Third State of the Nation Address by President Nonoy Aquino (English translation)

Source: Official Gazette

(English translation) Benigno S. Aquino III, Third State of the Nation Address, July 23, 2012

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 23, 2012]

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; Vice President Jejomar Binay; former Presidents Fidel Valdez Ramos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada; eminent Justices of the Supreme Court; distinguished members of the diplomatic corps; honorable members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate; our leaders in local government; members of our Cabinet; uniformed officers of the military and of the police; my fellow public servants;

And to my Bosses, the Filipino people: a pleasant afternoon to all.

This is my third SONA. It wasn’t too long ago when we began to dream again; when, united, we chose the straight and righteous path; when we began to cast aside the culture of wang-wang, not only in our streets, but in every sector of society.

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Epal Tours with Juana Change: Parañaque on July 22, 2012

Many of us love to hit epals except for the few who define epal in different ways to exclude their lords in the epal list.

Here’s an interesting anti-epal activity. I should join this activity if I were in Metro Manila. I hope soon, Juana Change will tour all over the country to spearhead this all out war against epal.

Source: #epalwatch

For the definition of epal, please check Why #epalwatch?

Anti-Epal Campaign Against Joel Villanueva Only; No Dirty Politics for Ad Industry

I have read the the appeal of businessmen to spare them from politics. I am referring to this story, Advertising execs cry foul over ‘dirty’ politics, published online by The Daily Tribune.

Just for today, I promise not to drag the names of these businessmen – so I would not mention their names here.

I would like to clarify that the anti-epal campaign does not target the businessmen nor any business industry. The targets are the politicians who used their position to shamelessly promote their names and faces and those who have intention to run for an elective position – like Joel Villanueva.

In the report, the businessmen confessed that Sec. Joel Villanueva was informed about their “project” – putting up “outdoor ads along North Luzon Toll Highway and the South Superhighway”.

Here, I quote:

We sought Mr. Villanueva for an audience and it was during that meeting that we presented and sought permission covering our proposal to put up these billboards in our private spots, using private funds for an advocacy that runs consistent with the belief of our private corporation.

There could have been no problem if those ads just exclude the face of Joel Villanueva and Noynoy Aquino. They can better communicate their advocacy without the faces of Joel Villanueva and Noynoy Aquino. I share the same line of thoughts with blogger Noemi Lardizabal-Dado. As she noted in her Twitter account (‏@momblogger):

Nothing wrong with promoting TESDA but TESDA is not Joel Villanueva [Villanueva] is not TESDA. Why put his face?

BlogWatch.Ph (@blogwatchdotph) shares similar thoughts:

If it’s promoting TESDA’s skill-building, why are they promoting a person?

Following the same logic, should they put the faces of DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro to encourage children to study or to show support to basic education? Why are they not doing that? The reason is simple. Luistro will not run for senator and they cannot get favor from him while Villanueva, if lucky enough and get a seat in the Senate, could give them some favors.

I suggest the billboards should instead contain pictures of trainees, machines used in trainings, or quotations about blue collar jobs. There are thousands of ways. Having the face of Joel Villanueva in billboards just discourage the youth. That man is not a very good model for the Filipino youth.

Why cry foul about the billboards of Joel Villanueva? It is because it is an epal act; it is because Sec. Villanueva already discussed his intention to run for Senator.

So who would believe that Sec. Villanueva is promoting TESDA? I would say, the TESDA Director is not promoting the agency but used TESDA in promoting himself! That’s deception!

Why there are many entities willing to spend millions just to put up those billboards of Joel Villanueva? It is because Joel Villanueva will run for senator and if he wins, the donations will be translated into favors. Would that make sense?

Sec. Joel Villanueva continue to be peotic as if he does not know the connection among his intention to run (ambition to become Senator), the donations, his shameless promotion of himself, deception, and of being epal.

Clearly, a man who dwells on his political ambition would forget that yesterday, he cried foul over the same stuff he is doing today.

Who funds the tarps, billboards, TV ads of TESDA Director Joel Villanueva?

The “who” question was asked by Business Mirror columnist Ed Javier. In his Firebrand column, he asked a curious question, “Who’s funding Joel Villanueva’s ads?

In his Counterpoint column in Manila Standard Today, Alvin Capino pointed out Joel Villanueva’s violation should the anti-epal bill (Senate Bill No. 1967 or An Act Prohibiting Public Offers from Claiming Credit through Signage Announcing a Public Works Project) of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is enacted.

The tarps, billboards, TV ads, among others of Joel Villanueva are his way to get popular as election 2013 comes close – way of an epal. Let us be reminded that the desire of Joel Villanueva to become senator is no longer private. No less than President Noynoy Aquino is grooming TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva in his earlier speeches. I suspect that the tarps, billboards, TV ads of Villanueva have blessings from President Noynoy. Remember that Villanueva is tailing in the surveys?

I feel pity to the former anti-graft crusader, Joel Villanueva. He is like the defeated senatorial candidate Prospero Pichay. I could see the doomed day of Villanueva if he continue his shameless self promotion. It’s a shame because his predecessor in TESDA was doing the same.

How much TESDA money was spent for those annoying tarps, billboards, TV ads?

In his Twitter account (@secjoelv), Sec. Joel Villanueva, assured that he is not using public funds. I quote:

& again reiterate we’re NOT spending govt money to print tarps, billbrds & produce tv ad. They’r all donors & sponsors they can easily check

But how can we check? Villanueva has not provided names. But why should people donate for Joel Villanueva? Why can’t we see the same for DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro? The answer is simple. Joel Villanueva will run for senator while Brother Armin Luistro has not hinted that he will go beyond being a cabinet member.

So why many people, businessmen, politician, among others are spending a lot of money to show off the face of Joel Villanueva? It is because they are expecting returns when Villanueva got elected. I am pretty sure Villanueva will repay them through favors.

Many of us insist that Sec. Villanueva should reveal his donors, and so he answered in his Twitter account:

Too many to mention all of them. In fact most of those who printed tarps diko kilala except politicians like gov umali, congs alcala, garcia

Would we expect that the hearts of those politicians really bleed and they help Villanueva without returns? Whoa!

Why should Sec. Joel Villanueva allow such donations to flow in? Isn’t it shameful to show off one’s face? In fairness to Joel Villanueva, he’s good looking but it is already sickening to see his face anywhere. Besides, people cannot be fooled that such are not for politics.

To pacify us, Sec. Villanueva appeal to his supporters:

To our supporters & sponsors please identify yourselves by putting a big “DONATED BY” please please 🙂 Thank you po..

Why should such donors don’t identify themselves? Maybe they are druglords, or gamblers and they are using drug money and gambling money to put up Villanueva’s ads. Isn’t that scary?

I would like to ask Sec. Joel Villanueva if he is not alarmed with such anonymous donations at the time he is made known that he has ambition to become senator.

A piece of unsolicited advice to Joel Villanueva. Epal or shameless promotion of oneself is a known ways and strategies of trapos and crooks; likewise, saying that what he got are gifts and donations are the tricks of the crooks. Would we believe crooks?

Save your name, Mr. Secretary Joel Villanueva!

Principles of Corruption: Proven Ways to Steal Millions

Everyone hates corruption. Everyone wants to get rid off corrupt government. Everyone wants clean and transparent governance. So inspiring!

The collective effort to end corruption has long started but why do we keep on getting big news about big money involving big people which can be described in one word called corruption? So frustrating.

I also wonder how and why many of the Filipino people have seemed forgotten how issues of corruption and plunder that topple down former President Joseph Estrada. Millions of people even want him back to Malacanang. So disgusting.

After late President Ferdinand Marcos, I would say that our nation have better view of what corruption is and how it affect the lives of the people. I think that understanding help in inspiring people to form collective efforts that ended the presidency of Joseph Estrada.

Corruption is often a misunderstood word. Like culture, it is relative. What looks like corruption may be just a simple SOP or just a gift for someone.

Corruption can take many forms. Small cases of corruption can easily be understood but the parents of what we call small corruption cases are so complex to understand. Thanks to Sheila S. Coronel for allowing us to have good view on how crooks were able to steal public funds and able to hide stealing for a long period of time that the accumulated amount become unbelievable.

Sheila Coronel, former director of Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), wrote 8 Ways to Commit Grand Corruption in two parts.

8 Ways to Commit Grand Corruption (Part 1)
8 Ways to Commit Grand Corruption (Part 2)

I hope many of will be able to read it to learn and become vigilant. Of course not to replicate those grand corruption cases.

In one beer talk with friends, my sangkay (friend) pointed out that a government official who fails to disclose a big amount of money or asset not just betraying public trust but already guilty of corruption.

So in the long and heated discussion, I asked his take on President Noynoy Aquino’s P37-M excess campaign funds (source: PCIJ Blog) which he failed to declare. I was surprised that for him, it did not matter. Actually, the man is yellow fanatic.

So when we talk about corruption, sometimes it depends to who we are talking to.

One important message in the 8 Ways to Commit Grand Corruption is that no matter how grand the corruption was – it would still end up to court and jail.

The dilemma of Leila de Lima

Can we ignore a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC)? We can’t. Nobody can’t except Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

Leila de Lima

By defying the order of the Supreme Court, Leila de Lima, was telling us that she has power more than that of the Supreme Court and that she has the intelligence that surpass that of SC as collegial body.

Ironically, Leila de Lima wants (dreams) to become the Chief Justice of the Surpreme Court. If she became the CJ, would we have the license to defy the order of the Supreme Court? Can we cite what she did as our defense against disrespect to the Supreme Court?

Senator Miriam Santiago was correct when she said (as reported in Manila Standand Today report) that “Leila de Lima (would be) in a dilemma if she was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court”.

In the same report, Senator Miriam Santiago was quoted saying:

If she becomes chief justice and under her the Supreme Court issues a TRO and someone refuses to obey it using the same grounds, then she will certainly be in a dilemma

Indeed, Leila de Lima will “certainly be in a dilemma”.

Like the character in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Leila de Lima had changed the “rules” and made her own “interpretation”. If, by bad luck (of the Filipinos), Leila de Lima would become Chief Justice, we could expect a change that would best serve only Leila de Lima and President Noynoy Aquino as his master.

I hope Leila de Lima will be disqualified. She is not fitted for the position.

TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva and the Anti-Epal Bill of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago

How I wish the “anti-epal” bill of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is now enacted. I want to see Technical Education and Skills Development (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva to go to jail.

The former anti-graft (CIBAC) champion is now top on the list of appointed officials who are using their office and public funds to advance their personal interest. It’s not a secret that Joel Villanueva is grooming himself to become senator as evidenced by his billboards financed by TESDA funds.

Senate Bill No. 1967, known as the anti-epal bill is formally titled as “An Act Prohibiting Public Offers from Claiming Credit through Signage Announcing a Public Works Project”.

The bill imposes a jail term of between six months and one year on a public official who would have his or her name or image printed on a “signage announcing a proposed or ongoing public works project.” If the bill has already been enacted, most likely, TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva would spend between 6 months to a year in jail. Amen.

Joel Villanueva, by using millions of TESDA money for self-promotion is a violation of the “anti-epal” principles. It is a form of corruption. It is very disgusting how Joel Villanueva use the hard-earned taxpayer’s money to fuel his ambition to become senator.

Do you want to see the epal billboards and tarps of Joel Villanueva? Check the post of Mom Blogger and see the shameless self promotion of Joel Villanueva.

In the words of Alvin Capino in Manila Standard Today,

Villanueva’s self-promotion campaign using Tesda funds includes not only traditional billboards (anyone who passes through NLEX cannot miss Tesda’s billboard featuring a huge photograph of Villanueva) but an expensive electronic billboard on Edsa as well.

There are even buses where Villanueva’s photos are prominently featured as part of the Tesda ad. We saw Villanueva’s Tesda “epal” bus ad in the back of a JAM transit when we went to Laguna last week and we wondered how much Tesda spent to put up those ads and how much the agency is paying monthly for those bus ads.

There are also TV commercials of Tesda again promoting Villanueva. It would not be surprising if there are radio and print ads that give Villanueva credit for Tesda’s accomplishments.

What gives people a bad taste in the mouth at seeing the expenditure of millions of Tesda funds to promote Villanueva is the fact that Villanueva is running for a Senate seat. He is not only engaged in what appears to be early campaigning but he is using public funds for it.

Santiago is right when she points out that public officials must not claim credit for projects funded by taxpayers’ money stressing that the practice is not only unnecessary and highly unethical.

But for a young ambitious man, would Joel Villanueva still remember his words about ethics, accountability, and about corruption?

It is very disgusting that in his website, he is described as leader with strong moral character. But what morals are they talking about when public funds are being used to print and promote his name and face? Where are the christian values of Joel Villanueva?

I think Joel Villanueva should not be given a chance to become Senator. Otherwise, our children would remember him as one of those who use their positions for personal interest.

Leila de Lima as the next Chief Justice

We don’t want a Chief Justice who is too close to the President. Of course, we don’t want a Chief Justice who is a Doberman of Malacanang. Have we not impeached CJ Corona because President Aquino believed that the Chief Justice was too close to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo?

Now, that Noynoy Aquino is about to appoint new Chief Justice, we want that he will appoint someone who is not close to him. The next Chief Justice must not allow himself to advance the interest of Malacanang.

We don’t want the one who has no competence, integrity, high sense of independence to become Chief Justice. We don’t want Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

On July 2, Leila de Lima proved her worth by accepting the nomination to become the next Chief Justice. After the reminder of all good people who wanted to save her from drowning into her ambition, she decided to accept the nomination hoping that she will get appointed.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima claimed her independence but look how she allow herself and her office to be used by Malacanang.

Leila de Lima seemed forgotten the word delicadeza. After she all her efforts to help the impeachment of CJ Corona, it now becomes clear that she did it because she is salivating for the position.

The one who defy the order from the Supreme Court and has pending disbarment case would like to become Chief Justice. How pathetic!

Now, what can we expect from Leila de Lima? She don’t even have experience as trial court judge and now she wanted to become Chief Justice?

Leila de Lima as Chief Justice will just make the Supreme Court an extension of the Palace.

I hope de Lima will reconsider her decision. She has no competence to become Chief Justice. And once she will get appointed and will accept the position, that would be the beginning of the collapse of justice in the Philippines.

One more question for Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. If she is really competent and have unquestionable integrity, why can’t she get confirmation from the Commission on Appointments for 8 times?

Tacloban City’s Parade of Lights

Tacloban City’s Sangyaw Festival 2012 was more exciting with the much anticipated Parade of Lights on June 29th. It was the night before Tacloban Day.

Parade of Lights had become the talk of the city. I was as excited as everyone. Right after work, my sangkay and I went to Justice Romualdez Street and join the hundreds to thousands of people waiting, anticipating for the parade of 20 floats bedecked with LED lights.

I had the Sinulog feeling as I gazed through the lines and shadows of people of all walks of life (I was not sure if there was a millonaire among us but I was pretty sure, there were many poor folks like me.)

I was expecting a more organized parade. But I was dismayed that it looked like the organizers of the Parade of Lights had not prepared for a large crowd though I doubt if they had not anticipated it.

I have not appreciated the event. For me, the Parade of Lights in Tacloban was a little mess. People are invading the parade area making it too small for both the light float (of different forms) and dancers.

I was so frustrated seeing the colorfully-costumed dancers called merrymakers who walked and run on the streets during the parade, not to mention the few to stop over to have snap-shot with the crowd.

There should have lines or a way to control the crowd. Cebu did it well during Sinulog and with comparably small crowd, I don’t think Tacloban could not do it the same way.

There was indeed Sto. Nino which at the very least painted the event with little religion. And of course, there was also a little bit politics with the presence of the Mayor Alfred Romualdez and his wife Cristina Romualdez. Of course we expect them there but joining them were Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., Rep. Cynthia Villar, Teddy Casino among others I could not recognize.

What made them more interesting was the goodies they throw to the crowd; candies, T-shirts, apples. Yes, apples were thrown like candies. Of course people enjoyed it. Fortunately, my sangkay was not hit by the apple thrown by Cristina Gonzalez Romualdez – he caught it instead. So later in RTR, we got bites of the apple! Funny.

If I still have a chance, I would still watch the Parade of Lights next year (2013).

I hope that year, it would be more organized and would not include non-dancers so that the show would not be spoiled.

I am referring to the parade participants – who just walked, talked as if nobody watched them. I suspect they were students, barangay officials, merchants. Actually, they have no aesthetic value to the parade unless they bahave well.
What I am saying is that those who participated in the parade were mostly acting like undesciplined and unruly baboons – so frustrating!

Next time, it would be nice to have dancers join the parade provided that they will really dance and not walk and talk and run while many are watching and anticipating a nice event.

Why Sto. Niño is the Patron (Saint?) of Tacloban and Leyte?

Cebuanos once considered Santo Niño as their patron saint but the Church (Roman Catholic) discouraged such veneration because the Sto. Niño is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and cannot be called upon for intercession. So in 2002, Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared by Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal as the principal patroness of Cebu.

Here in Tacloban and Leyte, people are speaking and writing Sto. Niño as the patron saint. Are these people misguided by the Catholic Church?

There are reasons why the people here venerate Sto. Niño. In a story published in PIA website, Rodrigo S. Victoria, quoted Father Gilbert Urbina’s explanation why “Sto Niño is Leyte’s patron saint”.

See? A Catholic priest himself call Sto. Niño as saint. Part of the story goes:

Sr. Sto Niño became the patron saint of Tacloban City after people living in Tacloban village were healed and saved from cholera epidemic that plagued the community on June 30, 1889.

The law (REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7676), that declares June 30 every year as special non-working public holiday in Tacloban and Leyte states:

The thirtieth day of June of every year, being the feast day of Señor Santo Niño, the patron saint of Tacloban City and the Heavenly Patron of Leyte, is hereby declared a special nonworking public holiday in Tacloban City, Province of Leyte, to be known as “Tacloban Day.”

I sent an email to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Palo to ask some guidance. But until I have not receive reply from them, I continually be confused.

But of course, I am not against the Feast of Sto. Niño per se. what I don’t understand is that why people refer the Holy Child as saint when in the the Apostles’ Creed (Symbolum Apostolicum) which are recited every holy mass, Catholics would say:

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

My faith as Roman Catholic is strong, I should say. Happy fiesta, Tacloban!