Unang una sa lahat, maraming maraming salamat po sa pagkumbida sa inyong lingkod upang makasama niyo rito sa inyong National Convention. I always get asked how I find the time to attend all the speaking engagements and conventions I get invited to – hindi naman ho sa pagbubuhat ng bangko, pero baka akala nila marami silang mapupulot sa akin kaya’t kaliwat kanan ang kanilang imbitasyon.
But kidding aside and to answer that question, it is because I always make time. I always prioritize engagements like this because how often do I get the opportunity to be in touch with you on a more personal level. I make it a point to be present because it makes me feel satisfied knowing that I am doing my job, as an elected public officer, by putting myself in a position to hear what you have to say and to help you in ways I can.
Pero bago pa ako mapagbintangan ng nangangampanya na ako, let me speak to you about what this Convention is for – what it is for you; what it is for the Filipino people and what I, as a legislator can do, for you and the Filipino people.
Unang-una, what it is for you.
Present in this convention today are Local Civil Registrars, their personnel, barangay officials, medical practioners, solemnizing officers and our other partners in the civil registration. Some of you may have been here for decades and maybe some of you are fairly new. But all of you, ALL OF YOU, regardless of the length of time you have been working here, are part of a very important system that provides basis for a peson’s individual identity.
Sa madaling salita, gusto ko lamang bigyang diin ang importansya ng ginagawa niyo because sometimes, as humans, we have the tendency to forget. We have all had days where we go home – tired; where we go home to see our family and think to ourselves na “tapos na ang araw ko, ano ba ang nagawa ko”; where we have mornings dreading to go work because it has become so routinary. Trust me, it happens to each person, it happens to the best of us – which is why I want to take this opportunity to remind you of the role you play in our society -- Lives, privileges, statistics and welfare depend on what you do on a day to day basis. So every time you have days like that, tandaan niyo, mahalaga ang ginagawa niyo.
I have been in the public service for the past 27 years and all the time, mas madali bumangon at magtrabaho when you know that your work is important and when you know you are working for a cause.
Pangalawa, what it is for the Filipino people.
The United Nations defines civil registration as the “continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal recording of the occurrence and characteristics of vital events pertaining to the population”. Civil registration is carried out primarily for the purpose of establishing legal documents provided by law. Vital events that are typically recorded include live birth, death, marriage, annulment of marriage, adoption and legitimation. And among the legal documents that are derived from civil registration are birth certificates, death certificates and marriage certificates.
To be honest, if those are not considered important, then I do not know what is. Hindi ko alam kung sasangayon sa akin ang karamihan sa kalalakihan dito pero kulang nalang kapag kinasal ka, ipa-frame ni Misis and marriage certificate, eh!
What I am ultimately trying to drive at is the importance of what you do on a daily basis to the Filipino people. In EVERY significant application that a person will ever do in his life, hinihingi ito. Schools need it, government agencies need it, religious organizations need it, international organizations need it.
When I first ran for public office, COMELEC required my birth certificate, and other government agencies such as SSS, GSIS, Philhealth, DFA, BIR, Pag-ibig, NBI require it too. Imagine the lives of each Filipino who depend on the benefits of these organizations and how your daily work will impact theirs.
The statistical and factual data gathered through what you do serve as the ultimate foundation of social planning, government regulation and benefits guaranteed to each Filipino person. Civil registration provides legal documentation to protect citizenship, property, and other economic, social and human rights.
And no one else knows your job better than you do. Therefore I ask of you to not only do it well (which I am sure you do) but do it with pride… because WE depend on it.
Pangatlo at panghuli, what I as a legislator can do.
While thinking of what I want to say here today, I read your manual and one particular line significantly caught my attention –“We may not be able to give food or shelter to children, but we give them name and identity.”
This is the part when you will allow me to do my job, as your senator. There have been bills that are currently pending in the present Congress having as its primary purpose the betterment of the civil registration system – an example of which is how the first copy of a child’s birth certificate will be obtained for free; and also there have been suggestions on how to devise institutionalized systems to adapt to our growing population.
As part of the legislative branch, this is where I can help you, but I need your help in doing so. Kanina pa ako paulit ulit na napakahalaga nang tungkuling ginagampanan ninyo and that no one else is an expert in your field but you. Needless to say, my office is always open for your suggestions or for your concerns.
At kung mayroon man akong gustong maalala ninyo sa mga sinabi ko ngayon ay ito – malaki ang ginagampanan ninyong papel sa buhay ng bawat Pilipino. Mahalaga ang tungkulin ninyo kaya’t taas noo ninyong gawin ito.
Maraming salamat po at sama-sama natin paglingkuran ang sambayanang Pilipino.