Wednesday, August 22, 2012


CHED Funds Aklan River Research

“Digital Technology Application in Research” is the topic Part I of the weekly Kapihan forum held at Carmen Hotel, Northwestern Visayan Colleges (NVC) on August 18, 2012. The guests are: Dr. Eva G. Guanzon, Research Coordinator–NVC, Dr. Elsa I. Abayon, Research Director– Aklan State University (ASU), Dr. Rosalina R. Atos, Asst. Professor/Researcher–ASU, Dr. Ma. Rema B. Lauron, Asst. Professor/Researcher–ASU, Dr. Reinalda I. Magdaluyo, Dean–NVC, and Ms. Ramona S. Magayanes–Rotary Club of Kalibo (RCK). On hand to welcome the guests and attendees is Atty. Allen S. Quimpo–NVC President.

Dr. Abayon explained the current baseline research on psycho-chemical characteristics of Aklan river originating from the hinterlands of Libacao to its final exit point in Kalibo. The research is funded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for P1.3 million. The one year research program is a collaborative effort among academic institutions – NVC, Aklan Catholic College, ASU and government agencies – DPWH, DENR, DOST – Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. 

The study is divided into three (3) sectoral priorities namely: a) Biodiversity headed by Dr. Rosalina R. Atos, b) Socio-economic and Cultural Profile – Dr. Celedonia Hilario, and c) Geo-morphology and Hydrology – Dr. Ma. Rema B. Lauron. 

The Biodiversity study is focused on flora and fauna, identification of indigenous species as well as invasive ones. Socio-economic research hopes to gather data on population, farming activities and practices affecting soil and productivity. Geomorphology and hydrology will shed light on types of soil, conditions of water, volume of water flow as influenced by rainfall. 

Research data will be collated and processed through digital techno-logy. It will be accurately analyzed and reported in readable form. The output of research and their recommendations will be presented to the stakeholders for validation. The final document will be submitted to the Provincial Governor and Chairperson, Aklan Rivers Development Council for their information and favorable action, Dr. Abayon said.

Dr. Guanzon confirmed the research study on the Aklan river will form part of CHED’s Higher Education Institute Researches in Region 6. The seminar workshop on digital technology involving research students and instructors in both public and private schools will be held on Sept. 6 and 7 in Boracay, Malay aimed to heighten awareness and interest of youth to its main agenda like quantitative and qualitative research. 

Dr. Lauron said, Aklan river has 3 ecological zones which are: a) Libacao and its hinterland tributaries, b) Banga, and c) Kalibo. Each has a distinctive physical and social environment where data will be grouped and independently analyzed. The goal is to make research project accurate, reliable and credible to benefit Aklanons averred the Lady educator.

It is a welcome development that research studies on Aklan river are all headed by women. Gender-wise, it appears that women are experts, knowledgeable and embued with a far noble vision to care about the environment than men. Kool earth for instance is an advocate group composed of women volunteers. The same is true with Samahan ng Kababa-ehan sa mga Barangay ng Kalibo. Someday, women enforcers will be used to persuade squatters to relocate from potential disaster prone areas like riverbanks to higher safe ground.

Meteorological data on rainfall pattern over a period of time and elevation of riverbanks will provide accurate guide whether to allow certain low lying areas in Banga, Kalibo and Numancia to be overtaken by informal squatters where garbage disposal and crimes are number one concern.

The research study of one year practically scans the surface so to speak. It takes a minimum of 5 years to take on a more credible and meaningful research. Inherent weakness lies in the meager funding which would allow hiring of full time research scientist, analysts and data encoders who are provided with equipment to expedite data collection/retrieval.

Aklan river is described as meandering, changing course in two to three directions during dry months. However, in monsoon season, it becomes an intimidating force causing widespread loss of lives and properties like Typhoon Frank on June 21, 2008. Otherwise it is tapped for land reclamation, job generation, food production, irrigation, hydropower, potable water, tourism, fisheries and quarrying. All these significant economic activities are potentials in all 17 river ecosystems in each town to the community and nation in general. 

The on-going research has its limitations and weaknesses but overall can be an invaluable document to know our water resource from a scientific perspective and methods to develop it wisely and effectively. 

Part II of the forum was the presentation of mechanics of the Annual Journalism Awards and its formal launching by APCI Pres. Megs Lunn, Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente, Atty. Allen S. Quimpo, and Dennis Lim – president, RC Kalibo represented by Dr. Mona S. Magayanes. The Annual Journalism Award is being sponsored by the APCI, Rotary Club of Kalibo and NVC. /MP  

Is Adulterant Food or Poison?


Chapter II, section 12 (b) of Municipal Ordinance No. 312, Series of 2012, entitled “An Ordinance Enacting the Sanitation Code” of the Municipality of Malay approved on March 27, 2012 says: “Adulterated food is food that contains any “poisonous or deleterious” substance in a quantity that may render it injurious to health or has been processed, prepared, packed or held under unsanitary condition where valuable nutrients have been in part or in whole omitted thereof.”

Apparently, the above definition refers to melamine, an industrial chemical added to milk to enhance protein readings that consequently leads to infant deaths in China. It is also an additive to animal feeds being used for the last 40 years resulting to deaths of livestock. Clearly, this is a criminal offense sanctioned by both US and Philippines Food and Drug Administrations. 

The actual definition of adulterants is substances that make products impure or inferior when added to a pure substance. (English dictionary, New edition). Based on this info, adulterants are not exactly poisonous or deleterious per se because simply render manufactured goods inferior.

In fact, the Malay SB definition of adulterated food is only one of several definitions under Consumer Act of the Philippines (RA 7394) which include inferior substances added to the non-poisonous products, where valuable nutrients have been in part or in whole omitted. 

The Department of Trade and Industry requires producers of commercial goods to list all ingredients in their package labels whether by volume or weight (Labeling Law). This allows consumers to be aware of ingredients or adulterants if any and corresponding nutrition facts. Net contents will show dry weight minus the packaging material. 

Since adulterants are accepted norms in commerce and industry, some manufacturers engage in this practice to lower production cost in the face of competition, to enhance certain flavor or increase acceptability of taste, color and texture.

Brewed coffee is oftentimes mixed with soybeans and other grains which can be acceptable to consumers. However, for connoisseurs, one way to determine adulterant is to float while genuine coffee sinks to the bottom of the cup. Of course one can’t be deceived by its inherent aroma and taste. 

Other products locally manufactured like corned beef where the main ingredient is mixed with carabeef. It is also those who are accustomed to imported canned meat products who discern what is genuine or fake. Certainly, you pay higher price for premium quality. 

On the basis of the above info, proper rectification regarding the adding non poisonous substances as adulterants be made on enacted Ordinance of the Municipality of Malay. This particular provision in the statute may have been overlooked and intended to forestall confusion in law enforcement. /MP 

APCI, NVC, Rotary Launch Journalism Awards

Picture shows the guests and  members of the Aklan Social Media at the Kapihan forum on Saturday, August 18, 2012. They are (l to r) Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente, Mr. Carbonel, Dr. Mona Magayanes, Ms. Lilian Q. Tirol (partly hidden), Dr. Reinalda Magdaluyo, Ms. Megs Lunn, Dr. Elsa I. Abayon, Dr. Eva G. Guanzon, Dr. Ma. Rema B. Lauron, Dr. Rosalina R. Atos, Ernesto T. Solidum (partly hidden), Ms. Chita Heap and Ms. Richie Oloroso. 

Annual Journalism Award, a joint project of the Aklan Press Club, Inc., NVC, and Rotary Club of Kalibo is launched on Saturday, August 18 during the Kapihan forum held at Hotel Carmen @ NVC. Upper picture shows representatives of the three organizations involved in the award project. 

Aklan SP Commends Top Corporate/Individual Taxpayers


As expression of gratitude, the Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan has commended the top 10 corporate and top ten individual taxpayers in the Province of Aklan for year 2011.

In a resolution sponsored by SP member Victor Manuel M. Garcia passed during the 28th Regular Session on August 15, 2012, the SP cited top taxpayers as responsible and law abiding citizens who have greatly contributed to the coffers of the government. They also gave back the benefits to their provincemates and countrymen.

The Aklan SP commended the leading corporate taxpayers which are the Boracay Island Water Company, Inc.; Boracay, Malay; Hennan Hotel Management, Inc., Boracay, Malay; Aklan Electric Cooperative, Inc., Bagto, Lezo; Cyma Creek Tavern Boracay Corporation, Boracay, Malay; Red Coconut Beach Hotel Corporation, Boracay, Malay; Seraph Management Group, Inc., Boracay, Malay; Marianing and Sons Dev’t. Corp., Cor. Pastrana & Dr. Gonzales Sts., Kalibo; Ang Pue Hardware & Lumber, Inc., Toting Reyes St., Kalibo; Panay Andoks Corporation, Boracay, Malay; and Regalado and Cipriano Supermart, Inc., Toting Reyes St., Kalibo.

The provincial legislative body recognized the top individual taxpayers who are Federico J. Jarantilla, Jr., Boracay, Malay; George F. Rovero, Bulwang, Numancia, Wilfredo M. Gelito, Boracay, Malay; Ariel Garcia, XIX Martyrs St., Kalibo; Abe R. Pastrana, Poblacion, Banga; Proculo M. Ilejay, C. Laserna St., Kalibo; Wilfredo M. Rovero, Mabini St., Kalibo; Lourdes P. Yap, Boracay, Malay; Ma. Rosa U. Tirol, Boracay, Malay, and Emelly P. Solina, Linabuan Norte, Kalibo, Aklan.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue in Aklan has collected P768.5 million in taxes in 2011 which is 15.7 percent higher than the 2010 tax collections of P664 million. /MP   

IACAT Monitoring Effects Increases Trafficking Convictions

The monitoring system put in place by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) has resulted in the speedy resolution of human trafficking cases, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said.

Binay, Chairman Emeritus of the IACAT and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Concerns announced a total of 16 persons were convicted for human trafficking-related violations in 9 separate cases since January, 2012.

“This brought to 44 the number of human trafficking convictions under President Noynoy Aquino’s administration, with 58 persons convicted,” Vice President Binay said.

The IACAT is closely monitoring all pending human trafficking-related cases to ensure “a timely conviction of the perpetrators,” Binay stressed. “We are focusing on following through with the cases until a decision is passed. It’s not enough that we file cases against these human trafficking syndicates, we have to make sure that those involved are put behind bars,” he said. “We expect more convictions in the coming months.”

Binay said that 44 human trafficking convictions two years into President Aquino’s term is a “far cry from the 29 convictions the previous administration acquired from 2005 to June 2010.”

The Philippines has retained its Tier 2 status in the recently-released Global Trafficking in Persons Report (GTIP) of the United States Department of State. It was previously in the Tier 2 Watch List status.

The annual GTIP report classifies countries into “tiers” based on whether or not they meet the standards set by the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).

“Even before the release of the GTIP report, I had already instructed the IACAT to monitor the cases we filed.” Binay pointed out.

 Among the recommendations in the GTIP report is the need to “address the significant backlog of trafficking cases by developing mechanisms to track and monitor the status of cases filed with the Department of Justice (DoJ).”

The report also recommended that the government conducts “immediate and rigorous” investigations of public officials involved in trafficking activities.

The DoJ has previously filed show cause notices to 14 Bureau of Immigration personnel for their alleged involvement in the illegal smuggling of Filipinos to foreign destinations, including war-torn Syria. /MP 

More Fun In Senate

“There is more fun in the Senate”, said Sen. Franklin M. Drilon. He declined his nomination for the “exalted position of chief justice,” saying he likes his work in the Senate “where I can be of better service to the country.”

Sen. Drilon said he was “humbled and honored” by the nomination but intends to finish his term in the Senate which ends in 2016.

Besides, Drilon told reporters, “It is more fun in the Senate.”

Sen. Drilon and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago are the latest Senate members nominated to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) which evaluated the nominees and recommended its top choices for chief justice of the Supreme Court to President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Of the more than 60 nominees, 13 accepted their nominations and five were forwarded to the president.

“I have been in the Executive and Legislative branches. I do not know that a change in career path when you are 67 is the most welcome development in your life,” Drilon said.

He also noted with sadness that the process for nominating the chief justice “ became a circus.”

“I am not blaming anyone but it has become absurd, even requiring psycho tests,” he said. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Rules of Conduct and 
Ethical Behavior

Mr. Odon S. Bandiola, secretary of Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan asked, “as a government employee, do you pretend to be busy in front of your desktop? laptop? netbook? and tablet during office hours? But actually you are on your facebook or twitter account punching not office research work…purely private affairs on government time, IT equipment and internet facilities? Or, encoding your research study in school?”

Bandiola asked further, “As a government employee, do you use leisurely office telephone for personal calls? Or, buy-home groceries from discretionary fund? Or, bring home office supplies? Or, use official vehicle for personal and family purposes?” 

“These and many more acts of government officials and employees just taken for granted but clear violations of the Rules of Conduct and Ethical Behavior of officials and employees in the Civil Service”, Bandiola pointed out. 

To minimize these methods of dishonesty, Bandiola reported the attendance of “23 regular staff members of the Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan to a 6-week Distance Learning Program on the Rules of Conduct and Ethical Behavior in the Civil Service”. The program ended on July 31, 2012.

The distance learning program taught the 23 participants the “Norm of Conduct for Public Officials and Employees such as Commitment to Public Interest, Professionalism, Justness and Sincerely, Political Neutrality, Responsiveness to the Public, Nationalism and Patriotism, Commitment to Democracy and Simple Living”. They also studied the provisions of the code of conduct and prohibited acts of public officials and employees. 

To enhance comprehension of the code, some 10 case studies were presented and discussed, Bandiola revealed.    

The report revealed the Civil Service Commission, Region VI provided the “Manual” embodying the training modules and the questionnaires. It did not tell which office served as the trainor.
With this six weeks of distance learning of the 23 regular Aklan SP staff members, the public can expect a much improved public services in the Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Can they?

EF congratulates the 23 SP employees for the additional information and skills they acquired for the good of the service. They can also apply lessons learned for their personal benefits.
Thanks to the SP top management for the human resource development initiative.

Is Woman = Man?

The World Bank found, despite growth and development in the Philippines, there is still a significant gap in opportunities between men and women. Filipino working women are paid just 76 percent of what their male counterpart gets.

East Asia and Pacific nations had not eliminated gender inequality and countries in the region, the Philippines included “need to put in place policies that would address the issue”, reported the World Bank as cited in the “Toward Gender Equality In East Asia and the Pacific”. The Filipino women are paid less than men for doing similar job. For every P100 the Filipino male are paid, Filipino female is only paid P76 for doing the same kind of work, the WB report pointed out. 

Matoo Konishi, World Bank country director in the Philippines revealed East Asian economics have been growing fast with much positive impact, but gender balance is not effected. 

Konishi suggested change of policies so that growth will benefit everybody. While the Philippines is in many ways advanced in gender and development, there are still problems that need to be addressed.

“Konishi cited the disparity in terms of opportunity to manage enterprises in the Philippines. “Only about 30 percent of medium size enterprises have female managers while about 20 percent of large enterprises have female managers.” /MP

Philippines Warns Cigarette Makers Over Tax Debate

The Philippines warned cigarette makers on Thursday, August 16 they could face tough measures to reduce smoking-related deaths if they fight a proposed tobacco tax increase, a day after Australia’s top court upheld the world’s toughest laws on tobacco sales.

The Philippines, with one of Asia’s highest rates of smokers, is debating legislation that would increase taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, making them potentially too costly for the poor.

“If the number of people who die from cigarette-related deaths continues to increase, the government may even do more drastic measures,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona told Reuters on the sidelines of a Senate committee hearing on the bill.

Sec. Ona did not specify what further anti-tobacco measures the Philippines could take.

But he spoke a day after Australia’s highest court up held its government’s new anti-tobacco marketing laws that will ban logos on cigarette packs and will likely give other countries more confidence to push similar measures.

“This can be a warning to our tobacco industry that they should work closely with us and with this proposal we are presenting,” he said of Australia’s decision.

About 18 percent of the Philippines’ nearly 100 million people are classified as regular smokers. On average, 50,000 people die a year from smoking-related illnesses, according to a 2008 government-funded National Nutrition and Health Survey.

The House of Representatives in the Philippines has approved its version of the bill. The Senate is finalizing its version. Both need to be reconciled and are expected to be submitted to President Aquino to be signed into law.

“This is a bill that will need to be passed for a healthier nation, a longer life expectancy for many people and a chance to rapidly modernize our health system,” Ona stressed.

The annual cost of the four leading smoking-related diseases in the Philippines is estimated at 177 billion pesos, Ona said. The tobacco industry paid close to 40 billion pesos in taxes in 2011. (by Jason Szep and Robert Birsel) /MP

SP Seeks NBI/Passporting Offices In Aklan


The Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan has asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to re-establish its Provincial Satellite Office in Aklan. NBI used to hold office in Kalibo before but it closed its office and moved to Iloilo City. 

Through a resolution sponsored by SP Member Victor Manuel M. Garcia, the SP informed the NBI that many of their constituents, very particularly overseas workers and jobseekers are having hard times and incur more expenses in seeking NBI clearances in Iloilo City. 

The re-establishment of the NBI’s satellite office in Aklan will help lessen the financial burden and the inconvenience of Aklanon applicants for clearances if the NBI establishes its office in Kalibo, the SP stressed.

In a separate resolution, the SP likewise asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to also resume the regular deployment of its mobile passport services in Aklan. The same resolution was also sponsored by SP member Garcia.

The processing of passport applications at DFA’s Mobile Passport services is guided by the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 and its implementing rules and regulations, other department circulars, orders and memoranda.

The resumption of DFA Mobile Passport Services in Aklan will likewise reduce the financial burden and inconveniences of Aklanons needing such services.

Aklan used to enjoy the accessibility to such NBI’s and DFA’s services in the past and has also contributed to the provincial government’s local fund generation.

Not only the Aklan constituents had benefitted from said services but also the people of neighboring provinces of Antique, Romblon and Capiz.  /MP  

Thursday, August 16, 2012



Tourist Destinations Requires 
Marketing Plan

Kapihan forum at Carmen Hotel, NVC on August 11, 2012 discussed the topic, “Enhancing Multi-Destination of Tourism in Aklan”. Guests are Tangalan Mayor Gene Fuentes, Municipal Tourism Officers: Ms. Rhea Rose E. Meren – Kalibo, Ms. Lin B. Ilinon – Ibajay and Mr. Leopoldo C. Sanchez, Jr., - Numancia.

Atty. Ronquillo C. Tolentino underscored the need to strengthen tourism program since it is one of key centers of the economy. It has a high cost benefit ratio, promotes biodiversity and cultural awareness. It is imperative that government leaders and stakeholders aggressively plan for its promotion and some alternative tourists destinations like Tangalan, Ibajay, Kalibo, and Banga in addition to Boracay, Tolentino pointed out. 

Mayor Fuentes who is also OIC Municipal Tourism Officer agrees there is no competition but complementation in as far as tourism is concerned. Visits to various parts of the country like Abra, Cebu, Bohol, and Davao are significant because in those places, ethnic culture and unique sceneries are blended thereby creating a fascinating experience.

Visitors to Tangalan will find its imposing centuries old church built in 1889. At the foot of the lighthouse in Afga is waved rock formation facing the Sibuyan sea. Jawili is ideal, for bathing, snorkeling and beach sports competition in its extensive coralline white sand and protected waters. Marine sanctuary covers 375 hectares while pilot coral reef restoration project is funded by Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the amount of P700,000. Jawili Falls sport a minipark and a Mango Bar. A 10 hectare mangrove ecopark is also funded by USaid to construct a bamboo foothpath.

Those interested in outdoor sports are welcomed to Campo Verde for horseback riding and mountain biking in the maze of trails and canopied trees. Of course we have one high end tourist establishment – Blue Star Resort and several budget oriented resorts like D’Wave, Devora, and Green Meadows among others, Mayor Fuentes pointed out.

Ibajay has its mangrove ecopark “Katunggan It Ibajay” (KII) which boasts of 28 out of 35 known mangrove species of the Philippines. Century old bakhawan covers 44 hectares located between barangays Bugtongbato and Naisud. The protected area is home to several wildlife species like egrets, bats, monitor lizard, crabs, clams, mudfish, and other sea shells. The interior area is accessible to visitors by an 800 meter bamboo footpath where a banca ride experience is available. KII is ideal for picnickers and nature lovers, said Ms. Ilinon.

Numancia humbly offers its century old acacia trees in Albasan and its OTOP organic fertilizer (vermicast). It is still into identification and development of its tourism potentials with P1.18 million LGU funding, Sanchez, Jr. revealed. 

Development of potential tourism sites is closely associated with accessibility, distance and accommodation facilities. It is noted that coastal road infra linking Kalibo – Numancia (via Albasan, Navitas) – Makato (Baybay) – Tangalan (Dapdap, Jawili) – Ibajay (Bugtongbato, Naisud) is possible if there is strong political will. Most challenging one is funding to connect Dapdap, Tangalan and Baybay, Makato with a steel bridge. 

The reason why there is massive poverty and unemployment in these coastal barangays is its poor road access and high cost of transport to market centers and institutions like schools, banks, hospital and airport. The economic livelihoods are in fisheries (marine and aquaculture) and agriculture (coconuts).

Jawili Falls’ natural beauty and attraction can only be effected by preserving its pristine state. This means expanding watershed area and enforcement of forest laws on illegal cutting of trees. It is very disappointing to find stagnant water and slime instead of cascading crystal cold waters every time there is prolonged drought. This is because of human greed.

Evidently, Jawili, Tangalan is the most promising alternative tourists site in Aklan because of its sizeable number of low cost business establishments. Patrons from Iloilo, Negros and Capiz regularly come to savor it bucolic atmosphere, vibrant marine fishing industry and wholesome night life. Aklan has several tourist destinations for anybody to be proud of. Its delight is in the pudding as the saying goes. 

Meanwhile, an economically viable and environmentally sound marketing plan must be crafted at the earliest possible time. Indeed, building main stream interest in our alternative tourist areas require a lot of patience, determination, and hard work.  /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Unjust Scholarship

The GSIS offers scholarship to students of STI. But only 20 percent of the tuition fee is paid by GSIS provided that student is the close relative of the current GSIS member or pensioner.

Well & Good

Giving scholarships to students is heartily welcomed!

What is wrong with the 20 percent scholarship grant to students at STI who are relatives of the GSIS members and pensioners is its discriminary nature.

The GSIS scholarship funds come from all the GSIS members and pensioners with majority of the close relative children are studying in other colleges and universities. These children studying in other institutions must be given the amount the GSIS gives to STI students.

For the GSIS to continue giving scholarship to relatives of GSIS members and pensioners studying at STI without giving the same privilege to those students studying in other schools is unfair, unjust and discriminatory.  

Philippine Olympics

In the last Olympic games held in London, United Kingdom, the Philippines sent 24 members contingent. Well and good, but the Philippines delegation was composed of more officials than athletes. There were 11 athletes and 13 officials. The 11 athletes were all easily eliminated even in the qualifying rounds in their respect event. 

It is so frustrating, so embarrassing watching a Filipino athlete being defeated. It is so disgusting for citizens with 100 million people  from where  athletes are selected  to compete in the last three Olympic games without even a bronze medal won.

Why do so many countries have medals in the Olympic games even if they have less population from where they select their athletes? These current Philippine Sports officials had no reason to stay even a day in the office entrusted to develop sports in the Philippines.

Mark Anthony Barriga of Tagum, Davao Del Norte could have won a medal in boxing if he was scientifically trained and coached.

Should we claim we were cheated in that boxing match because of the warnings and points addition to his opponent, it only points to the respect and admiration of the referee and judges who officiated the fight to the Philippines sports officials of that boxing bout between Barriga and the Kazaks. 

Filipinos Sign To Vote

For the May 2013 election, more than 200,000 overseas Filipinos signed up for overseas absentee voting (OAV) as the Department of Foreign Affairs stepped up its campaign to encourage million Filipino migrants to register.

The DFA said total OAV registration reached 800,000 as Philippine missions all over the world posted 212,009 new registrants in August in addition to the more than 580,000 individuals already in the OAV list.

The climb in figures “indicates that the targeted one million registered voters for the 2013 senatorial and partylist elections is about to be realized,” the DFA said.

Of the new registrants, some 36,391 came from the Middle East and Africa; 31,785 from the Americas; 21,959 from Europe, and 20,035 from the Asia Pacific.

A total 101,839, meanwhile, registered in local OAV registration centers before leaving the Philippines, including desks at the airport, overseas employment and welfare offices, and DFA OAV centers. 

The DFA diplomatic posts around the world have stepped up efforts to encourage wider participation in the OAV through online campaigns and touching base with Filipino communities abroad.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario also sent letters to some 4,000 Filipino leaders around the world to seek support for the OAV. /MP

2nd Tri-District Seamless Seminar


RC Kalibo delegates

The Rotary International Districts 3850, 3860 and 3870 jointly held the 2nd Tri-district Seamless Seminar on August 10 & 11, 2012 at La Proa Ballroom, L’Fisher Hotel, Bacolod City. Some 300 Rotary club members and officers from the Visayas and Mindanao attended the seminar. 

RC Roxas City delegates

The District Governors of the three RI districts led in the seminar. They are Rafael “Biboy” Jocson of RI D3850, Peter “Perok” Rodriguez of D3860, and George “George” Hamoy of D3870.

R.I Director John Boag of District 9650 RC of Tamworth North, Australia and Rotary International Director for Rotary Year 2012-2014 was the keynote speaker. Past District Governor Herminio “Sonny” Coloma was the guest of honor. The Past District Governor Rolando “Oyan” V. Villanueva, Past District Governor Ma. Consuelo “Chit” L. Lijuaco and Past District Governor Roberto “Bobby” F. Viray who are seasoned speakers facilitated the conduct of the said seminar. 

Director John Boag, wished “everyone to be a keynote speaker, to speak about his experience as a Rotarian and how he was touched by Rotary. May this seminar will be an opportunity to advance Rotary in its greater course,” he said.

PDG Coloma shared how social media users are being helpful to the cause of Rotary. Therefore, the communication for development is now based on those who can utilize the social media to promote Rotary. Like for example the catch phrase for volunteerism is always linked up with government and volunteers from the community organizaton. “We need to look beyond ourselves and look for target members efficiently. We need to re-design Rotary that the challenge is greater than our skills, to understand what we do, that real happiness is in serving others and to enjoy Rotary, most of all,” Coloma pointed out. 

The break-up sessions discussed topics on Strengthening Rotary Clubs and its Membership with facilitators like Asst. Rotary Coordinator/Past District Governor Raymund “Ray” Patuasi of District 3860 and Past Rotary Coordinator/Past District Governor David “Dave” Villanueva Club Strategic Planning with facilitators Past Rotary Coordinator/Past District Governor Rolando “Oyan” Villanueva and RIPC/Past District Governor Consuelo “Chit” Lijuaco, and Public Image with facilitators Asst. Rotary Public Image Coordinator Lilu “Lilu” Alino. 

During the 2nd day, Past District Gov. Roberto “Bobby” Viray shared “The Rotary Foundation: Where We Are Today and Where We Are Going” and “Your Support to the Foundation: Ensuring the fulfillment of our Mission”; Past District Governor Dave Villanueva shared on “Our Foundation Programs: Full Steam Ahead”. Past District Governor Jose Ma. Luis “Toto” Cupin shared on “Transition to the New Plan: Future Vision Plan”; and Past District Governor Jose Francisco “Jess” Cifra presented on Rotary Community Corps.” 

Past District Governor Deguiller “Guiller” Tumungan, the Philippine Coordinator for the 2013 Rotary International Convention encouraged all Rotarians “On-to-Lisbon 2013 RI Convention.” Past District Governor Teodoro “Ted” Locson served as the moderator during the lively open forum. 

In the evening, host district 3850 prepared a fellowship night that will be remembered by the delegates. The theme: MasskaRotary was featured with the famous Masskara Festival of the City of Smiles - Bacolod. Everyone enjoyed wearing their mask and dancing to the beats of the drums, the rhythm and festive mode of the festival.

Rotary International theme for Rotary Year 2012-2013 is Peace through Service. Therefore, during the tri-district seamless seminar, the participants were encouraged to send delegates to the the Rotary Young Leaders Peace Summit on February 22-24, 2013 at Waterfront Hotel, Davao City. /MP

Aklan SP Reviews 13 Municipal Budgets


After more than halfway of Fiscal Year 2012, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Aklan has passed in review municipal annual general fund and municipal economic enterprise budgets of the 13 out of the 17 component towns of Aklan.

Approved or declared operative during the regular session of the SP on March 21, 2012, are the Annual General Fund and MEEDD Budget of Buruanga, Annual General Fund Budget of Malinao, Annual General Fund and MEEDD Budgets of Tangalan and Annual General Fund and MEEDD Budgets of Kalibo.

Approved by the provincial legislative body during its regular session on March 28, 2012 is the Annual General Fund Budget of the town of Balete while those approved during the 23rd regular session on June 13, 2012 are the Annual General Budget of Madalag and the Annual General Fund and MEED Budgets of Malay.

The Annual General Fund Budget of Altavas was approved on June 20, 2012 while its Annual MEEDD Budget was approved on July 4, 2012.

Also approved during the regular session of the SP on July 4, 2012 are the Annual General Fund Budgets of the towns of Numancia, Banga, Lezo, and Libacao.

The Annual General Fund and MEED Budgets of Makato were approved during the regular session of the SP on August 8, 2012 despite the opposition of the minority members of its Sangguniang Bayan.

Still pending final action are the Annual General Fund Budget of Nabas and the Annual General Fund and MEEDO Budgets of Ibajay which are currently being reviewed by the Provincial Local Finance Committee.

New Washington has failed to submit its Annual Budgets for the last three years for review by the SP.

Records revealed that the town of Malay, a first class municipality has the highest operational budget among the 17 towns of Aklan, providing for a total of P220 million for its General Fund Budget for this year and P14.65 million for its MEED.

Malay’s Budget isbigger than that of Kalibo which has only a total of P141,905,428.92 for its Annual General Fund Budget for the year 2012 and another P45,790,573.88 for its MEEDD. Kalibo is likewise a  first class municipality.

Aklan has no 2nd class municipality. Banga, Ibajay, Libacao, and New Washington are 3rd class towns. 

Altavas, Balete, Batan, Madalag, Makato, Malinao, Nabas, and Numancia are 4th class municipalities while the towns of Buruanga, Lezo, and Tangalan remain as 5th class municipalities.

Aklan at present is a 2nd class province with more than a billion peso Annual Budget and is already qualified as first class province by next reclassification of Local Government Units this year to be done by the Bureau of Local Government Finance, Department of Finance.

As expected, being 5th class municipalities, the town of Lezo has the lowest Annual Budget of P31,358,773.00, and Buruanga, P46,985,059.57. Tangalan has an Annual Budget of P46,391,248.13. /MP

State of the Nation Address 2012

Publishing in four parts the 3rd State of the Nation Address  of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III for the best interest of the readers.


Sa isa nga pong programa, nakiambag din ang pribadong sektor, na nagbibigay ng spesyal na binhi ng kape at cacao sa komunidad, at tinuturuan silang alagaan at siguruhing mataas ang ani. Itinatanim ang kape sa lilim ng mga puno, na habang nakatayo ay masisigurong hihigop ng baha at tutulong makaiwas tayo sa pinsala. Ang kumpanyang nag bigay ng binhi, sure buyer na rin ng ani. Panalo ang mga komunidad nay may dagdag kita, panalo ang pribadong sektor, panalo pa ang susunod na salinlahing makikinabang sa matatayog na puno.

Matagal na pong problema ang illegal logging. Mula nga po nang lumapag ang EO 23, nakasabat na si Mayor Jun Amante ng mahigit anim na milyong pisong halaga ng troso. Nagpapasalamat tayo sa kanya. Sa Butuan pa lang ito; paano pa kung magpapakita ng ganitong political will ang lahat ng LGU? 

Ang mga trosong nakukumpiska ng DENR, lalapag sa mga komunidad na naturuan na ng TESDA ng pagkakarpintero. Ang resulta: upuan para sa mga pampublikong paaralan na hawak naman ng DepEd. Isipin po ninyo: ang dating pinagmumulan ng pinsala, ngayon, tulay na para sa mas mabuting kinabukasan. Dati, imposible nga ito: Imposible kung nag bubulag-bulagan ang pamahalaan sa ilegal na gawain. 

Kaya kayong mga walang konsensya; kayong mga paulit-ulit isinusugal ang buhay ng kapwa Pilipino: maghanda na kayo. Tapos na ang maliligayang araw ninyo. Sinampolan na natin ang tatlumpu’t apat na kawani ng DENR, isang PNP provincial director, at pitong chief of police. Pinagpapaliwanag na rin po natin ang isang Regional Director ng PNP na nagbingi-bingihan sa aking utos at nagbulag-bulagan sa mga dambuhalang trosong dumaan sa kanilang tanawin. Kung hindi kayo umayos, isusunod namin kayo. Magkubli man kayo sa lilim ng inyong mga padrino, aabutan namin kayo. Isasama na rin namin ang mga padrino ninyo. Kaya bago pa magkasalubong ang ating landas, mas maganda sigurong tumino na kayo. 

Mula sa sinapupunan, sa pag-aaral at pagtatrabaho, may pagbabago nang haharap sa Pilipino. At sakaling piliin niyang magserbisyo sa gobyerno, tuloy pa rin ang pag-aaruga ng estado hanggang sa kanyang pagreretiro. Tatanawin ng pamahalaan ang kanyang ambag bilang lingkod-bayan, at hindi ipagdadamot sa kanya ang pensiyong siya rin naman ang nagpuhunan. 

Isipin po ninyo: may mga pensyonado tayong tumatanggap ng 500 pesos lamang kada buwan. Paano niya ito pagkakasiyahin sa tubig, kuryente, at pagkain araw-araw? Ang atin pong tugon: Pagsapit ng bagong taon, hindi na bababa sa limanlibong piso ang matatanggap na buwanang pensyon ng ating old-age and disability pensioners. Masaya tayong matutugunan natin ang pangangailangan nila ngayon, nang hindi isinusugal ang kapakanan ng mga pensyonado bukas.

Iba na po talaga ang mukha ng gobyerno. Sumasabay na nga po sa pribadong sektor ang ating pasahod para sa entry level. Pero kapag sabay kayong napromote ng kaklase mong piniling mag-pribado, nagkakaiwanan na.

Mahahabol din po natin iyan; sa ngayon, ang good news natin sa mga nagtatrabaho sa pamahalaan: Performance Based Incentives. Dati, miski palpak ang palakad ng isang ahensya, very satisfactory pa rin ang pinakamababang rating ng empleyado. Dahil sa pakikisama, nahihirapan ang bisor na bigyan ng makatarungang rating ang mga tauhan niya. Nakakawawa tuloy ang mga mahusay magtrabaho; nawawalan sila ng dahilan para galingan dahil parehas lang naman ang insentibo ng mga tamad at pursigido.

Heto po ang isa lamang sa mga hakbang natin upang tugunan ito. Simula ngayong taon, magpapatupad tayo ng sistema kung saan ang bonus ay nakabase sa pagtupad ng mga ahensya sa kanilang mga target para sa taon. Nasa kamay na ng empleyado ang susi sa kanyang pag-angat. Ang insentibo, maaaring umabot ng tatlumpu’t limang libong piso, depende sa pag papakitang-gilas mo sa iyong trabaho. Dagdag pa ito sa across-the-board na Christmas bonus na matatanggap mo. 
Ginagawa natin ito, hindi lamang para itaas ang kumpiyansa at ipakita ang pagtitiwala natin sa ating mga lingkod-bayan. Higit sa lahat, para ito sa Pilipinong umaasa sa tapat at mahusay na serbisyo mula sa lingkod-bayan, at umaasang sila at sila lamang ang ituturing na boss ng kanilang pamahalaan.

Simula pa lang mayroon nang mga kumuwestiyon sa sinasabi nating, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” Hanggang ngayon mayroon pa rin pong mangilan-ngilang nagtatanong: nakakain ba ang mabuting pamamahala? Ang simpleng sagot: Siyempre. 

Isipin po natin ang ating pinanggalingan: Dati, parang wild west ang pamumuhunan sa Pilipinas. May peligro na nga ang negosyo, sinagad pa ang risko dahil sa di tiyak at nakalihim na patakaran. Kakamayan ka nga gamit ang kanan, kokotongan ka naman gamit ang kaliwa.

Ngayon: Dahil patas na ang laban, at may hayag at hindi pabagu-bagong mga patakaran, patuloy ang pagtaas ng kumpiyansa sa ating ekonomiya. Patuloy ang pagpasok ng puhunan; patuloy ang pagdami ng trabaho; patuloy ang positibong siklo ng pagkonsumo, paglago ng negosyo, at pagdami ng mamamayang naeempleyo. 

Dahil maayos ang paggugol ng gobyerno, walang tagas sa sistema. Dahil maayos ang pangongolekta ng buwis, lumalago ang kaban ng bayan. Bawat pisong nakokolekta, tiyak ang pupuntahan: Piso itong diretso sa kalsada, piso para sa bakuna, piso para sa classroom at upuan, piso para sa ating kinabukasan. 

Dahil maayos ang paggawa ng tulay, kalsada, at gusali, itinatayo ang mga ito kung saan kailangan. Maayos ang daanan, mas mabilis ang takbo ng produkto, serbisyo, at mamamayan.

Dahil maayos ang pamamahala sa agrikultura, tumataas ang produksyon ng pagkain, at hindi pumapalo ang presyo nito. Stable ang pasahod, at mas malakas ang pambansang ekonomiya.

Tunay nga po: Ang matatag at malakas na ekonomiyang pinanday ng mabuting pamamahala ang pinakamabisang kalasag laban sa mga hamon na kinakaharap ng daigdig. Dalawang taon po nating binaklas ang mga balakid sa pag-unlad, at ngayon, tayo na lang mismo ang makapipigil sa ating sariling pag-angat.  

Ginawa po natin ang lahat ng ito habang binubuno rin ng bawat bansa sa iba’t ibang sulok ng daigdig ang kani-kanilang problema’t pagsubok.

Hindi po tayo nag-iisa sa mundo, kaya’t habang tinutugunan natin ang sarili nating mga suliranin, angkop lamang na bantayan din ang ilang pangyayaring maaaring makaapekto sa atin.

Naging maugong ang mga kaganapan sa Bajo de Masinloc. May mga mangingisdang Tsinong pumasok sa ating teritoryo. Nasabat ng mga bangka natin sa kanilang mga barko ang endangered species. Bilang pinuno, kailangan kong ipatupad ang batas na umiiral sa ating bansa. Sa pagsulong nito, nagbungguan ang Nine Dash Line Theory ng mga Tsino, na umaangkin sa halos buong West Philippine Sea, at ang karapatan natin at ng marami pang ibang bansa, kasama na ang Tsina, na pinagtitibay naman ng United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea.

Ibayong hinahon ang ipinamalas natin. Ang barko ng Hukbong Dagat, bilang tanda ng ating malinis hangarin, ay agad nating pinalitan ng barkong sibilyan. Hindi tayo nakipagsagutan sa mga banat ng kanilang media sa atin. Hindi naman po siguro kalabisan na hilingin sa kabilang panig na galangin ang ating karapatan, gaya ng paggalang natin sa kanilang mga karapatan bilang kapwa bansang nasa iisang mundong kailangang pagsaluhan. 

Mayroon po tayong mga miron na nagsasabing hayaan na lang ang Bajo de Masinloc; umiwas na lang tayo. Pero kung may pumasok sa inyong bakuran at sinabing sa kanya na ang kanyang kinatatayuan, papayag ba kayo? Hindi naman po yata tamang ipamigay na lang natin sa iba ang sadyang atin talaga.
Kaya nga po hinihiling ko sa sambayanan ang pakikiisa sa isyung ito. Iisa lang po dapat ang kumpas natin. Tulungan ninyo akong iparinig sa kabilang panig ang katuwiran ng ating mga paninindigan.

Hindi po simple ang sitwasyon, at hindi magiging simple ang solusyon. Magtiwala po kayo: kumokonsulta tayo sa mga eksperto, at sa lahat ng pinuno ng ating bansa, pati na sa mga kaalyado natin gayundin sa mga nasa kabilang panig ng usaping ito upang makahanap ng solusyon na katanggap-tanggap sa lahat. 

Sa bawat hakbang sa tuwid na daan, nagpunla tayo ng pagbabago. Ngunit may mangilan-ngilan pa ring pilit na bubunot nito. Habang nagtatalumpati ako ngayon, may mga nagbubulungan sa isang silid at hinihimay ang aking mga sinasabi; naghahanap ng butas na ipambabatikos bukas. Sasabihin nila: Salita lang ito, at hindi totoo ang tuwid na landas. Sila rin po ang magsasabing hayaan na, magkaisa na; forgive and forget na lang para makausad na tayo.

Hindi ko po matatanggap ito. Forgive and forget na lang ang sampung taon na nawala sa atin? Forgive and forget na lang para sa magsasakang nabaon sa utang dahil sa kakaangkat natin ng bigas, gayong puwede naman palang pagyamanin ang kanyang lupa? 

Forgive and forget na lang ba para sa pamilya ng isang pulis na namatay nang walang kalaban-laban, dahil batuta lang ang hawak niya habang hinahabol ang armadong masasamang-loob?

Forgive and forget na lang ba para sa mga naulila ng limampu’t pitong biktima ng masaker sa Maguindanao? Maibabalik ba sila ng forgive and forget? Forgive and forget ang lahat ng atraso ng mga naglubog sa atin sa bulok na estado? Forgive and forget para maibalik ang lumang status quo? Ang tugon ko: Ang magpatawad, maaari; ang makalimot, hindi. Kung ang nagkasala ay hindi mananagot, gagarantiyahan mo ang pagpapahirap muli sa sambayanan.

Ang tunay na pagkakaisa at pagkakasunduan ay magmumula lamang sa tunay at ganap na katarungan. Katarungan ang tawag sa plunder case na isinampa laban sa dating pangulo. Katarungan na bigyan siya ng pagkakataong harapin ang mga akusasyon at ipagtanggol ang kanyang sarili. Katarungan ang nasaksihan natin noong ika-dalawampu’t siyam ng Mayo. Noong araw na iyon, pinatunayan natin: Posibleng mangibabaw ang katarungan kahit na ang kabangga mo ay may mataas na katungkulan. Noong araw na iyon, may isang Delsa Flores sa Panabo, Davao del Norte, na nagsabing, “Posible pala: iisang batas lang ang kailangang sundin ng court interpreter na tulad ko, at ng Punong Mahistrado.” Posible palang maging patas ang timbangan; maaaring isakdal at panagutin miski ang mayaman at makapangyarihan.
Kaya po sa susunod na magiging Punong Mahistrado, malaki ang inaasahan sa inyo ng sambayanan. Napatunayan na po nating posible ang imposible; ang trabaho natin ngayon, siguruhing magpapatuloy ang pagbabago tungo sa tunay na katarungan, matapos man ang ating termino. Maraming sira sa sistemang kailangan ninyong kumpunihin, at alam kong hindi magiging madali ito. Alam ko po kung gaano kabigat ang pasanin ng isang malinaw na mandato; ngunit ito ang atas sa atin ng taumbayan; ito ang tungkuling ating sinumpaan; ito ang kailangan nating gampanan. 

Simple lang ang hangad natin: kung inosente ka, buong-loob kang haharap sa korte, dahil kampante kang mapapawalang-sala ka. Kung ikaw ang salarin, anu man ang apelyido mo, o gaano man karami ang titulong nakakabit sa iyong pangalan, may katiyakan din na pananagutan mo ang ginawa mong kasalanan.

Salamat din po kay Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, sa pagtanggap ng hamon na maging tunay na tanod-bayan. Kung tutuusin, pwede na niyang tanggihan ang responsibilidad at sabihing, “Retirado na ako, puwede bang ‘yung iba na lang?” Subalit nangibabaw ang kaniyang malasakit sa bayan. Sa kabila nito, may nagregalo pa rin sa kanya ng granada sa bahay. Ma’am, may mga darating pa pong pagsubok; baka po paglaon, magaya na kayo sa akin na tinatawag na ganid na kapitalista na komunista din patungong diktador dahil sa sigasig ng mga repormang ipinapatupad natin.

Bilib po ako sa inyong pagpapakitang-gilas. Maraming salamat sa pagiging instrumento ng katarungan, lalo na noong kasagsagan ng impeach-ment trial. Salamat din po sa dalawang institusyong bumubuo ng Kongreso: Sa Senado at Kamara de Representante, na tinimbang ng taumbayan at nakitang sapat na sapat.

Sa lahat po ng tumulong sa pagpapagana ng mga prosesong pangkatarungan: Dumaan kayo sa matinding pag subok, batikos at agam-agam; kasama pa ang kaba na kung natalo tayo, kayo ang unang pupuntiryahin ng kalaban. Pero di kayo natinag. Umasa sa inyo ang Pilipino, at pinatunayan ninyong tama ang pag-asa sa inyo. Hindi ninyo binigo ang sambayanan; ipinaliwanag ninyo lalo ang ating kinabukasan.

Paalala lang po: hindi natatapos ang laban sa isang tiwaling opisyal na natanggal sa puwesto, sa isang ma-anomalyang kontratang napigil ipatupad, o sa isang opisinang naituwid ang pamamalakad. Kaya naman nananawagan po tayo sa Kongreso na ipasa ang panukala nating pag-amyenda sa Anti-Money Laundering Act, upang mas mapaigting pa natin ang pagpapanagot sa mga tiwali.

Itong tinatamasa natin ngayon: ang bawat nailawan at iilawan pang sitio; ang bawat daan, tulay, paliparan, tren, at daungan; ang bawat kontratang walang bukol; ang kaligtasan at kapayapaan mula lungsod hanggang nayon; ang pagbalik ng piring sa sistemang pangkatarungan; ang bawat classroom, upuan, at aklat na napapasakamay ng kabataan; ang bawat Pilipinong nahahandugan ng bagong kinabukasan— ang lahat ng ito, naabot natin sa loob lamang ng dalawang taon. 

Pagtabihin po natin ang dalawang taon na ito, at ang nakaraang siyam at kalahating taon na ating pinagdusahan. Di po ba’t sumusulong na ang agenda ng pagbabago? Ang kapareho namin ng adhikain, malamang, kasama namin sa agendang ito. At kung kontra ka sa amin, kontra ka rin sa ginagawa namin. Kung kumukontra sila sa agenda ng pagbabago, masasabi ba ninyong sila’y nasa panig ninyo?
Paparating na naman po ang halalan. Kayo po, ang aming mga boss, ang tangi naming susundan. Ang tanong ko sa inyo, “Boss, saan tayo tatahak? Tuloy ba ang biyahe natin sa tuwid na landas, o magmamaniobra ba tayo’t aatras, pabalik sa daan na baluktot at walang patutunguhan?” 

Naalala ko pa po noong nagsimula tayo. Mulat na mulat ako sa bigat ng pasaning sasalubong sa atin. Kabilang ako sa mga nag-isip: Kaya pa bang ituwid ang ganito kabaluktot na sistema? 

Heto po ang aking natutuhan sa dalawampu’t limang buwan ng pagka-pinuno: Walang imposible. Walang imposible dahil kung nakikita ng taumbayan na sila ang tanging boss ng kanilang pamahalaan, bubuhatin ka nila, gagabayan ka nila, sila mismo ang mamumuno tungo sa makabuluhang pagbabago. Hindi imposible na ang Pilipinas ang maging kauna-unahang bansa sa Timog-Silangang Asya na magbibigay ng libreng bakuna para sa Rotavirus. Hindi imposible para sa Pilipinas na tumindig at sabihing: “Ang Pilipinas ay sa Pilipino—at handa kaming ipagtanggol ito.” Hindi imposible na ang Pilipinong kaytagal nang yumuyuko tuwing may makakasalubong na dayuhan—ang Pilipino, ngayon, taas-noo, tinitingala ng buong mundo. Talaga namang ang sarap maging Pilipino sa panahong ito.

Noon pong nakaraang taon, hiniling ko sa taumbayan: Magpasalamat sa mga nakikiambag sa positibong pagbabago sa lipunan. Hindi po biro ang mga pagsubok na dinaanan natin, kaya angkop lamang na pasalamatan ang mga taong nakibalikat, sa pagkukumpuni sa mga maling idinulot ng masamang pamamahala. 

Sa lahat ng miyembro ng aking Gabinete: Maraming, maraming salamat. Mapalad po ang sambayanan at may mga tulad ninyong handang isuko ang pribado at mas tahimik na pamumuhay para sa paghahatid serbisyo-publiko, kahit pa batid ninyong ang kapalit nito ay mas maliit na sweldo, panganib, at pambabatikos.

Huwag din po sana nilang masamain dahil personal ko silang papangalanan: Kina Father Catalino Arevalo, at Sister Agnes Guillen, na dumidilig at nagpapalago sa aking buhay spirituwal, lalo na sa mga panahong sukdulan ang pagsubok sa amin, maraming, maraming salamat po. 

Ito po ang aking ikatlong SONA, tatlo na lamang din po ang natitira. Papasok na po tayo sa kalagitnaan ng ating liderato. Noong nakaraang taon, ang hamon ko sa inyo: iwaksi ang kultura ng negatibismo; sa bawat pagkakataon, iangat ang kapwa-Pilipino. 

Batid po sa tinatamasa natin ngayon: hindi kayo nabigo. Sa inyo nagmula ang pagbabago. Ang sabi ninyo: posible. 

Humaharap po ako sa inyo bilang mukha ng isang gobyernong kayo ang boss at kayo pa rin ang lakas. Inuulat ko lamang ang mga pagbabagong ginawa ninyong posible.

Kaya nga po sa lahat ng nurse, midwife, o doktor na piniling magsilbi sa mga baryo; sa bawat bagong graduate na piniling magtrabaho sa gobyerno; sa bawat atletang Pilipinong bitbit ang watawat saanmang panig ng mundo; sa bawat kawani ng pamahalaan na tapat na nagseserbisyo: Kayo— ang gumawa ng pagbabago.

Sa tuwing haharap ako sa isang ina na nagsasabing, “Salamat at nabakunahan na ang aking sanggol,” ang tugon ko: ikaw ang gumawa nito. 

Sa tuwing haharap ako sa isang bata na nagsasabing, “Salamat sa papel, sa lapis, sa pagkakataong makapag-aral,” ang tugon ko: ikaw ang gumawa nito. 

Sa tuwing haharap ako sa isang OFW na nagsasabing, “Salamat at puwede ko na muling pangaraping tumanda sa Pilipinas,” ang tugon ko: ikaw ang gumawa nito. 

Sa tuwing haharap ako sa isang Pilipinong nagsasabing, “Salamat, akala ko hindi na magkakakuryente sa aming sitio. Akala ko hindi ko na aabuting buhay ang liwanag na ganito,” ang tugon ko: ikaw ang gumawa nito. 

Sa bawat pagkakataon na haharap ako sa isang magsasaka, guro, piloto, inhinyero, tsuper, ahente sa call center, karaniwang Pilipino; sa bawat Juan at Juana dela Cruz na nagsasabing “Salamat sa pagbabago,” ang tugon ko sa inyo: kayo ang gumawa nito.

Inuulit ko: posible na ang dating imposible. Humaharap po ako sa inyo ngayon, at sinasabing: hindi ko SONA ito. Kayo ang gumawa nito. SONA ito ng sambayanang Pilipino. Maraming, maraming salamat po. /MP