Speech at National Unity Party Convention

I would like to greet of course all the leadership of the National Unity Party at your convention this morning: Congressman Robbie Puno, your national chairman; Governor Albert Garcia, your president; and of course, Reggie Velasco, your secretary general, and all of our very important guests here today, all our fellow workers in government, magandang tanghali sa inyong lahat.

First of all ako’y magpapasalamat sa inyo sa inyong imbitasyon na ako’y dumalo dito sa inyong convetion ng NUP. Although I belong to another party, as I was walking around just now, I feel very much at home. At maraming marami naman sa inyo ay matagal ko nang kaibigan, matagal ko nang kasama, at palagay ko yung iba pa, hindi lang ako kundi this is the second generation of our alliance—and so I am very happy to be here back among friends.

I thank you very much also for this invitation because I would like to be able to say that I have enjoyed the support in my political career from many individuals in this room here and also from the NUP. And for that I am very very grateful for, and for that I would like to thank you. And your invitation for me here today is also—again, I would say, at least if not expression of political support, at least an expression of friendship that we could always build upon.

I’m afraid that I would not be making any earth-shaking announcements today. Alam ninyo naman itong election natin ngayon ay napaka-kumplikado at hindi natin malaman kung ano ba talaga ang patakbo ng ating iba’t-ibang partido. Especially in my case, pag pinag-uusapan ay national position, national na halalan, ay syempre hindi naman kayang maging kandidato for any national position kapag ikaw ay nag-iisa—and you need the assistance and the help of your own party and also of those who have aligned with you in certain levels. And that is important.

And that is why, kaya naman andalas natin nakikita ngayon sa dyaryo andaming espekulasyon at hindi mo naman masisisi ang tao. It is understandable that many people are taking a very great interest in the upcoming elections of 2016. And the reason is that it is seen that government has much to do after the coming elections. The new government coming in May and in June of 2016 will have a big job ahead of them dahil sa nangyari sa nakaraang ilang taon nakikita natin, lalo na pag kinukumpara natin ang Pilipinas sa ating mga kapitbahay, sa ating mga neighbors in ASEAN, ay nakikita natin na marami tayong pagkukulang at medyo naiwan-iwanan na tayo dito sa ating bansa. Tayo rito na tumitira sa Maynila, ramdam na ramdam natin ang mga isyu tungkol sa trapik, ang mga isyu tungkol sa MRT, at all the congestion hindi lamang sa lansangan kundi pati na sa airport, pati na sa Puerto. And these just points to the difficulties that we have been suffering because of the lack of development in the country today and the next government that will come in in 2016 will have to make it a priority that the infrastructure development that has been left behind by this administration, we will have to catch up. And we can see now that there are so many issues that are fundamental to the progress of our economy, to the progress of our country. And these issues have to be attended to by the next government.

Kaya naman natin nakikita na may kakulangan ang ating pamahalan ay dahil siguro, we have seen, that there seems to be a policy in the past few years of polarizing, confronting, and eventually this adversarial form of government, where it becomes part of government policy to impose some vengeance, or some vindictiveness, or to go after so-called political opponents or enemies. And in that process, ang nangyarai dIyan, ay imbes na pinagkakaisa ang ating bansa ay ang nangyayari ay pinagkakawatak-watak at pinag aaway-away. Ang naging problema hindi na natabi ang pamumulitika. Natapos na ang halalalan, natapos na ang resulta, natapos na ang proklamasyon, nag-oath of office na namumulitika pa rin. Kaya this adversarial kind of political activity has been to the detriment of our country’s development. Ay yan ang nakikita kong problema.

And that is why if there is anything that we should be searching for in the next election, when we decide who are we to support, who are we to promote, who are we to help, ang hanapin siguro natin ay ang mga magiging leader para makikita natin na ipagkakaisa ang Pilipinas. Sa dinami-dami ng mga problema ng ating bansa ay hindi kakayanin ng kahit na isang grupo lamang kahit sino man sila, kahit sila ay ang pamahalaan–hindi kakayanin ng kahit ni isang sektor lamang ang lahat ng mga problema na hinaharap ng Pilipinas. Kaya kailangan natin lahat ng aking mga kapwa Pilipino ay ipagkakaisa natin, ipagkakaisa para sabay-sabay na tumutulong, sabay-sabay na iniisip kung papano pagandahin ang ating bansa, kung papano mas maginhawa ang buhay ng ating mga mamamayan.

And that is what we are looking for. That is what we have to make sure, because the many years of this confrontational and ultimately polarizing politics, has done us no good. Hindi ito nakatulong sa atin. Hindi nakatulong sa mamamayang Pilipino. Hindi nagbago ang poverty incidence. Hindi nagbago ang unemployment. Hindi gumaganda ang sitwasyon lalo na sa mga serbisyo—even our utilities we are beginning to see problems: sa supply ng kuryente, sa supply ng tubig, pati sa ating transport and communications, lahat ito ay nagkaproblema. Dahil nga imbes na tinatrabaho ng gobyerno ang pagdudulot ng serbisyo para sa ating mga kababayan ay iniiintindi ang pamumulitika, kung papano tulungan ang kanilang mga kasama sa partido at kung papano labanan ang kanilang hindi kasama. Kaya’t nakikita natin nung kung saan tayo dati—ang agrikultura natin, alam naman natin kung gaano kasigla ang agricultural sector natin nung nakaraan, ay nandito ngayon tayo nakikita natin na mahina, naghihingalo na halos ang ating agricultural sector. Ang educational sector natin ay maraming problema dahil kulang tayo sa suporta sa ating mga guro; kulang tayo sa pagtayo ng ating mga school buildings; kulang tayo sa implementasyon sa ating bagong polisiya ng K-12.

All of these problems have come about because of the paralysis that comes from this confrontational kind of politics, this confrontational kind of policy of government. Now, if there are any government official who in the view of some of our citizens have done wrong in the time that they were in office, let us allow the wheels of justice to turn and allow the judicial system to take care of any such allegation, and to defend whether or not this is something that needs to be pursued. It cannot be a central part of government policy. When it becomes a central part of government policy, that walang ginawa kundi hinahabol, kinakasuhan, binibigyan ng problema lahat ng mga non-allied politicians, ay nakikita natin ang nangyari: walang nagbabago, walang natutulungan, hindi gumaganda ang sitwasyon ng Pilipiinas. And that is why I come here today with the hope that you and I will be able to put forward a program of governance to our people, that will assure at the underlying foundation of that program, is to unify the country, is to bring back the sense of nationhood that we once had. We might be Ilocanos, Warays, Bicolanos, Bisaya, Tagalog–but we must always rememer that we are, at the heart of it, are Filipinos. We must return the pride that we once had to be Filipino. We must return the pride that we once held, to be in the position that we once held, not only locally here in the Philippines, but in the community of nations, in the international community. Dahil sa ngayon ay nakikita, hindi maunawaan ng ating mga kaibigan na taga-labas kung anong nangyayari sa Pilipinas. Alam nila ang gagaling ng Pilipino, alam nila na ang sisipag, alam nila na ang huhusay. Paano nila alam? Ay kaya naman sila they keep hiring OFWs na Pilipino dahil alam nila ang galing at husay ng Pilipino. Ang hindi nila maunawaan, bakit kung ganyan ka-gagaling ang mga Pinoy, bakit ngayon yung Pilipinas ay hindi natin nakikita na yung galing na yan ay napupunta sa pagtulong at sa pag-progreso ng ating bansa. And that’s why I hope that in this political cycle that we are able—-we should because it is necessary, because if we continue this way it will be a very very hard road back from where we will take this, again, this confrontational and polarizing kind of system. That is why in this coming election, I think it is absolutely imperative that the country find a leadership–it cannot be done by one man or woman, it cannot be done by one sector, it has to be done by the whole country and we must find that unifying force to return the Philippines to be one country, one nation, working together to heal the nation and make it better, to make it better for our people.

That is what we need in the coming years; that is what we must search for. The people look to us to find that leadership. The people look to us to bring that unity to the country. The people look to us–it is something that we owe to our countrymen; it is something that we owe to our country. And we cannot say in good conscience that we have served the public well if we do not do this, if we do not do this now, if we do not unify the country.

That is what I am setting out to do. That is what I will try to do. That is what I will try to promote. I hope, once again, as you have been very kind to me, and as you have supported me in the past, that I can count on your support again in the future. Thank you very much and good afternoon.

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