PNoy vows New Graft-free Chapter in Philippine History

June 13, 2011

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino yesterday declared a new chapter in the country's history and renewed his administration's commitment to honest and transparent leadership as the Philippines celebrated its 113th Independence Day.

During the celebrations in Kawit, Cavite, Aquino spoke of a Philippines free of corruption and poverty and where equality, freedom and dignity of the people reign supreme.

"Sa ngalan ng buong Pilipinas, ipinahahayag ko ang pagbubukas ng isang bagong yugto sa ating kasaysayan kung saan ang bawat Pilipino ay mapipitas ang bunga ng kanyang pinaghirapan, kung saan ang batas ay ipatutupad ng patas sa mahirap man o sa mayaman, kung saan maaaring panghawakan ng lahat ang sarili nilang kapalaran, kung saan ang kalayaan ay may katuwang na karangalan (On behalf of all Filipinos, I declare the start of a new chapter in our history where each Filipino will reap the fruits of his labor, where the law is fairly implemented, where everyone can be the master of his destiny and where freedom comes hand in hand with dignity)," he said.

"Ito ang malayang Pilipinas, tayo ang malayang Pilipino, hiwalay at kalag na kalag sa kambal na salot ng korapsyon at kahirapan... sumasalubong sa kinabukasan ng taas noo at puno ng kagalakan (This is the free Philippines, we are the free Filipinos, free from the clutches of corruption of poverty and looking forward to the future with our head held high and with much excitement)," he added.

He stressed the need to eradicate corruption in government to end the country's poverty problem.

He said his administration will not tolerate officials who extort money from private entities transacting with the government.

Aquino said he wants a level playing field for everybody, particularly in the business industry, where private companies no longer need to bribe officials for a favorable contract.

He added that the country should regain the confidence of investors, that they will not be the milking cows of corrupt government officials.

Among government contracts, including foreign-funded ones, that have been found to have been bloated due to intense lobbying were the Northrail project and the bungled $329-million NBN/ZTE broadband deal, among others.

Significant achievements

The Chief Executive likewise enumerated the significant achievements his nearly one-year-old administration has made against endemic corruption.

He cited the enactment into law of the Government Owned and Controlled Corporation Governance Act that standardized the hefty and unreasonable perks of GOCC officials, the "pocket open skies policy" allowing foreign airlines to come in, and the postponement of the Aug. 8 ARMM polls.

He reiterated that what is far more important for him is the interest of the public, and not his image, and invoked his oft-repeated line: freedom from hunger should be the foremost freedom of all.

The President also said the government has been focused on reforming the bureaucracy and on other measures aimed at ensuring the delivery of quality service to the Filipino people.

Aquino - a 51-year-old bachelor - said it no longer matters to him if he gets flak for courting women, for buying a P4.5-million secondhand white Porsche out of his own pocket and for singing out of tune.

The President led the flag-raising ceremonies at the balcony of the Aguinaldo Shrine where the national anthem was first played on June 12, 1898.

He also led the wreath-laying ceremonies at the tomb of General Emilio Aguinaldo.

Vin d' honneur

During the traditional vin d' honneur with the diplomatic corps, which was attended by former presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada, Aquino made the same pitch, where he offered a toast for more good things to come in his administration.

"One hundred thirteen (113) years ago, we declared our independence on this day; and between then and today, we have lost our freedom and have won it back many times. So you can imagine how much it means to our people to be free - for our country to be a beacon of democracy on this side of the world. And it comes as no surprise that, moving forward, this freedom is what we have chosen to define ourselves by," he said.

"So I would also like for all of us to look toward the future. The best way to pay our respects to the heroes who sacrificed for us is to put in the same amount of effort they did to making our country a better place - to building a nation truly free and committed to inclusive and equitable progress, borne of compassion and integrity," Aquino added.

Social reformation

In Malolos City, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. called for collective heroism among Filipinos for the country to achieve progress, noting that it is lagging behind neighboring countries in terms of economic development.

He also called for social reformation, saying " we have to break the chains of sloth."

"We are being called upon not to bear arms or depose dictators; but each citizen is being challenged to be productive, actively fight against corruption, and demand equal justice for all," Belmonte said in his speech during Independence Day celebrations at the historic Barasoain Church where he served as guest of honor.

"We must have the courage initiate radical changes and meaningful reforms, but we know that meaningful reform starts from within," he said.

The Speaker said that the House of Representatives is doing its part to propel the country to progress through the enactment of laws that encourage more investors. – With Dino Balabo


SOURCE : http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=695660&publicationSubCategoryId=63

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