In the Japanese martial art of Jujitsu one gains victory not by superior strength, but by using the force of one’s opponent against him. This is what the leader of the “friendly” opposition Vice President Jojo Binay did to the administration in the 2013 senatorial elections.
Having defeated President Aquino’s heir apparent Secretary Mar Roxas in the 2010 vice presidential derby, Binay’s unrivalled popularity while in office and his links to two of the most revered names in Philippine politics (Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and ex-president Joseph Estrada) made “winnability” foremost in Team PNoy’s mind in considering candidates for its 2013 senate slate.
Having experienced the “tyranny of numbers” in the lead up to the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona and in the subsequent push to have a number of its reform measures passed, the administration was not going to risk losing a majority of senate seats this time around. This caused the administration to take a “win at all costs” approach.
After framing the contest between Messrs Aquino and Villar back in 2010 as one of “light v darkness”, the Villar’s were all of a sudden admitted among the “chosen ones” who would travel down the “Righteous Path” alongside the president. Not to worry, the administration said, since such a coalition was based on platforms, not personalities. Except that they avoided at every turn to define what that platform was.
When asked to identify the top 5 legislative proposals Team PNoy would push for if elected, its spokesman, Rep Miro Quimbo could only identify 4. “Let me get back to you on that” was his candid response. Unfortunately even the priorities he outlined didn’t figure in any formal policy document or in most of the endorsed candidates’ platforms.
When asked why there was no shared policy platform across Team PNoy, the undersecretary for strategy and communications, Manolo Quezon replied that midterms weren’t about policies but a referendum on the president. You either believe in him and his “chosen ones” or you don’t. So there you have it. The election was framed as a clash of personalities and their proxies, not as a contest of ideas, policies and visions for the country. Here’s what he said…
@thecusponline But I am not so sure if a policy-driven approach is fully compatible with human behavior.
Consequently, the voters simply did what they have always done when faced with no real alternatives but the same old dynasties and incumbents: they went with those that connected with them on a deep emotional level, those with whom they felt a sense of shared destiny.
Due to the economic make-up of our electorate, that meant electing Nancy Binay even if she had no prior experience working in an official capacity in government. It also meant catapulting Grace Poe to pole position based on the memory of her deceased father and the playful use of her surname as an expression of respect.
The candidates were allowed to promise the sun, moon and stars all the while pandering to the emotional pleasure zones of the electorate without the voice of reason being given an honest hearing. Social media was co-opted to suit the candidates’ purposes. There was no one calling them out on the false hopes and expectations that they were building.
Finally, in assessing the aftermath of Election 2013, what we will find is that although Team PNoy garnered a clear majority of seats that were up for grabs, it comes out the weaker party.
Sure, it now can boast of having a majority in both chambers of congress, but the political calculus facing its adherents will be daunting. Will they really pursue the tough and unpopular reforms that are needed to bring the country forward, especially now that the electoral bankability of the BInay dynasty remains utterly unassailable?
Secondly, the president does not have a clear, viable heir-apparent to challenge the Jojo Binay-Jinggoy Estrada machinery and name recall in 2016. Secretary Mar Roxas has not accepted his party’s draft to run perhaps due to his failure to define a narrative for his candidacy.
Only one of the Liberal Party’s three senatorial candidates is likely to win in this election, in large part due to the fact that he shares the same name as the president. Bam Aquino will be too young to contest the presidential elections in 2016 being a year shy of the minimum age requirement, repeating the fate of his late-uncle.
So that leaves the administration with a mere three years to cement its legacy before handing over the reins to its successor who is likely to come from the opposition. For failing to define its agenda and properly vet its allies prior to the elections, the administration now suffers the problem of having no clear mandate to implement whatever reforms it outlines afterwards.
The same thing happened following the 1986 people power uprising. Rather than develop a new breed of politicos based on principles and a common reform agenda, the revolutionary government of Cory Aquino accommodated and resuscitated the clans who ruled the country in the pre-Martial Law era allowing the children of its revolution to die in the ditches defending their cause.
Joseph Estrada once said that her government’s biggest mistake was letting guys like him back in (clever guy he truly is!). Only those like Jejomar Binay who were willing to “play by the rules” of the jungle survived.
Instead of taking the hard, difficult path of building a constituency for reform through principled, policy-driven politics and developing a new breed of politicians from inside its base, the second Aquino administration opted to go down the quick and easy path to success, just like the first.
For those that thought 2010 marked the beginning of an era of new politics, think again. The years 2010-16 might simply be an interlude, a case of trapo interrupted, where the country enjoyed a momentary respite from the worst forms of populist, predatory politics at the top, before old habits kicked in once again.
While his assassination, questions about which remain open to this day, has transformed him into a martyr of democracy, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., the scion of a prominent clan in Tarlac, was by no means the passive or peaceable figure that the idea of martyrdom tends to conjure up—he was very much the opposite, in fact. As Cory, his own wife, once wryly remarked: “I know he’d die if we led a quiet life.” When he first entered public life as an assistant to President Ramon Magsaysay, he was, as he recounted to National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, a “siga-siga“: cocky and tough, believing that offense was the best defense.
Such an attitude would serve him well as he rode his vaulting ambition all the way to the Senate, where he occupied a seat that was initially perilous. On account of his youth—at the time that the 1967 elections were held, he was 17 days short of 35 years, the minimum required age for a Senator—a protest was lodged with the Senate Electoral Tribunal in order to remove him from office. The tribunal eventually decided that the proper reckoning of age ought to begin on the day that the “the expression of the popular will” was ascertained—that is, the day that the final poll results were announced—and allowed him to keep his post. Long before the ruling was handed down, however, Ninoy had already formulated a strategy: attack President Ferdinand Marcos. “If I kept hitting at Marcos, any effort to get me kicked out of the Senate would become political persecution, pure and simple,” he said.
If his fire and his capacity for calculation did not especially distinguish him from his foe—his similarity to Marcos has been remarked on more than once—Ninoy did tread a different path, fighting to make known to the world the excesses of the chief executive from the halls of the Senate, from behind bars, and from the United States, where he lived with his family for three years in self-exile. (Notwithstanding his flamboyance and bombast, he could be eerily prescient: his first speech as Senator, for instance, raised the alarm about the creeping development of a militarized state, five years before Marcos issued the infamous proclamation that placed the entire country under martial law and ushered in the so-called New Society.) And in spite of the very real risks that awaited him at home—no less than the First Lady had warned him against returning to the Philippines—he came back anyway, setting into motion the events that would topple a repressive regime and restore to his people the freedom to dictate their national destiny.
Nearly three decades after he was gunned down as he was being escorted by a contingent of soldiers from his airplane to a van that was supposed to take him to jail, what do we know or recall about Ninoy, whose death anniversary we commemorate on this day? Apart from his smiling visage printed on the 500-peso bill, the yellow-beribboned annual reprieve from the daily grind mandated in his honor since 2004, or the notoriously inefficient international airport that bears his name, what of this man have we managed to hold on to as we move through and make our history?
Very little, one suspects, but then, 29 years is about the span of a generation, and so the gap should probably not be surprising. It is unfortunate, though, that a good number of the people who are routinely credited in our history books with having played significant roles in the formation of the Philippines appear fated to serve no greater purpose than to allow teachers to burden their students with information that is only relevant and actionable within the configuration of space and time defined by the next bit of homework, pop quiz, or periodical exam.
This is not in any way to suggest, of course, that we should pay Ninoy obsequious homage and lavish upon him florid platitudes—however ubiquitous these gestures may become today, they are detrimental to sober and thoughtful reflection. It may be sufficient to remind ourselves on this day that we are the legatees of his sacrifice, and that we must prove ourselves equal to the responsibility of making sure that he was right: that the Filipino was, and is, worth dying for.
An article posted on the World Records Academy website said that the giant photo mosaic, measuring 250 feet by 200 feet, made up of more than 3,000 photos of the late President Cory Aquino, by Revoli S. Cortes, nabs new world record for the Largest Photo Mosaic. Read more
Aquino all set for international ‘debut’
BY REGINA BENGCO Malaya
PRESIDENT Aquino will make his international debut on Friday in New York at the US-Asean Leaders’ Meeting and the UN General Assembly.
The US-Asean Leaders’ Meeting is expected to result in the creation of an Asean-US Eminent Persons Group that will recommend the forging of a strategic partnership between Asean and the United States in the fields of political security, and economic and socio-cultural cooperation.
On Thursday (Manila time), Aquino received the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal, the highest honor conferred by the College of Mount Saint Vincent, the alma mater of his late mother, former president Corazon Aquino.
The award is named after the native New Yorker, saint and founder of the Sisters of Charity, Elizabeth Ann Seton, and is given to those with outstanding achievements, generosity of spirit and extraordinary self-sacrifice. President Corazon Aquino received the same award.
Aquino said he is a “living testimony to People Power: the redemptive power of prayer” that “toppled the dictatorship, frustrated those who would try to revive its ways, sustained democracy and now, serves as the bones and sinews of our great mandate for reform.”
He said Filipinos are now “working mightily to free themselves from slavery and poverty.” He said he is praying that Filipinos will remain free and prosperous long after his term.
At the US-Asean Leaders’ Meeting, one issue expected to be discussed is Asean’s dispute with China on some islands in the South China Sea. China has opposed the US’ intervention in the Spratlys dispute.
The Spratly islands are being claimed wholly or in part by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia.
US President Barack Obama, President Aquino and Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet are expected to hold a press conference after the meeting.
Vietnam chairs the Asean for this year while the Philippines is the coordinator of the US-Asean Leaders Meeting.
Aquino will also meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and address the United Nations General Assembly.
At the UNGA, Aquino is expected to call for international cooperation in addressing global issues. He will also discuss the Philippines’ commitment to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals and reiterate the Philippines’ support for UN peacekeeping mission.
Aquino on Thursday (Manila time) met with officials of the Synergos Institute and key civil society leaders from around the world to exchange ideas on active citizenship and participatory governance, as well as the possibility of pursuing a tripartite partnership with government.
He also met with officials of the AES Corp. to discuss the possible expansion of the Masinloc power plant in Zambales.
He received World Bank president Robert Zoellick and discussed how the WB could help develop crucial sectors of the economy and Mindanao.
Aquino also talked business and trade opportunities with the RP-US Business Council during a dinner at the Benihana restaurant in New York City.
Aquino also had a separate meeting with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in New York (Wednesday in Manila) to get some insights on foreign relations.
Aquino said Kissinger’s expertise in foreign relations is something that he cannot ignore. Kissinger is a political scientist who advised US Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F.Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.
He said Kissinger, a Harvard professor of government and foreign policy adviser for the Nixon and Ford administrations, could help guide his fledgling administration in its international relations.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, meanwhile, justified the governments hiring of a PR firm to “sell” the country. He said the firm Creab Gavin Anderson was paid $15,000 to help project a favorable image for the country in the foreign business media.
MANILA, Philippines — A survivor of many political wars is keeping his grip on the Senate presidency, after all.
Earlier thought to be on his way out, reelected Senator Juan Ponce Enrile clinched the Senate leadership Sunday night by obtaining the support of 21 senators — a powerful majority in the 23-member upper chamber of Congress.
Senators said the 86-year-old lawmaker from Cagayan was assured of his continued hold on his position following a series of meetings and sudden developments during the weekend.
The most dramatic was Sunday’s last-minute announcement by Senator Francis Pangilinan, the erstwhile candidate of Malacañang, that he was withdrawing from the Senate presidential race in order to unify the chamber.
“It’s a truly united Senate,” Senator Edgardo Angara told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, saying that all blocs in the chamber have come together to support Enrile as their chief.
It was the second time in the Senate’s recent history that all parties and blocs have backed a common leader, Angara said.
Curiously, both cases involved Enrile and both happened while an Aquino was at the country’s helm — the first during the presidency of the late Corazon Aquino and now, during the rule of her son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
“In the first Aquino administration, it was Senator Enrile who was the lone minority member in the Senate. Now under the second Aquino administration, he is the head of the unity Senate,” Angara said.
“He [Enrile] has come full circle,” he added.
In a phone interview, Angara credited the sudden turn of events to efforts of the Liberal Party (LP), Nacionalista Party (NP) of Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., and other blocs — including Angara’s — to come together and agree on a Senate President by the time the 15th Congress opens this Monday.
Since late last week, Pangilinan had been the frontrunner in the fight for the Senate leadership.
Enrile of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino only loomed as an alternative candidate after the NP and LP candidates failed to get the 13 votes needed to win the Senate presidency.
“Since neither side [Villar and Pangilinan] were able to make it, we agreed with Villar and the others that we need to elect one because it would be embarrassing for the Senate if we can’t rule even ourselves,” Angara said.
All different blocs “contributed” to the unity of the Senate, according to Angara.
He said Enrile was “the best option” because neither Pangilinan nor Villar was able to secure the 13 votes.
Angara said Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada would remain as Senate President pro tempore, while Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto would be the majority leader.
But with a unified Senate behind Enrile, Angara conceded that the question of who would be the minority leader was up in the air.
“We don’t know yet who would want to stand on the opposite aisle,” he said.
The Senate has 23 members with Aquino’s rise to the presidency. Only 21 of them can vote in Monday’s Senate presidency election.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV remains detained while Senator Panfilo Lacson has yet to surface after he left the country six months ago while facing charges for the double murder of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Dacer’s driver.
Estrada, like Enrile, committed to support Pangilinan but Estrada made it clear to the LP senator that he would only support him if Enrile did not make a bid for the Senate leadership.
Pangilinan lost support for his bid after party and administration allies late last week confronted him on whether he could secure the necessary numbers and later pushed Enrile to go for the presidency himself.
Enrile had said he would do so if the senators would be able to get him the numbers.
In a statement on Sunday, Pangilinan said he gave up his bid for the top Senate post because he “realized there are political realities and developments that prevent us from securing the needed 13 votes resulting in a deadlock or stalemate.”
“Much as I would like to go down fighting, I realize that to continue with my bid would keep the Senate fragmented and disunited. The disunity must now end. I believe I can help make it happen by voluntarily stepping aside,” he said.
“It has been a very difficult experience for me and my family, but if I had to do this all over again for the cause of genuine change and reforms for our nation, I would. I would like to thank our people for their prayers and support. We fought a good fight,” Pangilinan said.
Senators were meeting on Sunday to deal with the committee chairmanships. There are 27 chairmanships up for grabs.
Drilon and Estrada said they did not think Enrile’s leadership in the Senate would be a problem for President Aquino.
Drilon said that Enrile from the very start had supported Pangilinan’s bid until the latter was unable to get the needed votes.
Likewise, he said Enrile would support the administration’s legislative agenda because not only was the Senate “an institution which will respond to the needs of the country” but one was inclined to support a “popular” President such as Mr. Aquino.
Estrada agreed that Enrile would not be a problem for Mr. Aquino since the two men were very much in good terms in the Senate before.
Malacañang said on Sunday it still expected to deal with a Senate “friendly” to President Aquino despite the withdrawal of Pangilinan from the Senate presidential fight.
“We look forward to working and cooperating with a friendly Senate,” the President’s spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda, said. “It’s important that we have a friendly Senate [for] our legislative agenda.”
Lacierda said that in hoping for a friendly Senate, Malacañang was not fearing that the senators might scrutinize the Aquino administration for possible corruption.
“The Aquino administration has promised not to engage in any corrupt practices that’s why we are not afraid of that,” he said. “What we are more concerned of really is the legislative agenda the President has in mind, which will require cooperation from the Senate.”
Question: In governing you will need the cooperation of Congress, what’s your strategy for getting their cooperation particularly in a situation where you do not control either or both of the houses?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Well sir I think you will agree with me that the tradition for the past congresses has been that the dominant party becomes the party to which the President belongs to. If I’m elected president, we already have our Liberal Party, we have our allies in other aggregations and party-list groups but more importantly, the vast majority will always want to be siding with the administration, whoever it is, so cooperation with congress doesn’t seem to be a problem at this point in time as we foresee.
Question: South Africa, after apartheid, formed a Truth Commission. De Klerk, Mandela, wound up winning the Nobel Prize. In South Korea, a similar search for the truth landed … in jail. Given the sustained unpopularity and perceived excesses of the present leadership, will there be priority given by your administration if you win, to ferret out truths about the GMA years? You talk about Garcillano, you talk about Pidal, Peter Wallace and his Wallace 11, ZTE and the like of transactions. What is your administration going to do in this regard?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: The job of the Chief Executive is to enforce all of the laws; recovery of ill-gotten wealth, if it exists, is not a proscribed activity, meaning there are no time limits to it but it has to be a priority. I’ve already made a public statement that I want closure on all of these issues if elected president. That means that one of the four platforms, the top four in the agenda is judicial reform. There has to be certainty of conviction and punishment if you do commit crimes in this country.
A sad fact is that all of the cases that are filed by the prosecutors, only about 18% wind up as convictions. As you know our system says that a prosecutor, before he introduces a case, should be convinced about the validity of the case, the preponderance of evidence at present. But after having undergone that process, it only results in 18% and those are official statistics. 33% are dismissed; we lose all of these cases. Therefore, adherence to the rule of law seems to be honored more in the breach. Now so, in direct answer to your question, there have never been answers to all of the issues that you have mentioned, be it Hello Garci, be it ZTE. For instance in ZTE, there was a board meeting by the NEDA, there were clear-cut instructions on sovereign guarantees on a BOT basis. This was reversed. Those were orders of the head of NEDA and also who happens concurrently to be the head of republic. Who can supersede the orders of the president of this republic? That has to be settled. What are the loopholes that were exploited so that the NBN-ZTE deal almost became the nightmare? But fortunately the people rose up to oppose.
Again, let me reiterate, it will be one of the priorities that will happen within the first 6 months; I guess within the first month we will already be tackling all of these issues under the Department of Justice and to ferret out and move the investigation, and if so warranted, to file the necessary charges.
Question: Will you or will you not form a Truth Commission?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: In the Truth Commission, was something I’ve always been studying ever since I became a congressman the first time in 1998. I thought that the model and the idea of closure for a lot of things. One question that I wasn’t able to answer then was, as you know, in South Africa, a necessary component of availing of the privileges was to reveal everything you knew about crimes that you had committed during the apartheid regime, by both sides, which included very vivid descriptions of various tortures employed. I was asking myself, in the Philippine context, if a father were to revisit a crime committed to a child, who was tortured by government forces in the martial law years, will that not in turn, foster a new cycle of violence? I’ve never really been able to answer that question. But in terms of reviewing this past decade and the lost opportunities in what are the systemic loopholes that were exploited that got us to this point, yes, but in terms of filing charges against those who are guilty of committing crimes that I think should be left to the Department of Justice, in the very capable hands of a very active and proactive Secretary of Justice, who I will not name at this point in time lest he be persecuted for that.
Question: Over the last decade or so the Philippine economy has not done well in manufacturing, it has not come out competitive in the world, and agriculture has not developed as you mentioned the way it should, and the country has moved more and more toward being a service industry, very successfully in some cases, call centers, BPO, tourism beginning to pick up, this is an area which I think there is a great potential for the Philippines. But it requires one thing that the two other sectors don’t require, education. And the educational system in the Philippines has deteriorated dramatically and alarmingly. We only have a ten-year primary/secondary school system where everywhere else in the world has 12. as you mentioned only 14% graduate from college level. We don’t have enough classrooms, books full or errors, all the things you know. What specific things will you do to correct the situation? And where and how will you get the funds?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: There are various solutions to the problem, and first of all let me agree with you Mr. Juarez with all the things you’ve said previously. What are solutions? How much will it cost to…there is an estimated twenty to forty thousand classroom need in this country. If our main focus will be to pump prime the economy and generate employment, then we will build the schools.
Our experts tell us within a year, maximum of two years we can complete the twenty to forty thousand, even at the cost of a million per classroom, although at this point in time the average is at about 500,000, and where will we get the money? As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are so much leakages in our revenue collection efforts. The 150 billion, we can allocate a portion of the 150 billion towards meeting at least part of the 40 billion necessary, if pump-priming was the necessary goal.
On the other hand we want a more effective use of the resource, we can contract private schools. I’m made to understand that middle-tier schools have a tuition in the 5,000 to 8,000 bracket. What does that mean? For a class size of 50, that translates into Php400,000 cost per classroom of 50. When we build classrooms, the shell, the basic shell lacking, the chairs, the blackboard, electricity, the books, the teachers, etc., just the basic shell is already on average nation-wide Php500,000. So if we are to send these children, there’s an existing program using a voucher system called “Gasbi.” If we send these children to private schools but in a direct contracting basis so that there are no abuses in the system, we can save about Php100,000 per classroom. That translates into, or we can utilize that resource into supplemental feeding programs, into a better book development program, into a scholarships for college, into scholarships for teachers, benefits, so on and so forth.
So, the plan is, transform it from 10 to 12, there is a bridge program, it’s already in the books, that’s why my theme is always “there are no secrets.” The plan is a good plan, it’s already there, it’s really just a question of implementing the same. Now, I think it is unfair for our students to, to expect rather, our students to be able to absorb 12 years’ worth of education in a 10-year program, further compounded by the desire to be solving the problems by saying we have no more classroom shortages, and this was done basically by shifting. Shifting is making 2 or 3 classes utilize 1 classroom. And I would just like to emphasize because that really angers me every time I think about it. You’re a Grade 1 student, which is the entry level, in our public school system, you have a class supposedly for English, to which Science and Health have been included. So, the child who probably doesn’t understand English, is tasked to understand scientific concepts taught in English and together with health. To further compound it, as if he didn’t have enough problems, he’s given a textbook that has errors known only to the teacher, who is in possession of teacher’s notes. The Grade 1 student, I think no, by the DepEd is expected to be able to discern what is right and what is wrong at Grade 1, in a language he doesn’t understand.
Therefore the investment is a guarantee of problems down the line. People who cannot be employed think, limitations as to what we can do given the talent that is there before us. So we want to get to the 12-year program, we want to have a pre-school level where they are taught or conditioned to be able to study. And of course those textbooks will really have to be corrected and people who accepted the same and contracted for the same should be liable.
Question: Could we encourage Congress to spend its pork barrel on education?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Pork barrel will be limited to national priority programs, and of course one of them will be school-building programs.
Question: Mr. Senator, there are a couple of questions that deal with governance issues, particularly corruption, and I’d like to read them and maybe you can answer them as a whole. How will you handle the Lucio Tan cases of tax evasion and the Marcos wealth? Second, you talk about how different you will be from the present administration, what exactly will you do to make GMA, FG and all pay for their crimes? What will you do with the tong of all congressmen? There’s another one that has to do with encouraging whistle-blowers. So maybe your strategy with dealing with corruption?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Can I start with how do I deal with whistle-blowers? It’s a sad fact no, I learned this close to about 3 decades ago, if you catch somebody smuggling, you’re supposed to entitled to, I’m talking about at this point in time, to a reward of 20% when you give information to catch the smugglers. If you facilitate smuggling, I was told by my informants, you get a 10% fee. So I asked this person, why will you participate in something illegal to get 10% when you can go legal? And point the authorities towards the commission of this crime and get a double reward? And the simple answer was: the 10% is kaliwaan, I get it right away, the 20% I will get when I retire and probably 5 years after that. The explanation is you go through so many processes, the seizing, the goods, for instance, of smuggling, the appeals process, auctioning, etc., I don’t think it’s that difficult point for government to advance this reward system to make it an effective reward system, point one.
Point 2, as I keep saying, the judicial reform is so essential. We cannot have a situation where a criminal is not deterred from committing a crime basically because even if he gets to trial, he doesn’t even have a 1 in 5 chance of being convicted. It seems you are the most unlucky individual to be convicted in this country. Now we have so many leads with regards to the first family, statements of assets and liabilities are there, there are dramatic changes in the statements of various members, and obviously, there are various provisions already with our laws, unexplained wealth, is presumed to be ill-gotten. And in that situation, they are tasked to answer for that.
And at the same time, my father was a very…one of my father’s most important advocacies was human rights. Therefore I will ensure that their rights are also protected. Because again, from my father, the true test of a democracy is not your ability to defend the rights of your friends, but more importantly those of your enemies. Because if you allow one group to be oppressed, you are setting up the situation for your group to be oppressed at some point in time. So they will be afforded all of the rights, they will be given all of the opportunities to answer the charges, and like any other citizen, they will be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
Now with regards to the Marcos and Lucio Tan cases, and these are subjudice, I will be entering the situation, what, at the second or third decade of litigation? One would hope that there is closure to all, even to those issues. When you go into this country, you can expect adjudication of cases to happen in a timely manner. One of the sad facts, and that’s why judicial reform, again, our stake, has to be improved, is that on average we understand that it takes 6 years to adjudicate a case. Again, it leads to, a condition where it moves everybody not to follow the laws, and that has to stop.
Question: 2 quick questions, Senator. the heart of the Cory Constitution is social justice. The phrase is not anywhere in your platform, as advertised. What are the specifics of your social justice program? And related, that is the question of what will you do June 30, 2010, we do not have a president or vice president who can be proclaimed and we wake up on July 1, 2010, GMA is still the ruler of this country in one form or another?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: I take exception to the fact that social justice is not in the platform, it is actually embodied in practically all of the 16 points of the platform that we have published on the site. For instance, we want to have the provision of opportunities for everybody to improve themselves, that’s why job generation is first in the list of priorities. What does that mean? I think a father wants best, provide me the job and I’ll take care of my children’s education and health. Education is the second factor, again empowerment, again, opportunities. If you are not educated enough, there are you know, what jobs actually can, what skills do you have, and what jobs can you acquire? Therefore, to have meaningful job generation, the educational support should be there, hence our drive for the 12-year program and even the inclusion of a nursery stage prior to the formal education program.
The ecology, the platform on ecology is very, very simple. We want to translate it so that there’s no confusion among anyone. If there are no forests, there are no watersheds. No watersheds, no water. No water, no food, no food, no people. Are you aware that we have an 8% remaining primary forest cover? But what is more criminal, is up to today, we have not delineated the forestry lines. So when you talk about preserving forests, you don’t even define what the forests is obviously, we are not preserving anything, and that is there also. I’m sorry, I’m missing the second question.
Question: The second questions asks what you will do come June 30, 2010 when we have no elected president and vice president…
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Number one, the laws on succession are very clear. But can I just tell you, instead of telling all of you our plans, people, let’s not be naive, no? There are talks that certain quarters want to exploit that situation. There are talks of failure of elections or non-proclamation, no-el, so on and so forth. Now, does it behoove me to reveal publicly the plans that we are contemplating at this point in time, and to make our job of preserving this democracy harder by telling our enemies precisely what we will do. I think I will leave my plans close guarded at this point in time and we assure you we are not babes in the woods, and we are ready, as much as possible, we are getting all the necessary info, intelligence and alliances in place, to forestall the grabbing of power by people with purely vested self-interest.
Can I just add, sorry, this has to be really laid in the minds of everybody. We in the Liberal Party say that we are espousing platform-based, issue-based politics. And I am very, very confident that even if I were not in the seat, this occupation is fraught with dangers. I have in the person of my partner, Mar Roxas, somebody who is exactly of like mind, somebody who will pick up if I am unable to finish the job. Therefore, we can assure everybody that will join us, there is a continuity of expectations that are realistic. This is not person-based.
Question: That highlights a weakness in the political system in the Philippines. When we elect you, we don’t automatically elect Sen. Roxas because you’re voted for independently—so it has to be as a team. In the papers recently there was a two-page ad put in by the government claiming all kinds of things: that this president has achieved. It has numerous faults in it. One of the things is that they are very proud of the fact that this economy had been stimulated and helped by the OFWs and their remittances to the Philippines. Those OFWs are Filipinos who have had to leave their families. So society has been hurt badly by it. It’s in fact an economic failure. A failure of government to provide the jobs that they should have had here. What would you do to reverse the situation, to be able to provide the jobs here for Filipinos instead of overseas?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino:: Well, number one, I think I will be lying if I told you that we will have comparable jobs within six years. That I think is an impossibility. But there is I think an obtainable objective of having compensation for people who have skills that have been improved. We can get it to a certain level whereby the increase in wages—although not the same as working abroad—together with the family being in tact, and together with the idea of being a first-class citizen in your own country will be enough to win people away from seeking the greener pasture elsewhere. We believe that the people who have left and who are opting to leave, primarily have no choice. They are political refugees, they are being forced, not for improvement—where it was 20 years ago—but rather even just for survival. And again you’re right. The opportunities have to exist here. Now, when I go around the country, when I go around Metro Manila, the opportunities are so abundant, and all it takes is to do the right thing. For instance, in Surigao City, the table you’re using right now was about the length of this fish—I don’t know what breed of fish that was. But that particular stall in the public market in Surigao City had three of it. The next stall had five of the same size. And the Media asked me in that point in time—this was the senatorial campaign—”Can you raise it up for a photo op?” And of course I’m very macho, and I proceeded to raise it by the head. And the only thing I raised was the head. It was that heavy. And I was saying: “How much would it cost to set up a blast freezing facility here? How much would it cost to turn these things into steaks, train the people to marinate it into that, and export it to countries like Japan or elsewhere, where they’d be thanking us for sharing the bounty … ” Mar Roxas’s home province of Capiz, you go to the beach at low tide, you have a rake, you rake the sand, you get clams. In Metro Manila you get [the fry] of the clams. Why can’t we even get it from Capiz to Metro Manila?
I’m sorry, sometimes I can’t stop, because really, the absurdity, the simplicity of the solutions that are not being implemented really gets to me. The fertilizer scam: The greatest sin is 723 million pesos at least could have started a chain of improving productivity. And for those of you who are not aware, when you plant rice in irrigated lands—and that was the hybrid rice program, that was the fertilizer input program —you can double to quadruple your income for our farmers, especially if it’s irrigated. You can have five harvests in two years. But this current government made the program in 2004 and really turned it into a disaster. We had ten cropping cycles that we lost an opportunity in. But the biggest sin is that even in investigating this alleged crime took four years. That’s why I said ten harvests were lost. So, again, from Masagana ’99 we had a hundred kabans per hectare. Commercially we are already now growing 240 to 320 kabans per hectare. I am told, but I’m still validating this, that UPLB and IRRI are even working further than that. And again: a true fertilizer input program, adequate monitoring, serious credit facilities, can undoubtedly at least make us self-sufficient in rice. We teach agriculturists worldwide. At the end of the day, we import food. That has to stop also.
Question: I think you will welcome this next question. It says: do you already have enough money for the campaign?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: I will be lying if I tell you we have enough money. But, there is adequate … but of course, it makes the process that much simpler. Can I just share with you this bit of information that was given to me yesterday? I understand there was a tsinoy who went to our headquarters in EDSA the other day. He proceeds to donate a certain amount of money, I was not told how much, but he had a simple request. I’ll say it Tagalog cause it really was… I really made my day that day. He said: “Ito yung pera, bumili kayo ng commercial niyo. Naiinis na ko dito sa isang ‘to.” That by the way is not a joke. It really did happen. At some point in time we will have to report that contribution to Comelec. We’ll have all the details then. But it really made my day.
Question: Two quick questions again, Mr Senator. What will be the roles of your sister Kris and your uncle Peping if you become president? Can you give us a specifically categorical answer on your stand on the Reproductive Health Bill?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Kris I think will still be my fashion adviser, which means if she does not like what I’m wearing, she will not keep quiet. I think she even had this barong made. So if she complains I’ll tell her you’re the one who designed it. And that will be the extent. Most of my sisters, and Kris included—Kris is a very busy individual … Anything I ask her, I ask her to attend some ribbon-cutting thing if I become president, that will be an imposition on her time. The three are eagerly looking forward to regaining their anonymity. In fact I’m not even sure if I celebrate my birthday, in the period of incumbency, that they will be present, since it will be a Media event. The role of my Tito Peping: I would be foolish not to seek his wisdom, because of his experience; but at the same time, I will be the one holding the fort. The buck really has to stop with me. I am responsible ultimately for all my actions. Therefore any or all of my decisions will be based on discussion with all the stakeholders as much as possible, but in the end of the day it will be something I can live with in conscience, in what I believe is right regardless on who propounded it.
On reproductive health: Of course, somehow, the secretariat at the senate made it appear that I was an author of the Reproductive Heath Bill. Unfortunately I never authored such a bill. And I intend to interpolate the proposed version before us. The portion that I want to interpolate on is: In government when you have a budget, you don’t use it, you lose it. And there will be provisions of the reproductive health for artificial means of family control. And I want provisions that will ensure that if government hospitals—by cunning, by deceit, by misinformation, etc, are able to expend these budgetary items so that they are replenished, then there’d be penal sanctions for the same.
My position is more properly called Responsible Parenthood; and basically it says, “The state has an obligation to remind parents each child you bring into this world carries with it a certain set of responsibilities: to clothe, to shelter, to educate, etc. That is the extent of what the state should do. So there will be educational programs, campaigns, seminars, symposia, to which we will invite all of the churches to put in their two-cents worth. At the end of the day, the state, in preserving the family, mandated by the constitution has to remind everybody that they will and that they should have these set of responsibilities. The state cannot force as to size, the state cannot force as to method. Now, in fact we will oppose any attempt to do so, because a democratic state has to proceed from individual freedoms.
Question: President Arroyo has intervened in a number of industries: power, oil, cement, pharmaceuticals, food—particularly, sensitively, rice. In state of belief, it was necessary to give people relief from otherwise excessive prices. What would be your policy and action?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Mrs Arroyo when she was my professor said that there should be minimal government intervention (Questioner: “She’s got a poor memory …”), because distortions are created in the marketplace. But then again, given that … you know, it proceeds from a governance of survival there’s no logic used except “will it help me retain power or not?” Therefore every decision is faulted from the onset because of that perception. We are hoping that we will get our mandate clear: clear and clearly won, therefore we will have the confidence to embark and ask our people. At this point in time we will have to sacrifice by X amount to get to this level. We want to be transparent in all of the dealings. At the end of the day I assume, god willing we have an intervention for instance in agriculture. You had that 723 million debt really bought fertilizers that were correct. That were delivered at a timely manner at an appropriate price. And perhaps even the, as I mentioned, the purchasing aspect of it be reformed. Things will work out on themselves because we made the right decisions on every aspect. When I pass EDSA, and I guess everybody who passes … can I just a question? When was the last time you remember EDSA as being a smoothly paved road? And this is the premiere road of our National Capital Region. I think most of you will say Highway 54, those who are honest. But when we export our construction companies, our engineers, our designers elsewhere, hindi ba world class? How many of you are aware that in this recent tragedy in Haiti, there were so many Filipinos in a professional basis. And I was surprised that even in Bermuda, the same situation holds: Accountants, lawyers, etc. I always assumed that Bermuda, beneficiary of the British Civil Service System, would have a very efficient bureaucracy, and an efficient professional corps. But it turns out it is again it’s again another area for Filipino expertise to shine. So again, they can do it there, undoubtably they can do it better here, so long as the milieu is present that opportunities for everybody are extant. Nobody is excluded, hence our phrase is “Walang iwanan at walang maiiwan.”
Question: I was told that we have to wind this up after two final questions, that I’d like to read. One is: “How will you handle the issue of pagbabago the Filipino people dreamt and longed for” and “as a transformational president, what key qualities would you bring to this task?”
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Well, number one, you will have to lead by example. I think in fairness to my mother, at the onset of her term she inherited a government that was corrupt top to bottom, for the most part because the top set the example. Something as cop on the street who was being bribed for a minor traffic violation: he used to demand for his bribe. At the onset of my mom’s term, the phrase was, “Teka, hindi ko hinihingi yan a. Binibigay mo yan, pinipilit mo.” There was a recognition that that was wrong. And after that, something as simple as … I complain about traffic, and Mar in I already have an agreement. If we win, and if traffic isn’t solved, we’ll participate in the traffic. We will not ask of anybody that which we are not ready to do ourselves first. Hopefully we will not talk as much, because we are trying to put a spin on something that is indefensible. And siguro the biggest ambition is in the fourth year, it will just be Mar and I talking because everything is working and it’s boring.
Sana po ay hindi na naming kailangan tutukan minut-minuto, dahil nga maayos na ang systema. E ngayon palang ho nagiipon na kami ng mga kwento just in case magkatotoo po yan. Diba? Lahat naman ng magulo sa mundo nating to ay dahil nga yung systema, hinayaan na kung saan interes ng isang tao, isang grupo lang ang importante. Yun ang gusto naming baguhin.
As we commemorate the birth anniversary of our mother, we again feel a sense of emptiness from no longer having her around.
We have gotten so used to the comfort of her presence, especially when situations demand the best of us.
She almost always had a ready answer whenever problems arise. When she didn’t, she would provide wise counsel that always managed to make us feel better.
We looked up to our mother as our leader, especially after my father passed away. She instantly became our source of strength, while becoming the face of fortitude for her countrymen. She later managed to carry through not just her children but an entire nation now freely enjoying benefits of a hard-fought democracy.
It is in these trying times when our fragile democracy hangs in the balance that I feel her absence even more.
What gives me consolation, and courage to overcome the emptiness, is the realization that I am not alone in my grief. There are many others, like you, who felt the loss of a truly phenomenal woman.
When people from all walks of life came in droves at her wake and joined the 9-hour procession from the church to her final resting place, we witnessed a nation that genuinely looked up to her as an inspiration much as we in her family did. People wanted a piece of Cory Aquino, patiently waited in line and braved the elements just to get it, perhaps to remember what her sacrifice truly meant for all of us.
Such a strong commitment to make sacrifices, and willingness to somehow emulate her character, demonstrated a people longing for a semblance of the sincerity that she embodied.
It also showed what we CAN do. The spirit of People Power was reignited in those five days.
Is it possible that what we so admired in Cory Aquino is something that resides in each of us all along?
Imagine a country where each citizen is honest, obeys the law and is never at the mercy of shady law enforcers.
A country where citizens show their trademark bayanihan qualities at all times, not only when disasters strike.
A country whose citizens take care of other citizens, in whatever way possible.
Imagine if we do live up to that ideal that my mother exemplified. Her unique brand of heroism and sacrifice could finally have younger, stronger and more creative versions that could only come from those of us she had left behind.
Only through our participation, and our willingness to live by her example, can we make her legacy meaningful and able to effect the changes we want today.
Sa matinding pagsubok na kasalukuyang hinaharap ng ating lipunan at ng buong sambayanang Pilipino, hindi maaaring ako lamang ang magsisikap na tularan ang mabuting ehemplo ng aking ina.
Perhaps if we try to keep her spirit alive in our own daily struggles, we would realize that she did not really just leave us. She is in our dreams of having a government that works, that makes justice and a decent life accessible to every citizen. She is an inspiration on so many levels.
Working together in fulfilling our own aspirations for our country would be an ideal tribute to the woman who loved her country until the very end.
Anthony Taberna: Senator, isa po sa mga katunggali ninyo ay may commercial na natatandaan na po ng mga bata, eto po at itatanong ko sa inyo, kayo po ba ay nakaligo na sa dagat ng basura?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Hindi pa ho yata.
Anthony Taberna: Nag-pasko na ho ba kayo sa gitna ng kalsada?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Meron din ho yata nun, lalong lalo na po after Malacanang eh’, dipende ho kung saan aabutan. Pero ang nanay ko ho kasi talagang importante iyong Christmas eve na magkakasama kami, nung mag-asawa yung mga kapatid ko hanggang alas-diyes, so kadalasan ho kasama ho yung mga neighbors dun sa Times po.
Anthony Taberna: Naniniwala po ba kayo na para makatulong ang isang kandidato o kaya ay naghahangad maging Pangulo sa mga mahihirap ay kailangan ngang maging mahirap?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Palagay ko ho mas importante naranasan ninyo yung naranasan nila, pag sinasabi sa bansa natin yung mahirap, sinasabi katarungan, hindi nga nabibigyan ng adequate na abogado, hindi nasusulong yung kaso, hindi naipapakita yung kanilang punto. Kami po ay dumaan sa panahon ng martial law, yung nag-accuse po sa tatay ko si Marcos, yung may tangan po dun sa mga opisyales ng militar na humusga sa kanya si Marcos, yung magre-reveal nung kaso si Marcos, eh’ talagang talo pa po yung kangaroo court. Talagang wala ka ng kalaban-laban, marami naman po kaming dinaanan na kami rin po ay naapi, so alam po natin kung ano yung nadarama ng mga naapi, so palagay ko naman ho ayaw nating maulit yung pang-aapi kaya naman tayo ay may supisyenteng eksperyensa na para labanan yung pang-aapi.
Anthony Taberna: Pero yung pong sinasabi nilang kailangan mo munang dumaan sa pagiging gutom para malaman mo kung gaano kahirap ang maging gutom, kailangan mo munang… didiretsuhin ko na po, si Sen. Manny Villar, kailangan daw pong dumaan ka sa pagiging tindero ng hipon sa palengke para po malaman mo kung ano ang nararamdaman ng mga tindero, ganoon po ba yun?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Palagay ko naman ho lahat tayo hindi naka-inom ng lason pero alam natin na nakakamatay ang lason, wala hong may eksperiyensa na ang pag-inom po nung lason ay nabuhay, yun pong sinasabi niyang kuwento. Puwede namang dumaan ka doon mali naman yung leksiyon eh’ di wala rin hong silbi, ang point ko lang ho dito, when you are poor and you have so much of one thing for so many things, yung that is something that, yung people who have been deprived of whatever can also matter, can also be passionate about striving to changes.
Anthony Taberna: Kayo po ay may mga pinapalabas naring mga TV advertisements, magkaano na ho ang inyong ginagastos?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Kailangan ko hong i-check dun sa ating accountant, hindi ho ako binibigyan ng running total, pero malayo ho dun sa mga katunggali natin, siguradong-sigurado po yun.
Anthony Taberna: Kamusta ho ang pagdating ng tulong pinansiyal pagdating po sa politika para sa parating na halalan?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Maganda naman po, lalo na po nag-umpisa kami ng wala dahil hindi naman po ako nag-planong tumakbo, supisyente naman po para mapondohan yung ating mga sorties, yung mga political ads natin at tsaka maitulong dun sa mga volunteers natin.
Anthony Taberna: Magastos po yan ano, ang sabi po doon sa inyong TV ad, hindi po kayo magnanakaw, mayroon po ba kayong pinatatamaan doon?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Mayroon po mga naku-kuwestiyon kung saan nga po napunta yung pondo ano, more than anything nga po ang hina-highlight natin dun, tayo naman po ay nanggaling na ng Malakanyang, tayo naman po ay nanging opisyales sa gobyernong ito hindi naman natin inaabuso yung kapangyarihan na naipag-kaloob sa atin at sa pagkakataon. Noong panahon na ang nanay ko po ang Presidente at ang tawag po sa akin ng mga kabarkada ko ay “tanga”. Nung tinanong ko po paano naging “tanga” dahil naka-deans list naman ho ako kahit papaano, eh’ ang sagot ho eh’, may pagkakataon kaming kumita, tumiba-tiba eh’ hindi raw namin sinamantala kaya raw po kami “tanga’, ganoon na nga lang po eh’ di’ thank you.
Anthony Taberna: Pero dito po sa kasalukuyang bakbakan sa pagka-Pangulo, nung sinabi po ninyong hindi ako magnanakaw, magandang-maganda po ang dating nun, ang kahulugan po ba nito, yung ibang mga kandidato ay maaaring magnakaw o nagnanakaw.
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Tandaan po ninyo ang focus po namin ay ang kasalukuyang pamamahala, balikan po natin yung ZTE, yung ZTE po ayon sa board meeting ng NEDA P5 milyon dapat ang nagastusan dun sa backbone ng ZyberEd. Yun pong tinatawag ni Jun Lozada na “tong-pats” ang tinatantiya ay mga P14 billion, so P5 billion lang talaga yung proyekto yung paghahati-hatian nila P35 billion, hindi ho ba pagnanakaw yun? Yung pagde-deprive ng mga puwedeng naging eskuwelahan, ospital, kalsada, kuryente sa mamamayan. Imbes na kumuha na lamang ng kapiraso ng P5 million, naging importante yung dinagdag na times seven ho bale ang dagdag.
Anthony Taberna: kayo po ay hindi magnanakaw, kami po ay maniniwala doon sa inyong pangako na iyon, pero paano po iyung mga nakapaligid sa inyo?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Kapag yung nasa itaas po ay magli-lead by example, kakabahan naman po maski papaano yung nasa ibaba at mayroon kayong moral superiority para habulin lahat ng hindi susunod. Pero minumungkahi po namin na hindi lamang lalabanan ang korapsiyon, pero bigyan naman natin ng pagkakataon yung matino na manatiling matino, Presidente po ng Republika P50,000 po ang suweldo, gross, ang pinapangasiwaang budget ay P1.5 trillion, baka mayroong matukso ho diyan kapag hindi maisagot ho yung tuition ng anak. Kailangan pong gayahin natin tulad ng Singapore na kung saan mataas-taas yung porsiyento ng private sector counterpart, sa Pilipinas po entry level pantay, pag na-promote na yung private sector ang layo na po ng agwat, so paano kapag ganoon na kataas yung super levy, sa ma mababa, mas mababa po talaga, medaling tuksuhin, kaya kailangan din po nating itaas ang antas na yun para makayanang labanan yung tukso.
Anthony Taberna: Lahat po ng mga kasama ninyo ngayon, mga sumusuporta, mga pulitiko na lumapit po sa inyo at sumakay sa Liberal Party ay dumaan po sa pagsala para matiyak na, oh’ eto ay talagang hindi rin mangnanakaw.
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: As much as possible po, pero pati naman pos a Bibliya ano, si Kristo nagsalita ng “those who have no sin cast the first stone”, sasabihin ko ho ba kami lahat dito ay Santo maski paanong husgahan, baka mayroon din yung may kasalanan, pero ang point ho nun, nanigurado kami na walang major na kasalanan. Wala naman pong perpektong tao.
Anthony Taberna: Nangangamba po ang iba Senator na baka po kayo ay diktahan ng civil society na nag-upo rin noon kay Pangulong Arroyo matapos maalis si Erap pero iniwanan din po lumaon ito pong si Pangulong Arroyo, hindi daw po kaya ganito rin ang sapitin ninyo sa kanilang mga kamay?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Dapat po kasi open, mayroon akong idea, mayroong idea yung aking katunggali na baka pinagsama natin yan mas maganda yung produkto, at same time sa dulo po nito yung Pangulo ang may responsibilidad sa lahat ng desisyon na gagawin niya, so ako naman po kapag naharap ko yung magulang ko masabi ko sa kanilang tama yung ginawa ko, para masabi ko ho yun, hindi ako puwedeng diktahan nino man, pati nanay ko po. With all due respect to my mother may mga panahon na nagtalo din po kami sa ibang desisyon, at one point in time siya ho ay tutol sa death penalty, ako ho ay may pananaw na yung talagang paulit-ulit na heinous crimes ang ginagamit ay may karapatan ang lipunan na proteksiyunan ang sarili niya, later on medyo nag-rethink nitong posisyon na ito, nakita ko yung justice system natin na kung saan yung public attorney’s office sobrang dami ng kasong hinahawakan, hindi nga po nabibigyan ng kaukulang pansin na masinsinan yung mga naaakusahan ng krimen, so hangga’t hindi natin maiaayos yun, masigurado na mapangalagaan yung mga karapatan nila. Baka nga may mapapahamak pag mayroon tayong death penalty na hindi naman pala dapat parusahan.
Anthony Taberna: So kayo po ba ay papayag na madiktahan ng sinoman sa inyo pong pagpapasiya?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Ang reputasyon ko ho eh’ matigas ang ulo, so yun bang pati nung nasa House, dun sa mga kasamahan ko doon na nakasabay ko doon, mayroong sinasabi na ito ay majority decision, ako po ay hindi automatic na sumasama dun sa majority decision, eto ba kaya kong panindigan na desisyon o hindi, kapag hindi ko kayang panindigan hindi ho ako sumasama sa kanila.
Anthony Taberna: Tutukuyin ko na po, isa sa grupo na malapit na malapit sa inyo ngayon ay yung kontrobersiyal na law firm na kung tawagin ay The Firm, ito po ay malaking papel sa administrasyong Arroyo mula po nung Day 1 at in fact naging abogado pa po sila sa marami ilang kaso ng katiwalian ng administrasyon ng Pangulong Arroyo si First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, ano po ang sagot ninyo doon sa mga obserbasyon nab aka kayo ay paikutan lamang ng mga ito?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Kung puwede ho nilang subukan, pero isa lang po ang kasama namin dun sa The Firm, si Nonong Cruz, dating kalihim ng tanggulang pambansa, yung lahat ng kasama ko ngayon, siguro kung kakilala nila ako, isama na ninyo yung mga ka-klase ko nung grade school, high school at college. Hindi ako puwedeng dinadala kung saan saan lang, sa palagay ko hindi tama, yung Lolo ko po nung high school ako ang sabi ay talagang napaka-importante na may barkada ka pero huwag kang nagpapadala, huwag kang kaladkarin, kailangan ikaw ang lider. Paulit-ulit ho sila ng ganoon, so again, lahat ho ng desisyon ko at the end of the day, kailangan kaya kong panindigan.
Anthony Taberna: Kagabi po medyo napuyat kayo sa pagtalakay sa C-5 controversy, senator isang diretsang tanong, puwede po ba kayong mag-inhibit na lamang doon po sa pagsisiyasat na ito para po mawala na yung pangangatwiran na kayo ay namumulitika lamang ditto sa isyu laban kay Sen. Villar?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Ang problema ho yung numero namin sa Senado, kasi ho kami ay 23 total, isa yung naka-kulong, 11-11 na nga ho ang puwedeng mangyari, walang desisyon, kailangan ma-resolve yung issue, kung hindi na ho kailangan yung partisipasyon ko pero maaaring na-resolve yung issue one way or the other baka puwede po nating pag-isipan yan. Pero uulitin ko po kung namumulitika ako ho dito, si Senator Alan Cayetano at si Gilbert Remulla mismo ang magpapatunay na umpisa-umpisa pa lamang ho at hanggang sa mga araw na ito, nakiki-usap ako kay Senator Villar, pumunta ka dito kung talagang wala kang kasalanan mapapakita mo yan, mabigyan ka ng karapatan mo na magkaroon ng proseso, kung saan puwede mong ipagtanggol yung sarili mo.
We will increase investments to provide quality jobs for Filipinos by lowering the costs of doing business in our country.
We will level the playing field for businesses. We will encourage free and fair competition in a level playing field that stresses that one need not be a crony in order to be successful in this country. We will make our bidding and procurement policies and processes more transparent, and punish those who seek to circumvent procurement laws through collusion and other illegal means.
We will have easier, streamlined business procedures. We will transform our systems to foster service to the public. We will streamline the approval process, not only for setting up new businesses but also in the regular day-to-day transactions with government, such as the payment of taxes. We will do this on a national as well as the local level.
We will strategically target assistance to small and medium enterprises, and key industries where we have a competitive advantage to maximize our potential for job generation.
We will support small and medium enterprises. SMEs are the main generators of jobs in the country. But they lack access to credit and finance. They also need access to markets and to technology so that they can connect to the global economy. An Aquino government will not only encourage microfinance and small business loans, which was a cause supported by former President Corazon Aquino, but will also harness the remittances of our overseas workers by creating financial instruments that can attract remittances and be channeled to the rural sector. For market and technology access, we will encourage the private sector to link up with local firms, using information exchange, by giving the private sector the appropriate incentives.
We will directly target industries with the greatest potential for growth and where the Philippines has a competitive advantage, industries that have already been identified by domestic and foreign business groups and include agribusiness, business process outsourcing, creative industries, infrastructure, manufacturing and logistics, socially-responsible mining and tourism and retirement.
We will invest in our country’s top resource, our human resource, to make us more competitive and employable.
We will overhaul basic education by having universal pre-schooling and strengthening our basic education system to a 12-year cycle. For students who want to work after high school, we will strengthen technical-vocational education to provide them with needed skills.
We will solve the labor-mismatch problem by promoting better coordination between employers, academia and government, including through strengthening both public (e.g. Public Employment Service Offices -PESO) and private sector labor market information and exchange institutions, especially at the local levels.
The ProPinoy Project is a Global Community Center for all things Pinoy, to connect Filipinos at home and abroad by creating a space for ideas, trends and analyses about the Philippines and the global Pinoy community to inspire informed discussion and transformative action.