun-taon. Ayon sa kakapirma nating batas may isang taong moratorium, tapos hanggang 7% lamang ang maaaring pagtaas. Salamat, Kongreso.

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

Yung presyo ng koryente, ang EPIRA natin ang pangmatagalang sagot. EPIRA dismantled monopoly. Ngunit minana natin ang power purchase agreements, kaya hindi pa natin makamtan yung 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.

Samantala, umabot na sa halos lahat ng barangay ang elektrisidad. We increased indigenous energy from 48% to 58%. Nakatipid tayo sa dollars tapos 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.

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. Those in the 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 stop those tax 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 gamitin sa kalusugan at edukasyon. Pondohan ang Philhealth premiums ng pinakamahihirap. Pondohan 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 magandang 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 sa Millennium Development Goals ay iyong Edukasyon para sa Lahat pagdating ng 2015. Ibig sabihin, lahat ng nasa tamang edad ay dapat nasa primary school. Halos walang bansang makakatupad nito. Ngunit nagsisikap pa rin tayo. Nagtayo tayo ng mga paaralan sa higit sanlibong barangay na dati walang eskwelahan upang makatipid ng gastos sa pasahe ang mga bata. Tinanggal natin ang miscellaneous fees para sa primary school. Hindi na kailangan mag-uniporme ang mga estudyante sa public school.

In private high schools, we finance half of the students.

We have provided college and post-graduate education for over 600,000 scholars. One of them, Mylene Amerol-Macumbal, finished Accounting at MSU-IIT, then she 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, Jennifer.

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 higher private education institutions should be harmonized with state universities and colleges, and that CHED should oversee 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, before 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, pinapatatag ang ating bansa ng ating overseas Filipinos. 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 hard work.

Kaya nagsisikap tayong lumikha dito sa atin ng mga trabahong maganda ang sahod, so that overseas work will just be a career choice, not the only option for a hard-working Filipino.

Meanwhile, we should make their sacrifices worthwhile. Dapat gumawa tayo ng mas epektibong proteksyon at pagpapalawak ng halaga ng kanilang pinagsikapang suweldo. That means stronger consumer protection for Overseas Filipino Workers 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 kanilang mga host 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 sila matutulungan ng ating 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 sa Espanya, 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 din si Sheikh Khalifa, ang Prime Minister ng Bahrain.

Pagpunta ko sa Kuwait, Emir Al-Sabah commuted death sentences. We thank all our leaders, our world leaders, for showing compassion to our overseas foreign workers. 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 pagtaas ng presyo. They upgraded our credit because while the reserves of our peers have shrunk this past year, ours reserves grew by $3 billion.

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 stimulus package.

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

That he sought us out 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 or prejudice—and first and always how to protect lives.

We will 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 to 2001, when some of my current critics were driven out by people power. Asia was surging but our country was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Since then, our economy 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 mga nagsasabing mahirap sila sa 47% mula 59%. Maski lumaki ang ating populasyon, nabawasan ng dalawang milyon ang bilang ng mahihirap. GNP per capita rose from a Third World $967 to $2,000. Lumikha tayo ng walong milyong trabaho, an average of a million a year, much, much more than at any other time.

In sum: 1. We have a strong economy and a strong fiscal position to withstand global shocks.

2. We built new modern infrastructure and completed unfinished ones.

3. The economy is more fair to the poor than ever before.

4. We are building a sound base for the next generation.

5. 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 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 na 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 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 pa ba kailangang mag-laban ang kapwa Pilipino tungkol sa mga isyu na alam naman nating lahat na di malulutas sa dahas, at mareresolba lang 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 ang ating mga mamamayan kontra sa krimen’ — in their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their communities.. How shall crime be fought? With the five pillars of justice, including crime fighters. 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 seeds of fundamental political reform are planted, 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. 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 we 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. She must work with the problem as much as against it, turn it into a solution if she 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:

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 when 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 position for personal profit. Many who accuse me 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.###

–ANY COMMENTS???–