Saturday, July 3, 2010

A New Beginning

   The first month of the new school year is always an extraordinarily busy time for me. Adjusting to a more hectic pace after two months of "slow-motion" living, and for me, learning to handle the new responsibilities that comes with being a (preschool) class moderator, has meant very little time for reflection.

   Which is why last Wednesday was a welcome break from the tyranny of Work. Though I did not physically attend the Inauguration, my family and I watched P-Noy on television as he gave his speech. As our favorite priest, Father Mario pointed out, Noynoy did not speak in a grandiose, oratorical manner, but he more than made up for it with his sincerity. Father Mario narrated during his homily how he had been present at Quirino Grandstand that day. Upon hearing the words of the new President, he turned to the lady beside him and said, "My God! He means business!" The lady's reply was striking: "Father, we should ALL mean business."

   The over-arching message that I got from the inaugural speech was this: Change must come from ALL of us. The President said as much in his speech, when he asked all those present to make the vow to themselves and to their countrymen, that no one will be left behind in this quest for change.

   Below are some excerpts from his speech, the parts that really touched me:

   "...I am like you. Many of our countrymen have already voted with their feet – migrating to other countries in search of change or tranquility. They have endured hardship, risked their lives because they believe that compared to their current state here, there is more hope for them in another country, no matter how bleak it may be. In moments when I thought of only my own welfare, I also wondered—is it possible that I can find the peace and quiet that I crave in another country? Is our government beyond redemption? Has it been written that the Filipino’s lot is merely to suffer?

Today marks the end of a regime indifferent to the appeals of the people. It is not Noynoy who found a way. You are the reason why the silent suffering of the nation is about to end. This is the beginning of my burden, but if many of us will bear the cross we will lift it, no matter how heavy it is...

We are here to serve and not to lord over you. The mandate given to me was one of change. I accept your marching orders to transform our government from one that is self-serving to one that works for the welfare of the nation.

This mandate is the social contract that we agreed upon. It is the promise I made during the campaign, which you accepted on election day.

During the campaign we said, “If no one is corrupt, no one will be poor.” That is no mere slogan for posters—it is the defining principle that will serve as the foundation of our administration...

The first step is to have leaders who are ethical, honest, and true public servants. I will set the example. I will strive to be a good model. I will not break the trust you have placed in me. I will ensure that this, too, will be the advocacy of my Cabinet and those who will join our government.

I do not believe that all of those who serve in our government are corrupt. In truth, the majority of them are honest. They joined government to serve and do good. Starting today, they will have the opportunity to show that they have what it takes. I am counting on them to help fight corruption within the bureaucracy.

To those who have been put in positions by unlawful means, this is my warning: we will begin earning back the trust of our people by reviewing midnight appointments. Let this serve as a warning to those who intend to continue the crooked ways that have become the norm for too long...

Our goal is to create jobs at home so that there will be no need to look for employment abroad...

...If I have all of you by my side, we will be able to build a nation in which there will be equality of opportunity, because each of us fulfilled our duties and responsibilities equally.

After the elections, you proved that it is the people who wield power in this country.

This is what democracy means. It is the foundation of our unity. We campaigned for change. Because of this, the Filipino stands tall once more. We are all part of a nation that can begin to dream again.

To our friends and neighbors around the world, we are ready to take our place as a reliable member of the community of nations, a nation serious about its commitments and which harmonizes its national interests with its international responsibilities...

Today, I am inviting you to pledge to yourselves and to our people. No one shall be left behind.

No more junkets, no more senseless spending. No more turning back on pledges made during the campaign, whether today or in the coming challenges that will confront us over the next six years. No more influence-peddling, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No more sirens, no more short cuts, no more bribes. It is time for us to work together once more.

We are here today because we stood together and believed in hope. We had no resources to campaign other than our common faith in the inherent goodness of the Filipino.

The people who are behind us dared to dream. Today, the dream starts to become a reality. To those among you who are still undecided about sharing the common burden I have only one question: Are you going to quit now that we have won?

...You are the ones who brought me here... I offer my heartfelt gratitude.

I will not be able to face my parents and you who have brought me here if do not fulfill the promises I made.

My parents sought nothing less, died for nothing less, than democracy and peace. I am blessed by this legacy. I shall carry the torch forward.

My hope is that when I leave office, everyone can say that we have traveled far on the right path, and that we are able to bequeath a better future to the next generation. Join me in continuing this fight for change.

Thank you and long live the Filipino people!"

   (This link contains the transcript and video of the Inaugural speech, and its English translation as well.)

   Last elections, I voted for Gibo, but I must say that I heartily approve of our new President's actions. If his first few days in office is merely an indicator of good things to come, it makes me very optimistic indeed. :) Go Noynoy! Go Philippines!
Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog