Posts Tagged ‘Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III’

State of the Nation Address of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Philippines to the Congress of the Philippines

[English translation of the speech delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City on July 25, 2011]

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.; Vice President Jejomar Binay; former Presidents Fidel Valdez Ramos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Chief Justice Renato Corona and the honorable Justices of the Supreme Court; honorable members of the diplomatic corps; members of the House of Representatives and the Senate; Local Government Officials; members of our Cabinet; members of the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police; to my fellow servants of the Filipino people;

And to my beloved countrymen, my Bosses:

I stood before you during my inauguration and promised: we would do away with the use of the wang-wang. This one gesture has become the symbol of change, not just in our streets, but even in our collective attitude.

Over the years, the wang-wang had come to symbolize abuse of authority. It was routinely used by public officials to violate traffic laws, inconveniencing ordinary motorists—as if only the time of the powerful few, and no one else’s, mattered. Instead of behaving like public servants, they acted like kings. This privilege was extended to their cronies and patrons, who moved along the streets as if they were aristocracy, indifferent to those who were forced to give way and were left behind. Abusing privilege despite promising to serve—this is the wang-wang mindset; this is the mindset of entitlement.

They had no right to do this. The law authorizes only the President, the Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker, the Chief Justice, and police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances to use sirens in the fulfillment of their official duties—no one else. Yet the flagrant abuse we bore witness to prompts us to ask: if they felt it their privilege to flout the simplest traffic laws, how could we expect them not to help themselves to a share of projects funded by the Filipino people?

Do you want the corrupt held accountable? So do I. Do you want to see the end of wang-wang, both on the streets and in the sense of entitlement that has led to the abuse that we have lived with for so long? So do I. Do you want to give everyone a fair chance to improve their lot in life? So do I.

We have fought against the wang-wang, and our efforts have yielded results. Just this year, the number of Filipinos who experienced hunger has come down. Self-rated hunger has gone down from 20.5% in March to 15.1% this June—equivalent to a million Filipino families who used to go hungry, but who now say they eat properly every day.

As for business, who would have thought that the stock market would reach seven record highs in the past year?  At one time, we thought that for the PSE Index to reach 4,000 points would be, at best, a fluke. We now routinely exceed this threshold.

Our once low credit ratings have now been upgraded by Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch, and Japan Credit Ratings Agency—in recognition of our prudent use of funds and creative financial management. These improved credit ratings mean lower interest on our debts. Our innovative fiscal approach has saved taxpayers 23 billion pesos in the first four months of this year. This is enough to cover the 2.3 million conditional cash transfer beneficiaries for the entire year.

Let me remind you: in the nine and a half years before we were elected into office, our credit ratings were upgraded once, and downgraded six times by the different credit ratings agencies. Compare this to the four upgrades we have achieved in the single year we have been in office. This was no small feat, considering that the upgrades came after ratings agencies have grown considerably more conservative in their assessments, especially in the wake of criticism they received after the recent American financial crisis.  But while they have downgraded the ratings of other countries, they have upgraded ours, so that we are now just one notch below investment grade. Our economic team is hard at work to sustain the momentum.

And allow me to share more good news from the Department of Energy: having rid the DOE of wang-wang, we have revived the confidence of investors in our energy sector. 140 companies, all ready to participate in the exploration and strengthening of our oil and natural gas resources, can attest to this. Compare this to the last energy contracting round in 2006, which saw the participation of only 35 companies. Just last Friday, a new contract was signed for a power plant to be constructed in the Luzon grid, so that by 2014, our country will have a cheaper, more reliable source of energy.

There is confidence and there is hope; the government is now fulfilling its promises. And I cannot help but remember a woman I spoke with during one of my first house-to-house campaigns. She lamented: “It won’t matter who wins these elections. Nothing will change. I was poor when our leaders campaigned, I am poor now that they are in office, and I will still be poor when they step down.” This is a grievance echoed by many: “Our leaders didn’t care about us then, our leaders don’t care about us now, and our leaders will not care about us tomorrow.”

Given the persistence of the wang-wang attitude, wasn’t their sentiment justified? This was the attitude that allowed helicopters to be bought as if they were brand new, but had in fact already been extensively used. This was the attitude that allowed GOCC officials, like those in the Philippine National Construction Corporation, to pay themselves millions of pesos in bonuses, even as they failed to render decent service and plunged their respective agencies deeper into debt. Before they stepped down from their positions, the former heads of the PNCC gifted themselves with two hundred and thirty-two million pesos. Their franchise had lapsed in 2007; their collections should have been remitted to the national government. They did not do this, and in fact even took advantage of their positions: the bonuses they allotted to themselves in the first 6 months of 2010 was double the amount of their bonuses from 2005-2009. Yet they had the audacity to award themselves midnight bonuses, when they had already drowned their agencies in debt.

To end the wang-wang culture in government, we employed zero-based budgeting to review programs. For this year and the last, zero-based budgeting has allowed us to end many wasteful programs.

For example, we uncovered and stopped an ill-advised plan to dredge Laguna Lake. We would have borrowed 18.7 billion pesos to remove 12 million cubic meters of silt—which would have re-accumulated within three years, even before the debt could be fully paid. We also uncovered a food-for-school program with no proper targeting of beneficiaries, and other initiatives that were funded without apparent results. All of these were discontinued, and the funds rechanneled to more effective programs.

The budget is the clearest manifestation of the straight path upon which we tread. I say to those who would lead us astray: if you will further disadvantage the poor, do not even think about it. If all you would do is to fill your own pockets, do not even think about it. If it is not for the benefit of the Filipino people, do not even think about it.

I wish we could say that we had completely eliminated the wang-wang attitude, but in some parts of our consciousness, it still persists.

It still exists in the private sector. According to the BIR, we have around 1.7 million self-employed and professional taxpayers: lawyers, doctors, businessmen who paid a total of 9.8 billion pesos in 2010. This means that each of them paid only an average of 5,783 pesos in income tax—and if this is true, then they each must have earned only 8,500 pesos a month, which is below the minimum wage. I find this hard to believe.

Today we can see that our taxes are going where they should, and therefore there is no reason not to pay the proper taxes. I say to you: it’s not just the government, but our fellow citizens, who are cheated out of the benefits that these taxes would have provided.

We are holding accountable—and we will continue to hold accountable—those who practice this culture of entitlement in all government offices, as there are still some who think they can get away with it. A district in Region 4B, for example, began a project worth 300 million pesos, well beyond the 50 million pesos that district engineers can sign off on their own.  But they could not leave such a potentially large payday alone.

So they cut the project up into components that would not breach the 50 million peso limit that would have required them to seek clearance from the regional and central offices. They tried to keep this system going. And often, since lump-sum funding was being used for the projects, no questions were asked about the plans or project details. They could have been spinning webs and they would have still been given the funds, so long as they knew someone in power.

Secretary Babes Singson did not let them get away with this. He removed the district engineer from his post, and suspended the awarding of the project in an effort to uncover other anomalies that may have happened. A thorough investigation of all those involved in the case is underway; we will blacklist all contractors proven to have engaged in foul play.

Because the project had to be delayed, Filipinos who would have otherwise benefited from them are still made to face unnecessary inconveniences.

These anomalies are not limited to Region 4B. We are putting an end to them. We are eliminating the patronage politics that had been prevalent in DPWH, and replacing it with a culture in which merit prevails. All projects must have work programs; we will require those involved in projects to submit well thought out plans for consideration, so that each project complements the other. We have also instituted an honest and transparent bidding process to provide equal opportunity to interested contractors.

Because of this, we have already saved 2.5 billion pesos, and expect to save 6 to 7 billion by the end of this year. The most important thing, however, is that now, we can count on well-paved roads—as opposed to the fragile pothole-ridden paths that our people had grown used to. Once, we believed that the system in the DPWH was impossible to fix; but look—it’s possible, and we’re fixing it.

Even in agriculture, the culture of wang-wang once persisted. Before we came into office in 2010, the Philippines imported 2.3 million metric tons of rice, which was already a million metric tons more than the 1.3 million that we needed. We even had to pay extra for warehouses to store the rice acquired through excessive importation.

How many years have we been over-importing rice? Many Filipinos thought that there was nothing we could do about it.

We proved them wrong in the span of a year. What was once an estimated yearly shortage of 1.3 million metric tons is down to 660,000—that’s almost half of the original amount. Even with our buffer of 200,000 metric tons as contingency against natural calamities, it is still significantly less than what was once the norm.

Our success in this sector was not brought about by mere luck. This is simply the result of doing things right: using the most effective types of seedlings, and careful and efficient spending on irrigation. In the past year, we irrigated an additional 11,611 hectares of fields, not to mention the near 212,000 hectares of land we were able to rehabilitate. The result: a 15.6 percent increase in rice production.

We envision two things: first, an end to over-importation that only serves to benefit the selfish few. Second: we want rice self-sufficiency—that the rice served on every Filipino’s dinner table is planted here, harvested here, and purchased here.

Let us look back on the situations of many of our policemen a year ago. The average salary of a common PO1 in Metro Manila is around 13,000 pesos. Around 4,000 pesos or about a third of their salaries goes directly to paying the rent. Another third goes to food, and the final third is all that is left for electricity and water bills, commuting, tuition fees, medicine, and everything else. Ideally, their salaries match their expenses—but this is not always the case. Those whose salaries are not enough would probably resort to taking out some loans. What happens when the interest piles up and they end up having to spend even more of their salaries? Will they still be able to do the right thing when tempted with an opportunity to make a quick buck?

This is why, this July, we have followed through on the housing promise we made in February. We were able to award 4,000 Certificates of Entitlement to Lot Allocation. This is only the first batch of the 21,800 houses we will have constructed by the end of the year. Awarding our men in uniform these houses will turn their 4,000 peso rent expense into an initial 200 peso per month payment for a house that is all theirs. The cash they once paid for rent can now be used for other needs.

I hear that there are still more than a thousand houses left, so for our policemen and our soldiers who have not yet submitted their papers, this is the last call for this batch of houses. But do not worry, because this housing program will continue next year, covering even more people and more regions. The NHA is already preparing the sites for housing projects in Visayas and Mindanao, with an expanded list of beneficiaries that will also include employees of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and of the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Speaking of security, does enhanced security not also enhance our national pride? There was a time when we couldn’t appropriately respond to threats in our own backyard. Now, our message to the world is clear: What is ours is ours; setting foot on Recto Bank is no different from setting foot on Recto Avenue.

At times I wonder if the stories about some of our past stand-offs are true—that when cannons were aimed at our marines, they could only reciprocate by cutting down a coconut tree, painting it black, and aiming it back. True or not, that time is over. Soon, we will be seeing capability upgrades and the modernization of the equipment of our armed forces. At this very moment, our very first Hamilton Class Cutter is on its way to our shores. We may acquire more vessels in the future—these, in addition to helicopters and patrol crafts, and the weapons that the AFP, PNP, and DOJ will buy in bulk to get a significant discount. This goes to show how far we can go with good governance; we can buy equipment at good prices, without having to place envelopes in anyone’s pockets.

We do not wish to increase tensions with anyone, but we must let the world know that we are ready to protect what is ours. We are also studying the possibility of elevating the case on the West Philippine Sea to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, to make certain that all involved nations approach the dispute with calm and forbearance.

Our efforts to enhance the capabilities of our men and women in uniform are already succeeding. In the first six months of 2010, we had 1,010 cases of car and motorcycle theft. Compare that to the 460 cases in the first six months of 2011. Unfortunately, it is the one or two high-profile cases that make the headlines, and not the bigger picture—the fact that there is a large drop in car and motorcycle thefts, and that we have returned a higher percentage of stolen cars to their rightful owners.

And here is another example of positive change in law enforcement. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act was signed in 2003. Unfortunately, because the government did not properly implement it, only 29 individuals were convicted in a period of seven years. In just one year, we have breached that amount, convicting 31 human traffickers. Perhaps, this is the “sea change” that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was referring to; and because of this change, the Philippines has been taken off the Tier 2 Watchlist of their Trafficking in Persons Report. If we had not been removed from this watchlist, the assistance we have been receiving from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, among others, would have been jeopardized.

Allow me to talk about jobs now. Our foremost pledge to the Filipino people was to create more jobs, and we have delivered. In April 2010, the unemployment rate was at 8%; in April 2011, it was at 7.2%.

To put things into perspective: We must all remember that the ranks of the unemployed represent a moving target. Every year, thousands of fresh graduates join the ranks of job hunters. Last year, the number of unemployed Filipinos in our labor force grew after many of our countrymen who earned a temporary living from election-related jobs—the people assigned to hanging buntings, the people tasked with clearing a path for politicians in crowds of people, the drivers, and other campaign staff—were laid off. But, despite all this, our results make our success evident: one million and four hundred thousand jobs were created last year.

Before, our foremost ambition was to work in another country. Now, the Filipino can take his pick. As long as he pursues his dreams with determination and diligence, he can realize them.

The number of jobs generated in our country can only grow from here. According to the Philjobnet website, every month there are 50,000 jobs that are not filled because the knowledge and skills of job seekers do not match the needs of the companies. We will not allow this opportunity to go to waste; at this very moment, DOLE, CHED, TESDA, and DepEd are working together to address this issue. Curricula will be reviewed and analyzed to better direct them to industries that are in need of workers, and students will be guided so that they may choose courses that will arm them with the skills apt for vacant jobs.

Despite the demand for these jobs, there are still people who are being left behind. What do we do with them? First, we identified the poorest of the poor, and invested in them, because people are our greatest resource. Of the two million families registered with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, 1.6 million are already receiving their conditional cash transfers. Through the initiative and leadership of Secretary Dinky Soliman, we have been able to give much needed assistance to an average of more than 100,000 families per month. I am optimistic that we will reach our target of 1.3 million additional beneficiaries this year. With a compliance rate of 92%, millions of mothers are already getting regular check-ups at public health centers, millions of babies are being vaccinated against common diseases, and millions of school-aged children are now attending classes.

With these significant early results, I am counting on the support of the Filipino people and Congress to expand our Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Before the end of 2012, we want to invest in the future of 3 million poor families.

We are giving these poor families a chance to improve their lives, because their progress will be the country’s progress. How can they buy products and services from businesses if they do not have a proper income? When a poor father turns to crime in order to feed his family, who would he victimize, if not us? When people cannot properly take care of themselves and fall ill, do we not run the risk of getting sick as well?

We are laying down the foundations for a brighter future for the poor. For example, in the health sector: PhilHealth beneficiaries increased during elections, as the agency was used as a tool for dispensing political patronage. Today, we identify beneficiaries through the National Household Targeting System, to make sure that the 5.2 million Filipino families who benefit from PhilHealth are those who really need it.

Let us turn our attention to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The politics there have been dominated by horse-trading and transactional politics. During national elections, whoever is in power in ARMM is free to manipulate the electoral machinery in his region, ensuring that non-allies do not get votes. That Mayor or Governor then demands payment for his services come the ARMM election, and it is the administration’s turn to manipulate the electoral machinery to secure the win of their candidate.

According to the Commission on Audit, in the office of the regional governor of ARMM, eighty percent of the funds disbursed were for cash advances that cannot be justified. If those funds had not gone to waste, a child could have gone to school. Instead, we built ghost bridges to reach ghost schools where only ghost teachers went to work.

We want ARMM to experience the benefits of good governance. And so, the solution: Synchronization—candidates in ARMM will run at the same time as candidates in other parts of the country. There would be less opportunity for them to employ command votes for political patrons. The result would be fairer elections. Thank you to Congress for passing the law synchronizing ARMM with the national elections.

And why do we need to postpone the elections? Because, in their desire to return to or retain power, many are prepared to engage in corrupt practices just to win again. Imagine if we had listened to the critics, and allowed the election to proceed under these circumstances. We would have perpetuated the endless cycle of electoral fraud and official abuse that has led ARMM to become one of the poorest regions in the country.

I do not doubt that the reforms we are putting in place will yield concrete results. When we talk about the straight and righteous path, we talk about that new road that was built in Barangay Bagumbayan in Sta. Maria, Laguna. When we say clean government, we are talking about the clean water that residents in Barangay Poblacion in Ferrol, Romblon now enjoy. When we refer to the light of change, we also refer to the electricity that now powers light bulbs in Barangay San Marcos in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. This is happening in many other places, and we will make it happen everywhere in our country.

Government agencies are now focused on realizing this; they are working together to creatively solve the problems that have long plagued our country.

Have we not had flooding problems, which we know are caused by the incessant and illegal cutting down of trees? The old solution: A tree-planting photo opportunity, whose sole beneficiaries are politicians who want to look good. They plant trees, but they do not ensure that the trees would remain standing after they leave.

One of the possible solutions we are studying is to make the stewardship of these trees beneficial to communities. They will be given coffee and cacao seeds to plant. While they wait for harvest, they will receive stipends for safeguarding the trees planted to mitigate flooding. We are looking at informal settlers, who are currently crammed into our cities, as possible beneficiaries of this program.  We will be investing in the people, even as we invest in the environment.

Who could have thought that little over a year ago, we could accomplish this? Today, we dream; one day soon, these dreams will be a reality.

This same creativity is in display with the innovations that are already being implemented. We have developed low-cost traps that kill mosquito larvae, probably contributing to the nearly fourteen percent decrease in dengue incidents; coconut coir fibers that are normally just disposed of have been used as a cost-effective way to strengthen our roads; we have landslide sensors that warn when soil erosion has reached dangerous levels; we have developed early flood warning systems for riverside communities. All of these are products of Filipino creativity.

DOST and UP have even teamed up to develop a prototype monorail system, which could potentially provide a home grown mass transport solution that would cost us as little as 100 million pesos per kilometer, much cheaper than the current cost of similar mass transit systems. The potential savings could result in more kilometers of cheap transport, decongesting our urban centers and allowing rural communities easier access to centers of commerce and industry.

Let me reiterate: These proposals were developed by Filipinos for Filipinos. Do you remember the time when we were unable to even dream of these kinds of projects? I am telling you now: We can dream about them, we are capable of achieving them, and we will achieve them. Isn’t it great to be a Filipino living in these times?

All of these things we are doing will be wasted if we do not do something to end the culture of corruption.

To my colleagues in public service, from those at the top and to every corner of the bureaucracy: Do we not feel the pride that working in government now brings? That, now, we are proud to be identified as workers in government? Will we waste this honor?

I call on our Local Government Units: Those of you who are in the best position to understand the needs of your constituents can expect greater freedom and empowerment. But we trust that in providing for your communities, you will remain committed to the straight path, and will not lose sight of the interest of the whole nation.

For instance, there are some municipalities that want to tax the electricity transmission lines that run through their jurisdictions. Although this will augment local coffers, the rest of the Filipino people will have to deal with higher electricity rates. Let us try to balance the interests of our constituencies with that of the nation as a whole.

It is imperative that our programs remain in sync, because the progress of the entire country will also redound to progress for your communities. Let us do away with forward planning that only looks as far as the next election, and think of the long-term national good.

Ultimately, we have to unite and work together towards this progress. I thank the Congress for passing laws regarding GOCC Governance, ARMM Synchronization, Lifeline Electricity Rates Extension, Joint Congressional Power Commission Extension, Children and Infants’ Mandatory Immunization, and Women Night Workers.

Last year, Congress demonstrated their support by approving the budget even before the year ended. The timely passage of the budget allowed projects to be implemented more quickly. Tomorrow we will deliver to Congress our budget proposal for 2012. I look forward once again to its early passage so that we can build on our current momentum.

We have already made progress, but we must remember: This is only the beginning, and there is much left for us to do. Allow me to present to Congress some of the measures that will bring us closer to the fulfillment of our pledge to the nation.

We aim to give due compensation to the victims of Martial Law; to grant our house help the salaries and benefits that they deserve; and to improve the system that awards pensions to our retired soldiers. We likewise support the expansion of the scope of scholarships granted by DOST to outstanding yet underprivileged students; the advancement of universal quality healthcare; the responsible management of the environment; and the formation of facilities that will ensure the safety of our citizens during times of great need and calamity.

Our agenda also includes the development of BuCor, NBI, NEA, and PTV 4, so that, instead of lagging behind the times, they will better fulfill their mandate of public service.

Not everything we want to do will be explained today, but I invite you to read the budget message, which contains a more comprehensive plan for the coming year.

Some of my critics say that I take this campaign against corruption personally. It’s true: doing what’s right is personal. Making people accountable—whoever they may be—is personal. It should be personal for all of us, because we have all been victimized by corruption.

What is wrong remains wrong, regardless of how long it has been allowed to persist. We cannot simply let it pass. If we ignore the crimes of the past, they will continue to haunt us. And if we do not hold people accountable, then they will do it again and again.

The truth is, we have uncovered so many anomalies. In PAGCOR, the previous management apparently spent one billion pesos on coffee alone. At one hundred pesos per cup, that would be ten million cups of coffee over the last several years. Where did all that coffee go? Who drank it? Perhaps we can find the people who consumed all that coffee and ask if they have been able to sleep in the last few years.

When the new Ombudsman, former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, takes office, we will have an honest-to-goodness anti-corruption office, not one that condones the corruption and abuses in government. I expect that this year, we will have filed our first major case against the corrupt and their accomplices. And these will be real cases, with strong evidence and clear testimonies, which will lead to the punishment of the guilty.

We are aware that the attainment of true justice does not end in the filing of cases, but in the conviction of criminals. I have utmost confidence that the DOJ is fulfilling its crucial role in jailing offenders, especially in cases regarding tax evasion, drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, graft and corruption, and extrajudicial killings.

We are not leaving anything to chance; good governance yields positive results. Think about it: We have realized our promise of providing the public with the services that it needs and implementing programs to help the poor without having to raise our taxes.

This has always been the plan: to level the playing field; to stop the abuse of authority; and to ensure that the benefits of growth are available to the greatest number.

We have put an end to the culture of entitlement, to wang-wang: along our roads, in government, in our society as a whole. This will bring confidence that will attract business; this will also ensure that the people’s money is put in its rightful place: Funding for infrastructure that will secure the sustained growth of the economy, which will then give rise to jobs, and public service that guarantees that no one will be left behind. More opportunities for livelihood will be opened by tourism; the strengthening of our agriculture sector will ensure that every Filipino will have food on his table. We will invest on those who were once neglected. All this will create a cycle wherein all available jobs are filled, and where businesses flourish through the empowerment of their consumers.

I am aware that, until now, there are still a few who complain about our style of governance. But you have seen our style, and its ensuing results. You have seen their style, and, especially, where that took us. Anyone with their eyes open can clearly see which is right.

We are steering our government in a clear direction. A country where opportunity is available; where those in need are helped; where everyone’s sacrifices are rewarded; and where those who do wrong are held accountable.

I remember a woman warning me during the campaign: “Noy, be careful, you will be stepping on many toes.”

Sometimes, I do worry about what I am doing. But I am heartened because you are with me, and we stand on the side of what is right.

I thank the priests and bishops who have continued to dialogue with us, like Cardinals Rosales and Vidal. Cardinal Rosales and I may not be the closest of friends, but I believe that he did all that he could to reduce the tensions between the church and the government. The election of Archbishop Palma, defender of human rights and of the environment, as head of the CBCP only bolsters my confidence that the state and the clergy will be able to engage each other in a positive manner. I likewise thank my Cabinet, who have sacrificed their personal comfort to fulfill the national agenda. I give special mention to PAGASA, who now truly delivers reliable advice and warnings during times of calamity.

And to those who may resist the change we are trying to bring about, this I say to you: I know what I must do, and my personal interests are nothing when compared to the interests of the nation. There are many of us who want what is right for this country; and there are more of us than you. To those of you who would turn back the tide of reform: you will not succeed.

To those who have chosen to tread the straight and righteous path alongside us: it is you who created this change, and it is you who will bequeath our success to your children. To the jeepney driver plying his route; to the teachers and students coming home from class; to the artists whose work inspires our sense of nationhood; to our policemen, our soldiers, our street sweepers, and our firemen; to you who work with honor, in the Philippines, in the oceans, or in other countries; our colleagues in government who stand steadfast with us, whatever province you come from, whatever party you belong to; every Filipino listening to me now—you made this happen.

You created a government that truly works for you. We still have five years left to ensure that we will not return to what once was. We will not be derailed, especially now that what we have begun has yielded so many positive results.

If you see a loophole in the system, do not take advantage of it. Let us not acquire through patronage what we can acquire through hard work. No more cheating, no more taking advantage of others, no more one-upmanship—because in the end we will all realize our shared aspirations.

Let us end the culture of negativism; let us uplift our fellow Filipinos at every opportunity. Why are there people who enjoy finding fault in our country, who find it so hard—as though it were a sin—to say something nice? Can we even remember the last time we praised a fellow Filipino?

Let us stop pulling our fellow man down. Let us put an end to our crab mentality. Let us make the effort to recognize the good that is being done.

If you see something right, do not think twice—praise it. If you see a policeman directing traffic, coatless beneath the rain—go to him and say, “Thank you.”

If you fall sick, and you see your nurse caring for you, when she could easily be treating foreigners for a higher salary—say, “Thank you.”

Before you leave school for home, approach your teacher who chose to invest in your future—say, “Thank you.”

If you chance upon your local leader on a road that was once riddled with holes, but is now smooth and sturdy—go to him and say, “Thank you, for the change you have brought.”

And so, to the Filipino nation, my Bosses who have steered us toward this day: Thank you very much for the change that is now upon us.

The Philippines and the Filipino people are, finally, truly alive.

Basahin ang orihinal na talumpati

INTRODUCTION

“Tuwid na Daan” or the Straight Path is a phrase repeatedly mentioned by President Benigno S. Aquino III to pertain to his governance direction for the country.

Essential to this concept of “Tuwid na Daan” is the battle cry “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap.” The administration believes that corruption is the root cause of the country’s woes, and eliminating corruption will necessarily lead to renewed investor confidence, eventual growth and development, poverty reduction, and attainment of peace.

The straight path, however, does not only pertain to the President’s anti-corruption campaign. It also encompasses a way of doing things right, where the process is participatory; the programs are holistic; growth is sustained; the peace policy is comprehensive; and development is sustainable. Through the living examples of our leaders, led by the President, this re-awakened sense of right and wrong continues to be translated to economic value.

It is in this light that the accomplishments of the Aquino Administration, since the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2010, are being highlighted:

A. GOOD GOVERNANCE AND ANTI-CORRUPTION

Taking the initial step in the achievement of “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap”, where eradicating corruption is seen as the key approach to development, President Aquino laid the foundations for a clean, transparent, and responsive government.  Key reforms continue to be instituted to reduce red tape, enforce anti-corruption and anti-red tape laws, and penalize those who violate these laws. The government is also fixing the incentive structures to recognize merit and reward good performance with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of the Aquino reform agenda. These and other initiatives are presented below:

1. Institutionalizing Public Accountability

1.1. Reforming the budgeting and project identification processes

1.1.1. Government’s prudent expenditure management was a result of the use of the Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB) approach in 2010. The ZBB enables the government to identify and terminate programs that are no longer delivering intended outcomes. The savings generated from these terminated programs were channelled to programs that are performing well and to other priority programs to address critical gaps in education and health. As part of the ZBB approach, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is also gradually transferring Special Purpose Funds back to the departments for greater accountability and making the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) more transparent.

Due to the prudent management of public funds, the government has been able to provide P12 billion in funding for other key social and economic services that were not included in the 2011 General Appropriations Act, including:

  • P850 million for the salaries of 10,000 registered nurses hired and deployed to poor rural communities in the country;
  • P4.2 billion to build 20,000 houses for the military and the police; and
  • P423 million for the acquisition of the US Hamilton-class cutter, which will help strengthen the perimeter security within the Malampaya area

1.1.2. In an effort to address issues about the quality of road projects, the Road Board strengthened the identification and selection of projects funded by the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge through the proper use of the Highway Development Management version 4 (HDM-4), a planning tool that prioritizes or selects projects based on actual needs and economic considerations.

The Road Board also implemented standard unit costs nationwide that is 30% lower than previous cost estimates; and clearly defined the design and specification of its projects to make these conform to international standards, where previously, Programs of Work were not required.

1.1.3. The President directed the DBM to establish a comprehensive database of government manpower through an enhanced Government Manpower Information System (GMIS). The GMIS shall provide a complete and accurate database of all positions, incumbents, and authorized compensation in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of the government, including Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), Government Financial Institutions (GFIs), and Constitutional Offices. The GMIS shall also be linked with the personnel information systems of concerned agencies such as the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

1.1.4. To eliminate wasteful spending and fund conversion in the military, the DBM changed its previous policy of releasing Personnel Services (PS) allotments in full to agencies. Now, releases of PS are done for filled positions only. This means that no amount is released to the agencies on top of their actual PS requirement.

1.1.5. Moreover, the DBM launched on 20 July 2011 the Electronic Transparency and Accountability in Lump-sum Fund System (eTAILS). The eTAILS is a management information system that digitizes the processing of lump-sum funds and supports the timely disclosure of lump sum fund release information on the DBM website. This helps the government keep track of information on the release, while enabling the public to scrutinize how their money is being allocated.

1.2. Upholding transparent and competitive bidding

Allegations of collusion in the bidding of public works projects are being addressed through transparency reforms and strict adherence to public bidding rules. The DPWH now posts all projects on its website. The DPWH has also simplified bidding procedures by reducing the required 20 documents to just five (5) documents. It has also adopted a new cost structure for determining the approved budget cost (ABC), which minimizes leakage by reducing the allocation for indirect costs by as much as 8%. To cite an example, the DPWH was able to bid out the 7.53-km Plaridel By-pass Road Contract Package No. 2 in Bulacan for only P543 million in 2010, at one-third of the cost of the slightly longer 7.93-km Contract Package No. 1 that was bid out in July 2008. While the two projects are of the same road specifications, the cost of Contract Package No. 1 was 8.5% above the approved agency estimate while Contract Package No. 2 cost 23% lower than the agency estimate, saving a total of P163.2 million.

As a result of these reforms, the DPWH generated savings of P2.51 billion in taxpayers’ money from the 3,692 projects (civil works, goods, and consultancy services) from July 2010 to June 2011. The DPWH expects total savings of roughly P6 to P7 billion by the end of this year as a result of transparent and competitive bidding.  The savings can then be utilized for other priority development projects.

The P2.51 billion savings generated by the DPWH includes the P1.07 billion saved from the review and bidding of contracts under the Post-Ondoy and Pepeng Short-Term Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project (POPSTIRP).

On 26 May 2010, the DPWH was granted a loan by the JICA worth P5.05 billion for 79 contract packages under the POPSTIRP. Of these contracts, 19 were cancelled due to lapses in the process. The 19 contracts were approved and signed even prior to the release of the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the project, which is against government procurement laws.

Likewise, the government has conducted open and competitive bidding for the reinsurance needs of the National Power Corporation (NPC), the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), and the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC). This generated savings amounting to over US$8 million or about P370 million from the lower bids of the winning re-insurers compared to the approved budget for the contract and last year’s premium. Moreover, the insured agencies get improved coverage by having lower deductibles that allow them to claim for losses or damages at lower participation limits.

1.3. Ensuring transparency and accountability in local governance

1.3.1. The DILG’s full disclosure policy, issued in August 2010, required all Local Government Units (LGUs) to be transparent to the public by posting in local bulletin boards, newspapers, and websites information on the utilization of government funds and the implementation of projects. As of 31 May 2011, a total of 1,473 LGUs (68 provinces, 119 cities and 1,286 municipalities) or 86% of the 1,714 LGUs nationwide have fully complied with this policy. For purposes of transparency, the DBM also posted the annual internal revenue allotment (IRA) from 2006 to 2010 per region from the provincial down to the barangay level on its website.

1.3.2. The DILG also awarded the LGU Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) to LGUs that have earned the Seal of Good Housekeeping. These LGUs have exhibited strong performance along the four (4) core governance areas, as follows:

  • Sound fiscal management, i.e., growth in local revenues over three (3) years, and no adverse report from the Commission on Audit (COA);
  • Transparency and accountability, i.e., strict adherence to the full disclosure policy, transparent procurement process, compliance with Anti-Red Tape Law, and functioning local special bodies; and
  • Valuing of performance monitoring, i.e., use of performance monitoring tools and regular reports to the public.
  • Good planning, i.e., having a comprehensive development plan and an Executive-Legislative Agenda;

In 2010, 30 or 4.85% of the 619 4th to 6th class municipalities successfully obtained the Seal of Good Housekeeping.

Beginning 2011, the coverage of the PCF was expanded to all provinces, cities and municipalities. Assessment is now ongoing and is focused on the COA audit opinion for CY 2010 and the posting of local budget and finances, bids, and public offerings. As of 17 June 2011, 13 or 46.43% of the 28 4th to 5th class cities and 218 or 35.22% of the 619 4th to 6th class municipalities subjected to assessment may now be conferred with the Seal and have the chance to get the PCF.

1.4. Providing quality service lanes to fast-track the provision of frontline services

1.4.1. In 2010, the Citizen’s Charter of the PNP was recognized by the CSC as one of the fully compliant government agencies implementing RA 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) of 2007.[1]

Also, the DILG Project Comprehensive Response to Eliminate (CURE) Red Tape in the LGUs is successfully being implemented at the local level wherein 94% or 1,613 LGUs (consisting of 75 provinces, 121 cities, and 1,417 municipalities) of the 1,714 LGUs nationwide have their respective citizen’s charters, public assistance or complaint desks, one-stop shops and/or courtesy lanes, thus improving the efficiency and effectiveness of LGUs in the delivery of basic goods and services.

1.4.2. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also improved its mechanisms for redress. From 2010 until the first quarter of 2011, 91,828 consumer complaints were received by its Consumer Welfare Desk, 90,577 or 98.7% of which were resolved.[2]

2. Addressing Graft and Corruption

2.1. Addressing allegations of corruption in the military and implementing reforms in the AFP.

2.1.1. In order to ensure transparency in the use of funds, apart from regular audits, the AFP has conducted five (5) unprogrammed or special audits on cash examinations and retiring special disbursing officers. Three (3) of these are on-going, one (1) report is being drafted, and one (1) completed.

The AFP-Office of Ethical Standard and Public Accountability (OESPA) noted 100% compliance with accountability measures, such as the filing of SALNs.[3] In compliance with the rules and regulations to minimize discretion on government deposits, particularly in line with the provisions of Executive Order (EO) No. 338, the AFP transferred a total of P159 million of the residual UN Reimbursement Fund (UNRF) to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) on 28 February 2011. To date, the total UNRF amount deposited with the BTr is P426 million. Moreover, all reimbursements from the UN are now directly being deposited to the BTr by the DFA.

2.1.2. From July 2010 to June 2011, the AFP filed cases before the Sandiganbayan against 31 AFP officers for corruption-related charges while the cases of 21 AFP officers are with the Office of the Ombudsman.

2.1.3. The government also pursued the cleansing[4] of the AFP Retired and Veterans Pension Lists, which resulted in fund recoveries amounting to P4.685 billion. This amount was used to pay government’s current pension obligations and arrears to the veterans and pensioners. Moreover, through the anti-fixer campaign, three (3) Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) employees have been dismissed, 27 cases have been filed, and three (3) cases resolved.

2.1.4. On 14 June 2011, the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs (ODESLA) formally charged Ombudsman Special Prosecutor Wendell Sulit with acts and/or omissions constituting graft and corruption and betrayal of public trust. The case involves her entering into a Plea Bargaining Agreement with Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, wherein Gen. Garcia was allowed to plea to the lesser offense of indirect bribery and facilitating money laundering. The Ombudsman also ordered Gen. Garcia to restore to the government the amount of P135 million despite being accused of plundering P350 million.

Special Prosecutor Sulit was placed under preventive suspension for 90 days. The Office of the President will form a panel that will conduct the formal investigation on the case.

2.2. Addressing abuses and irregularities in government agencies

2.2.1. Arrested the abuses and funds misuse in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). An Audit of the ARMM Office of the Regional Governor covering the period January 2008 to September 2009 revealed that the funds received by the ORG for its operations were not properly utilized and managed and that transactions amounting to P1.003 billion could not be considered as valid and legitimate. Also, a total of P866.51 million in cash advances, or 80% of total disbursements made by the ORG, were released to the disbursing officers, in violation of the general rule that payments must be made by check.

As a result of these findings, the current ORG stopped the payment order against all checks drawable against the bank accounts of the ARMM Regional Government, terminated all contractual and co-terminus employees hired by the previous Regional Governor, conducted inventory reports on personnel and assets, and posted bids and awards and the ARMM budget on the ARMM website.

Likewise, the DILG recommended the filing of administrative charges against some ARMM officials and personnel for dishonesty, abuse of authority, gross misconduct, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. The DILG also recommended the filing of criminal cases because of the abuse of regional government resources.

An audit of the Province of Maguindanao had similar findings: that financial transactions amounting to P865.88 million were considered to be fictitious, as these were either denied by suppliers or supported with spurious documents.

Meanwhile, the DPWH-ARMM failed to properly utilize, manage, and record public funds amounting to P1.12 billion. Moreover, the COA found that the utilization of funds and implementation of programs and projects by the ARMM Social Fund Project – Project Monitoring Office (ASFP-PMO) fell short of the desired improvements as the purpose intended was not maximized and the implementation was found deficient.

A DILG-proposed roadmap aims to bring ARMM to the sustainable path of good governance. This entails the strengthening of bureaucratic reforms, sustained transparency and performance, improved ORG oversight and assistance to LGUs, stricter COA and Civil Service Commission (CSC) oversight on ARMM and LGU implementation of development projects, stepped up peace and order initiatives, and reforms in the electoral process.

The postponement of the August 2011 ARMM elections (as mandated by RA 10153) will provide an opportunity for ARMM to pursue this roadmap.

2.2.2. Suspended Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) officials. The Office of the Ombudsman found the LWUA Chairman and two other officers of the LWUA guilty of Grave Misconduct and of violating Republic Act (RA) No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) for the alleged unlawful investment of LWUA funds in the amount of P780 million in Express Savings Bank, Inc. (EXSBI),[5] without securing prior approval of the Monetary Board. On 4 July 2011, the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of the LWUA Chairman and the two LWUA officers.

Administrative complaints were also lodged with the Office of the President against five members of the LWUA Board of Trustees, including the Chairman, for grave misconduct arising from the acquisition of shares of stock of EXSBI. The Office of the President placed the members of the Board of Trustees on preventive suspension for 90 days.

2.2.3. Rationalized GOCC bonuses.  Early in the term of President Aquino, the administration discovered that officers and board members of several GOCCs enjoyed questionable bonuses and allowances. For example, a COA report disclosed that Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) employees received more than P150 million in improperly authorized allowances and bonuses in 2009. Also, the current Board of the PNCC has reviewed actions by the previous members of the Board who allegedly benefited from undue privileges and bonuses during their tenure. The current PNCC Board has also reduced manpower, terminated unnecessary positions, and rationalized administrative and support services. These cost-saving measures and reforms have resulted in the reduction of monthly expenses from about P22 million to P11 million.

The President thus ordered a comprehensive review culminating in the signing of the GOCC Governance Act of 2011. The Act strengthens government’s oversight of GOCCs through the creation of a Governance Commission for GOCCs.

As a result of the Department of Finance’s (DOF) better oversight, GOCCs remitted a total of P34.47 billion to the national government, inclusive of P27.29 billion in dividends, as of May 2011. This is one of the highest remittances made by GOCCs to date. In contrast, GOCC remittances in 2010 amounted to 26.99 billion.

2.2.4. Reforming the National Food Authority (NFA). The Food Staples Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program and NFA Roadmap were formulated to attain self-sufficiency in the country’s staple and to implement fundamental reforms in NFA Operations. NFA’s role is focused at maintaining buffer stocks of rice (30 days) and providing price support to small farmers.  Stocks for buffer stocking are accumulated by increasing domestic procurement while reducing the volume of importation by encouraging the private sector to participate more on importation. NFA’s policy of “buy high-store long-sell low” has shifted to a policy where NFA selling prices of rice are gradually increased to approach market levels with social welfare agencies handling subsidized rice if needed but buying stocks from NFA at market prices.

A system audit was conducted with the help of the private sector in order to evaluate the previous administration’s unusually large NFA rice importations and evaluate the agency’s legacy problems, with the end in view of not only ferreting out the truth but to recommend prescriptive measures to rehabilitate and strengthen the NFA.

2.3. Investigation of Disadvantageous Projects and Contracts

2.3.1. Addressed PCSO’s exorbitant spending for advertisements. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) overspent its advertising budget by more than P2.14 billion from 2004 to 2010.[6] To conceal the expenses, parts of the amounts were debited to different accounts. Despite COA’s repeated recommendations to cut PCSO’s advertising expenses, the former PCSO Board still authorized more advertising expenses during the campaign period. The PCSO also sponsored concerts and produced a full length movie. These were done despite having unrecorded payables to TV, radio, and other media companies in the amount of P740 million. As a result of these anomalies, the current PCSO Board stopped the production of the television dramas, which saved P110 million; and, reduced its 2011 advertising budget by 40.8% from P928.3 million to P549.02 million. The current PCSO board was also able to obtain a 25% discount on all outstanding and valid advertising contracts. The savings from these reductions can now be rechanneled to more meaningful charitable projects.

The PCSO also spent an estimated P325 million for its intelligence funds from 2008 to 2010. The intelligence funds were allegedly used to pay for anti-jueteng operations, blood money, and for other discretionary uses. This practice has been discontinued by the present Board.

2.3.2. Cancellation of the Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project. On 17 June 2011, the President cancelled the P18.5 billion Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project (LLRP) due to inconsistencies between the project components and its intended objectives; and the lack of transparency in the review and approval of the project. A DENR study found out that due to heavy deforestation and erosion, the areas to be dredged would end up being silted again in three (3) years without massive rehabilitation of the watersheds. The DENR further noted that the approval of the supply contract was done without any thorough review. In addition, the Project’s Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) of 7.04%, which considers only the project’s quantified economic benefits, does not meet the 15% minimum hurdle rate or the minimum acceptable rate of return. In the end, despite the laudable objectives, the questionable project components of the LLRP justified its cancellation.

2.3.3. Reviewed the anomalous procurement of second-hand helicopters for the PNP Special Action Force. In 2009, the PNP procured three (3) Light Police Operational Helicopters (LPOH) for P104.99 million on the assumption that these were brand new. However, in 2011, the PNP Directorate for Logistics discovered that two (2) helicopters supplied by the Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corporation (MAPTRA) were previously owned by Asian Spirit, which leased the same to Lion Air, Inc. The PNP further discovered that two (2) helicopters, which were supposedly brand new, were used for five (5) years prior with flying times of 536.3 hours and 489.9 hours, respectively.[7]

The PNP Procurement Office also failed to recognize that MAPTRA was not an eligible supplier because it was just a newly-registered corporation at the time it transacted with the PNP. Thus, it had no record yet of completing a single contract similar to the contract to bid and of good standing as a supplier, which are requirements set by the law.[8] There was also an absence of authorized observers during the entire procurement process.[9] Lastly, the members of the inspection and acceptance committee (IAC) failed to exercise their duties with diligence as they did not possess the technical qualifications to perform the duty of the IAC that resulted in the acceptance of inferior goods.

2.4. Increasing Civil Society Participation in Governance

2.4.1. Implemented participatory budgeting. Six (6) national government agencies and three (3) GOCCs have piloted participatory budgeting with civil society organizations (CSOs), namely: the Department of Agriculture (DA); the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR); the Department of Education (DepEd); the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); the Department of Health (DOH); the DPWH; the National Housing Authority (NHA); the NFA; and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC). Participatory budgeting helps increase governance transparency by engaging CSOs in the determination of the expenditure priorities of government.

The DPWH conducted its first CSO budget consultation for FY 2012 on 28 April 2011. CSO participation included the review, assessment, and evaluation of DPWH projects programmed for 2012.  A Budget Partnership Agreement (BPA) was signed between the DPWH and “Bantay Lansangan” (Roadwatch) on 15 March 2011 to ensure a continuous budget consultation process with the private sector. As of May 2011, at least 46 CSOs had been accredited as partners of the DPWH, while 52 others had pending accreditations prior to their submission and completion of the required documents.

2.4.2. Forging an integrity pact between government and the private sector. A private sector initiative to forge a pact of integrity between the government and the private sector is rapidly gaining momentum. As of June 2011, ten (10) agencies have signed on to the Integrity Initiative, namely: DTI, DBM, DepEd, DOF, DOLE, DND, DPWH, DOT, DOE, and DOTC as well as 550 private companies. The Integrity Initiative aims to reduce corruption in the public and private sectors through the voluntary enforcement of good governance norms based on a mutually agreed code of conduct. Agencies will soon ask suppliers and bidders to sign on to their agency integrity pacts.

On 22 February 2011, the DepEd forged an integrity pact with more than 80 of its suppliers and civil society partners to promote ethical, clean, and transparent business transactions, particularly with regard to the procurement of basic education goods and services.

2.4.3. Entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with civil society groups and non-government organizations (NGOs) on the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program. As of 22 July 2011, 222 national and local non-government organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) signed a MOA with the DSWD to empower their active participation in the implementation of the CCT Program to ensure good governance and transparency.

2.4.4. Invited CSO participation in monitoring infrastructure projects. The DPWH has also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a broad coalition of CSOs, NGOs, church organizations, and the academe for the purpose of monitoring the implementation of DPWH projects.

3. Professional, Motivated, and Energized Bureaucracy and Armed Forces

The government is committed to support the combat readiness and effectiveness of the Armed Forces; recruitment and retention of quality personnel; and upliftment of soldier morale and family wellness.

From July 2010 to June 2011, a total of P21.37 million was used to repair and maintain various AFP housing units; P39.60 million was also released for the housing assistance of AFP battle casualties; another P15.19 million has been released to support AFP battle casualties; and a total of 4,535 dependents of killed in action/wounded in action were awarded educational assistance.

3.1. The President committed to provide at least 20,000 housing units for the AFP and PNP in 2011. In this light, Administrative Order (AO) No. 9 “Directing the National Housing Authority to Formulate, Implement and Manage a Housing Program for the Military and Police Personnel” was issued on 11 April 2011, which authorized the NHA to adopt the Community Initiative Approach Program (CIAP) to implement the housing program.

Under the NHA’s Socialized Housing Program, a soldier with a rank of Private, receiving a P400 monthly quarters allowance, will now be able to acquire a housing unit in any of the twelve (12) housing project sites in Brgys. (1) Buena Vista and (2) Biclatan in Gen. Trias, Cavite; (3) Brgy. Conchu, Trece Martires, Cavite; (4) Brgy. Timbao, Biñan City, Laguna; and Brgys. (5) Looc and (6) Kay-Anlog in Calamba City, Laguna; (7) Brgy. Gaya-Gaya, San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan; (8) Brgy. San Mateo, Norzagaray, Bulacan; and Brgys. (9) Batia and (10) Tambubong in Bocaue, Bulacan; and (11) Brgy. Pinugay, Baras, Rizal and (12) Brgy. San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal. A housing beneficiary is required to pay the housing unit for 30 years, with a monthly amortization of at least P200.00 for the first five (5) years. The Aquino Administration will subsidize P35,000.00 for each housing beneficiary.

The ground breaking of the AFP-PNP Housing Project in Barangay Batia, Bocaue, Bulacan was held on 23 May 2011. The first 4,000 Certificates of Land Entitlement and Lot Allotment (CELA) were awarded and 90 housing units were turned over to AFP and PNP personnel in Brgy. Looc, Calamba City, Laguna; Brgy. Batia, Bocaue, Bulacan; Brgy. Gaya-Gaya, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan; and Brgy. Pinugay, Baras, Rizal on 15 July 2011.

3.2. The President signed EO No. 15 on 20 December 2010, which increased the current combat duty pay of soldiers from P240 to P500 effective January 2011.

3.3. To further unify and strengthen the AFP, the President issued Presidential Proclamation No. 75 granting amnesty to individuals who participated in the 25 July 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the February 2006 Marines Stand Off, and the 29 November 2007 Manila Peninsula Hotel Incident.

4. Revenue Generation Enforcement

In his first SONA, the President pledged that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) would file weekly cases against tax evaders and smugglers. Through the implementation of the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) of the BIR and the Run After the Smugglers (RATS) of the BOC, the leaks in the government’s coffers continue to be plugged. Moreover, the DOF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) investigated allegations of corruption in the DOF and its attached agencies.

4.1. The current administration intensified the implementation of its RATE program that in just one year, the tax evasion cases filed with the DOJ reached almost half of the 129 cases filed during the previous administration. From July 2010 to 07 July 2011, the BIR was able to file 55 tax evasion cases, involving a total taxable amount of over P22 billion.

4.2. As of 19 July 2011, filed with the DOJ 39 criminal cases involving 179 suspected smugglers with a total dutiable value of P54 billion. Of the 39 cases, one (1) has been filed in court, 21 have been submitted for resolution by the DOJ, seven (7) are under preliminary investigation, while 10 are up for preliminary investigation.

4.3. As of 19 July 2011, the DOF has filed 86 cases against allegedly corrupt government employees before the Office of the Ombudsman since 2003. A total of 53 officials have been suspended since the beginning of the RIPS program in 2003, 17 were suspended under President Aquino’s watch. A total of 19 officials have been dismissed from the service since 2003, three (3) of whom were dismissed under the term of President Aquino.

5. Making the Country an Attractive Investment Location.

5.1. Streamlined business name registration. The DTI successfully implemented measures to reduce the time span of business name registration from an average of 4 to 8 hours to within 15 minutes. The Enhanced Business Name Registration System (EBNRS) simplified the application process by reducing the required information fields from 36 to 18, resulting in the reduction of the application form from nine (9) pages to a single page.

5.2. Streamlined issuance of local government business permits.  The DILG also signed a Joint Memorandum Circular with the DTI to streamline the Business Permits and Licensing System (BPLS) of 480 priority cities, capital towns, and municipalities from 2010 to 2012.  Out of these 480 priority LGUs, 18% or 86 LGUs have already streamlined their BPLS. Meanwhile, for all 1,634 cities and municipalities in the country, at least 21% are ready for the streamlining of their BPLS.

As a result, LGUs utilizing the new and improved BPLS offer better service to applicants for business permits in their respective areas of jurisdiction. LGUs are encouraged to use a single or unified form in every transaction, with a maximum of five (5) steps and five (5) signatories. The outcome is a “Business Friendly LGU” that offers reduced processing time for business permits and licenses, i.e., 10 days or less processing time for new applications and five days for license renewals.

5.3. Developed an electronic payment system. The PEZA has completed the development of an Electronic Payment System for four (4) out of five (5) selected transactions of PEZA enterprises. PEZA’s E-payment System is a cashless payment solution that allows clients to pay for transactions with PEZA online, 24 hours a day, and from anywhere. This system promotes greater transparency and efficiency.

5.4. Promoted competition. The President issued EO 45 on 9 June 2011, designating the DOJ as the Competition Authority. This will encourage competition and open markets. EO 45 mandates the DOJ to conduct investigations, enforce competition laws, and prosecute violators. It also authorizes the DOJ to supervise competition in the markets; monitor and implement measures to promote transparency and accountability in the markets; and to call on government agencies to submit reports and provide assistance to the agency. With this EO, the government will be able to strengthen its enforcement of existing antitrust laws and policies to promote a level playing field, while Congress deliberates on the pending antitrust bills.

B. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1. Sustaining Economic Growth and Employment

In the first quarter of 2011, real GDP grew by 4.9%, slower than the 8.4% growth in the same period in 2010 but very close to the 5.0%-6.0% forecast of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) for the year. Furthermore, this growth is within the NEDA’s forecast for the first quarter of 4.8%-5.8% and higher than the growth rate of Malaysia, Korea, and Thailand[10] for the same period. The strong performance of the industry and agriculture sectors, increased investments in capital formation, and increased household final consumption expenditure boosted growth.

In April 2011, the unemployment rate went down to 7.2%, significantly lower than the 8.0% rate in April 2010 due to stronger growth of agricultural employment. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 228,000 from 3.099 million in April 2010 to 2.871 million in April 2011. Employment level grew by 4.0% in April 2011, translating to a net addition of 1.408 million employed persons in the private sector.

1.1. Expanded Trade and Investments. Crucial to the goal of generating jobs is the promotion of key investment areas and expansion of trade and investment activities where the country could be globally competitive (e.g., tourism, business process outsourcing and information technology, among others).

1.1.1. Increase in Philippine Exports. Exports increased by 33.7% from $38.4 billion in 2009 to $51.4 billion in 2010, even surpassing the $50.27 billion record set in 2007. The 2010 export growth is the highest in 11 years since 1999. Exports grew by 7.5% from US$19.2 billion from January to May 2010 to US$20.6 billion in the same period in 2011.

1.1.2. Increase in Investments. For the period July 2010 to May 2011, the BOI and PEZA approved a total of P535.19 billion worth of investments, a 73% increase compared to the P309.87 billion approved investments in the same comparative period in 2009 and 2010. The P535.19 billion investments are expected to generate 137,118 employment opportunities once fully operational.

The larger part or 68% of the total investment approvals during the period July 2010 to May 2011 came from local investors with committed investments worth P366.62 billion, 95% larger than the P187.53 billion in July 2009 to May 2010. Foreign investors contributed a total of P168.57 billion or about 32% of the total.

Just looking at the first five months of 2011, the strong business confidence, particularly from local investors, was evident as overall domestic investments soared by 258% to a total of P224.57 billion from the P62.78 billion level posted during the same period in 2010. The bulk of these domestic investments went into manufacturing (e.g., refined petroleum products, metals, and electronic products), power, and real estate activities, among others.

1.1.3. Investments in Major Sectors. The following major investments in key sectors form part of the approved investments for the period July 2010 to May 2011:

  • Manufacturing. The manufacturing sector tops the list of sectors with the highest committed investments worth P283.07 billion during the period July 2010-May 2011, a 131% increase compared to the P122.30 billion posted in the same period in 2009-2010.
  • Electronics. The Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines (SEIPI) reported that electronics investments in the country broke an all-time record high as fresh capital expanded by 369% from $484 million in 2009 to $2.27 billion in 2010. This is also the 7th year the industry hit over $1 billion in investments. As a result, 24,552 direct jobs will be generated. Of the 100 companies, which registered in 2010, 10 are expansions while the rest are new projects. The industry hopes to double its exports in six (6) years from $22 billion in 2009 to $50 billion in 2016. The industry is bullish for 2011 as its exports are expected to hit over $31 billion noting that the electronics sector will continue to be the driver of growth of Philippine exports.
  • Information Technology – Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO). A total of 30,198 IT-BPO jobs were created for the first quarter of 2011. At least 84,000 more jobs are expected to be generated in the BPO industry within 2011. The BPO industry includes call centers, legal and medical transcription, accounting services, software development and animation, and other services for overseas principals. To help fill up the projected vacancies, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will offer free six-month training courses for prospective BPO workers. Graduates will be absorbed by the BPO companies. TESDA has allotted a total of P20 million for the free training of workers.
  • Shipbuilding. Investments in shipping increased because of foreign investors’ access to 100% ownership of companies engaged in shipbuilding and repair.
  • Mining. The mining and quarrying sectors recorded the highest increase in approved FDI, from P0.6 billion in 2009 to P 6.0 billion in 2010. The 2010 investments in mining are about nine times larger than the 2009 mining investments.
  • Mass Housing. Investments are huge at P59.02 billion. These investments, which represent about 50,000 units, are also expected to generate around P900 billion[11] worth of investments in related industries.
  • Energy. On 30 June 2011, the DOE launched the fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR4), the biggest of all contracting rounds, in which 15 blocks with a total area of more than 10 million hectares were offered. The PECR4 is envisioned to address the country’s energy supply through the exploration of local indigenous resources. This will help the country meet its daily demand and reduce the importation of petroleum and petroleum products.

The PECR4 road shows have attracted at least 140 independent and large-scale international exploration companies expressing their interest to tender bids in the offered blocks. The DOE expects around US$300-500 million for each service contract[12]. Interested investors will have until December 2011 to signify their intent to bid while the contracts are expected to be awarded next year.

1.2. Improved fiscal consolidation

1.2.1. The government deficit in 2010 was at P314.40 billion, 3.23% lower than the P325 billion programmed deficit for the year.[13] The lower deficit was due to the implementation of measures to improve collections and spend wisely.

1.2.2. For the first five months of 2011, the government posted a deficit of P9.54 billion, 94.11% lower than the P162.107 billion deficit in the same period in 2010. However, excluding interest payments on debt, the National Government (NG) incurred a primary surplus[14] of P108.26 billion as of May 2011 due to increased revenues and sound spending, along with the strict observance of the principles of zero-based budgeting.

1.2.3. Revenue collection increased to P1.21 trillion in 2010, 7.5% higher than the P1.12 trillion in 2009. The BIR’s collections increased from P750.30 billion in 2009 to P822.60 billion in 2010. The BOC’s collections increased by 17.7% from P220.30 billion in 2009 to P259.2 billion in 2010.

1.2.4. Revenues grew by 16.30% from P500.01 billion in the first five months of 2010 to P581.50 billion in the same period of 2011.

1.2.5. The government lowered its disbursements by 10.73% from P662.12 billion in the first five months of 2010 to P591.04 billion in the same period of 2011 due to more prudent planning and sound spending of agencies. Government disbursed P1.52 trillion in 2010, or about 94% of the P1.62 trillion programmed for that year.

1.3. Other important initiatives to improve the fiscal position include the following:

1.3.1. Congress’ prompt enactment of the 2011 General Appropriations Act (GAA) on 27 December 2010, the first budget passed on time since the 1999 National Budget. The P1.65 trillion 2011 national budget is in favor of the poor and the vulnerable, as social services were allotted the lion’s share (34%). The budget is based on the principle of zero-based budgeting, the objective of which is to cut wastage.

1.3.2. The 2012 Budget preparation is ahead of schedule, again, the first budget prepared ahead of schedule since 1998. As early as 30 December 2010, the DBM had already issued National Budget Memorandum (NBM) No. 107, s. 2010 providing all heads of departments, agencies, bureaus, offices, commissions, state universities and colleges, and other instrumentalities of the national government the overall policy framework and thrusts for the FY 2012 Budget. The NBM also set specific guidelines for the budget preparations.

1.3.3. Liability Management. Various upgrades in the country’s ratings were obtained. Debt watcher Standard & Poor’s revised its long-term foreign currency credit rating for the Philippines upwards to BB stable from BB- last November, reflecting the country’s strong fiscal fundamentals. The Moody’s Investors Service and the Japan Credit Rating Agency, Ltd. also raised their outlooks for the Philippines from “stable” to “positive” in January and April 2011, respectively. The upgraded outlook from Japan “reflects greater possibility that the Philippine economy will resume momentum for the improving trend of its fiscal position after successfully weathering the challenges of the world financial crisis.” For the second time in 2011, Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded the Philippines’ Ba3 foreign and local currency long-term bond ratings to Ba2, with a stable outlook, on the back of sustainable fiscal consolidation process of the Aquino administration. On 23 June 2011, Fitch Ratings upgraded the Philippines’ Long-Term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘BB+’ from ‘BB,’ with a stable outlook, just one notch below investment grade. This rating was last achieved in 1997 just before the Asian financial crisis. With the upgrade, the country is now one step closer to attaining an investment grade rating, which is crucial in further lowering borrowing costs and attracting more foreign direct investments.

The Aquino administration moved early in executing its first Global Exchange last September 2010 wherein a total of US$2.29 billion worth of short-term, high coupon U.S. dollar bonds were exchanged into less costly but longer dated Republic of the Philippines (ROP) global bonds. This represented one of the largest liability management exercises from an emerging market issuer at the time and was immediately followed by the P199 billion domestic bond swap in December 2010, which offered 10 and 25-year securities to holders of maturing bonds.

Debt exchanges and the issuance of longer-termed securities increased the average maturity of government debt to 8.8 years in December 2010 from 7.9 years in June 2010.

The debt-to-GDP ratio dropped from 57% in 2009 to 55.4% in 2010, well within the 2010 target of 56.5%. This means that the Philippine government is in a better position to settle its liabilities.

The government decreased debt servicing by 2.14% year-on-year from P339.34 billion in the 1st quarter of 2010 to P332.07 billion in the first quarter of 2011 as the Aquino government cut down on interest payments.

1.4. Ensuring Monetary and Banking Stability

The government maintained an effective balance on policies to preserve price stability and support economic growth. As a result, inflation for 2010 averaged at 3.8%, which was within the Government’s 2010 inflation target of 3.5%-5.5%. The inflation rate for the first five months of 2011 averages at 4.2%, which was likewise, within the Government’s target of 3%-5%.

1.4.1. Government also ensured a stable, market-driven peso. The peso appreciated by 6.8%, from P47.46/US$1 average in July-December 2009 to P44.45/US$1 in July-December 2010. The peso appreciated by 4.8%, from P45.66/US$1 average in January to May 2010 to 43.55/US$1 average in January to May 2011. The sustained foreign exchange inflows of portfolio and direct investments, overseas Filipinos (OF) remittances, receipts from exports, BPO, and travel continued to support the peso’s strength.

The country’s international reserves were built up, taking advantage of the strong inflows of foreign exchange to cushion the economy from external shocks. As a result, the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) grew by 44% from US$47.7 billion in end-May 2010 to $68.8 billion as of end-May 2011.[15] The country is expected to achieve the 2011 GIR target level of $70 billion as it anticipates sustained foreign exchange inflows from portfolio and direct investments, OF remittances and receipts from exports, BPO and travel.

1.4.2. The government continued to pursue reforms and implement new regulations to maintain the soundness and stability of the banking system. The total resources of the banking system rose by 9.4% to P7.1 trillion as of end-March 2011, spurred by the robust growth in bank deposits which grew by 9.3% to P5.0 trillion.

Asset quality continued to improve with the non-performing loan ratio[16] of universal and commercial banks falling to 2.95% as of end-April 2011. This is well below the pre-1997 crisis level of 4%. The banking system’s overall capitalization also remained strong, with a 17% capital adequacy ratio (CAR) [17] as of end-September 2010. This is way above the BSP regulatory requirement of 10% and the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) standard of 8%. With stability and ample liquidity in the banking system, banks continued to perform their critical function of channeling credit to the productive sectors of the economy. Bank lending grew at a healthy pace of 14.2% as loans for production activities increased by 15.7% in April.

1.4.3. Stock Market. Since the start of the Aquino Administration, the Philippines Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) hit all-time high levels on seven (7) different occasions: on 20 July 2011 at an all-time high of 4,507.04 points; 19 July 2011 at 4,485.65 points; 18 July 2011 at 4,476.01 points; 15 July 2011 at 4,458.74 points; 5 July 2011 at 4,439.61 points; 4 July 2011 at 4,421.56 points; and 4 November 2010 at 4,397.30 points. Mining and Oil, holding firms, and industrial sectors are among those industries that outperformed their own previous performances in the stock exchange.

2. Ensuring Vital Infrastructure and Energy Sufficiency

2.1 Improved infrastructure support to sustain economic growth. The following are some of the major infrastructure projects completed during the first year of the Aquino Administration:

Name of Project

 

Amount

Completion Date

Valderrama Bridge and Approaches, Antique (UK-ODA)

P53.07 million

28 March 2011

Bugo Bridge and Approaches, Antique (Austria-ODA)

P148.17 million

31 March 2011

Estrella–Pantaleon Bridge and Approaches, Makati and Mandaluyong City (GOP and Austria-ODA)

P189.32 million

15 January 2011

Butuan City Bypass Road (Bonbon-Banacasi Airport Section and Lemon-Antongalon Section), Agusan Del Norte

P177.96 million

30 April 2011

Butuan City-Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Road  (Agusan-Misamis Road), Agusan del Norte

P105.12 million

26 October 2010

Tiniwisan-Maguinda Road (Lemon-Pigdaulan Section), Agusan del Norte

P335.03 million

23 April 2011

Metro Iloilo Radial (R4) Bypass Road and Iloilo City-Sta.Barbara Road

P1.21 billion

23 April 2011

ODA and partnerships with the private sector augment government’s infrastructure spending to ensure the timely and full completion of our infrastructure priorities. The DPWH’s management philosophy of “Doing the right projects at the right cost and right quality” also resulted in increased savings.

The DPWH aims to use these savings for prioritization of other development projects. For 2011, P16.20 billion or 24.3% of the total DPWH Capital Outlay has been allocated for infrastructure development in Mindanao. This will help facilitate economic growth in the region.

2.2 Upgrading the quality and safety of national roads.

2.2.1 Strictly enforced the anti-overloading program pursuant to RA No. 8794 (MVUC Law). The DPWH deployed additional mobile weighing stations to augment the 22 weighbridge stations nationwide. Out of 92,279 weighed trucks in the 22 weighbridge stations nationwide, 37% or 34,026 trucks were overloaded and apprehended from January to May 2011, while 4,188 trucks or 3% of 143,928 weighed trucks in the 13 mobile weighing stations in Metro Manila were apprehended from February to May 2011.

2.2.2 Enhanced road safety and minimized traffic congestion on major roads. A total of 757,809 violators of transport laws and regulations were apprehended for the period July 2010-April 2011. This is 45.79% higher than the DOTC’s target to apprehend 519,780 errant drivers for the same period.

2.3 Working Towards Energy Sufficiency

2.3.1 Energy Efficiency and Conservation. The DOE took the following initiatives to promote the conservation and efficient utilization of energy resources:

2.3.1.1 Established the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Visayas, which immediately stabilized electricity supply and eliminated the manual load dropping of customers. WESM Visayas has also provided good market signals for investors. Currently, there are already 180 market participants for the integrated Luzon and Visayas market. On the other hand, the Effective Settlement Price (ESP) in the WESM for both Luzon and Visayas from January to April 2011 ranged from a high of P3.33/kWh in February to a low of P2.30/kWh in March 2011. These prices are lower than the NPC regulated price of P4.6727/kWh. This is a big reduction from the 2010 ESPs which ranged from a high of P10.63/kWh in March 2010 to a low of P3.63/kWh in August 2010. This means that the more players in the market translate to a more stable and reliable supply of electricity, as well as better power pricing for the benefit of consumers.

With the commercial operations of the WESM in the region, power outages were eliminated as it allowed even the power plant’s generating capacity not covered by bilateral contracts to be dispatched by trading its capacity in the power spot market. This kind of set-up provides better market condition and structure to entice more investors to address future power needs.

2.3.1.2 Increased the Visayas generation capacity by 610 MW with the commissioning of new power plants in the Visayas region. These power plants are the 246 MW coal-fired power plant of the Cebu Energy Development Corporation (CEDC), the 164 MW clean coal-fired power plant of the Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC), and the 200 MW coal-fired power plant of the KEPCO Salcon Power Corporation. This gave the Visayas surplus power of about 600MW. Increased and constant investor interest, in turn, will provide a long-term solution in terms of power sustainability for the region.

2.3.1.3 A Shareholders’ Agreement was recently signed to develop a 600-MW circulating fluidized bed coal-fired power plant project within Subic Bay Freeport Zone. The project consists of two (2) 300-MW generating units. The total cost of the project is estimated at US$1 billion and its commercial operations is scheduled in October 2014 (for the first 300-MW unit) and April 2015 (for the second unit). Said power plant will use an environment-friendly clean coal technology known worldwide to cut down environmental impacts of operating a coal fired plant. The power facility is expected to augment generation capacity of the Luzon Grid.

2.3.1.4 Promoted the “Don Emilio Abello Energy Efficiency Awards”[18], whose recipients, including some 61 industrialized, commercial, and transport companies, were able to post total savings of 156 million liters of oil amounting to P5 billion, and reduced carbon emissions equivalent to 269,000 tons.

2.3.1.5 Conducted 12 energy audits[19] for industrial, commercial, academe, and government buildings to ensure the efficient use of energy. Total energy savings reached P24.6 million after the conduct of such audits.

3. Achieving Food Security for More Equitable Economic Growth

The country has been highly dependent on the importation of food staples. To lessen the nation’s dependence on imports, Government has placed top priority on agricultural development.

3.1 The Agriculture sector (Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing) grew by 4.2% in the first quarter of 2011 from a negative growth of 1.08% in the first quarter of 2010. The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) reported a 4.04 million metric ton (MT) palay production in January to March 2011, 15.6% higher than the 3.49 million MT produced in the same period in 2010.

The yield per hectare is estimated to reach 3.8 MT from January to June 2011, a 4.3% improvement from the 3.64 MT per hectare in the same period in 2010. As such, the farmer’s profit per hectare would reach P14,782.00 from January to June 2011, a 4% improvement from the P14,159.00 profit per hectare in the same period last year.

Expansion in palay harvested area, availability of irrigation water and services, and aggressive advocacy of the DA in the implementation of its Rapid Seed Supply Financing Project, which distributes high quality seeds to qualified palay farmers, contributed to the increase in palay output.

3.2 Completed projects to strengthen the agricultural sector

3.2.1. Under the continuing regular fund from the DA, a total of 1,814 kilometers of Farm to Market Roads (FMRs) were completed from July 2010 to May 2011, out of the targeted 2,567 kilometers. In addition, 687 kms more FMRs were completed under the locally-funded and foreign assisted projects. Overall, a total of 2,501 kms of completed FMRs provide better access to markets and social services and boost economic activities by allowing goods and products to flow in and out of the barangays. FMRs also help reduce transport costs, spoilage and deterioration of quality of agricultural products, and facilitate delivery of farm inputs.

3.2.2. From July 2010 to June 2011, a total of 65 tramlines were completed connecting remote areas to FMRs. A total of 67 agricultural tramlines were completed since project start-up in 2009, which is 63% of the targeted 107 units to be completed by December 2011. The use of these tramlines cuts the cost of hauling by half from P2 to P1 per kilogram of produce and reduces hauling time significantly from hours to just a few minutes.

Inaugurated on 13 April 2011 at Twin Peaks, Tuba, Benguet, a 400-meter tramline has reduced hauling time from 2 hours to five minutes.  Farmers pay P1 per kilo of produce to cover the cost of diesel fuel, engine maintenance and other repairs and allowance for the tramline operator.

On 25 February 2011, a tramline built by DA-Philmech at a cost of P1.6 million was inaugurated in La Paz, Zamboanga City, a barangay located 970 meters above sea level.  A 370 meter distance between the barangay and the closest national road used to take 12 hours to traverse.  With the tramline, travel time over this distance has been reduced to three minutes.  A local group, the La Paz Farmers’ Association operates the tramline collecting a fee of one peso for a load of 350 kilos of corn and vegetables.

3.2.3. All in all, in the first 11 months of the Aquino Administration (July 2010 to May 2011), 11,611 hectares of new areas were irrigated, 40,053 hectares were restored, and 171,910 hectares were rehabilitated both for current and carry over projects. Restoration entails repairing the irrigation facility that is currently not functional while rehabilitation means upgrading or improving the facility, which is currently working but has not attained the maximum or designed irrigation efficiency.

3.2.4. Put up the following post-harvest facilities:

  • One hundred eighty seven (187) food terminals from July 2010 to April 2011 benefiting 1,155 small farmers and fishers. These food terminals provide affordable basic food commodities to around 457,859 households who are able to save not only from low-priced commodities but also from cuts in transportation expenses and reduction of middlemen costs. The savings on transportation cost ranges from P8–P200 for every trip to the market.
  • Thirteen (13) or 68% of the targeted 19 Corn Post Harvest Trading Centers (CPHTC) in major corn producing areas nationwide. These centers ensure continuous supply of corn even during the wet season, guarantee premium quality, and open opportunity for other investments in the corn industry.
  • A total of 1,342 small scale composting facilities in the different regions nationwide, reaching 100% of the target, and generating 5,368 jobs. This forms part of the government’s promotion of organic farming through the Organic Fertilizer Production Project, which will enable farmers to produce their own organic fertilizer to reduce dependence on expensive synthetic fertilizers.
  • A total of 56 units of flatbed dryers from July 2010 to April 2011, attaining 100% of the target and generating 402 jobs. These will reduce post-harvest losses during the drying stage of palay and ensure quality drying during the rainy season.
  • Four (4) cold chain facilities[20] from July 2010 to May 2011 would enable farmers of high value crops to store their fruits and vegetables in the appropriate temperature and prolong the quality and shelf life of perishable crops, obtaining for the farmers a better selling price for their produce. These facilities were turned over to three (3) cooperatives in Benguet, Palayan City, and San Jose City, benefiting 139 farmers.
  • Ten (10) units of Village-Type post-harvest facilities as of June 2011, in key corn production areas and strategic demand sites nationwide. Thirty-one (31) more units are expected to be completed and operational by the end of 2011.

3.3. Fostered a culture of self-reliance

3.3.1 Some of the strategies under the Food Staple Self-Sufficiency program include the termination of direct input subsidies to farmers and front-loading of irrigation investments in 2012 and 2013 to increase output as early as possible, thus decreasing the need to import rice. These actions are already bearing fruit as seen in the bumper crop harvest from January to March 2011.

3.3.2 The country’s rice importation dropped significantly by 80% from an import volume of 2.02 million MT from July 2009 to June 2010 to 386,243 MT from July 2010 to June 2011. The decrease in volume of actual rice import arrivals can be attributed to the good harvest and the comfortable stock position of the country. Likewise, rice shipments were scheduled better. From here on, NFA buffer stocks will consist mainly of palay purchased from local farmers—a long standing demand of the rice farmers. From January to June 2011, the government through the NFA has procured some P7.64 billion worth of palay from all over the country. This is 16% of the NFA stock. The NFA targets to increase this volume from the harvest from the main cropping season later this year.

The total rice imported in 2010 was 2.38 million MT. For 2011, the government shall import 64% less or 860,000 MT, with 200,000 MT imported by the government, and 660,000 MT by the private sector. For 2012, rice imports shall further decline to 500,000 MT, with 100,000 MT imported by the government and 400,000 MT imported by the private sector.

3.3.2. The government was able to increase the average farm gate price of palay by 2.89% within a short period, thereby immediately increasing the farmer’s income. Strategic reserves and placements made it possible for the price of rice to remain stable, thereby assuring the affordability and availability of rice to the public.

3.3.3. Production in the crops subsector was also up by 8.19% and the main contributors were palay, corn, sugarcane, and banana. The country has regained its status as net sugar exporter for the current crop year, having recovered from the sugar shortage in 2009-2010 when the country imported raw and refined sugar.

3.3. Other Agribusiness Interventions

Livestock. Today, the Philippines is both avian flu-free and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) free. The OIE[21], or the World Animal Health Organization, last May 2011 certified the Philippines as “FMD-free without vaccination.” This accreditation opens the gates for the country’s hog raisers to export meat products.

4. Improving National Productivity and Competitiveness

4.1. National Competitiveness Council (NCC). NCC was reconstituted through the issuance of EO No. 44, s. 2011. NCC is working on improving the Philippine standing on competitiveness indicators where the Philippines had the lowest rankings including infrastructure, governance, and ease of doing business.

4.2. Tourism Industry. In 2010, visitor arrivals surpassed the 3.3 million target for the year reaching an all-time high of 3.52 million, 16.67% higher than the 2009 visitor arrivals of 3.01 million. In just the first year of the Aquino administration, a 15.60% increase in visitor arrivals was recorded from 3.2 million arrivals in the period July 2009-June 2010 to 3.7 million arrivals in the period July 2010-June 2011.

More particularly, in the first six months of the Aquino Administration, visitor volume grew by 21%, faster than the first semester of 2010’s 12% growth. Total receipts from visitors increased by 11.3% from $2.24 billion in 2009 to $2.49 billion in 2010. This may be attributed to the confidence in the new administration, as well as the improved economic conditions in tourist source markets.

The continued growth in visitor volume is the result of sustained marketing and promotions efforts undertaken jointly by the public and private sectors in key source markets, such as attendance to travel fairs, invitational programs and very selective advertising.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) granted new permits to operate regular air services to the following: Korean Airlines, Gulf Air, Continental Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, which are expected to provide weekly seat capacity of 12,090 from Korea, Bahrain, Guam, and Palau.   The CAB also granted permits to Jin Air, Jetstar Airways, Air Busan, Mandarin Airlines, Air Nippon Airways, and Jeju Air. These airlines are expected to bring in 1,498 and 2,265 tourists weekly from Japan and Korea, respectively.

The DOT further estimates that there will be an additional 37,623 potential Japanese tourists and 56,888 potential Korean tourists in the country with these additional seat capacities.

It may be noted that in 2010, Korean tourists accounted for the biggest chunk of visitor arrivals or 21.04% (740,622) while Japanese visitors accounted for 10.19% (358,744) of total tourist arrivals.

4.3. Pocket Open Skies Policy. EO Nos. 28 and 29 were issued on 14 March 2011, which aims to reorganize the Philippine Air Negotiating Panel and Philippine Air Consultation Panel; and authorize the CAB and the Philippine Air Panels to pursue more aggressively the international civil aviation liberalization policy. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) was approved by the CAB Board and published in Manila Bulletin on 09 May 2011. It is also available in the CAB website.

4.4. Encouraging Local Innovation. The DOST is concentrating its efforts on innovating and promoting technology as economical solutions to exigent socio-economic matters that affect our country. This includes the development of the ovicidal/larvicidal (O/L) trap. This is a simple tool to lessen the incidence of dengue. The O/L trap consists of a tin can containing an organic solution that attracts and terminates the eggs and larvae of mosquitoes. As of May 2011, the DOST distributed four traps per household or a total of 200,000 O/L traps to 50,000 households nationwide.

Another innovation that the DOST is developing is a prototype of the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) System, a monorail-type rapid mass transit system that employs a rubber tire on concrete form of conveyance. Unlike the common light-rail type train systems available in the country, the AGT System requires less space for its structural support, making it suitable for the narrow spaces that are available in the cities. It is also cost-efficient, Philippine-made, and environmentally-friendly.

Yet another important DOST innovation is the landslide sensor. A landslide sensor is an automated borehole sensor column that is buried in the ground. It gathers data on ground movement and soil moisture content, and sends it automatically to a computer that runs predictive models for landslides called Dynaslope. A landslide sensor is currently deployed in Benguet and there are plans to install more sensors in provinces such as Southern Leyte, Albay, and Bohol within the year.

C. HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION

The anti-corruption call “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap” further serves as a means to achieve a higher end, which is to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of the Filipino people. It increases investments and advances economic development to further free-up resources for much needed social interventions. Towards this end, a convergence approach has been adopted, with opportunities for education, housing, health care, employment, and livelihood made available. With savings arising from eliminating wasteful and corrupt practices, programs and projects for social intervention can be funded. These include the following:

1. Building Capacities of the Poor and Marginalized

1.1 Expanded coverage of the CCT or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid Pamilya). The government has reached the targeted 1 million households in 2010, and intends to cover an additional 1.3 million households for a total of 2.3 million households by the end of 2011.

As of 10 July 2011, a total of 2,201,792 household beneficiaries, or 94.12% of the 2,339,241 million households target for 2011, have been registered in the program. The registration for the remaining 137,449 households is on-going.

As of 30 May 2011, the cash grants funded cover 1,619,974 household beneficiaries.

Overall average compliance rate vis-à-vis the program conditionalities in 2010 for household beneficiaries belonging to Set 1[22]and 2[23] is high, as may be observed in the following:

PROGRAM CONDITIONALITY

RATE

Health Visits  (for pregnant women and children 0-5 years old)

96.16%

Education (Day Care)

95.40%

Education (Elementary)

96.86%

Family Development Sessions

95.92%

From January to April 2011, high compliance rate to the program conditionalities was also recorded:

CONDITIONALITY

January

February

March

April

Health Visits (for pregnant women and children 0-5 y.o.)

90.82%

91.94%

92.86%

93.72%

Education (Day Care)

90.20%

90.95%

92.82%

not available

Education (Elementary)

90.27%

90.82%

92.69%

not available

Family Development Sessions

96.34%

96.47%

96.64%

96.45%

The high compliance rates with the program’s conditions indicate that the people are responsive to the importance of investing in health and education in order to improve their quality of life. Currently, the DSWD is converging its core social protection programs (i.e., Pantawid Pamilya, the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, and the Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran Program) to ensure that poverty reduction objectives of the Aquino Administration are accomplished.

1.2 Empowered communities through the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS).

The KALAHI-CIDSS is a strategy for community empowerment and poverty reduction that employs a community-driven development (CDD) approach. KALAHI-CIDSS allows communities to identify, analyze and prioritize the projects that would best solve their immediate needs (e.g., water systems, school buildings, day care centers, barangay health stations, electrification, housing, access roads/trails/bridges, livelihood assistance, environmental protection/ conservation programs, and skills training, among others). From July 2010 to 30 May 2011, the KALAHI-CIDSS projects have been implemented in 10 regions, 25 provinces, 78 municipalities, and 1,759 barangays. The program’s capacity building initiatives have been completed benefitting the 40,112 targeted community volunteers. These initiatives cover the conduct of project development and management, financial management, procurement, development planning, and infrastructure implementation.

As of 30 June 2011, out of the 570 targeted community projects, 490 community sub-projects costing P507.94 million, have been completed, benefiting 133,439 households. The sub-projects include the construction of health and day care centers, pre- and post-harvest facilities, roads, and bridges, among others.

1.3 Enhancing the capacity of the poor for entrepreneurship through the Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) Program. The SEA-K is a capability building and livelihood program that aims to enable poor families to establish and manage sustainable community-based credit organizations for entrepreneurship development.

From July 2010 to June 2011, a total of P120,058,333 was released to 21,296 families as capital seed fund at a maximum of P10,000 per family. Out of which, P40,349,333 has been released to 5,572 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries under the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the DSWD’s Convergence Strategy.

2. Advancing and Protecting Public Health

Universal Health Care or Kalusugang Pangkalahatan is the government’s response to the inequities and lack of access to health care. It envisions providing all Filipinos with quality and appropriate health care whenever and wherever needed.

2.1. Pursued Universal Health Care.  The National Household Targeting System for Poverty-Reduction (NHTS-PR) has identified 5.2 million households[24] for enrolment in the Sponsored Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

As of 19 July, all of the 5.2 million families identified by the NHTS-PR are now enrolled in PhilHealth under the Sponsored Program. This represents 100% of the families classified by NHTS-PR as the poorest Filipino families.

Starting August 2011, PhilHealth will offer the poorest of the poor a no-balance billing package covering 22 medical and surgical cases[25]. This means that for the poor patients who belong in the 5.2 million families identified by the NHTS-PR and enrolled in PhilHealth, no payments shall be required by the public health facility or public hospital for the treatment of illnesses such as dengue, diarrhea, pneumonia, typhoid fever or asthma, or for normal or caesarean deliveries during childbirth, among others.

2.2. Upgrading the rural health units and government hospitals. A total of P7.1 billion has been allocated in 2011 for the Health Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP),[26] P5.70 billion of which shall be used for the improvement of rural health units (RHUs) and barangay health stations, while P1.40 billion shall be used for the enhancement of DOH retained hospitals.

A total of P3.70 billion was also released to various LGUs nationwide for the upgrading of health infrastructure. The amount funded a total of 553 projects for the civil works and upgrading of equipment for Basic and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetrics and Neonatal Care (BEmONC) in new or renovated health centers and government hospitals.

2.3. Provided more health workers to the unserved and underserved communities

2.3.1. Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RNheals) Program. As of 28 June 2011, the DOH has deployed 9,884 out of the targeted 10,000 nurses to 1,331 municipalities. This program aims to help uplift the health conditions of the poor in the rural and underserved municipalities.

2.3.2. Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) Program. As of 28 June 2011, 83 doctors were deployed to 83 5th and 6th class municipalities that had few or no medical practitioners, thereby improving access to quality healthcare.

2.3.3. Rural Health Midwives Placement Program (RHMPP). As of 28 June 2011, 173 midwives were deployed to 15 regions to provide maternal and child health care services in the CCT areas, BEmONC facilities and in the unserved, underserved, and hard-to-reach 5th and 6th class municipalities.

2.3.4. Rural Health Team Placement Program (RHTPP). As of 28 June 2011, 44 dentists, 43 medical technologists and 40 nutritionist-dieticians were also deployed to 105 municipalities to provide the community with a complete healthcare package.

2.4 Other health-related accomplishments

The Iligtas sa Tigdas ang Pinas Program. For the period 4 April 2011 to 04 June 2011, the DOH allocated P635 million to procure vaccines and other mobilization requirements for the nationwide door-to-door vaccination of an estimated 18 million children aged 9 to 95 months old. Out of the 18 million target, 15,321,749 children or 82% have been vaccinated.

Government effort on Dengue. Due to intensive public information, preventive measures and collaboration among government and the private sector, as of July 2011, the number of dengue cases is lower by 13.8% with 34,090 compared to 39, 556 last year.

3. Providing Access to Quality Education

3.1. Allocated a bigger budget for basic education. The government allocated P207.30 billion for basic education in 2011, which is 18.46% higher than the 2010 budget of P175 billion. The budget includes P2.30 billion[27] for the 1,193,550 kindergarten students for SY 2011-2012, the start of universal kindergarten under the government’s K to 12 program. The budget also includes P5.8 billion for the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) program, which shall benefit 757,806 students for school year 2011-2012, a 9.54% increase over the 2010-2011 period. Furthermore, to ensure that more students from marginalized families benefit from the GASTPE Program, the tuition subsidy for students residing outside Metro Manila was increased from P5,000 to P5,500.

3.2. Constructed more classrooms and toilets. From July 2010 to May 2011, 2,493 new classrooms had been constructed out of the remaining 3,962 classrooms to be constructed using funds from fiscal years 2008 to 2010. The remaining classrooms are expected to be completed from August to October of 2011. The construction of new classrooms, this time provided for in DepEd’s 2011 budget, commenced, with 9,104 out of 11,683 classrooms already in the process of bidding and procurement.

For the period July 2010 to May 2011, about 6,691 classrooms, or 75% of the targeted 8,871 classrooms due for repairs, have also been rehabilitated. In addition, 2,493 toilets or 71% of the targeted 3,501 toilets have been newly installed in schools.

LGUs and private sector partners have also actively participated in the provision of new classrooms to schools. LGUs have built a total of 1,662 new classrooms in school year 2010-2011 alone. Several LGUs have also responded positively to the Counter-Parting for Classroom Construction Program, which was established early this year. As of June 2011, LGUs have a running commitment of P760.65 million to build 895 new classrooms this school year on top of the DepEd’s regular school building program through the counter-parting scheme.

Meanwhile, private sector groups committed to build 251 new classrooms. The DepEd continues to cultivate its strong partnership with business and civil society organizations through school-building initiatives such as the Bayanihang Pampaaralan, which aims to significantly address the public schools system’s classroom shortage within the next two years.

4. Providing Decent and Affordable Housing

The Aquino Administration is espousing transparency, decisive action to resolve government inefficiencies, preferential action for the underprivileged, and increased partnership with stakeholders for the purpose of affording decent shelter to those in need.

4.1 Closing the housing gap by providing secure tenure and increasing the socialized housing stock. From July 2010 to June 2011, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and its Key Shelter Agencies[28] (KSAs) focused on the review of housing policies and programs to improve the delivery of housing services. These activities have so far resulted in the provision of decent housing to 104,903 families.

4.2 Pursued a more responsive housing loan policy. From July 2010 to June 2011, amidst the policy reforms being undertaken by the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG) to avoid fraudulent activities and make the lending program more responsive to its members, the agency approved the release of P47 billion worth of loans to a total of 67,660 members for the purchase of new houses.

4.3 Pursued a More Comprehensive Resettlement Policy. The National Housing Authority (NHA) released P3.08 billion for resettlement and other programs from July 2010 to June 2011. This benefitted nearly 25,400 beneficiary-families. The review of the NHA’s resettlement policies is on-going to include the provision of basic social services (e.g., schools, public markets, health care centers) and livelihood opportunities at the resettlement sites.

4.4 Intensified the implementation of the Community Mortgage Program (CMP).  Under the CMP, P692 million was released from July 2010 to June 2011 to organized informal settler communities for land acquisition, benefiting 11,413 beneficiary-families. Of this number, 8,880 families benefited in the first half of 2011, which already surpassed the full-year accomplishment in 2010 of 7,109 beneficiary-families.

4.5 Partnering with LGUs in providing housing to the homeless. The HUDCC conducted Pabahay Caravans in Region VII (Cebu), Cordillera Administrative Region (Baguio), Region III (Pampanga), Region IV-A (Tagaytay), Region VIII (Tacloban City), Region IX (Zamboanga City) and Region XI (Davao City). The caravan brought the various housing programs and services of the shelter agencies, to help the LGUs address their housing needs directly to the LGUs.

HLURB and HUDCC offer assistance in the preparation of the LGUs’ respective comprehensive land use plans and local shelter plans, respectively. The Pag-IBIG Fund has devoted a lending window for LGUs with available land for housing but lack funds to build units. For LGUs without land for housing, the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) may fund 75% of their housing project cost under the Localized Community Mortgage Program. Under its resettlement assistance program, the National Housing Authority (NHA) is open for joint ventures with LGUs that need to relocate informal settlers. The LGU provides the land while NHA funds the site development.

Stronger linkages with the LGUs have started to bear fruit. The Pag-IBIG Fund has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Quezon City LGU for the housing project in Barangay Payatas for low-income personnel and informal settlers occupying danger areas. Manila and San Pedro, Laguna are also set to enter into a partnership with Pag-IBIG Fund for their own housing projects. These projects are in the assessment stage on technical design of units, specifications and income profiling of beneficiaries.

The SHFC adopted the strategy of expanding partnership with LGUs to have a pro-active identification of areas for CMP. More specifically, it has targeted 70% of its portfolio for cities outside the National Capital Region, prioritizing Highly Urbanized Cities, cities with high population growth rates, and the Metro cities.

4.6 Improved coordination among KSAs and other partners. For the first time in several years, the HUDCC was convened and now holds regular quarterly meetings to discuss policies and enhance coordination not only among government agencies but also with Congress and the private sector. Members of Congress, notably the Chairmen of the respective Houses’ Committees on Housing and Urban Development, have participated in the Council meetings, resulting in a unified position on housing policies and directions for the next six (6) years, which were adopted during the first Council meeting held on 13 January 2011.

On the other hand, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), such as the Gawad Kalinga and the Habitat for Humanity (HfH), have proven that affordable housing and better communities can be developed with the help of concerned private citizens and LGUs. As such, HUDCC involved the participation of NGOs in policy making. It is worth noting that HfH was elected as one of the members of the SHFC Board of Directors.

4.7 Addressing the concerns of informal settler families. Despite the passage of Republic Act 7972 (or the “Urban Development and Housing Act [UDHA]) in 1992, the rampant proliferation of informal settler families (ISFs) remains to be a perennial problem. It has become an unsightly manifestation of urban decay and intergenerational neglect. Despite the government’s clear statutory policy of preventing the propagation of ISFs, while protecting and upholding the rights of ISFs, the conduct of illegal, forced, or unilateral demolitions and eviction activities was still witnessed, especially during the previous administration.

Consequently, as of 2010, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reported that there were already 556,526 ISFs in Metro Manila, 102,406 of whom live in danger areas.

Aware of the plight of the ISFs, the Aquino Administration sought the full enforcement of the UDHA by requiring all LGUs to conduct adequate consultation and relocation of informal settlers before any demolition or eviction is carried out. The term “adequate” means that the relocation sites should include basic services and facilities and access to employment and livelihood opportunities, as mandated by law. Moreover, LGU officials were directed to adopt measures to effectively curtail the proliferation and further increase in the number of informal settlers and mendicants in their respective localities,[29] and to create their respective Local Housing Board or a Local Inter-Agency Committee that shall be responsible in eviction and demolition-related activities in their areas. About 56 cities and 102 municipalities have fully complied with the directive.

5. Promoting Opportunities for Decent Employment

5.1 Promoting the welfare of Filipino workers abroad

5.1.1 Institutionalized the One-DOLE Overseas Operations System. For the first time, the DOLE institutionalized an integrated One-DOLE Overseas Operations System in deployment, financial systems, monitoring and reporting, and accountability of the Labor Attachés, Welfare Officers, and Administrative Staff to the DOLE Secretary.  Adopted in 2011, this means that support services of DOLE, Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA), and Philippine Overseas Employment Association (POEA) for its operating units onsite now follow uniform selection and pre-deployment procedures, joint work and financial reporting system, and uniform operational guidelines on OFW case management and repatriation. This is expected to eventually redound to better selected, trained and matched officers at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), more reliable performance and statistical data on overseas operations, and maximized allocation and utilization of resources especially in POLOs where it is more needed.

5.1.2 Provided assistance through the Legal Assistance Fund (LAF). The DFA provided assistance amounting to P10.21 million to 146 Filipinos in need of legal aid for the period July 2010 to 28 June 2011. Assistance through the LAF may take the form of fees for competent private counsel, bail bonds, court fees, charges and other reasonable litigation expenses, travelling expenses, and communication expenses in connection with the legal assistance.

5.1.3 Provided assistance to OFWs in crisis areas through the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) Fund. From July 2010 to 28 June 2011, assistance amounting to P281,489,716.65 was provided to overseas Filipinos in distress through the ATN Fund. Government repatriated a total of 10,369 overseas Filipinos in four (4) crisis-affected areas (Egypt; Libya; Yemen; and Fukushima, Japan) from 29 January to 28 June 2011.

In response to the Egypt Crisis, 93 Filipinos out of the estimated 6,569 Filipinos in Egypt were repatriated through the timely operations of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) from 29 January to 16 February, 2011. On the Libyan Crisis, a total of 9,951 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were repatriated as of 28 June 2011 out of the estimated 29,823 Filipinos in Libya. The government provided necessary travel documents and immigration assistance, and helped secure temporary visas, food, accommodation, transportation, and connecting flights of Filipinos in transit countries. The government also repatriated a total of 232 OFWs out of 1,422 in Yemen.

In response to the earthquake, tsunami, and reported nuclear leaks in Japan in March 2011, the government initiated mandatory repatriation of Filipinos living within the 50-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant. The Philippine Embassy in Japan, through close coordination with the host government, mobilized response teams within 48 hours after the 11 March 2011 earthquake to the affected regions, and conducted multiple deliveries of basic relief goods (water, canned goods, food items, gasoline, blankets, mattresses, etc.) to the affected cities. Of the 17,600 Filipino nationals living in Fukushima Prefecture, a total of 93 Filipinos were repatriated in April 2011.  Five consular missions relocated 147 Filipinos to Tokyo and housed them in four relocation centers. The consular missions also provided relief goods to those who did not wish to be relocated.

The government also provided assistance to the 2,000-strong Filipino community in Christchurch, New Zealand who were affected by the earthquake in February 2011 and provided assistance to the families of ten (10) Filipinos who died during the earthquake. The Philippine Embassy in New Zealand was able to deliver emergency supplies and relief goods such as water-sterilizing tablets, canned goods, snack bars, biscuits and other foodstuffs. The team was able to coordinate with the families of the Filipino victims who were traveling to New Zealand from the Philippines for their travel documents and arrangements. The team assisted the next-of-kin of missing persons during the identification of the victims and assisted them in the repatriation of the remains.

5.1.4 HDMF assistance to displaced OFWs. To assist the large number of OFWs who have been displaced due to the natural calamities that occurred in Japan, New Zealand and the wave of unrest happening across the Middle East and North Africa, the HDMF allowed them to avail of a six-month moratorium on payment of contributions and loans; and to withdraw their contributions even prior to maturity of their savings.

5.1.5 Launched the P2 Billion Reintegration Fund.  On 06 December 2010, the President directed OWWA to allocate P1 billion to be utilized as a reintegration fund for a loan program with minimal interest. On 7 June 2011, the loan program was launched, with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) contributing P500 million each, thereby increasing the reintegration fund to P2 billion.

Specifically, the OFWs and their families may apply for a loan in any amount from P300,000 to P2 million without collateral, at an interest rate of 7.5% per annum to start and support the development and operation of small enterprises when they return from their overseas jobs.  The loans for working capital or purchase of fixed assets are payable within seven (7) years inclusive of two (2) years grace period.

OWWA Regional Offices and National Regional Center for OFWs (NRCO), in coordination with the DTI and DA, have launched the conduct of entrepreneurial development training for OFWs and their families who signified interest in setting up their own businesses.

5.2 The government’s 22-Point Labor and Employment Agenda aims to promote opportunities to obtain decent and productive work while promoting industrial peace.  In the same vein, the Labor and Employment Plan 2011-2016 promotes putting the human resource base at the core of all policy reform initiatives to achieve inclusive growth that massively creates jobs and continuously reduces poverty.

5.2.1 Designed the mechanics of the Community-Based Employment Program (CBEP).  The CBEP is a system that monitors temporary or immediate employment in government programs and projects of skilled, semi-skilled and low skilled workers. A total of 1,122,852 jobs are projected to be generated from projects enrolled under CBEP for 2011 from 19 Government agencies, of which 706,231 (62.9%) are from the infrastructure and the rest from non-infrastructure components of the CBEP. As of May 2011, a total of 168,083 or 15% of the projected jobs for the year have been generated.[30]  This figure is expected to increase significantly in the second half of 2011 because of the implementation of more CBEP-enrolled projects.

5.2.2 Implemented the Special Program for Employment of Students.  From July 2010 to May 2011, some 97,619 poor but deserving students had the opportunity to earn under the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES).[31] The law provides that DOLE pay 40% of the prevailing minimum wage in the form of educational vouchers (checks) while the employers pay 60% of the minimum wage.

On 1 May 2011, the President approved the increase of the SPES budget. From P172.5 million under the 2011 General Appropriations Act (GAA), DOLE will get an additional P168.10 million that will benefit 52,000 more students or a total of 132,000 student beneficiaries for 2011.

5.2.3 Enhanced Phil-JobNet with its integration with the Skills Registry System (SRS).  The Phil-JobNet, the on-line government portal for jobs and skills matching used by employers and jobseekers nationwide, was enhanced to assist jobseekers in advertising their skills and qualifications via the SRS, which can be accessed by the employers anytime. A monthly average of 50,000 to 60,000 job vacancies is posted in the PhilJobNet. The Phil-JobNet is used as a system or tool to address labor to market mismatch brought about by the asymmetry of information in both the demand and supply sides of the labor market.

From July 2010 to May 2011, the Phil-JobNet registered a total of 2,392 employers that posted 758,714 job vacancies while 213,782 jobseekers registered covering 1,417 skills available for the employers’ manpower requirements. The continuous accreditation and registration of employers and jobseekers ensure adequate and available supply of labor when needed.

5.2.4 Launched DOLE Online Career Guide. On 18 April 2011, the DOLE launched the Online Career Guide, its newest online labor market information service for high school students and jobseekers, to enable them to make informed decisions about their chosen careers. It features the in-demand jobs/careers viable in the next five to ten years and describes the basic education requirements of a job, skills and competencies, attributes and characteristics, salary/compensation, prospect for career advancement, employment opportunities and cost of education or training.  A trainer’s manual, Career Guide for High School Students, is already available in CD-ROM and printed copies.

The online career guide is DOLE’s initiative through its Bureau of Local Employment. It was developed as one of the interventions to respond to the issue on lack of career advocacy.

The DOLE has likewise endorsed to the Department of Education (DepEd) the draft career guidance advocacy course, together with the corresponding draft issuances/guidelines, which proposes the inclusion of mandatory career guidance and counseling to high school students as part of the K to 12 curriculum improvement.

Meanwhile, 1,175 seminar-orientations were conducted for parents and students under the DOLE’s Career Guidance and Employment Coaching program. This is in partnership with the 1,739-strong Career Guidance Counsellors Network. A total of 220,895 students in the tertiary level, tech-voc schools, and secondary institutions, along with parents, attended the DOLE’s career guidance and employment counseling sessions for the period July 2010 to May 2011.

5.2.5 Granted cost of living allowance (COLA) in four regions. The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) in the following regions have issued Wage Orders:

  • NCR – Wage Order No. 16, which granted a P22.00 COLA, effective 26 May 2011, bringing the daily compensation of non-agricultural workers in Metro Manila to P426.00 per day.
  • Region VIII – Wage Order No. 16, which integrated the P8.00 COLA under Wage Order No. 14 into the basic pay, effective 01 June 2011, and raising the minimum wage to P228.  It also provided for an additional P15.00 COLA to be given in two tranches: P10 upon effectivity and P5 effective 01 September 2011.
  • Region VI – Wage Order No. 19 on 25 May 2011, which granted a P12.00 emergency COLA (ECOLA) for a period of three months.
  • Region III – Wage Order No. 16, which granted a P14.00 COLA effective 24 June 2011.  It also provided for the integration of the P4.00 COLA (under WO-15) by 1 January 2012.

5.2.6 Accelerated the resolution of labor cases with Project Speedy and Efficient Disposition (SpeED) of Labor Justice.  Item No. 6 of the President’s 22-Point Platform and Policy Pronouncements on Labor and Employment directs reform in the labor arbitration and adjudication systems by streamlining procedures, removing red tape, and at the same time, restoring integrity and fairness in the system, and ensuring that 98% of all pending labor cases are disposed of with quality decisions by April of 2011.

As of 10 May 2011, the DOLE disposed of 72,221 of 75,407 or 96% of cases pending as of September 2010.

5.2.7       Institutionalized the 30-Day Mandatory Conciliation-Mediation of all labor cases.  The DOLE institutionalized the 30-day Mandatory Conciliation-Mediation of all labor cases at the regional and provincial offices effective October 2010.  As of 30 May 2011, the DOLE settled 4,504 cases or 29.25% of 15,397 cases.

5.3 Pursuing Agrarian Reform and Rural Development

5.3.1. Out of the 10 million hectares of the country’s arable lands, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) covers 9.21 million hectares or 92%.  DAR is responsible for the distribution of about 5.37 million hectares, while the balance of 3.84 million hectares is under the DENR.  The two agencies have distributed around 7.7 million hectares as of December 2010, for a combined accomplishment rate of 83.8%.

From January to June 2010, only 18,635 hectares were distributed.  In the first 10 months of the current Administration, 108,989 hectares of agricultural lands were distributed.

5.3.2. The DA, DAR and the DENR, through their joint National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development, are currently implementing the establishment of the Local Agro-Enterprise Cluster in 10 provinces, namely: Antique, Iloilo, Isabela, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Leyte, Quezon, Northern Samar, Misamis Oriental, and Lanao del Norte, by adopting the “ridge-to-reef” approach – a sustainable ecosystem-based enterprise planning and management.

The Local Agro-Enterprise Cluster is targeting the development of 253,084 hectares of land involving agricultural productivity zones and environmental protection from 2011 to 2016. Among the crops to be developed are food staples (i.e., rice, corn banana, cassava, livestock) and industrial crops with market demand (i.e., sugarcane, abaca, coconut, forest tress and non-timber species), to be supported with production inputs, appropriate infrastructure, capability building and credit foundation, post-harvest processing and marketing and distribution facilities, and rehabilitation of forest lands through the National Greening Program.

D. SECURITY, JUSTICE, AND PEACE

The government is committed to the pursuit of an honest dialogue to achieve a broadly supported just peace that is guided by the vision “Tuwid na Daan”. This is a turnaround from the disjointed, short-sighted policy of merely reacting to events and incidents. Thus, from merely defeating the enemy, government has shifted its focus to actually winning the peace in the whole archipelago. Government efforts have been focused on ensuring the attainment of a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace – one that brings conflict resolution back to the negotiating table and invests in responsive social programs that will address the root causes of conflict.

The government recognizes the necessity of a whole nation approach, where security and peace and order shall be preserved through the efforts of all government agencies, civil society, and the public. National sovereignty and the general public safety shall be preserved and the rule of law consciously upheld.

1. Protecting our National Territory and Boundaries

1.1. Pursued AFP reforms and modernization. The government continues to pursue reforms and modernization in the AFP, as well as promote the morale and welfare of the Armed Forces.

1.1.1. Since the assumption to office of President Aquino, nine (9) projects under the AFP Modernization Program (AFPMP) have been delivered and completed. These include five (5) requisition projects for the Philippine Army, namely: two (2) Night Fighting System (NFS) projects, Watercraft (Light Support), 1¼ ton Troop Carrier/Cargo Trucks and 2½ ton Troop Carrier/Cargo Trucks. On the other hand, Philippine Navy has four (4) projects, namely: 76mm Ammunition, Completion of Coast Watch Stations, NFS and Hydrographic Equipment.

1.1.2. A Joint Maritime Force (Sea-Air) is being restructured to carry out missions in the West Philippines Sea to protect vital resources and sea exploration activities. At the same time, initiatives are being made to revive the Air Defense Organization focused on the airspace of priority areas in western Philippines.

1.1.3. On 05 April 2011, the Government acquired the US Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Hamilton. The acquisition is part of the efforts of the DND and AFP to develop the Philippines’ naval, air, and ground interdiction assets in order to assure the territorial integrity and protection of Philippine waters and resources, particularly in light of energy exploration efforts in Sulu and Palawan. Also, the Philippine Navy has completed Coast Watch Stations in Taganak and Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

1.2. Pursued counter-insurgency efforts. Through the Internal Peace and Security Plan or Oplan Bayanihan, the AFP has been able to achieve milestones in reducing the strength of insurgency groups, bringing down the number of communist-affected barangays, decreasing violent activities initiated by threat groups, and promoting human rights.

There was a significant decrease in the number of NPA-initiated incidents in view of the on-going peace process with the CPP/NPA/NDF. For the first semester of 2011, 182 incidents were recorded, a decrease of 17% from last year’s first semester record of 218 CPP/NPA/NDF incidents.

The number of MILF-initiated incidents also decreased from 97 attacks in the first semester last year to 42 in the first semester of 2011.

On the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), while there was a sharp increase in the number of ASG-initiated violent attacks from 17 atrocities in the first semester of 2010 to 43 in the first semester of 2011, the number of ASG elements neutralized increased from 32 in the first semester of 2010 to 58 in the same period in 2011.[32]

2. Attaining a Just and Lasting Peace

2.1. Initiated peace negotiations and completion of peace talks with rebel groups. The Aquino Administration recognizes that a purely military solution will not adequately address the issues on insurgency; thus, the government is pursuing lasting peace by bringing the resolution of conflict back to the negotiating table.

2.1.1. The Peace Negotiating Panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF formally resumed peace talks in 2011. During the 21st round of Exploratory Talks held on 27 to 28 April 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the GPH Panel affirmed its commitment to the agreement on security and immunity guarantees, which covers the members of the MILF Central Committee.

2.1.2. Formal negotiations between the GPH and the CPP/NPA/NDF have also resumed in a round of talks in Oslo from 15 to 21 February 2011 after an impasse of seven (7) years. The Panels agreed to an accelerated timeframe to complete the remaining substantive agenda on socio-economic reforms (SER); political and constitutional reforms (PCR); and end of hostilities and disposition of forces (EOH/DOF), in the next 18 months or a maximum of three (3) years.

2.1.3. The GPH, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) conducted the 4th Session of their Tripartite Meeting on 22 to 23 February 2011 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The GPH and the MNLF jointly expressed that they look forward to the early adoption of the drafted Amendatory Bill for RA 9054 (the law which created the ARMM), within the context of reviewing the progress and continuing the discussion towards the full implementation of the GPH-MNLF 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA).

2.1.4. On 04 July 2011, the President witnessed the signing of a MOA between the Philippine Government and the Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA), which signals the beginning of a closure process to the 25-year Mt. Data Peace Agreement, signed in 1986. The MOA embodies and builds upon the ideals and aspirations of the Cordillera people for peace and development in the spirit of the Peace Agreement. It also lays down the components that will lead to the final disposition of arms and forces of the CBA-CPLA and their transformation from an armed group into an unarmed potent socio-economic force in the region.

2.2. Initiated efforts to address the root causes of conflict. The government is implementing the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) Program as the peace and development framework to respond to the root causes of conflict. It aims to reduce poverty in conflict affected areas through community infrastructure and focused delivery of social services, improved governance through transparency and accountability, and building the capacities of communities.

PAMANA will cover closure agreement areas, CPP/NPA/NDF areas, and Muslim insurgency fronts, and it will be implemented along the five (5) conflict lines (i.e., CBA/CPLA, Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa ng Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade or RPMP/RPA/ABB, CPP/NPA/NDF, MNLF, and MILF).

2.3. Ensuring Peaceful and Safe Communities

2.3.1 For 2010, the PNP was allocated with 10,000 new/additional vacancies for Police Officers 1 (PO1), wherein a total of 9,503 police recruits were appointed and sworn into office. Also, 2,983 out of the 3,000 vacant positions due to attrition were filled in. These increased the personnel strength of the PNP from 132,393 in 2009 to 141,547 in June 2011. The PNP is allocated another 3,000 new positions under the GAA for 2011.

2.3.2 From July to December 2010, there was a reduction in the total crime incidents by 64.86% or 99,676 crime incidents, from 253,333 in the 2nd semester of 2009 to 153,657 in the same period of 2010. Also, crime incidents decreased by 22.68%, from 141,063 incidents in the period 1 January to 31 May 2010 to 109,065 incidents in the same period of 2011.

2.3.3 Crime solution efficiency (CSE) rate[33] has increased by 8.56 percentage points, from 13.01% in the 2nd semester of 2009 to 21.57% in the same period of 2010. Likewise, crime clearance efficiency (CCE) rate[34] increased by 7.02 percentage points, from 25.33% in the 2nd semester of 2009 to 32.35% in the same period of 2010. There was also a 10.15 percentage point increase in the CSE rate from 16.43% in 1 January to 31 May 2010 to 26.58% in the same period of 2011. Similarly, the CCE rate increased by 10.29 percentage points from 27.97% in 1 January to 31 May 2010 to 38.26% in the same period of 2011.

2.3.4 The PNP has heightened its anti-carnapping campaign with the neutralization and arrest of carnapping groups. Carnapping incidents decreased by 54.46%, from 1,010 incidents in the period 1 January to 30 June 2010 to 460 incidents in the same period of 2011. There was also an improvement in the recovery rate, from 17.62% in the period 1 January to 30 June 2010 (178 recovered of the 1,010 incidents) to 75.43% in the same period of 2011 (347 recovered vehicles of the 460 incidents). Under the current administration, the PNP was able to neutralize the Dominguez Carnapping Group, arrest the leaders of the Madrigal Carnapping Group, Bonifacio Carnapping Group, Herrera Carjacking Group, and the Bundol Robbery Gang.

2.3.5 Intensified efforts against illegal recruitment and trafficking-in-persons. The PNP has heightened its monitoring and build-up of cases of reported illegal recruitment and trafficking-in-persons activities perpetrated by organized syndicates to ensure the latter’s conviction.

2.3.5.1 The PNP, together with the NBI and the DSWD, rescued 268 women, including 20 minors who were victims of trafficking-in-persons, in simultaneous raids conducted in Angeles City on 17 September 2010. The drive also resulted in the arrest and filing of charges against 39 persons for violation of RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

2.3.5.2 Per the DOJ, from the enactment of RA 9208 on 26 May 2003 to the first semester of 2010, or a period of seven (7) years, there have only been 26 convictions involving 29 persons in cases related to trafficking-in-persons. On the other hand, the Aquino Administration achieved a total of 26 convictions, with 31 persons convicted in just 12 months or as of 19 July 2011.

2.3.5.3 On 13 May 2011, the DOJ found 20 employees of the Bureau of Immigration assigned at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport guilty of Grave Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, Dishonesty and Gross Neglect of Duty, and dismissed them from service.

2.3.5.4 In the United States Department of State’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the Philippines has been upgraded to Tier 2 from Tier 2 Watch List in 2010.

Among ASEAN countries, the Philippines shares the Tier 2 ranking with Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, and Singapore. On the Tier 2 Watch List are Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam; while Myanmar is in Tier 3.

The U.S. Department of State classifies each country in the TIP Report into one of the three (3) tiers as mandated by the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 and based on the extent of government action to combat trafficking.

Tier 1 includes countries meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of severe forms of trafficking; Tier 2 include countries not fully complying with the minimum standards but making significant efforts to meet said standards; Tier 2 Watch List is same as Tier 2 with the following qualifiers: the absolute number of victims of trafficking is significant or is significantly increasing; there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing anti-trafficking efforts; or the determination that a country is making efforts to comply with the minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional steps in the next year; and Tier 3 indicates countries assessed as neither complying with the minimum standards nor making significant efforts to do so.

Under the TVPA, any country ranked under Tier 2 Watch List for two (2) consecutive years shall be downgraded to Tier 3 on the third year, unless their ranking improves or the US President waives application of this provision.

Classification as a Tier 3 country will have a negative impact on the Philippines as it has been agreed with the Millennium Challenge Corporation that they may terminate their U.S.$434 million Compact with the country if it is downgraded to Tier 3.[35] Moreover, the US has committed that they will not provide Foreign Military Assistance, non-humanitarian, and non-trade-related foreign assistance to Tier 3 countries until the latter complies with minimum standards or make significant efforts to do so.

Since 2001, the Philippines has been categorized as a Tier 2 country in the annual TIP Report. The country was ranked under Tier 2 Watch List for two (2) consecutive years in 2004 and 2005, and again in 2009 and 2010.

2.3.5.5 In addition, the US Department of State also cited Assistant City Prosecutor in Zamboanga City, Ms. Darlene Pajarito, as one of the State Department’s Ten (10) Trafficking in Persons Heroes for handling the biggest number of successful prosecutions of TIP cases in the country. After joining the DOJ in 2004, Ms. Pajarito secured the Philippines’ first sex trafficking conviction in 2005 and the first labor trafficking conviction in 2011.

2.3.6 Intensified the campaign against illegal drugs. There was an increase of 43.29% in the illegal drug-related cases filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), from 3,391 in the second semester of 2009 to 4,859 in the same period in 2010. Also, the number of personalities arrested due to drug-related cases increased by 21.33% from 4,125 in the second semester of 2009 to 5,005 in the same period in 2010. Other major accomplishments of the PDEA from 01 July 2010 to 31 May 2011 are the following:

2.3.6.1 Dismantled six (6) clandestine laboratories (clan lab), which led to the disruption of the local manufacture of shabu and operations of drug syndicates, as well as three (3) shabu tiangges composed of 10 clustered drug dens and 19 independent drug dens;

2.3.6.2 Cleared a total of 130 marijuana plantation sites resulting in the destruction of fully-grown marijuana plants, seedlings and seeds;

2.3.6.3 Neutralized a total of 155 drug groups and personalities while 9,522 persons were arrested, 795 of whom are drug personalities in the watch list and target list;

2.3.6.4 Arrested a total of 21 members of the African Drug Syndicate, rescuing three (3) Filipino drug couriers.

2.3.7 Reduced loose firearms

The PNP is implementing Letter of Instructions 64/2010 “Kontra Boga-Bravo,” the PNP’s intensified campaign to reduce loose firearms especially those in the hands of Private Armed Groups (PAGs). From 1 January to 15 June 2011, 1,108 firearms were confiscated.

2.3.8 Provided humanitarian assistance to internally-displaced persons. The DSWD is providing humanitarian assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) through the implementation of the following programs and services: Relief “Pabaon” Package, Cash-for-Work (CFW), Emergency Shelter Assistance, Modified Shelter Assistance, Livelihood Assistance, construction of water projects and/or wells, construction of Day Care Centers (DCCs), construction of temporary shelters, and construction of communal toilets, among others. The DSWD has provided P427 million worth of assistance to the IDPs in Mindanao from August 2008 to December 2010.

The 2011 DSWD budget provided P881 million for the Food for Work Program for IDPs.

3. Strengthening the Rule of Law

Strengthened the Witness Protection Program (WPP). To break the culture of fear and silence, which affects the immediate delivery of justice in our society, the budget of the Witness Protection Program was increased to P151 million (8.6% increase from the 2010 level of P139 million) in the 2011 budget. This budget is projected to protect a total of 640 witnesses and whistle-blowers.

Since the institution of the WPP in 1991 up to 30 June 2010, the program has covered 447 witnesses. An additional 155 new witnesses were admitted to the program from 01 July 2010 to 15 June 2011. This brings the total to 602, reflecting the people’s trust and confidence in the primary witness protection unit of the country. Notably, 25.75% of the total number of covered witnesses was admitted in the last 11 months.

The conviction rate for cases with covered witnesses is presently at the near-perfect level of 92.85%. This rate was sustained since it was first reported during the President’s first SONA. The rate is 3.7 times higher than the national conviction rate, which has been maintained at 25% since 2009. This shows the significant contribution of the program to the successful prosecution of offenders.

4. Advancing and Protecting Human Rights

4.1. Addressed Extrajudicial Killings

4.1.1. On 10 December 2010, the DOJ created a Special Task Force on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances. The Special Task Force is mandated to review all reported and unresolved cases of extrajudicial killings (EJKs)[36] and enforced disappearances (EDs) and recommend measures for and cause the effective and expeditious investigation and prosecution of the said cases. It is also mandated to speed up the prosecution and resolution of cases with sufficient evidence and cause the re-opening of investigations of “cold file” cases.

Since its creation, the DOJ Special Task Force on EJKs and EDs has reviewed 187 cases of alleged EJKs. It currently supervises the handling of 69 cases of extrajudicial killings, 63 of which have already been filed or are currently pending in court. Six (6) are undergoing preliminary investigation.

A total of 27 incidents of possible political killings were reported in the last 12 months, though only ten (10) are confirmed political or media killings. Of these ten (10), five (5) are already undergoing trial.

4.1.2. The PNP’s Task Force Usig (TFU), which is tasked to handle and review cases of alleged EJKs perpetrated since 2001 currently handles 162 extrajudicial cases, 102 of which had already been filed in court, 59 others are undergoing investigation and one (1) case already considered closed.

4.1.3. From 01 July 2010 to 31 May 2011, there were a total of 15 cases of EJKs. Of this number, cases have been filed against the perpetrators of eight (8) incidents of EJKs while seven (7) EJK incidents are still under investigation by the Task Force. Also, the PNP distributed a Handbook on Personal Security Measures for media practitioners to help guide them in protecting themselves against personal threats and danger.

4.1.4. Among the PNP’s significant accomplishments involve the filing of cases in court for the murder of the following: Fernando Baldomero (a coordinator for Bayan Muna); Mark Francisco (a teacher at San Isidro Elementary School in Palanas, Masbate and member of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers [ACT]); Jose Daguio (a radio commentator for Radyo Natin-Tabuk); Edilberto Cruz (the publisher-editor of Salida, a Nueva Ecija community paper); Josephine Estacio (a teacher at Tenejero Elementary School in Balangan, Bataan and member of ACT); Miguel Belen (a radio commentator for dwEB-FM) and Pascual Guevarra (head of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association and the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid na Nagkakaisa or Almana 3100). The TFU has solved 85% of all work-related cases involving media practitioners and continues to undertake greater efforts to resolve the remaining cases.

4.2. Prosecuted the Perpetrators of the Maguindanao Massacre

4.2.1 The Government is pursuing the delivery of justice for the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre. The PNP created and institutionalized the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG)-Maguindanao, which is tasked to handle and review cases on the incident; however, its investigation is being handled by the NBI. As of 10 June 2011, out of the total 196[37] accused in the Maguindanao Multiple Murder Case, 91 or 46.67% have been arrested, of which 59 have been arraigned. The Prosecution has already presented 31 witnesses.

4.2.2 The Prosecution has already moved for the arraignment of all other detained accused who have yet to be arraigned. On 4 November 2010, the prosecution filed the Motion to Arraign all accused. On 1 June 2011, accused Andal Ampatuan, Sr. was arraigned.

4.3. Decongesting the New Bilibid Prison

The inmates of the NBP, particularly those in the Maximum and Minimum Security Compounds are suffering from a very depressing situation, as each of them has only 24 square feet to live in.[38] To address this problem, the DOJ pursued the immediate re-distribution of the NBP inmates to existing facilities in the other penal farms. Thus, the Secretary of Justice ordered the transfer of 650 male inmates from the NBP and 50 female inmates from the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) to four (4) penal farms in Mindanao and the Visayas.

4.4. Promoted a Code of Conduct in Security Operations

As part of the Government’s effort to institutionalize Human Rights Concepts in its over-all security operations, the AFP launched its Human Rights/International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Handbook early this year. The Handbook serves as the soldiers’ bible in the conduct of operations. This contributed to the decrease in the number of AFP HR violations, from 21 cases reported in 2010 to only one (1) allegation reported this year. The said HR violation is now being investigated at the provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Bicol and at the Provost Marshall Office while on-going investigations are also being conducted in light of the previous HR violations.

5. Harnessing International Goodwill Through Diplomacy and Promoting Philippine Interests Abroad

5.1 Since July 2010, the President participated in four major meetings of world leaders, the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 17th and 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits, and the 18th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting to reaffirm the Philippines’ commitment to global efforts towards economic growth, peace and security and development. The APEC is currently working on realizing its New Growth Strategy, which is in line with the President’s inclusive growth approach to governance. The World Bank has commended the President’s commitment to improve the investment climate through the rationalization of the Philippines’ regulatory system and mobilization of the private sector for infrastructure development.

The President also met with the Heads of State and Government of ASEAN neighbours Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, and partners in the Asia-Pacific such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to further strengthen bilateral relations. The President also went on State Visits to Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Brunei.

5.2 The Philippines’ re-election for a second three-year term to the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2011 is a clear indication of the international community’s recognition of the country’s strong commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights. The Philippines continues its strong advocacy on human rights in various international and regional fora.

5.3 The election of the Philippine COA as External Auditor of the World Health Organization in May 2011 is also a manifestation of the international community’s acknowledgement that the Philippines is a staunch champion of good governance. The Philippines is likewise the External Auditor of the Food and Agriculture Organization. The Philippines, as country coordinator for ASEAN-US relations, led the successful negotiations on the 2nd ASEAN-US Leaders Meeting Joint Statement that brings the ASEAN and the US to a new era of revitalized relations and welcomes the establishment of the ASEAN-US Eminent Persons Group (EPG).

5.4 The Philippines engaged the ASEAN Member States, China and other relevant parties in the West Philippine Sea issue. In this connection, the government underscored that the maintenance of peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea is of paramount concern to the Philippines and that the full implementation of the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the West Philippine Sea is imperative.

The Philippines is committed to the peaceful, multilateral, and rules-based resolution of dispute in the West Philippine Sea in accordance with international law, specifically the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). In this context, the Philippines offered a specific framework to effectively carry out cooperation and, in the process, effectively implement the Declaration on the Code of Conduct. This framework is called ZoPFF/C or the Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and Cooperation, which seeks to achieve its vision by segregating first the disputed relevant features of the Spratlys from the undisputed waters of the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the UNCLOS. After which, claimant countries would then be enabled to engage in joint cooperation including joint development or establishment of a Marine Peace Park in the disputed relevant features of the Spratlys.

However, if other claimant states are unable to accept this win-win approach, the DFA is also exploring the possibility of bringing the matter of the West Philippine Sea within the dispute settlement mechanisms of the UNCLOS.

These actions are being undertaken to protect the Philippines’ strategic economic and political interests in the area and demonstrate adherence to international law.

E. CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND MITIGATION

Environmental protection is a key plank in our nation’s development. Being a minor emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, the Philippines’ main concern is adapting to climate change by identifying risk areas; practicing responsive disaster risk management planning; improving weather forecasting and information relay; creating awareness on fire prevention; and rehabilitating flood control facilities.

1. Ensuring the Utilization of Natural Resources for the Equal Benefit of Present and Future Generations

1.1. Promoting the National Greening Program. EO 26, s. 2011 was issued, establishing the National Greening Program (NGP) as a national priority program.  On 13 May 2011, the DENR launched the program considered to be the biggest reforestation program in the history of the Philippines.

1.1.1. Under the program, 1.5 billion trees will be planted in 1.5 million hectares nationwide from 2011 to 2016 for environmental protection and agro-forestry purposes. Secondary and collegiate students will plant at least 10 seedlings each annually.

1.1.2. For 2011, the target is to produce 50 million seedlings of premium, indigenous, fast-growing, and other forest species and fruit trees, including bamboo in 100,000 hectares.

The DBM has already released to the DENR a budget of P1.3 billion to fund the implementation of the NGP for 2011.

1.2. Protecting and Conserving the Forest through a Total Log Ban. EO No. 23, s. 2011 was issued to impose a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forests. It suspended the operations of existing logging operators and the acceptance and processing of new and renewal applications on logging operations and wood processing. This translates to the protection of the remaining forest cover and allows the natural regeneration of residual forests and development of plantation forests.

1.2.1. A National Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (NAILTF) composed of the DENR as Chair, the DILG, DND, PNP, and AFP as members, was created to lead the anti-illegal logging campaign pursuant to EO 23. The NAILTF conducted intensive Anti-Illegal Logging Campaign in identified illegal logging hotspot areas, e.g., Apayao, Isabela, Aurora, Quezon, Surigao Del Sur, and Compostela Valley. Among the results of the anti-illegal logging campaign are the closure of 215 wood processing plants/sash factories in Regions 4-A, 10, 11 and CARAGA and suspension of operations of 14 others in CARAGA.

1.2.2. The government confiscated 7.6 million board feet (bd. ft.) of logs and lumber (equivalent to 1,194 ten-wheeler truckloads) valued at P227.9 million. Upon completion of the adjudication proceedings, the confiscated logs were donated to DepEd for chairs and other school requirements. Initially, about 1.28 million bd. ft. of wood products were donated to the DepEd, which were used in the production/construction of 5,265 armchairs, 124 school desks, 37 tables, and 46 cabinets and repair/renovation of 89 school buildings.

1.3. Ensuring Safe and Sustainable Mining. The government has started cleansing the pending and inactive mining applications under the “use it or lose it” policy. To date, a total of 1,463 mining applications (67% of the total target of 2,180 applications for final action nationwide) have been acted upon.  Of these, 1,149 mining applications have been denied and only 314 were endorsed for approval. Because of the 1,149 mining applications denied, which cover 3.1 million hectares, additional mining areas were opened for new and serious investors. The acceptance and processing of new mining applications were suspended through DENR Memorandum Order 2011-01 to rationalize mining development only for serious and responsible investors.

1.4. Promoting Renewable Energy. To intensify the use of renewable energy resources, the DOE initiated the following:

1.4.1 Launched the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) on 14 June 2011. The NREP is a 20-year roadmap to fully develop the country’s indigenous renewable sources and further reduce dependence on imported fuels. The NREP is expected to spur investments from the private sector.

1.4.2 Awarded eight (8) Biomass Renewable Energy Operating Contracts, which will provide an additional 75.85 MW of power plant capacity from biomass resources.

1.4.3 Awarded four (4) Certificates of Registration for Own-Use, which will install an additional 24.2 MW of power plant capacity for own-use from biomass resources.

1.4.4 Issued provisional Permit to Energy World Corporation Limited to put up a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) hub, which will increase the country’s natural gas supply by 260,000 cubic meters.

1.4.5 Intensified the campaign for the use of clean, alternative energy fuels. With the implementation of the Biofuels Act of 2006, the government has converted 18,731 taxis to auto-LPG and has put 217 auto-LPG refuelling stations and 31 auto-LPG conversion shops.

1.4.6 Teamed up with the ADB to establish the National Electric Vehicle Strategy (NEVS) to promote the use of alternative fuel vehicles. Recently, Mandaluyong received 20 electric tricycles (e-tricycles) for testing and demonstration. The ADB has committed $500 million to support the DOE’s e-tricycle project.

1.5. Improving Air Quality

1.5.1. Implemented higher standards for vehicle emissions. The DENR issued Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2010-23, entitled “Revised Emission Standards for Motor Vehicles Equipped with Compression-Ignition and Spark-Ignition Engines” and DAO 2010-24 or the “Revised Emission Limits/Standards for Motorcycles/Tricycles and Mopeds.” With these two administrative orders, a total of 5,198 vehicles were apprehended from July 2010 to March 2011 in NCR alone.

1.5.2. Strengthened enforcement of air quality standards. In partnership with the Earth Day Network Philippines, the Aquino administration implemented a campaign to make EDSA a “Linis Hangin” zone. This is done through a coordinated enforcement effort to remove smoke belchers and provide compliance assistance for vehicle owners and drivers. Also included in the program is a pollution reporting system or the “Text Usok Program” in which pictures can be taken of a smoke belcher and sent to the DENR and LTO as evidence. The vehicle can then be traced for testing and apprehension. The DENR, LTO, MMDA and other agencies worked together to formulate measures to reduce traffic and ensure compliance with emission testing to reduce vehicular emissions.

1.5.3. All the above efforts contributed to the reduction of the Total Suspended Particulate (TSP) or the amount of dust particles in the air. Particularly in Metro Manila, the TSP was reduced by 20% in the first six months of the Aquino Administration, from 166 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm) in the 1st semester of 2010 to 133 ug/Ncm in the 2nd semester of 2010. It was further reduced by 9% to 121 ug/Ncm as of April 2011.  The country is working to achieve the global standard TSP level of 90 micrograms per ug/Ncm.

1.6. Safeguarding Water Resources to provide Clean Water

1.6.1. Initiated the cleaning up of the esteros through the “Adopt-An-Estero Program,” a public-private partnership on the clean-up of esteros and polluted rivers nationwide. The government has forged MOAs with 182 companies and other stakeholders nationwide to clean esteros. The government targets to clean ten (10) esteros per region within the year.

1.6.2. Rehabilitated major priority rivers commencing with the cleaning up of the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando (MMO) River System, considered one of the dirtiest in the world.

1.6.3. Water quality improvements were seen in eight (8) out of 19 major rivers in the country by 30.8% from 25.7 milligrams/liter in the 1st half of 2010 to 18 milligrams/liter in the 2nd half of 2010.  These rivers are the Meycauayan River, Marilao River, Bocaue River, Calapan River, Anayan River, Iloilo River, Balilili River, and Luyang River. The amount of 18 mg/l is the average reduction of Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) level of the priority rivers from 2009 to 2010.[39]

1.7. Reducing Solid Waste through sound Solid Waste Management

1.7.1. The government diverted 33.94% of the 8,841,478.80 cubic meters of solid waste from waste disposal facilities in Metro Manila through re-use, recycling and composting activities and other resource recovery activities. This surpasses the target diversion rate of 25% mandated by RA 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.”

1.7.2. The government signed MOAs with eleven (11) Metro Manila LGUs for the establishment of appropriate ecological solid waste management systems for homeowners associations of subdivisions and condominiums. Initially, a total of 4,717 Homeowners Associations (HOAs) in Metro Manila have been identified for assistance.

1.7.3. In Metro Manila, two (2) sanitary landfills and 935 Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) were utilized. To date, only 7,680 out of 42,000 barangays nationwide have MRFs or a compliance rate of 18.28%. In Metro Manila, 685 out of 897 barangays are covered by MRFs or 76% compliance.

1.7.4. Required the Philippine Plastic Industry Association, which is composed of 176 manufacturers and 36 suppliers, to develop a program for the retrieval, collection and recycling of plastics, to save resources and avoid harming the environment.

2. Undertaking all other Measures Necessary to Prepare For and Manage Risk

2.1 Pursued geohazard assessment and mapping. The Hazard Mapping and Assessment for Effective Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (READY) Project addresses the concerns on disaster risk management (DRM) at the local level. It empowers the most vulnerable provinces and communities in the country by enabling them to prepare disaster risk management plans. Under the project, the following were accomplished:

2.1.1. The government has completed the geohazard assessment and mapping of the entire country with a scale of 1:50,000[40]. It covers 1,643 cities and municipalities.

2.1.2. Geohazard maps[41] were posted in the website of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau to make geohazard information more accessible to public users. A total of 65,000 geohazard maps were provided to LGUs, national and local disaster management agencies, and other stakeholders. Advisories to barangays in areas that are likely to be seriously affected by landslides and flooding were re-issued.

2.1.3. Multi-hazard maps[42] of 18 out of the 66 hazard-prone provinces in the country were also produced. As of April 2011, a total of 102 multi-hazard maps in a 1:50,000 scale and 17 in a 1:10,000 scale have been completed. Six (6) of these were completed in July 2010. Through these maps, areas prone to floods, landslides, and other geo-hazards have been identified, enabling local government units to better prepare themselves in responding to and mitigating the effects of national calamities and other hazards.

2.1.4. The government also initiated the detailed mapping of 30 cities and municipalities in areas critical to landslides and flooding at a scale of 1:10,000.

2.2 Improved weather forecasting. The President mandated the DOST and PAGASA to improve its typhoon tracking and weather forecasting systems. The following were accomplished:

2.2.1 Implemented hourly weather forecasts and timely reports on significant weather activities through locally-developed and upgraded forecasting tools: Automated Weather Stations (AWS)[43], rain gauges, flood monitoring and warning systems, Doppler radars, and weather buoys for maritime lanes.

2.2.2 In July 2010, Metro Manila was hit by Typhoon Basyang, without any warning from PAGASA. During that time, the country would get weather updates every 6 hours. Thereafter, the government instituted the provision of hourly updates on the latitude and longitude positions of Tropical Cyclones and distance to the nearest community during severe weather conditions, on top of the usual regular reports issued every 6 hours during normal weather situations. The hourly reports enhanced public preparedness and provided the citizens with timely and accurate weather forecasts during times of extreme weather conditions, thereby increasing protection of life, property and livelihood.

2.2.3 Acquired Forecasters’ Workstations to help forecasters and users display, screen, combine multiple windows, animate, overlay, and manipulate available weather data for better weather tracking.

2.2.4 In light of the recent earthquake that triggered the nuclear mishap in Japan, the DOST-Philippines Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) was also able to provide correct information and awareness about the implications of the nuclear leak to the Philippines.

2.2.5 The DOST plans to locally-develop more forecasting tools such as the meteorological buoy, shaker table, landslide sensors, and 3D mapping device as well as enhance the technical capability of the forecasters.

2.3       Provided Assistance to Disaster Victims. The government, through the combined efforts and resources of the DSWD, DOH, LGUs, other government agencies and international NGOs, provided assistance amounting to P178.93 million to disaster victims from July 2010 to April 2011. Also, a total of 60,449 families or 272,158 individuals were evacuated to 1,097 evacuation centers all over the country.

F. LEGISLATIVE-EXECUTIVE PARTNERSHIP

The Executive Branch has forged a close partnership with Congress in working on the passage of legislative measures that are crucial to the realization of the President’s national development goals.

1. Making GOCCs more accountable. On 6 June 2011, President Aquino signed the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, which aims to promote financial viability and fiscal discipline in the GOCCs. The Act also establishes the Government Commission for GOCCs, an agency that will ensure the efficient use of GOCC assets for the full benefit of the national government and the Filipino people. The GOCC law also empowers the executive to reorganize the state corporate sector towards a system that would maximize the potential of all assets. Prior to this, the President issued EO No. 7, series of 2010 and EO 24, series of 2011 to rationalize the classification and position system of GOCCs.

2. Strengthening democratic institutions in the ARMM. On 30 June 2011, the President signed RA 10153 synchronizing the ARMM elections with the national and local elections in 2013. The synchronization of elections is expected to result in a clearer mandate and help do away with command votes that do not reflect the true will of the electorate. It will also provide an opportunity to enhance and strengthen the capacities of interim officials to carry out reforms in the ARMM bureaucracy.

3. Extending lifeline electricity rates for poor consumers. Congress and the Executive Branch worked together to ensure that low-income and marginalized electricity consumers would continue to enjoy subsidized electricity rates for the next 10 years. On 07 June 2011, the Senate and the House of Representatives (HOR) approved the extension of the lifeline rate subsidy by an additional 10 years through Senate Bill (SB) No. 2846, or “An Act Extending the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate, Amending for the Purpose Section 73 of RA No. 9136, Otherwise Known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001.”[44] The President signed RA No. 10150 on 21 June 2011. The amended law benefits an estimated 4.53 million lifeline customers.

4. Extending the Joint Congressional Power Commission. Together with the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2011 (EPIRA), Congress created the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) to set the overall framework to monitor and ensure the proper implementation of the EPlRA. The JCPC is also tasked to determine inherent weaknesses in the EPlRA and recommend the necessary remedial legislation or executive measures. The President has given his concurrence to Congress to extend the life of the JCPC, which was set to expire on 26 June 2011, by another 10 years. The JCPC’s continued existence is necessary as key structural changes introduced in the EPIRA have yet to be implemented. The JCPC serves as a catalyst in helping push, sustain and bring into fruition the necessary reforms to be instituted in the power sector.

5. Passage of the Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act of 2011. Thousands of infants will no longer be at risk of contracting preventable diseases as a result of the Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act of 2011, which was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on 08 June 2011 and signed into law (RA No. 10152) by the President on 21 June 2011. The Act, a consolidation of HB No. 4393 (Mandatory Infant-Health Immunization Act of 2011) and SB No. 138 (An Act Requiring Mandatory Basic Immunization Services Against Hepatitis-B for Infants), provides for a comprehensive mandatory and sustainable immunization program for vaccine preventable diseases for all infants and children. The government is thus obliged to conduct free mandatory basic immunization for infants and children up to five (5) years of age against vaccine-preventable diseases, such as Hepatitis-B, at any government hospital or health center.

The Act highlights the Philippines’ commitment to the United Nations 2015 Millennium Development Goal to reduce child mortality. It is a manifestation of the Philippines’ institutionalization of mandatory basic immunization services in accordance with international guidelines set by the World Health Organization Expanded Programme on Immunization.

6 Increasing gender equality in the workforce. Women are allowed to work at night thanks to Senate Bill No. 2701 or “An Act Allowing the Employment of Night Workers, thereby Repealing Articles 130 and 131 of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines.” This measure ensures adequate protection for women workers without diminution in pay and benefits for night workers under existing laws. The bill aims to eliminate gender bias and give equal access to employment opportunities for both men and women. The bill further expands health, maternity and wellness provisions for workers. RA No. 10151 was signed by the President on 21 June 2011.

Prepared by the Presidential Management Staff. Uploaded on July 25, 2011.

Read President Aquino’s Second State of the Nation Address

[1] Sec. 6. Citizen’s Charter. – All government agencies including departments, bureaus, offices, instrumentalities, or government-owned and/or controlled corporations, or local government or district units shall set up their respective service standards to be known as the Citizen’s Charter in the form of information billboards, which should be posted at the main entrance of offices or at the most conspicuous place

[2]       Majority of the complaints were on consumer products and service warranties, liability for product and services, and product quality and safety. Resolved means the DTI Consumer Welfare Desks have taken appropriate actions such as settling the complaint or referred/endorsed the concern to the proper agency.

[3]       The AFP-OESPA is tasked to strictly monitor and oversee the compliance of AFP personnel with accountability measures

[4]       Cleansing of the Pension List is a Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) major thrust aimed at ensuring that pensions, benefits, and other privileges are received only by eligible veterans and beneficiaries. It has three (3) major components, namely: (1) Revalidation Program, a continuing activity to monitor the status and whereabouts of pensioners through a Pensioner’s Update Form (PUF); (2) Direct Remittance Pension Servicing System (DRPSS), which eliminates the mailing of pension checks, instead, all pensions are directly remitted through PVAO servicing banks or financial institutions;  and   (3) Issuance of PVAO Pensioners’ ID, which is  another  mode of determining and confirming the identity of pensioners

[5]       EXSBI is a Laguna-based thrift bank with an authorized capital stock of P100-million.

[6]       From 2004 to 2010, budgeted advertising expenses totalled P4.48 billion while actual expenses amounted to P6.63 billion.

[7]       10-20 hours flight testing is the acceptable range of flying hours for the aircraft to be considered brand new.

[8]       Sec. 23.5.1.3, Rule VIII (Receipt and Opening Bids) of RA 9184 provides that the prospective bidder must have completed, within the period specified in the Invitation To Bid, a single contract that is similar to the contract to bid, and whose, value, adjusted to current prices using the NSO consumer price indices, must at least be 50% of the ABC.

[9]       Sec. 13 of RA 9184 states that the BAC shall, in all stages of the procurement process, invite at least two (2) observers, one (1) from a duly recognized private group in a sector or discipline relevant to the procurement at hand and one (1) from a non-government organization.

[10]     GDP Growth of the following countries: (1) Malaysia: 4.6%; (2) Korea: 4.2%; and Thailand: 3.0%.

[11]     According to the study prepared by the Center for Research and Communication, the multiplier effect of mass housing project is 16.6, which simply means that every peso invested in a housing project generates P16.60 of investments in related industries/sectors.

[12]     A normal service contract has 3 to 5 well drillings.

[13]     The 2010 deficit grew by 5.3% from P298.5 billion in 2009.

[14]     Primary surplus is budget surplus without net interest payments from government debt.

[15]     This is also equivalent to 10.9 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 6.0 times based on residual maturity.

[16]     Non-performing loan (NPL) ratio is the ratio of NPLs to total loans. NPLs are past due loan accounts whose principal and/or interest is unpaid for thirty (30) days or more after due date.

[17]     Capital adequacy ratio refers to the ratio of capital to risk weighted assets computed in accordance with the risk-based capital adequacy framework (patterned after the 1988 Basel Capital Accord) that took into account credit risks.

[18]     The awards are given to outstanding companies and energy managers who have undertaken or are responsible for implementing energy efficiency and conservation programs to achieve substantial savings in their energy consumption.

[19]     Energy Audit Service is an analysis of the patterns of energy consumption that is employed in buildings offices and establishments. It aims to absorb and measure patterns of energy used in business; to analyse the results to collect energy efficiency data; and identify major cost-savings and corrective measures in lighting, cooling, and other areas of electricity consumption.

[20]     Consisting of 2 units of refrigerated trucks and 2 units of cold storage

[21]     OIE – Office International de Epizooties with headquarters in Paris, France.

[22]     Set 1- Started in 2008

[23]     Set 2- Started in 2009

[24]     Household refers to an aggregate of persons, generally but not necessarily bound by ties of kinship, who live together under the same roof and eat together or share in common the household food. A person who lives alone is also considered a separate household.

[25]     These constitute 11 medical conditions (dengue I and II, moderate risk and high risk pneumonias, hypertension, cerebrovascular accident I and II, diarrhea, typhoid fever and asthma, asthma and neonatal care package) and 11 surgical procedures (caesarean section, dilation and curettage, hysterectomy, mastectomy, appendectomy, cholecystectomy, herniorrhaphy, thyroidectomy, radiotherapy, hemodialysis, and maternal care package [normal spontaneous delivery]).

[26]     To date, all 2011 HFEP projects are in the preparatory phase (pre-bidding, preparation of detailed architectural and engineering designs, etc.), which shall be completed by 30 September 2011. Catch-up strategies are being formulated for immediate implementation.

[27]     The P2.3 billion budget for the start of universal kindergarten includes the following: P1,732,237,000 for the expansion of kindergarten coverage through different delivery modes (e.g. kindergarten regular programs, and programs for the gifted and CWDs), P500 million for the provision of classrooms with fixtures, among others; P97,500,000 for the support to various kindergarten delivery modes (e.g. conduct of regular monitoring and evaluation; downloading of support funds to regions; institution based training for kindergarten teachers); P9,514,500 for the curriculum model building; and P1,931,550 for kindergarten students for SY 2011-2012, which includes 500,00 kindergarten students who participated in the summer program.

[28]     These include the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG Fund), National Housing Authority (NHA), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

[29]     Section 30 of the UDHA Law provides that the head of any local government units (LGUs) who allows or tolerates the construction of any illegal structure shall be subject to criminal and administrative sanctions provided by law.

[30]     Preliminary figures.

[31]     SPES is a regular program of the DOLE by virtue of RA No. 7323, or the “Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES)”, as amended by R.A. 9547.

[32]     Moreover, per AFP assessment, the increase in the number of ASG attacks is due to the increase in the number of its members being neutralized.

[33]     CSE rate is the percentage of solved cases out of the total number of crime incidents handled by law enforcement agencies for a given period of time.

[34]     CCE rate is the percentage of cleared cases out of the total number of crime incidents handled by law enforcement agencies for a given period of time.

[35]     Article 5. Section 5.1(b) states that the “MCC may, immediately, upon written notice to the Government, suspend this Compact or MCC Funding… if MCC determines that any circumstance identified by MCC… as a basis for suspension or termination has occurred, which circumstances include… (vi) the Philippines is classified as a Tier 3 country in the United States Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report;”

[36]     Also known as “political killings” i.e., killings due to political affiliation of the victims; the method of attack; and involvement or acquiescence of state agents in the commission of the killing. The DOJ uses the term “extralegal killings” since we do not have judicial killings.

[37]     The 196 is based on Court Records. However, the CIDG and DOJ shall file a motion before the Court to correct this information as suspect Cader Datunot and Datu Nor Kadir are one and the same person. The Court Records will have to be amended first before this can be changed.

[38]     It is already considered overcrowded when an inmate has less than 60 square feet of floor space

[39]     The standard Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) level depends on the classification of the waterbody. Most of the 19 priority rivers are classified as Class C (w/ a BOD std. of <7mg/l), except for Anayan River which is Class D (w/ a BOD std. of 10 mg/l) and Cagayan de Oro River which is Class A (w/ a BOD std. of <5 mg/l).

[40]     If the map is on a scale of 1:50,000, then all the woods, lakes, towns and other entities will be one fifty thousandth of their sizes in the real world or 50,000 times bigger than the map.

[41]     Geohazard maps are used to assess the areas for risks of geophysical processes of extreme dimensions (e.g. earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, and climate change)

[42]     Multi-hazard maps are used to analyse the vulnerability and risks of areas exposed to more than one hazard.

[43]     Automated weather stations are stand-alone devices that measure weather-related factors and transmit data remotely on real-time basis. These modern weather tracking devices are outputs of the Development of Hybrid Weather Monitoring System and Production of Weather and Rain Automated Stations Project, which is jointly managed by the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) and  the DOST- PAGASA. Other forecasting tools such as meteorological buoys, shaker table, landslide sensors, and 3D mapping device are also being locally-developed by the DOST.

[44]    Authored by Senators Sergio R. Osmeña III, Francis Escudero, and Juan Ponce Enrile. SB 2846 was adopted by the HOR as an amendment by substitution to HOR-approved House Bill 4169, as authored by Reps. Henedina Abad, Rufus Rodriguez, and Ben Evardone.

The second SONA of President Aquino reached out the mass with his usage of Filipino as medium of communication. The form and style was excellently scribbled. I felt the power of every word in his speech. I believe that PNoy’s SONA brought renewed hope and inspiration to the people. However, the substance of his accomplishment report still lacks. I understand that the President has still five more years in office, I fervently expect that he will realize the promises he has avowed and accomplish more in the succeeding years.

[Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City on July 25, 2011]

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; Bise Presidente Jejomar Binay; mga dating Pangulong Fidel Valdez Ramos at Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Chief Justice Renato Corona at ang ating mga kagalang-galang na mahistrado ng Korte Suprema; mga kagalang-galang na kasapi ng diplomatic corps; mga miyembro ng Kamara de Representante at ng Senado; mga Local Government officials; mga miyembro ng ating Gabinete; mga unipormadong kasapi ng militar at kapulisan; mga kapwa ko nagseserbisyo sa taumbayan;

At sa mga minamahal kong kababayan, ang aking butihing mga boss:

Humarap po ako sa inyo noong aking inagurasyon at sinabing: Walang wang-wang sa ating administrasyon. At ngayon, patuloy nating itinitigil ito. Naging hudyat at sagisag po ito ng pagbabago, hindi lamang sa kalsada, kundi pati na rin sa kaisipan sa lipunan.

Sa matagal na panahon, naging simbolo ng pang-aabuso ang wang-wang. Dati, kung makapag-counterflow ang mga opisyal ng pamahalaan, para bang oras lang nila ang mahalaga. Imbes na maglingkod-bayan, para bang sila ang naging hari ng bayan. Kung makaasta ang kanilang mga padrino’t alipores, akala mo’y kung sinong maharlika kung humawi ng kalsada; walang pakialam sa mga napipilitang tumabi at napag-iiwanan. Ang mga dapat naglilingkod ang siya pang nang-aapi. Ang panlalamang matapos mangakong maglingkod—iyan po ang utak wang-wang.

Wala silang karapatang gawin ito. Ayon sa batas, tanging ang Presidente, Bise Presidente, Senate President, House Speaker, Chief Justice, pulis, bumbero, at ambulansya lang ang awtorisadong gumamit ng wangwang para sa kanilang mga opisyal na lakad. Kung sa trapiko nga ay ‘di masunod ang batas, paano pa kaya sa mga bagay na mas malaki ang makukuha, tulad ng sa mga proyektong pinopondohan ng kaban ng bayan?

Kayo po ba gusto ninyong makulong ang lahat ng tiwali? Ako rin po. Gusto ba ninyong matanggal ang wang-wang, hindi lamang sa kalsada, kundi sa kaisipang nagdulot ng baluktot na sistema na pagkatagal-tagal na nating pinagtiisan? Ako rin. Gusto po ba ninyong mabigyan ng patas na pagkakataon ang lahat na umasenso? Siyempre ako rin po.

Narito po ang halimbawa ng resulta ng ating kampanya kontra wang-wang sa sistema. Nitong taong ito, taumbayan na mismo ang nagsabing nabawasan ang nagugutom sa kanila. Mula sa 20.5 percent na self-rated hunger noong Marso, bumaba na ito sa 15.1 percent nitong Hunyo, katumbas ng isang milyong pamilyang Pilipinong nagugutom dati, pero ngayon ay nakakakain na nang tama kada araw.

Sa larangan po ng negosyo, sino ba ang nag-akalang pitong ulit nating malalampasan ang all-time-high ng stock market? Ang dating 4,000 index na inaakalang hindi maaabot, o kung maabot man ay pansamantala lang, ngayon, pangkaraniwan nang hinihigitan.

Kung dati napako na ang bansa sa mababang credit ratings, itinaas ng Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch, at Japan Credit Ratings Agency ang ating ranking, bilang pagkilala sa ating tamang paggugol ng pondo at sa malikhain nating pananalapi. Ang mataas na credit rating, magpapababa ng interes sa perang inuutang natin. Kumpara sa unang apat na buwan ng nakaraang taon, mas malaki po ng 23 billion pesos ang natipid nating interest payments mula Enero hanggang Abril ng 2011. Maaari na po nitong sagutin ang dalawang milyon at tatlongdaan libong benepisyaryo ng CCT hanggang sa katapusan ng 2011.

Paalala ko lang po, sa siyam at kalahating taon bago tayo maitalaga sa puwesto, iisang beses lang tayong nakatikim ng ratings upgrade, at anim na beses pang na-downgrade ng iba’t ibang ratings agency. Sa isang taon pa lang po natin, apat na beses na tayong nabigyan ng upgrade. Alam naman po natin na hindi madaling ma-upgrade sa panahon ngayon. Itong mga ratings agency, nabatikos na mali raw ang payo bago magkakrisis sa Amerika, kaya ngayon ay mas makunat na sila sa pagbibigay ng magagandang ratings, at nakikita nga natin ito sa sunud-sunod na pag-downgrade sa ibang mga bansa. Pero tayo po, in-upgrade pa nila. Sang-ayon silang lahat: gumanda at lalo pang gaganda ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas. Isang hakbang na lang po, aabot na raw tayo sa investment grade, at wala pong tigil ang ating economic team upang tuluyan na tayong makaarangkada.

At may mabubuting balita pa pong parating. Dahil wala nang wang-wang sa DOE, muling nabuhay ang kumpiyansa ng mga namumuhunan sa ating energy sector. Patunay dito ang isandaan at apatnapung kumpanya na nakahandang tumaya sa eksplorasyon at pagpapalakas ng ating oil at natural gas resources. Sa huling energy contracting round noong 2006, tatlumpu’t lima lang po ang nakilahok. Nitong Biyernes lamang po, nilagdaan na ang panibagong kasunduan para sa isang bagong power plant sa Luzon grid upang pagdating ng 2014, may mas mura at mas maaasahang pagmumulan ng enerhiya ang bansa.

May kumpiyansa, may pag-asa, at tinutupad po natin ang ating mga pangako. Naaalala ko nga po ang babaeng nakausap ko nang ako’y unang nagha-house-to house campaign para sa akin pong sarili. Ang kaniyang hinaing: “Miski sino naman ang manalo, pare-pareho lang ang kahihinatnan. Mahirap ako noong sila ay nangangampanya; mahirap ako habang nakaupo sila, at malamang mahirap pa rin ako pag nagretiro na sila.” Sa madaling salita, ang hinaing po ng marami, “Walang pakialam ang mga pinuno namin kahapon, wala silang pakialam ngayon. Bukas, wala pa rin silang pakialam.”

Di po ba’t may katuwiran naman siya sa pagsasabi nito, dahil sa pagwawang-wang sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno? Wang-wang po ang pagbili ng helicopter sa presyong brand new, pero iyon pala ay gamit na gamit na. Wang-wang din ang milyun-milyong pabuya na tinanggap ng mga opisyal ng GOCC, tulad ng sa Philippine National Construction Corporation, gayong hindi naman sila nakapaghandog ng disenteng serbisyo, at ibinaon pa sa utang ang kanilang mga ahensya. Bago sila bumaba sa puwesto, dalawandaan, tatlumpu’t dalawang milyong piso po ang inomento ng dating pamunuan ng PNCC sa kanilang sarili. 2007 pa lang po, wala na silang prangkisa; lahat ng kikitain, dapat diretso na sa pambansang gobyerno. Hindi na nga nag-abot ng kita, sinamantala pa ang puwesto. Ang bonus nila mula 2005 hanggang 2009, dinoble pa nila sa unang anim na buwan ng 2010. Ibinaon na nga po nila sa bilyun-bilyong pisong utang ang kanilang tanggapan, nasikmura pa nilang magbigay ng midnight bonus sa sarili.

Para po pigilan ang pagwang-wang sa kaban ng bayan, sinuyod at sinuri natin ang mga programa. Dalawang magkasunod na taon na po nating ipinatutupad ang zero-based budgeting, na magsisilbing kalasag sa walang-saysay na paggastos.

Sa Laguna Lake po, magtatanggal nga—sabi nila—ng 12 million cubic meters sa dredging, pero pagkatapos ng tatlong taon, garantisado naman itong babalik. 18.7 billion pesos ang magiging utang natin para lang maglaro ng putik. Hindi pa bayad ang utang, nag-expire na ang pakinabang. Pinigilan po natin iyan. Ang food-for-school program na bara-bara lang ang paghahanap ng benepisyaryo, at iba pang inisyatibang pinondohan ngunit walang pinatunguhan—binura na natin sa budget upang ang pera namang nalibre, ay mailaan sa mga proyektong totoong may silbi.

Ang budget po ang pinakamalinaw na pagsasabuhay ng ating tuwid na landas. Ang aking pahiwatig sa lahat ng gusto pang ilihis tayo rito: Kung mang-aagrabyado ka lang ng mahirap, huwag ka nang magtangka. Kung sarili mo lang ang papayamanin mo, huwag ka nang magtangka. Kung hindi iyan para sa Pilipino, huwag ka nang magtangka.

Sana masabi na natin na tapos na ang utak wang-wang, pero nakikita po natin ang latak ng ganitong kaisipan na pilit bumubulahaw sa aliwalas ng ating biyahe sa tuwid na landas.

Mukhang marami rin po kasi ang nagwawang-wang sa pribadong sektor. Ayon sa BIR, mayroon tayong halos 1.7 million na self-employed at professional tax payers gaya ng mga abogado, doktor, at negosyante na nagbayad lamang, sa suma total, ng 9.8 billion pesos noong 2010. 5,783 pesos lang ang ibinayad na income tax ng bawat isa raw sa kanila, on average—ang ibig sabihin, kung totoo po ito, ang kabuuang kita nila ay umaabot lang ng 8,500 pesos kada buwan. Mababa pa sa minimum wage. Naman.

Nakikita naman po ninyong napupunta na sa tama ang buwis ninyo, kaya wala na pong dahilan upang iwasan natin ang pagbabayad. Nananawagan po ako sa inyo: Hindi lang po gobyerno, kundi kapwa natin Pilipino ang pinagkakaitan sa hindi pagbabayad ng tamang buwis.

Pinananagot at pananagutin po natin ang wang-wang saanmang sulok ng gobyerno. Ang masakit, hanggang sa mga araw pong ito, may sumusubok pa ring makalusot. Mayroon nga pong isang distrito sa Region 4B, may proyektong gagastusan ng 300 million pesos. Kaso hanggang 50 million pesos lang ang puwedeng aprubahan ng district engineer.

Kaya naisip nilang i-chop-chop ang proyekto para di lumampas sa 50 million pesos ang halaga, at di na umabot sa regional at central office ang kanilang mga papeles. Kani-kaniyang diskarte, kani-kaniyang kaharian ang nadatnan nating situwasyon sa DPWH. Sinubukan nilang ipagpatuloy ang nakasanayan na nila. Kadalasan, dahil sa lump-sum na pagbibigay ng pondo, wala nang tanung-tanong kung ano ang plano at detalye ng proyekto. Miski yata—sabi ng iba—bahay ng gagamba ang ipapatayo, bibigyan ng pondo, basta may padrino.

Hindi ito pinalusot ni Secretary Babes Singson. Tinanggal na niya sa puwesto ang district engineer. Pinigilan din po ang pag-award ng proyektong ito para busisiin kung ano pang magic ang nangyari. Masusi na ring iniimbestigahan lahat ng nagkuntsabahan. Ang mga kontratistang mapatunayang nakipagsabwatan para mag-tongpats sa mga proyekto, iba-black-list natin.

Tingnan nga po ninyo ang idinulot na perhuwisyo ng pagwawang-wang sa sistema: Tuloy ang pagdusa ng mamamayang dapat nakikinabang na sa proyekto ng bayan.

Hindi lang po iyan sa Region 4B nadiskubre. Ngunit natigil na po ito dahil hindi na padrino kundi tamang proseso ang naghahari sa DPWH. Hindi na puwedeng walang work program; kailangang magpakita ng pinag-isipang plano para hindi magkasalungat ang pagsasagawa ng mga proyekto. Malinis at hayag na ang bidding, at pantay na ang pagkakataon sa pagpasok ng mga kontratista.

Sa sistemang pinaiiral ngayon sa DPWH, nakatipid na tayo ng dalawa’t kalahating bilyong piso, at umaasa tayo na aabot pa sa anim hanggang pitong bilyong piso ang matitipid sa taon na ito. Ang pinakamahalaga po, nakakaasa na tayo sa mga kalsadang matino, hindi ‘yung maambunan lang ay lulundo o mabibiyak agad. Paniwala natin dati, imposibleng maitama ng DPWH ang sistema nila. Hindi lang po ito posible; sa unang taon pa lamang, ginagawa na natin ito.

Kahit po sa mga bukirin, may mga nagwawang-wang din. Bago tayo maupo noong 2010, nag-angkat ang bansa ng 2.3 million metric tons ng bigas. 1.3 million metric tons lamang ang kailangan nating angkatin, ngunit pinasobrahan pa nila ito ng isang milyong tonelada. Dahil nga sobra-sobra ang inangkat, kinailangan pa nating gumastos muli sa mga bodegang pagtatambakan lang naman ng barko-barkong bigas.

Ilang taon bang walang saysay na pinasobrahan ang bigas na inaangkat? Dahil dito, umiral ang pag-iisip na habambuhay na tayong aangkat ng bigas. Ang akala ng marami, wala na talaga tayong magagawa.

Ngunit, sa loob lamang ng isang taon, pinatunayan nating mali sila. Ngayon, ang dating 1.3 million metric tons na kakulangan natin sa bigas, halos nangalahati na; 660,000 metric tons na lang po ang kailangan nating angkatin. Kahit dagdagan pa natin iyan ng panangga laban sa sakuna at gawing 860,000 metric tons—na ginagawa na nga po natin—mas mababa pa rin ito sa tinatayang taunang kakulangan na 1.3 million metric tons.

At hindi po buwenas lang ang nangyaring pag-angat ng ating rice productivity. Bunga po ito ng matinong pamamalakad: ng paggamit ng maiinam na klase ng binhi, at masusi at epektibong paggastos para sa irigasyon. Nito nga pong nakaraang taon, labing-isang libo, anim na raan at labing-isang bagong ektarya ng bukirin ang napatubigan natin. Dagdag pa iyan sa halos dalawandaan at labindalawang libong ektarya na nakumpuni o nabigyang muli ng irigasyon matapos ang panahon ng pagkakatiwangwang. Ang resulta: umangat ng 15.6 percent ang inani nating palay noong nakaraang taon.

Ang gusto nating mangyari: Una, hindi tayo aangkat ng hindi kailangan, para lang punan ang bulsa ng mga gustong magsariling-diskarte ng kita sa agrikultura. Ikalawa: ayaw na nating umasa sa pag-angkat; ang isasaing ni Juan dela Cruz, dito ipupunla, dito aanihin, dito bibilhin.

Balikan din po natin ang dinatnang kalagayan ng ating mga kawal at kapulisan. Labingtatlong libong piso po ang karaniwang suweldo ng isang PO1 sa Metro Manila. Apat na libong piso daw rito ang napupunta sa upa ng bahay. Tila tama nga po na isang-katlo ng kanilang sahod diretso na sa upa. Isang-katlo pa nito, para naman sa pagkain. At ang natitirang isang-katlo, para sa kuryente, tubig, pamasahe, pampaaral sa anak, gamot sakaling may magkasakit, at iba pa. Maganda na nga po kung tumabla ang kita niya sa gastusin. Kapag naman kinapos, malamang sa five-six po sila lalapit. At kapag nagpatung-patong ang interes ng utang nila, makatanggi kaya sila sa tuksong dumelihensya?

Kaya ang ipinangako nating solusyon pabahay nitong Pebrero, ngayong Hulyo ay tinutupad na. Nakapag-abot na po tayo ng apat na libong Certificate of Entitlement to Lot Allocation sa magigiting nating kawal at pulis. Bahagi pa lang po ito ng target nating kabuuang dalawampu’t isang libo at walong daang bahay sa pagtatapos ng taong ito. Ang dating apat na libong ibinabayad para sa upa kada buwan, ngayon, dalawandaang piso na lang, para pa sa bahay na pagmamay-ari talaga nila. Ang dating nalalagas na halaga na pambayad sa buwanang renta, maaari nang igugol para sa ibang gastusin.

Mayroon pa raw pong mahigit isang libong bahay na natitira, kaya po sa mga pulis at sundalo nating di pa nakakapagpasa ng kanilang mga papeles, last call na po para sa batch na ito. Pero huwag po kayong mag-alala, sa susunod na taon, lalawak pa ang ating pabahay, at hindi lang pulis at kawal sa Luzon ang makikinabang. Inihahanda na ng NHA ang lupang patatayuan sa Visayas at Mindanao, para sa susunod na taon, makapagpatayo na tayo ng mga bahay doon. Sa ating mga kawani ng Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at Bureau of Fire Protection, may good news pa rin po ako sa inyo: kasama na po kayo rito.

Kung seguridad na rin lang po ang ating pag-uusapan, di ba’t karugtong din nito ang ating pambansang dangal? Dati, hindi man lang natin makuhang pumalag tuwing may sisindak sa atin sa loob mismo ng ating bakuran. Malinaw ang pahiwatig natin ngayon sa buong mundo: Ang sa Pilipinas ay sa Pilipinas; kapag tumapak ka sa Recto Bank, para ka na ring tumapak sa Recto Avenue.

Tama nga po kaya ang kuwento tungkol sa isang stand-off noong araw? Tinapatan daw ang mga marino natin ng kanyon. Ang ginawa nila noong gabi, pumutol ng puno ng niyog, pininturahan ito ng itim, saka itinutok sa kalaban. Tapos na po ang panahong iyan. Parating na ang mga capability upgrade at modernization ng mga kagamitan ng ating Sandatahang Lakas. Literal na pong naglalakbay sa karagatan papunta rito ang kauna-unahan nating Hamilton Class Cutter, isang mas modernong barko na magagamit natin para mabantayan ang ating mga baybayin. Maaari pa po tayong makakuha ng mga barkong tulad nito. Idadagdag iyan sa kukunin na nating mga helicopter (plural po iyon), patrol craft, at sandata na bultong bibilhin ng AFP, PNP, kasama na ang DOJ upang makakuha ng malaking diskuwento. Lahat po ito, makakamtan sa matinong pamamahala; mabibili sa tamang presyo, nang walang kailangang ipadulas kung kani-kanino.

Wala tayong balak mang-away, pero kailangan ding mabatid ng mundo na handa tayong ipagtanggol ang atin. Pinag-aaralan na rin po natin ang pag-angat ng kaso sa West Philippine Sea sa International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, upang masigurong sa mga susunod na pagkakataon ay hinahon at pagtitimpi ang maghahari tuwing may alitan sa teritoryo.

Alam ko pong magbubunga ang pag-aarugang ipinapamalas natin sa mga lingkod-bayan na nakatutok sa ating seguridad. Mantakin po ninyo: sa unang anim na buwan ng 2010, umabot sa isanlibo at sampung kotse at motorsiklo ang nanakaw. Ikumpara po natin iyan sa apatnaraan at animnapung kotse at motorsiklong nanakaw mula Enero hanggang Hunyo ng taong ito. Ang laki po ng naibawas di po ba? Malas ko lang po siguro na ‘yung isa o dalawang kaso ng carnapping ang nai-heheadline, at hindi ang pagbawas sa mga insidente nito o ang mas mataas na porsyento ng mga nanakaw na kotse na naibalik na sa kanilang mga may-ari.

Isa pa pong halimbawa ng pagbabagong tinatamasa natin: Mayo ng taong 2003 nang lagdaan ang Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, pero dahil hindi sineryoso ng estado ang pagpapatupad nito, dalawampu’t siyam na indibiduwal lamang ang nahatulan sa loob ng pitong taon. Nalagpasan na po natin iyan, dahil umabot na sa tatlumpu’t isang human traffickers ang nahatulan sa ating administrasyon. Ito nga po siguro ang sinasabing “sea change” ni Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ng Amerika. Dahil dito, natanggal na tayo sa Tier 2 Watchlist ng Trafficking in Persons Report nila. Kung hindi tayo natanggal sa watchlist na ito, siguradong napurnada pa ang mga grant na maaari nating makuha mula sa Millenium Challenge Corporation at iba pa.

Dumako po tayo sa trabaho. Dagdag-trabaho ang unang panata natin sa Pilipino. Ang 8 percent na unemployment rate noong Abril ng nakaraang taon, naibaba na sa 7.2 percent nitong Abril ng 2011. Tandaan po natin: moving target ang nasa hanay ng ating unemployed, dahil taun-taon ay may mga bagong graduate na naghahanap ng trabaho. Nito nga pong huling taon, nadagdag pa sa bilang nila ang libu-libong hawi boys, tagasabit ng banderitas, at iba pang mga Pilipinong kumuha ng pansamantalang kabuhayan mula sa eleksyon. Ang resulta po natin: Isang milyon at apatnaraang libong trabahong nalikha nitong nakaraang taon, nagtatapos po ng Abril.

Dati, nakapako sa pangingibang-bansa ang ambisyon ng mga Pilipino. Ngayon, may pagpipilian na siyang trabaho, at hangga’t tinatapatan niya ng sipag at determinasyon ang kanyang pangangarap, tiyak na maaabot niya ito.

Malaki pa po ang puwedeng madagdag sa trabahong nalilikha sa ating bansa. Ayon pa lang po sa website nating Philjobnet, may limampung libong trabahong hindi napupunan, napupunuan, kada buwan dahil hindi tugma ang kailangan ng mga kumpanya sa kakayahan at kaalaman ng mga naghahanap ng trabaho. Hindi po natin hahayaang masayang ang pagkakataong ito; ngayon pa lang, nagtatagpo na ang kaisipan ng DOLE, CHED, TESDA, at DEPED upang tugunan ang isyu ng job mismatch. Susuriin ang mga curriculum para maituon sa mga industriyang naghahanap ng empleyado, at gagabayan ang mga estudyante sa pagpili ng mga kursong hitik sa bakanteng trabaho.

Ngunit aanhin naman po natin ang mga numerong naghuhudyat ng pag-asenso ng iilan, kung marami pa rin ang napag-iiwanan? Ang unang hakbang: tinukoy natin ang totoong nangangailangan; namuhunan tayo sa pinakamahalaga nating yaman: ang taumbayan. Sa dalawang milyong pamilyang rehistrado sa ating Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, isang milyon at animnaraang libo na ang nakakatanggap ng benepisyo nito. Sa pagpapakitang-gilas ni Secretary Dinky Soliman, tinatayang may mahigit isandaang libong pamilya—uulitin ko po: mahigit isandaang libong pamilya ang naiaahon natin mula sa kahirapan kada buwan. Kaya naman mataas ang aking kumpiyansang makukumpleto ang 1.3 million na dagdag na pamilya, mula sa kabuuang 2.3 milyong target na benepisyaryo ng CCT bago matapos ang taong ito. At sa compliance rate nito na hindi bababa sa 92 percent, milyun-milyon na rin po ang inang regular na nagpapacheck-up sa mga health center, ang mga sanggol na napabakunahan, at ang mga batang hindi hinahayaan sa labas ng paaralan.

Simula pa lang po ito, at sa ganitong kalinaw na mga resulta, umaasa ako sa suporta ng bawat Pilipino, lalo na po ng lehislatura, sa mungkahi nating salinan pa ng pondo ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Inaasam po natin na bago matapos ang 2012, tatlong milyong pamilya na ang mabibigyan ng puhunan para sa kanilang kinabukasan.

Binibigyan natin ang mga maralitang pamilyang ito ng pagkakataong makaahon sa buhay, dahil ang pag-asenso nila ay pag-angat rin ng buong bansa. Sino ang tatangkilik sa mga produkto at serbisyo ng mga negosyante, kung isang kahig, isang tuka naman ang mamimili? Kapag may amang kumakapit sa patalim para may kainin ang kanyang pamilya, at siya ay magnakaw o nangholdap, sino ba ang puwedeng mabiktima ng krimen kundi tayo rin? Kung ang mga kababayan natin ay walang maayos na pagkain o tahanan, mahina ang kalusugan at may malubhang karamdaman, hindi ba’t tayo rin ang nasa peligrong mahawa sa kanilang sakit?

Naglalatag po tayo ng pagbabago upang mapatibay ang pundasyon ng maaliwalas na bukas para sa lahat. Halimbawa po, sa kalusugan: di ba’t kapansin-pansin ang pagtaas ng bilang ng mga benepisyaryo ng PhilHealth tuwing maghahalalan? Ngayon, sa pamamagitan ng National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), tiniyak natin na ang limang milyon at dalawandaang libong pamilyang Pilipino na nakikinabang sa PhilHealth ay ang talagang mga nangangailangan nito. Malawakang pag-unlad at pag-asenso ng lahat: Iyan po ang panata natin. Walang maiiwan sa tuwid na landas.

Tumungo naman po tayo sa ARMM. Ang dating sistema: Nagbabatuhan lang ng huwad na utang ng loob ang mga baluktot na kandidato. Kapag pambansang halalan, malaya ang nakaupo sa ARMM na imane-obra ang makinarya sa kaniyang rehiyon para matiyak na bokya, o sero, ang boto ng hindi kaalyado. Kapag naman eleksyon sa ARMM at maniningil na ng utang si Mayor o Governor, ang administrasyon naman ang magpapatakbo ng makinarya para manalo ang kanilang kandidato.

Ayon nga po sa naungkat ng COA, sa opisina ng regional governor ng ARMM, mula Enero 2008 hanggang Setyembre 2009, walumpung—uulitin ko po: walumpung porsyento ng mga disbursement ang napunta sa mga cash advance na wala namang maayos na paliwanag. Kung hindi nawala ang pondong ito, nakatapos na sana ang isang batang sa ngayon tumawid sa ghost bridge, para pumasok sa ghost school, kung saan tuturuan siya ng ghost teacher. Kaawa-awang bata: walang humpay na paghihirap, at walang pag-asa ng pag-asenso.

Gusto nating maranasan ng ARMM ang benepisyo ng tamang pamamahala. Kaya ang atin pong minungkahing solusyon: synchronization. Dahil dito, kailangan nilang tumutok sa kani-kanilang mga kampanya; magiging mas patas ang labanan, at lalabnaw ang command votes. Salamat po sa Kongreso at naipasa na ang batas na magsasabay sa halalan ng ARMM sa halalang pambansa.

May nagtatanong po, bakit postponement ang kailangan? Sa kagustuhang, siyampre, makabalik sa puwesto, nakahanda ang ilan na ulitin ang nakagawian para manalo. Isipin na lang po ninyo kung pumayag tayo sa kagustuhan ng mga kontra, at itinuloy natin ang eleksyon. Wala po silang ibang gagawin sa loob ng dalawang taon kundi paghandaan ang susunod na halalan at isiksik ang kalokohan nila sa mas maigsing panahon. Habang nananatili sa puwesto ang mga utak wang-wang na opisyal, naiiwan namang nakalubog sa kumunoy ng kawalang-pagasa ang taumbayan.

Wala akong duda sa kahihinatnan ng mga repormang inilatag na natin. Hindi po tayo nagbubukambibig lang; may kongkretong resulta ang ating mga paninindigan. Kapag sinabi nating tuwid na daan, may katapat itong kalsada sa Barangay Bagumbayan sa Sta. Maria, Laguna. ‘Pag sinabi nating malinis na pamamahala, may dadaloy na malinis na tubig sa mga liblib na lugar gaya ng nasa Barangay Poblacion, sa Ferrol, Romblon. Kapag sinabi nating liwanag ng pagbabago, titiyakin nating may liwanag na tatanglaw sa mga pamayanang dati ay nangangapa sa aandap-andap na gasera, gaya ng ginawa natin sa Barangay San Marcos, sa Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. Ganito na ang nangyayari sa marami pang ibang lugar; pinipilit nating ito rin ang mangyari sa kabuuan ng Pilipinas.

Nakatutok na po ang iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno; nag-uugnayan at nagtutulungan sila upang maabot at mapabilis ang mga solusyon sa mga problemang kaytagal nang pinapasan ng bayan.

Di po ba’t may problema tayo sa baha, na alam naman nating dulot ng walang humpay at ilegal na pagputol ng mga puno? Ang dating solusyon: photo-op ng pagtatanim na ang tanging benepisyaryo ay nagpapoging pulitiko. Nagtanim nga ng puno kontra-baha, pero hindi naman siniguro na mananatiling nakatayo ang mga ito pag-alis nila.

Isa sa mga solusyong hinahanda na po at pinag-aaralan ay ang gawing kapaki-pakinabang sa mga pamayanan ang pagbabantay ng puno. Bibigyan sila ng binhi ng kape at cacao para itanim at mamunga ng kabuhayan. Habang hinihintay ang ani, makakakuha sila ng stipend upang bantayan naman ang mga punong itinanim laban sa baha. Puwedeng maging benepisyaryo ng programang ito ang mga informal settlers, na ngayon ay nagkukumpulan sa siyudad. Mamumuhunan tayo sa taumbayan, habang namumuhunan din sa kalikasan.

Noon bang isang taon, inisip kaya natin na kaya nating gawin ito? Sa ngayon, tinutupad na natin ang ating mga pangako. Bukas makalawa, katotohanan na ang lahat ng ating mga pinangarap.

Marami pa pong malikhaing konsepto na inilalapit sa atin, at ang atin pong ipinatupad na. May mosquito trap na pinapatay ang mga kiti-kiti ng lamok, na siguro naman po ay may kinalaman sa halos labing-apat na porsiyentong pagbaba ng insidente ng dengue; may hibla ng niyog na itatapon na sana, pero puwede palang murang solusyon sa mga daanang madaling mabitak; may landslide sensor na magbababala kung tumaas na ang panganib na gumuho ang lupa; may mga kagamitang magbibigay ng senyales kung malapit nang umapaw ang tubig sa mga ilog. Lahat po nito, gawa ng Pilipino.

Pinag-aaralan na rin po ng DOST at UP ang pagkakaroon natin ng monorail system, para tugunan ang problema sa pangmalawakang transportasyon. Sa malikhaing pag-iisip ng kapwa Pilipino, may pag-asa pala tayong magtayo ng light rail system nang hindi hihigit sa 100 million pesos ang gagastusin kada kilometro. Sa matitipid na pondo, mas mahabang kilometro ng riles ang mailalatag at makaka-abot sa mga lugar na malayo sa sentro ng komersyo. Ang mga dating sumisiksik sa siyudad para maghanap ng trabaho, maaari nang tumira sa madyo mas malayo, nang hindi pahirapan ang biyahe.

Uulitin ko po: ang mungkahing ito ay galing sa kapwa natin Pilipino, para sa Pilipinas. Naaalala po ba ninyo ang panahon kung kailan ni hindi man lang maabot ng mga pangarap natin ang ganitong mga proyekto? Ngayon, sinasabi ko po sa inyo: pinapangarap natin ito, kaya natin ito, gagawin natin ito. Hindi ba tayo nagagalak, Pilipino tayong nabubuhay sa mga panahong ito?

Sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, huwag po sana nating lilimutin: masasayang lang ang lahat ng ating narating kung hindi tuluyang maiwawaksi ang kultura ng korupsyon na dinatnan natin.

Sa mga kapwa ko empleyado ng sambayanan, mula sa tuktok hanggang sa bawat sulok ng burukrasya: Di po ba’t napakarangal na ngayon ang magtrabaho sa gobyerno? Di po ba’t ngayon, sa halip na ikahiya, gusto mo pang isuot kung minsan ang iyong ID kung sumasakay ka ng bus o jeep papasok sa iyong ahensya? Sasayangin po ba natin ang karangalang kaloob sa atin ng sambayanan?

Iyan din po ang aking panawagan sa ating Local Government Units. Kabilang po ako sa mga sumasang-ayon na kayo ang pinaka-nakakaalam sa pangangailangan ng taumbayan sa inyong mga lungsod at munisipyo. Makakaasa po ang ating mga LGU sa higit na kalayaan at kakayahan, kung makakaasa rin tayong gagamitin ito sa tuwid na paraan, at isasaalang-alang ang kapakanan ng buong sambayanan.

Halimbawa po, may ilang munisipyo na naisipang magbuwis sa mga transmission lines ng kuryente na dadaan sa kanilang mga pook. Magpapasok nga po ng kita sa kanilang lokal na kaban, pero kapalit nito, tataas din ang gastusin ng mas nakararaming Pilipino sa kuryente. Tiwala po akong kaya nating balansehin ang interes ng inyong mga nasasakupan sa interes ng sambayanan.

Kailangan pong manatiling magkatugma ang ating mga programa, dahil ang ikauunlad ng buong bansa ay manganganak din ng resulta sa inyong mga pook. Wakasan na po sana natin ang agendang nakatuon sa susunod na eleksyon lamang, at ang kaisipang isla-isla tayong maihihiwalay ang sariling pagsulong sa pag-unlad ng bansa.

Tayo-tayo rin po ang dapat magtulungan tungo sa kaunlaran. Malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa Kongreso sa pagpapasa ng mga batas ukol sa GOCC Governance, ARMM Synchronization, Lifeline Electricity Rates Extension, Joint Congressional Power Commission Extension, Children and Infants’ Mandatory Immunization, at Women Night Workers, at marami pa sigurong pasunod.

Noong isang taon nga po, nagpakitang-gilas ang Kongreso sa pagpasa ng budget bago matapos ang taon. Dahil dito, nasimulan agad ang mga proyekto at hindi na inabot ng tag-ulan. Bukas na bukas po, ihahain na namin sa lehislatura ang budget para sa susunod na taon. Umaasa po ako na muli kayong magpapakitang-gilas, upang tuluyan na nating mapitas ang bunga ng mga naitanim nating pagbabago.

Maganda na po ang ating nasimulan. Pero mahalaga pong maalala natin: simula pa lang ito. Marami pa tayong gagawin. Hayaan po ninyong ilatag ko sa Kongreso ang ilan sa mga batas na magpapaigting sa pagtupad ng ating mga panata sa bayan.

Layon nating bigyan ng kaukulang kompensasyon ang mga biktima ng Martial Law; ang pagkakaloob ng makatarungang pasahod at benepisyo para sa mga kasambahay; at ang pagpapatupad ng isang mas maayos na sistema ng pensyon para sa atin pong mga kawal. Sinusuportahan din natin ang pagpapalawak ng sakop ng scholarship na ipinagkakaloob ng DOST sa mahuhusay ngunit kapuspalad na mag-aaral; ang pagtataguyod ng pinaigting na pangkalahatang kalusugan; at ang pangangalaga sa ating kalikasan at sa mga pasilidad na titiyak sa kaligtasan ng mga mamamayan sa oras ng sakuna.

Kabilang din po sa ating agenda ang pagpapalakas ng BuCor, ng NBI, ng NEA, at pati na rin po ng PTV 4, upang sa halip na mapag-iwanan ng kaalaman at panahon, mas maayos nilang magagampanan ang kanilang pagbibigay-serbisyo sa publiko.

Hindi ko po nailagay ang lahat ng gustong magpasali ng kanilang adbokasiya dito po sa SONA. Pero kumpleto po ang detalye sa budget at budget message. Sa mga interesado po, pakibasa na lang detalye doon.

May mga nagsasabing pinepersonal ko raw ang paghahabol sa mga tiwali. Totoo po: Personal talaga sa akin ang paggawa ng tama, at ang pagpapanagot sa mga gumagawa ng mali—sino man sila. At hindi lamang dapat ako ang namemersonal sa usaping ito. Personal dapat ito sa ating lahat, dahil bawat Pilipino ay biktima nito.

Ang mali—gaano katagal man ito nanatili—ay mali pa rin. Hindi puwedeng “Oks lang”; hindi puwedeng “wala lang iyan.” Kapag kinalimutan natin ang mga ito, mangyayari lang ulit ang mga kamalian ng nakaraan. Kung hindi magbabayad ang mga nagkasala, parang tayo na rin mismo ang nag-imbita sa mga nagbabalak gumawa ng masama na kung puwede, uulitin ninyo ang ginawa ninyo.

Ang totoo nga po, marami pang kalokohan ang nahalungkat natin—pero hindi na po magpapakahaba doon, bigyan ko na lang kayo ng isang halimbawa. Sa PAGCOR: kape. Isang bilyong piso po ang ginastos ng dating pamunuan ng ahensya para sa kape; sa isandaang piso na lang po kada tasa, lalabas na nakakonsumo sila ng sampung milyong tasa ng kape. Baka po kahit ngayong iba na ang pamunuan ng PAGCOR ay dilat na dilat pa rin ang mata ng mga uminom ng kapeng ito. Hanapin nga po natin sila, at matanong: nakakatulog pa po kayo?

Pagpasok ng bagong Ombudsman na si dating Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, magkakaroon tayo ng tanod-bayan na hindi magiging tanod-bayad ng mga nagwawang-wang sa pamahalaan. Inaasahan ko nga po na sa taon na ito, masasampahan na ng kaso ang maraming nagkuntsabahan sa katiwalian, at naging sanhi ng situwasyong ating inabutan. Tapos na rin po ang panahon kung kailan nagsasampa ang gobyerno ng malalabnaw na kaso. Kapag tayo ang nagsampa, matibay ang ebidensya, malinaw ang testimonya, at siguradong walang lusot ang salarin.

Tutok po tayo na ang pagkakamit ng ganap na katarungan ay hindi natatapos sa pagsasakdal kung hindi sa pagkukulong ng maysala. Buo ang kumpiyansa ko na tinutupad ng Department of Justice ang malaki nilang bahagi upang maipiit ang mga salarin, lalo na sa mga kaso ukol sa tax evasion, drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, graft and corruption, at extrajudicial killings.

Wala pong tsamba: ang tapat at mabuting pamamahala ay nanganganak ng mabuti ring resulta. Isipin po ninyo: naipatupad natin ang mga ipinangakong serbisyo ng gobyerno, at nakapaglaan pa ng sapat na pondo para sa mga proyekto nang hindi kinailangang magtaas ng buwis.

Iyan naman po talaga ang plano: siguruhin na patas ang laban; itigil ang panlalamang ng mga makapangyarihan; at tiyakin na ang dating sistema kung saan nakikinabang ang iilan ay magiging bukal ng oportunidad para sa lahat.

Tinutuldukan na po natin ang wang-wang: sa kalsada, sa gobyerno, sa kalakhang lipunan. Ito po ang manganganak ng kumpiyansa na magdadala ng negosyo; ito rin ang sisiguro na ang pondo ng taumbayan ay mapupunta sa dapat nitong kalagyan: Imprastruktura na titiyak sa tuluyang pag-angat ng ekonomiya at pagmumulan ng trabaho, at serbisyong panlipunan na sisigurong walang mapag-iiwanan. Bubukas ang marami pang pintuang pangkabuhayan sa pamamagitan ng turismo; sisiguruhing hindi magugutom ang Pilipino sa pagpapalakas ng agrikultura. Ang mga dating kinakaligtaan, bibigyang-puhunan ang kinabukasan.

Magbubunsod ito ng siklo kung saan tiyak na may pupuno sa mga nalilikhang trabaho, at may mga konsumer na lalong magpapalago sa mga negosyo.

Batid ko po na hanggang ngayon ay may kakaunti pang nagrereklamo sa ating estilo ng pamamahala. Nakita po ninyo ang aming estilo, at ang kaakibat nitong resulta. Nakita po ninyo ang estilo nila, at kung saan tayo nito dinala. Sa mga taong bukas ang mata, maliwanag kung saan ang tama.

Ngayong tayo na ang nagtitimon sa gobyerno, malinaw ang direksyong tinatahak ng ating bayan. Isang bansa kung saan ang pagkakataon ay abot-kamay; kung saan ang mga nangangailangan ay sinasaklolohan; kung saan may saysay ang bawat patak ng pawis, bawat sandali ng pagtitiis, at bawat butil ng hinagpis na dinaanan natin. Kung may gawin kang mabuti, may babalik sa iyong mabuti. At kung may gawin kang masama, tiyak na mananagot ka.

Naaalala ko nga po ang isang ginang na lumapit sa akin noong kampanya; ang babala niya, “Noy, mag-iingat ka, marami kang kinakabangga.”

Tama po ang sabi niya: Tao pong may agam-agam din ako kung minsan. Pero wala po akong alinlangang tumahak sa tuwid na daan: Buo ang loob ko dahil alam kong nasa likod ko po kayo. Salamat po.

Salamat po sa mga pari at obispo na masinsinang nakikipagdiyalogo sa atin, katulad nina Cardinal Rosales at Vidal. Di naman po kami ganoong kalapit ni Cardinal Rosales, pero naniniwala akong ibinuhos niya ang lahat para mabawasan ang hindi pinagkakaunawaan ng gobyerno at simbahan. Sa pagkahalal kay Archbishop Palma, tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao at kalikasan, lalo pong tumibay ang aking kumpiyansang ugnayan, at hindi bangayan, ang mabubuo sa pagitan ng estado at simbahan.

Salamat din po sa ating Gabinete, na walang kinikilalang panahon ng tulog o pahinga, maipatupad lang ang pambansang agenda. Special mention po ang PAGASA, na tunay na ngayong nagbibigay ng maaasahang babala.

At sa mga nasasagasaan po natin sa landas ng katapatan at integridad sa pamamahala, ito naman po ang aking masasabi: Pinili ninyo ang landas kung saan naaapi ang sambayanan. Pinili naman namin ang landas na ipagtanggol ang taumbayan. Nasa tama po kami; nasa mali kayo. Sa inyong magbabalik ng pang-aapi sa sambayan, hindi kayo magtatagumpay.

Sa lahat ng mga kasama natin sa tuwid na daan: kayo ang lumikha ng pagkakataong baguhin ang dinatnan, at gawing mas maganda ang ipapamana natin sa susunod na salinlahi ng mga Pilipino. Kayo pong mga tsuper na pumapasada pa rin; kayong mga guro at estudyanteng pauwi pa lang mula sa klase; kayong patuloy ang paglikha ng mga obrang nagpapaalab sa apoy ng ating pagka-Pilipino; kayong mga pulis, sundalo, kaminero, at bumbero; kayong mga marangal na magtrabaho, sa Pilipinas man, sa gitnang dagat, o sa ibang bansa; kayong mga tapat na kasama natin sa gobyerno, anumang probinsya o partido; kayong mga Pilipinong nakikinig sa akin ngayon—kayo po ang lumikha ng pagkakataong ito.

Lumikha po kayo ng gobyernong tunay na nagtatrabaho para sa inyo. May limang taon pa tayo para siguruhing hindi na tayo babalik sa dating kalagayan. Hindi tayo magpapadiskaril ngayong napakaganda na ng resulta ng ating sinimulan.

Kapag may nakita tayong butas sa sistema, huwag na po tayo magtangkang lumusot. Huwag na nating daanin sa pakiusap ang madadaan sa pagsisikap. Tama na ang unahan, tama na ang tulakan, tama na ang lamangan, dahil lahat naman po tayo ay makakarating sa minimithi nating kinabukasan.

Tapusin na po natin ang kultura ng negatibismo; iangat natin ang kapwa-Pilipino sa bawat pagkakataon. Bakit po ang iba, ang hilig maghanap ng kung anu-anong pangit sa ating bayan? At napakahirap—parang kasalanan—na magsabi ng maganda? Naalala pa po ba natin noong huling beses tayong pumuri sa kapwa Pilipino?

Itigil na po natin ang paghihilahan pababa. Ang dating industriya ng pintasan na hindi natin maitakwil, iwaksi na po natin. Tuldukan na po natin ang pagiging utak-alimango; puwede bang iangat naman natin ang magaganda nating nagawa?

Kung may nakita kang mabuti, huwag kang magdalawang-isip na purihin ito. Kapag nakita mo ang pulis sa kanto, nagtatrapik nang walang kapote sa ilalim ng ulan, lapitan mo siya at sabihing, “Salamat po.”

Kung magkasakit ka at makita mo ang nars na nag-aruga sa iyo, sa halip na magserbisyo sa dayuhan kapalit ng mas malaking suweldo, pakisabi rin po, “Salamat po.”

Bago ka umuwi galing eskuwela, lapitan mo ang guro mong piniling mamuhunan sa iyong kinabukasan kaysa unahin ang sariling ginhawa; sabihin mo, “Salamat po”: Tulad ng aking gurong nasa screen ngayon, Salamat po Ginang Escasa.

Kung makasalubong mo ang iyong kinatawan sa kalsadang dati ay lubak-lubak (o wala), at ngayon ay puwede nang daanan nang maaliwalas, lapitan mo siya at sabihing: “Salamat po.”

Kaya po, sa sambayanang Pilipino, ang aking Boss na nagtimon sa atin tungo sa araw na ito: maraming, maraming salamat po sa pagbabagong tinatamasa natin ngayon.

Buhay na buhay na ang Pilipinas at ang Pilipino.