WE CANNOT BE LAZY*
*Acceptance Speech Of Sen. Chiz Escudero For His Nomination As Vice President Candidate In The May 2016 National Election Held At Kalayaan Hall, Club Filipino On September 17, 2015.
Thank you, Senator Grace.
To my wife and family; to Ninang Susan; to my in-laws; to my friends and colleagues present today; to my fellow Bicolanos who will soon celebrate the Peñafrancia; to my fellow Filipinos, a good morning to you all!
I once said that I would support any decision that Senator Grace makes regarding her role in the 2016 elections. As a candidate or ordinary supporter, I’m prepared to stand by her, just as I did for FPJ over 11 years ago.
In truth, I am more than content with my current life. I have only ever dreamed of a simple, honorable, happy, and peaceful life for myself and my beloved family.
On the other hand, some people say: “Who is this Chiz Escudero so young, and living in just a humble townhouse in Quezon City? Who does he think he is to dream so boldly, to have such grand ambitions?!”
In a way, these people have a point. My family name is only Escudero. I don’t have the same pedigree of Quezon, Roxas, or Osmeña families, of those who have become presidents, heroes or wealthy philanthropists. The Senate is the highest elected position that someone from my family has ever reached, and even this, I never ima-gined I might achieve.
And yet, I refuse to agree with those who say I have no right to have dreams or ambitions, especially if those dreams or ambitions are not for me, but for our country and my fellow countrymen.
I believe that every Filipino—rich or poor, young or old, man or woman, educated or not, good-looking or not, pedigreed or not, whether they live in Makati or in the provinces—has the ability, capacity, and right to devote his/her life to serving our country. No single person or family has a monopoly over the talent, intelligence, skill, and good intentions for our country.
This is why I have decided to accept, with wholehearted will and humility, Senator Grace’s challenge to accompany her on her journey, and to run as her vice president
I accept this challenge wholeheartedly because I believe in the character and ability of Senator Grace. Like her father FPJ, Senator Poe’s heart is in the right place. I believe that, as president, Senator Grace Poe or “GP” will lead a “GP”—Gobyernong may Puso, a Government with Heart.
(We will establish) a government with heart for the poor, the needy; a government with heart for the farmers, the fishermen, the laborers, and Overseas Filipino Workers; a government with heart for the differently-abled, the elderly, and the youth, including even children yet unborn; a government with heart for public servants, teachers, police, soldiers, and even ordinary employees; a government with Heart to protect victims of corruption, crime, and abuse; a government with heart who will find ways to reduce the cost of electricity, basic goods, and taxes; a government with heart who will protect our environment and heed the cries of mother nature; and a government with heart to ensure our country progresses without leaving anyone behind.
In the pursuit of wealth and development, education and opportunities, security and peace, freedom and health, not a single Filipino or corner of the Philippines should be left behind.
Here in Manila, how can we worry about the traffic going to work or school, while some remote villages in our country don’t even have schools or jobs? We can’t keep complaining about potholes and floods in Metro Manila while the Cordillera lacks roads or Tawi-Tawi lacks water. We have to move forward together, and as Senator Grace says, our most neglected and vulnerable citizens must come first.
Senator Grace and I will establish a Government with Heart through a detailed platform for each agency, which will be based on their yearly budget.
The next president will appoint and delegate over 5,000 people in government who will fill positions in 500 agencies, and will spend 18 trillion pesos over a six-year term.
Starting from the first day in office, this is the only way to urgently address the most pressing problems of every sector of the Philippines. In governing this country, we cannot afford to dawdle or hold ourselves hostage to analysis paralysis. We should hit the ground running from the first day until the last. We cannot afford to do otherwise.
At the same time, through the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill and a crackdown on anomalies, we will fight corruption by ensuring that the government will be run on a simple principle—that discretion equals corruption. Minimize discretion and we will be able to minimize corruption; eliminate it and we will be able to eliminate corruption.
Senator Grace and I cannot do this alone. We need the help of every one of you, of every Filipino!
As we devote ourselves to the higher calling of serving our country as president and vice-president, this is the reason we will choose to remain independent, or without party. We believe that whoever runs and serves as president or vice-president should not be member of a single party. Our party should be the Filipino people. And we should be loyal not only to liberals, nationalists, or other party members, but to every Filipino.
Our party is the Philippines, and the members of our party are the Filipino people.
We will work together and unite in our mission, and this is the only way for us to equally serve and listen to every Filipino, whether they voted for us or not, whether they support us or not.
The book of Philippine history is far from finished. However, does every sentence in our country’s story need to be finished with a period?
For me, every sentence in our history should end, not with a period, but with an exclamation mark. Nowadays, “good enough” is not good enough! If we truly desire progress, we cannot be lazy. We cannot have a slow government.
We must raise the quality of government service. We must work together and help one another to forge into reality our collective dream of a progressive, developed, orderly, and happy nation, where justice prevails and peace reigns! A country where every Filipino is treated equally, where no one is left behind.
I am Chiz Escudero, a Filipino, a son, husband, father, and a Bicolano public servant. With the grace of God and the Blessed Mother, I humbly offer myself to the mission of serving as your vice president … as the vice president of our country.
Long live the Filipino people!/MP