Pnoy's speech transcript (Tagalog, English), video October 30, 2013 now available online


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Manila - The President of the Republic of the Philippines Benigno "PNoy" Aquino III for the very first time delivered primetime address which was broadcasted live in all major TV networks in the country, October 30, 2013. The speech tackles current national issues particularly on Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

President Aquino October 30, 2013 speech


In the recent results of Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia surveys, pork barrel issues greatly affect Aquino's net ratings. SWS said that from a "very good" +64 last June, it fell to good" score of +49 on September 20 to 23, 2013. Pulse Asia survey revealed that the Aquino administration failed to score majority approval ratings on eight of 10 national issues.

Here are the copies of Televised Address of President Benigno S. Aquino III, October 30, 2013 (English and Tagalog script) which are now available online.

Televised Address of President Benigno S. Aquino III (English)
My beloved countrymen, good evening.

Over the past few months, a few topics have come to be the focus of public discourse. With the cacophony of discordant voices coming from many different sides, perhaps the subject of the Pork Barrel and DAP has begun to leave you confused. I am asking you for a few minutes of your time in order to bring clarity to these issues.

You are all witnesses to the conflict taking place. On one hand, there is you and your government, to whom you gave the mandate for change—a government that has implemented reform for the past three years and five months, pursuing the corrupt and working to alleviate poverty. On the other side, you have the corrupt officials allegedly involved in the Pork Barrel Scam.

Might I remind those who have forgotten: The real issue here is stealing. This is the topic they have constantly tried to avoid ever since their wrongdoing was exposed. I can’t help but shake my head, since the first thing I expected was for them to at least deny the accusations. After all, is that not the natural reaction of anyone who is accused of anything? And yet, in the midst of all their extended counter-accusations hurled against me, not once have I heard them say: “I did not steal.”

One would have hoped that out of respect for those who believed in and voted for them, these officials would have fulfilled their sworn duties. At the very least one would have expected them to explain how it happened that the beneficiaries of the NGOs they chose to fund was just a list of board passers seemingly culled from newspapers. But how can we take their excuses seriously, when after repeated instances of their giving money to the same NGOs, they had not once bothered to check if the funds they allocated actually reached the intended beneficiaries? This state of affairs is indeed difficult, even impossible, to explain away.

And since it is exceedingly difficult to explain, it seems they have taken the advice of an old politician from their camp: If you can’t explain it, muddle it; if you can’t deodorize it, make everyone else stink; if you can’t look good, make everyone look bad. You have heard what they are saying: that we are all the same.

My response: We are not the same. I have never stolen. I am not a thief. I am the one who goes after thieves. We appointed people of unquestionable integrity who are fulfilling their sworn duties. Did we not appoint the Commission on Audit leadership that reviewed the documents leading to the discovery of PDAF abuse? And now, can we not expect a fair and just investigation, because the Ombudsman we appointed walks alongside us along the straight path?

Let me make it clear: The Disbursement Allocation Program is not pork barrel. Of the DAP releases in 2011 and 2012, only nine percent was disbursed for projects suggested by legislators. The DAP is not theft. Theft is illegal. Spending through DAP is clearly allowed by the Constitution and by other laws. DAP is only a name for a process in which government can spend both savings and new and additional revenues. Where did these funds come from? They came from our efforts to stop the connivance of some in bidding for contracts, in padding costs, overpricing, and kickbacks. They came from the proper spending of our budget. They came from good governance now seen in our GOCCs; just one example of this is the MWSS, an agency once buried in debt, and which now remits dividends to the national government annually. Savings, above-target collections, and new revenues are the results of good governance. And because of DAP, these funds were allocated to projects that were within the proposed budget and that had a clear benefit to the country.

How does this mechanism work? Simple. There are some agencies that, for a variety of reasons, are unable to implement their projects right away; on the other hand, there are those that are very efficient in implementing their projects. When projects are stalled, naturally, we will not spend for them. We did not allow these funds to remain dormant. We looked for programs under implementing agencies that had proven themselves to be fast and efficient, and we channeled our savings into these programs—together with the additional revenue of the government. The benefits of these projects reached our countrymen faster and earlier, and we were able to spend the money allocated yearly in our National Budget more prudently and efficiently.

You can decide for yourselves: Is this wrong? When has it ever been wrong to look for a constitutional way to serve our countrymen more effectively? DAP funded Project NOAH, which gives accurate and timely warnings during calamities. Also because of DAP, under the Training-for-Work Scholarship Program of TESDA, almost 150,000 Filipinos were able to study, and no less than 90,000 of them are currently employed. DAP also benefited our Air Force and the police. Through DAP, we were able to construct infrastructure in Mindanao and other parts of the country; restore the benefits of DepEd employees by paying their GSIS premiums, which had long been unpaid by the government; and fund many other programs and projects that have a real, tangible benefit to Filipinos.

DAP also played an important role in our economic resurgence. According to the World Bank, DAP contributed 1.3 percentage points to our GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2011. Let us compare: isn’t it true that, when they were still in power, we were called the “Sick Man of Asia”? Today, we can choose from a number of new labels: Asia’s fastest growing economy, Rising Tiger, Brightest Spark. And let’s include the investment grade status we received from the three most reputable credit ratings agencies in the world. This economic growth—and its positive effects, which have redounded to our countrymen, especially those in the margins of society—this is the product of principled spending, and not of stealing. Money once pocketed by the corrupt is now being used to help our people, particularly the poor.

Let me also take this chance to explain the President’s Social Fund. There are times when we will need funds that can be disbursed quickly to meet sudden needs. For example: we needed funds to provide assistance to the families of soldiers and policemen who fell in the line of duty while responding to the threat posed by the MNLF-Misuari Faction in Zamboanga. There were also those who fell in the course of rescue and relief operations in the wake of Typhoon Sendong. The PSF funded these; without it, without calamity or contingency funds, they would have continued to suffer.

Because these funds were abused in the past, people are saying that perhaps we will abuse them today—even if no one has accused us of stealing or of using them in the wrong manner. Some propose to remove them completely. Would this be just? If only it were that simple—but what would we then do in case of natural disasters? Even if we were lucky and Congress was in session, it would take at least four months of debate before Congress can approve the funding we need. If you are in Zamboanga, with a child crying from hunger, and government tells you that it cannot help you just yet, it would need to haggle with Congress first—how would you feel? We have the money, and we have the mechanisms that will ensure this money goes where it’s needed most. Would it be right to deprive our countrymen of the care they direly need?

I repeat: The issue here is theft. I did not steal. Those who have been accused of stealing are the ones who are sowing confusion; they want to dismantle all that we have worked so hard to achieve on the straight path. We were stolen from, we were deceived—and now we are the ones being asked to explain? I have pursued truth and justice, and have been dismantling the systems that breed the abuse of power—and yet I am the one now being called the “Pork Barrel King”?

This is what I say to them: If you think that this will stop me from going after you, if you think that you can divert the public’s attention, if you think you can get away with stealing from our countrymen: you have sorely underestimated me and the Filipino people. If there still remains some vestige of kindness in your hearts, I hope that you stop acting in self-interest, and instead act to help your fellowmen.

When my father returned home on the twenty-first of August 1983, he had a speech prepared. The Filipino people never got to hear it, because he was murdered right on the tarmac. In that speech, he quoted Archibald MacLeish: “How shall freedom be defended? By truth when it is attacked by lies.” Now that falsehood and deception are threatening the Filipino’s right to a clean and honest government, the truth stands as our most powerful weapon. Tonight, I laid out the truth of what has been happening in our nation. I hope that in the coming days you will talk about this within your families, organizations, and communities, and that you can arrive at an understanding and a resolve that aligns with the truth.

My Bosses, we have fought so many battles. And I am grateful that no matter how foul the slander and the sabotage, you never let go, you never gave up. Together we proved that there are no tyrants if there are no slaves. Now, those who have abused our trust want to cast us off the course towards the fulfillment of our collective aspirations. I do not believe that you will let this pass. And so long as you are with me, I will continue to stand for our principles.

I have no doubt that, whether or not I am in office, you, our Bosses whose minds and hearts are in the right place, will continue and will finish the fight. This knowledge is the source of my strength and my courage. After all, is it not true that, not too long ago, the system in place was one where the Filipino people had grown tired of dreaming, of fighting back, of doing their part? Today, there are so many of us who are collectively forging the positive and meaningful reforms that are taking place in society. I have every confidence that you will more actively choose to be on the side of what is right, what is truthful, and what is just. This is why I am thankful today, because I know that we will continue our march on the straight path.

Thank you very much.


Televised Address of President Benigno S. Aquino III (Tagalog)
Mga minamahal kong kababayan, magandang gabi po.

Nitong mga nakaraang buwan, lumitaw ang ilang mga paksang naging sentro ng pampublikong diskurso. Kabi-kabilang tinig po ang narinig natin, at baka po mayroon na sa ating nahihilo sa usaping Pork Barrel at DAP. Humihingi po ako ngayon ng kaunting oras upang liwanagin ang mga isyung ito.

Nakikita na po siguro ninyo ang nangyayari ngayong bangayan. Sa isang panig, kayo at ang gobyernong binigyan ninyo ng mandato para sa pagbabago, na tatlong taon at limang buwan nang gumagawa ng reporma, naghahabol sa corrupt, at kumakalinga sa mahirap. Sa kabila naman ay ang mga tiwaling opisyal na diumano’y sangkot sa Pork Barrel Scam.

Baka po may nakakalimot sa atin: Pagnanakaw ang tunay na ugat ng isyung ito. Iyan po ang usapang pilit nilang tinatabunan, matapos mabisto ang kanilang kalokohan. Napapailing na nga lang po ako, dahil ang una kong inasahan, papabulaanan nila ang mga akusasyon. Di po ba’t iyan ang natural na tugon ng kahit sinong akusado? Sa hinaba-haba ng mga kontra-paratang na ibinabato sa atin, ni minsan, hindi ko narinig ang katagang at statement na “Hindi ako nagnakaw.”

Sana nga po, alang-alang sa inyong mga nagtiwala at bumoto sa kanila, ay tinutupad ng mga opisyal na ito ang kanilang sinumpaang tungkulin. Sana nga po, may paliwanag kung paanong nangyaring ang mga benepisyaryo ng pekeng NGO na pinili nila, ay listahan lang pala ng mga board passer na hinugot lang mula sa diyaryo. Pero parang ang hirap na pong maniwala sa mga palusot, kung sa paulit-ulit nilang paggamit ng pare-parehong NGO, ni minsan ay hindi nila sinilip kung nakakaabot sa taumbayan ang perang inilaan nila para dito. Medyo mahirap o imposible na po talagang ipaliwanag ito.

Sa sobrang hirap nga pong ipaliwanag, tila sinunod na lamang nila ang payo ng isang matandang pulitiko sa kanilang kampo: Kung hindi mo kayang ipaliwanag, palabuin mo na lang lahat; kung hindi mo kayang bumango, pabahuin mo na lang lahat; kung hindi mo kayang gumuwapo, papangitin mo na lang lahat. Narinig naman ninyo ang hirit nila: Pare-pareho lang naman daw kaming lahat.

Ang tugon ko po diyan: Hindi tayo pareho. Hindi kami nagnakaw, at hindi kami magnanakaw; kami ang umuusig sa mga magnanakaw. Itinalaga po natin ang mga taong may paninindigang tuparin ang kanilang mga sinumpaang tungkulin. Di po ba’t ang itinalaga nating liderato ng Commission on Audit ang sumuyod sa mga dokumento, kaya’t natuklas ang mga pang-aabuso sa PDAF? Di ba’t nakakaasa tayo ngayon sa patas at makatarungang imbestigasyon, dahil katuwang sa tuwid na daan ang Ombudsman na atin ding itinalaga?

Linawin na rin po natin: Hindi pork barrel ang Disbursement Acceleration Program. Sa kabuuang DAP releases noong 2011 at 2012, siyam na porsyento po nito ang ginugol sa mga proyektong iminungkahi ng mambabatas. Hindi rin po pagnanakaw ang DAP. Ang pagnanakaw, ilegal; ang paggastos gamit ang DAP, malinaw na nakasaad sa Konstitusyon at sa iba pang mga batas. Pangalan lang ang DAP ng isang proseso ng paggastos sa perang natipid, at sa iba pang nalikom na kita ng inyong gobyerno. Saan po nanggaling ang perang ito? Nagmula ito sa pagtitigil natin sa kuntsabahan sa kontrata, tong-pats, overpricing, at kickback. Nagmula ito sa maayos na paggugol ng budget. Nagmula ito mula sa dagdag na kita mula sa matinong koleksyon ng buwis. Nagmula ito sa tapat na pamamahala sa mga GOCC; halimbawa ang MWSS, na dating nababaon sa utang, pero ngayon, taun-taon nang nag-aabot ng dibidendo sa gobyerno. Savings, above-target na koleksyon, at mga bagong revenue ang resulta ng tamang pamamahala. At dahil sa DAP, naitutok ang pondo sa mga proyektong nasa loob rin naman ng budget at totoong may pakinabang sa atin.

Paano gumagana ang mekanismong ito? Simple lang po. May mga ahensya, na sa iba’t ibang kadahilanan, hindi agad naipapatupad ang mga proyekto nila; mayroon namang masigasig at mabilis magpatupad ng mga proyekto. Kapag naantala ang pagpapatupad ng proyekto, natural, hindi rin ito gugugulan ng pondo. Hindi po natin hinahayaang matulog ang pondong ito: humanap tayo ng programang nakapila sa ilalim ng ahensyang mabilis magpatupad, at doon natin itinutok ang pondong natipid, pati na rin ang dagdag na perang kinita ng ating gobyerno. Mas mabilis at napaaga ang pagdating ng benepisyo sa mamamayan, at mas masinop at epektibo nating nagugol ang perang taun-taong nakalaan sa ilalim ng Pambansang Budget.

Kayo nga po ang magsabi: Mali ba ito? Kailan ba naging masama ang paghahanap ng konstitusyonal na paraan para makapaglingkod ng mas epektibo sa taumbayan? Dahil po sa DAP, napondohan ang Project NOAH, na nagbibigay ng tama at agarang babala kung may sakuna. Dahil din sa DAP, sa ilalim ng Training-for-Work Scholarship Program ng TESDA, mayroong halos 150,000 na Pilipino ang napag-aral; di bababa sa 90,000 sa kanila ang may trabaho na ngayon. Nakinabang din po ang ating Air Force at kapulisan; nakapagpatayo tayo ng kalsada, classroom, at ospital sa Mindanao at sa iba pang bahagi ng bansa; naibalik ang benepisyo ng mga empleyado ng DepEd noong nabayaran ang kanilang GSIS premiums na matagal nang di nababayaran ng pamahalaan; at marami pang ibang programa at proyektong may tunay na pakinabang sa Pilipino.

Malaki rin ang naitulong ng DAP sa nangyayaring pag-arangkada ng ating ekonomiya. Sabi pa nga ng World Bank, nag-ambag ang DAP ng 1.3 percentage points sa ating GDP growth noong ikaapat na quarter ng 2011. Ikumpara po natin: Hindi ba’t noong sila ang nasa poder, “Sick Man of Asia” ang tawag sa atin? Ngayon, mamili na kayo sa mga bagong bansag sa atin ng mundo: Asia’s fastest growing economy, Rising Tiger, Brightest Spark. Isama pa diyan ang nakuha nating investment grade status mula sa tatlong pinakatanyag na credit ratings agency. Ang pag-angat nito, at ang tinatamasang benepisyo ng ating mga kababayan, lalo na ng mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan–ito po ang bunga ng tamang paggastos, sa halip na pagnanakaw. Ang perang dating kino-corrupt, napakinabangan na ng taumbayan, lalo na ng mahihirap.

Ipaliwanag na rin po natin itong President’s Social Fund. May mga pagkakataon po na kailangan ng agarang pondo para tumugon sa mga biglaang pangangailangan. Halimbawa: ang tulong para sa pamilya ng sundalo’t pulis na nasawi sa pagreresponde sa MNLF-Misuari Faction sa Zamboanga, gayundin sa paghahatid ng ayuda nang sumalanta ang bagyong Sendong. PSF po ang pinanggagalingan nito; kung wala nito, kung walang calamity o contingency funds, mananatili ang ating mga kababayang nagdurusa.

Dahil noong araw, inabuso ang pondong ito, baka raw abusuhin namin ito ngayon–kahit walang paratang ng pagnanakaw o kamalian ng paggamit. Ang mungkahi ng ilan, tanggalin na lang. Tanong po: Makatuwiran po ba ito? Maganda po sana kung ganoong kasimple, pero paano po kung magkaroon ng sakuna? Buwenas na tayo kung may session sa Batasan; mahina po ang apat na buwan ng debate at pakikipagpalitan ng sulat sa Kongreso bago maaprubahan ang pondong puwedeng gugulin. Kung ikaw ang nasa Zamboanga City, at humihilab ang sikmura ng anak mong iyak nang iyak, matatanggap mo ba kung sabihin sa iyo ng iyong gobyernong, pasensyahan muna tayo? May pera naman po, at may sapat tayong mekanismo upang siguruhing mapupunta ito sa dapat kalagyan. Tama bang ipagkait ang kalinga sa ating mga kababayan?

Uulitin ko po: Pagnanakaw ang isyu dito. Hindi ako nagnakaw. Pero ang mga diumano’y nagnakaw ay siyang nagpapasimuno ng kalituhan; gustong kaladkarin pababa ang lahat ng ating pinaghirapang maabot dito sa tuwid na daan. Tayo ang ninakawan, tayo ang niloko, tapos tayo pa ngayon ang pinagpapaliwanag. Tayo ang patuloy na naghahanap ng katotohanan, tayo ang nagbawas nang nagbawas sa mga mekanismong maaaring gamitin para abusuhin ang kapangyarihan―tapos, tayo pa ngayon ang pinaparatangang “Pork Barrel King.”

Ito po ang masasabi ko sa kanila: Kung sa tingin ninyo, titigil ako sa pag-usig; kung sa tingin ninyo, maililihis ninyo ang atensyon ng publiko; kung sa tingin ninyo, makakatakas kayo sa pagnanakaw; nagkakamali kayo ng tantya sa akin, at sa taumbayang Pilipino. Baka naman po may natitira pang kabaitan sa inyo. Sana po, gumawa na kayo ng kilos para naman sa kapwa ninyo, at hindi lang para sa sarili.

Nang bumalik sa bansa ang aking ama noong ika-21 ng Agosto 1983, may nakahanda siyang talumpati. Hindi na ito narinig ng mga Pilipino dahil sa tarmac pa lang, pinaslang na siya. Sa talumpati, sinipi niya si Archibald MacLeish: “How shall freedom be defended? By truth when it is attacked by lies.” Ngayong sinusubok ng mga kasinungalingan at panlilinlang ang karapatan ng mga Pilipinong magkaroon ng isang tapat na pamahalaan, tanging katotohanan lamang ang wastong sandata. Sa gabing ito, inilatag ko sa inyo ang tunay na konteksto ng mga nangyayari sa ating bayan. Mangyari po sanang sa darating na mga araw, pag-usapan ninyo ito sa kani-kaniyang mga pamilya, grupo, at komunidad, at doon bumuo ng sariling mga kaisipang nakatuntong sa katotohanan.

Mga Boss, marami na tayong pinagdaanang laban. Nagpapasalamat ako dahil gaano man kasahol ang mga paninira at pagsasabotahe, hindi kayo bumitiw, hindi kayo sumuko, at pinatunayan nating walang maaapi kung walang magpapaapi. Ngayon, ang mga tila nagsamantala sa atin ang gustong idiskaril ang kurso natin tungo sa ating mga pangarap. Hindi ako naniniwalang papayag kayo dito. At habang nandiyan kayo, patuloy akong maninindigan.

Panatag ang loob ko, nasa poder man ako o hindi, na kayo mismong mga Boss kong maayos ang kaisipan at nasa tamang lugar ang puso, ang magpapatuloy at magtatapos ng laban. Dito nagmumula ang aking lakas at katatagan ng loob. Di ba’t kailan lang, ang umiiral na siste ay isang taumbayang nagsawa nang mangarap, nagsawa nang pumalag, nagsawa nang makiambag? Ngayon, napakarami na nating sama-samang pumapanday ng positibo at makabuluhang pagbabago sa lipunan. Tiwala akong mas masigasig pa ninyong papanigan ang tama, ang makatotohanan, at ang makatarungan. Kaya nagpapasalamat ako, dahil alam kong tuloy na tuloy pa rin ang ating martsa sa tuwid na daan.

Muli, isang magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat.



Watch the video of President's Address to the Nation courtesy of RTVM Malacañan Palace:


 

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