Paglilingkod sa Bayan

Speech at the Cavite Flag-Raising Ceremony

I am very happy to be with my fellow Cavitenos today. I have come to say my thanks for all your continuing support especially to our beloved governor, Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi.Β 

Nais ko ring batiin at pasalamatan ang ating bise-gobernador, Jonvic Remulla, at ang mga bokal ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Gayundin sa mga kawani ng ating kapitolyo, mga punongbayan, barangay officials at sa mga mahal nating kababayan dito sa ating makasaysayang lalawigan ng Cavite. I can never thank you enough. I really mean it.

I want to return the favor. At wala nang hihigit pang pabor na maisusukli ko sa inyong kabutihan kundi ang marangal at matapat na paglilingkod sa bayan bilang senador ng ating bansa, not for myself but for the whole nation. Narito rin ako para naman medyo gumaan ang pag-iisip at pakiramdam ko na makita ang ating mga kalalawigan at hindi na lang puro ang mga buwisit sa buhay kong si Rosebud at si Ador Mawanay ang naiisip ko.

Two great world leaders in two different times put it very aptly to describe a public servant and what public service is all about. French Premier and President Georges-Jean Raymond Pompidou once said that there’s a whale of difference between a politician and a public servant: while a politician places the nation at his own personal service, a public servant places himself at the service of the nation. Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “A politician thinks of the next election, a public servant thinks of the future generation.”

Napakalungkot isipin na napakarami sa mga nanunungkulan sa ating pamahalaan ay umuugma sa pagsasalarawan sa politician at hindi sa public servant. Napakalungkot isipin na puro photo opportunities at media coverages ang nakikita ng ating mga kababayan sa tuwinang mamamahagi ng mga supot ng pagkain sa mga mahihirap sa iba’t ibang lugar sa kalunsuran man o sa lalawigan ang isang namumuno. Hindi ko na rin maintindihan kung sino ano nang-uuto sa kung kanino, sana ang mga mahihirap ang nang-uuto sa pulitiko.

Nakakalungkot na makita ng isang namumuno na sa pag-upo pa lamang sa unang araw ay magkakampanya na nang walang humpay sa halip na atupagin ang serbisyo publiko at harapin ang katakut-takot na problema na nagpapahirap ng ating mga mamamayan. Bumalik ang ‘kotong’ sa mga lansangan, namamayagpag ang mga kidnappers at masasamang loob, talamak ang katiwalian at pangungurakot sa kabang bayan nguni’t pagbuklat mo ng mga pahayagan, pagbukas mo ng telebisyon ay para bagang napakaganda ng nangyayari sa ating bansa.

Where are we now? Are we where how we see it in media? No! We are where we see it in our daily lives. We are beset with problems we should only wish we djdn’t experience in any part of our lifetime.

How do we solve these problems? I believe, everything must start with government and governance. For, how can we tell our people to do their part in nation building when they cannot see good governance in their public servants? We cannot impose on anyone what we cannot impose on ourselves as leaders of this country the scorched-earth policy that I initiated on the members of the Philippine National Police when I was Chief PNP did well for the policeman and for our people. The jeepney drivers and the bus drivers knew it. The viajeros and small merchants from the provinces felt it. The public could not but nod in approval of the change in the policeman’s image.

Public service is a living covenant with the Filipino people. Government is invented to give hope and grant help to the needy and the helpless. The people may not be our masters but definitely we are their servants. Let us make no mistake about it. No doubt, we need the best government we can create for ourselves. Hence, we need to assign government only to those who can save us from selfish and vested interests.

Let me, however, emphasize one major point. Whatever we do in government must be done in active partnership with the community. But, how can we muster the active participation of our people when we in government so shamelessly rob them of the taxes that they pay operate government?

Two weeks ago, I filed criminal charges against two members of my Senate staff for violating a very simple policy that I so clearly spelled out and wanted implemented strictly – the no-take policy. Nobody, but nobody is allowed to accept, much less demand from contractors commissions or rebates out of my Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Maybe they thought I was not serious. Maybe they thought they could get away with it, maybe they thought I would be forgiving. Now, it is too late for them to realize how wrong they could get.

Our people cannot afford double-talking politicians for their leaders. Dapat lang na ang sinasabi ay ginagawa, kahit sino ang masaktan.

May pag-asa ba ang ating bansa?

You will find peace of mind in the thought that we are not hopeless, after all. Certainly, not in our beloved province of Cavite – the land of heroes and martyrs who chose death so that future generations may live in freedom. Sayang na lamang ang ipinagmamalaki nating mga bayani ng bansa na nag-ugat dito sa ating lalawigan kung hindi natin sila gagamiting inspirasyon.

We can console ourselves with the thought that Filipinos have as a pillar of strength our ability to survive. Our forefathers survived the Spaniards for four centuries and the Americans for four decades. Our parents likewise, survived the Japanese. We will always survive.

At sa tingin ninyo, ano ang pangunahing tungkulin ng pamahalaan? The answer should be clear and compelling. It is to ensure the survival of the Filipino nation.

At sa aking pagtatapos na pananalita, nais kong ipabatid sa ating mga mahal na kababayan dito sa lalawigan. Isa lamang ang tanging makapagliligtas sa bayan natin – tayong mga Pilipino rin. Tulad ng paulit-ulit na binibigkas ng dating Pangulong Joseph Ejercito Estrada: “Walang tutulong sa Pilipino kundi ang kapwa Pilipino.”

Maraming salamat po.

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