State of the Nation Address of His Excellency Raphael Anthony DL. Torres President of the Philippines To the Congress of the Philippines (Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City, on January 12, 2013) Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Speaker of the House Feliciano Belmonte,Vice President Jejomar Binay, 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 the local government, members of our Cabinet, officers of the military and polic, my fellow public servants, and of course, to all the Filipinos now watching here and all over the world, a good day to all! We all know all the hardships that our country faced during the past year. Earthquakes, fires, landslides, deadly typhoons like Pablo and even deadlier rains such as Habagat. But despite all of this, the Philippines, is still a nation to be reckoned with.
Ranking 17 th in the world as the most giving, we the Filipino people truly are one of the most selfless and loving people in the world, which only shows that even if we get hit by all these calamities several times and even do it all over again, we can still manage to stand up, help others and smile. That’s why this year, we are ready to face whatever calamity may struck us, be it natural or man-made. This new year is not just a new start for all of us. It is also a reminder, not to look back in the past, the problems put on our shoulders by the past, and forget it and just instead, focus on the present and look forward to the future. If we are ready to face the natural and man-made calamities this year, then we are ready to face the face of the brand new Philippines! First, natural calamities are acts of God, to which we can do nothing about. But what we can do is be prepared, especially now that we are experiencing the adverse effects of climate change.That’s why, this year the national budget has increased its allocation to disaster preparedness and risk reduction programs, for the release of calamity funds, relief goods, disaster kits, weather instruments, and educational materials.
Also, due to rising sea levels, Metro Manila and other low-lying areas all over the country experience flood, but thanks to the new infrastructure projects in partnership with Japan, dams and floodways are now underway. Other big infrastructure projects include the extension of LRT 1 from Tarlac to Batangas and the extension of the Philippine National Railway from Ilocos Norte down to Sorsogon. Railways and transit lines are also being developed in the metro cities of Visayas and Mindanao. Cleanup of rivers and esteros that lead to the sea are now also being closely monitored and the implementation of the regulated plastic ban is now underway. Forests and national parks are now also being rebuilt and reforested and all these mining activities are now put to a stop. Thanks to DepEd, CHEd, DENR, MMDA, NDRRMC, DPWH, LGUs, DOH, DSWD, The Philippine Red Cross, NGOs and the media, we are now not just equipped materially and physically, but most importantly, mentally and emotionally in facing these natural and man-made calamities. But what is more harmful to man than his own.
That’s why this year, we will not just be ready for natural calamitites, but more importantly, man-made calamities. One man-made calamity we will try to face this year is the perennial problem of firecrackers and stray bullets. Just as the first days of the new year rolled in, victims of firecrackers and stray bullets were also rolled in into hospitals. Not to count out the efforts of the Department of Health under Secretary Enrique Ona and Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag who managed to minimize the number of victims last year, this year, we will be aiming for a national policy on partial if not total, firecracker and gun ban. Just like in Davao City, if they can, the whole Philippines can! What a way to start the next year!
Another man-made calamity we engulfed ourselves in is the growing tension at the West Philippine Sea. Who would want to see their homes being trespassed by strangers, using all their appliances and clothes, eating all their food and with them knowing it but having left with nothing to do? That’s why this year, we will not just strongly signify our claim over our territory, but we will show them and prove to them to whom the Spratlys really belong. Right now, our good friend and ally, the United States of America under President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are in talks with the United Nations and has said that our stand is heard and is strongly favored by International Law. At the 2nd quarter of this year, the US will now deploy navy fleets and army ships at our territorial sea that will surely strenghten and safeguard our hold and sovereignty over these disputed areas against enemies. And before the year ends, we can now see in the maps and globes all over the world the signs that read: “West Philippine Sea” and “Kalayaan Islands (Philippines)”. This year also marks the start of newly-signed laws namely: The SinTax Law, The Cybercrime Law, and the Reproductive Health Law.
As I have said, what is more harmful to man than his own? That’s why this year, whether you’re a chain smoker, cyberbully or an aborter, you have now checked your New Year’s Resolution and change for the better. This is not just a man-made calamity on the physical being of the person, but more importantly on his/her moral aspect, that’s why this year, we are looking forward to lessen evil doers and morally-corrupt individuals in the country. Speaking of corruption, last year we saw the great efforts of the past administration to battle corruption and test the accountability of public officials, we all witnessed the very first impeachment of a Chief Justice, and although we may have lost some of which who are still true and honest to public service like DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, we are looking forward to impeaching more and losing more of those public officials who will be proven accountable of such wrongdoings.
That’s why this coming May 2013 elections, I hope the Filipino people will have a sound judgment to which candidates they will vote for that they know will be not just publicly accountable but more importantly, morally accountable. Let us stop favoring names which have been around for centuries! But instead, le’t’s be open-minded and look for the ones that are new, fresh, and young. Someone, like me, who is ready to make a stand to be the face of the new Philippines! Also this year, there will be no more man-made calamity between the Muslim and the Christian brothers, for this year, we will end the 15 years of waiting for the birth of the “Bangsamoro” district. After the success of the Spratlys and Bangsamoro, we have now proven to the world that we can take matters into our own hands. We may be small, but definitely not anymore childish, and instead terrible, strong, and mature.
We are now more cohesive and one! And I believe that it is unity that binds and builds together a strong nation, and therefore if each building block is solid, then the whole coutntry will prosper into leaps and bounds! What a good start for the future of the new Philippines! For education, which is vital and crucial to the future of the new Philippines, this year we will see the implemenation of the K+12 program. This will not only make the “hope of the motherland” ready to face the future of the new Philippines, but most importantly, to be ready to be able to face the future world. We will also be building 500,000 new classrooms on reclaimed lands which are almost finished as we speak, so when a disaster strikes, it is no longer needed to transform it to evacuation centers. Old classrooms will now be resettlement areas for informal settlers in urban cities. These new classrooms will be strategically built near the capital cities and municipalities of all provinces in the Philippines including NCR. With the aid again of Japan for the technology, these reclaimed lands will increase the total land area of the Philippines by a total of 30%.
These reclamation areas all over the Philippines are proven safe, hazard and risk-free, scientifically tested for disasters, and are environmentally guilt-free. Wages of teachers, nurses, doctors and other professions will also increase by 10% this year following the economic gain last year. Also following the economic gain last year, a total of 160 billion dollars of investment came into the Philippines which will generate millions of jobs all over the country this year. Different factories of different foreign products will now open and be scattered all over the country especially in rural parts to attract informal settlers in urban cities to go back. Also, these products will now be made by Filipino workers and thus, we not just took the Spratly Islands but we also took “Made in” from China! Now who said 100 million people are too much?
Now let’s get to 1 bilion! For agriculture, we will still go back to our native roots and to our first way of becoming civilized and developed. If before, we are a major importer of rice, this year will not just be a major exporter of rice, but also of coconut and cocowater. As I have mentioned the reclaimed lands earlier, they will not only be used for education but also for planting rice, coconut and other vegation crops. Also, inspired by the “skygardens” of Singapore, the Philippines will now be known as an eco-friendly country with strong environmental efforts. Every household or baranggay, will now be mandated by law to plant rice in their area for rural and to plant coconut in their area for urban. One household is equal to one crop, so in an urban baranggay of 7,201 households, there should also be 7,201 coconuts.
And lastly, for health, 2,500 clinics, health centers and public hospitals will now be opened at the 2nd quarter of this year, with an additional of 4,500 more by the end of 2013. As more nurses and doctors are now more confident to work here in our country, along with the lessening of poverty, expect less patients running out of hospitals escaping because they could not pay their bills. We can no longer expect to see documentaries on TV such as the “”. But we can now finally say that “Health is really wealth!” from the elderly down to their grandchilden. Now I stand before all of you today, not just to report on what happened, what is happening and what will happen to our country, but most importantly, to leave you with a challenge. A challenge to change and be ready to be the faces of the new Philippines. This is not only my part. It is all ours. For the country is not solely mine, but all ours. Now, our nation is God’s work in progress, so if we all work together hand-in-hand as one and under God’s abundant love and guidance then, in no time, we may get a glimpse of the new Philippines waiting to be seen. Thank you and Mabuhay!