President Fidel Ramos, sir, salamat po sa tulong mo making me President; President Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Senate President Franklin Drilon and the members of the Senate; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and the members of the House of Representatives; Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court; His Excellency Guiseppe Pinto and the members of the Diplomatic Corps; incoming members of the Cabinet; fellow workers in government; my fellow countrymen. [applause]
No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve.
It is the people from whom democratic governments draw strength and this administration is no exception. That is why we have to listen to the murmurings of the people, feel their pulse, supply their needs and fortify their faith and trust in us whom they elected to public office. [applause]
There are many amongst us who advance the assessment that the problems that bedevil our country today which need to be addressed with urgency, are corruption, both in the high and low echelons of government, criminality in the streets, and the rampant sale of illegal drugs in all strata of Philippine society and the breakdown of law and order. True, but not absolutely so. For I see these ills as mere symptoms of a virulent social disease that creeps and cuts into the moral fiber of Philippine society. I sense a problem deeper and more serious than any of those mentioned or all of them put together. But of course, it is not to say that we will ignore them because they have to be stopped by all means that the law allows.
Erosion of faith and trust in government – that is the real problem that confronts us. Resulting therefrom, I see the erosion of the people’s trust in our country’s leaders; the erosion of faith in our judicial system; the erosion of confidence in the capacity of our public servants to make the people’s lives better, safer and healthier. [applause]
Indeed ours is a problem that dampens the human spirit. But all is not lost.
I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality, the sale and use of illegal drugs and corruption. They say that my methods are unorthodox and verge on the illegal. In response let me say this:
I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds, which were allocated for the use in uplifting the poor from the mire that they are in.
I have seen how illegal drugs destroyed individuals and ruined family relationships.
I have seen how criminality, by means all foul, snatched from the innocent and the unsuspecting, the years and years of accumulated savings. Years of toil and then, suddenly, they are back to where they started.
Look at this from that perspective and tell me that I am wrong.
In this fight, I ask Congress and the Commission on Human Rights and all others who are similarly situated to allow us a level of governance that is consistent to our mandate. The fight will be relentless and it will be sustained. [applause]
As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the president. I know what is legal and what is not. [applause]
My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising.[applause]
You mind your work and I will mind mine. [applause and cheers]
“Malasakit;” “Tunay na Pagbabago; Tinud-anay (real) nga Kausaban(change)” [applause] – these are words which catapulted me to the presidency. These slogans were conceptualized not for the sole purpose of securing the votes of the electorate. “Tinud-anay nga kabag-uhan (real change). Mao kana ang tumong sa atong pang-gobyerno (this is the direction of our government).” [applause]
Far from that. These were battle cries articulated by me in behalf of the people hungry for genuine and meaningful change. But the change, if it is to be permanent and significant, must start with us and in us. [applause]
To borrow the language of F. Sionil Jose, we have become our own worst enemies. And we must have the courage and the will to change ourselves.
Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished – these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey towards a better Philippines. [applause] The ride will be rough. But come and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest.
There are two quotations from revered figures that shall serve as the foundation upon which this administration shall be built.
“The test of government is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have little.”
– Franklin Delano Roosevelt
And from (Abraham) Lincoln I draw this expression:
“You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong; You cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich; You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer; You cannot further the brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men.”
My economic and financial, political policies are contained in those quotations, though couched in general terms. Read between the lines. I need not go into specifics now. They shall be supplied to you in due time.
However, there are certain policies and specifics of which cannot wait for tomorrow to be announced.
Therefore, I direct all department secretaries and the heads of agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications, [applause] from the submission to the release. I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to remove redundant requirements and compliance with one department or agency, shall be accepted as sufficient for all. [applause]
I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to refrain from changing and bending the rules government contracts, transactions and projects already approved and awaiting implementation. [applause] Changing the rules when the game is on-going is wrong.
I abhor secrecy and instead advocate transparency [applause] in all government contracts, projects and business transactions from submission of proposals to negotiation to perfection and finally, to consummation.
Do them and we will work together. [applause] Do not do them, we will part sooner than later. [applause]
On the international front and community of nations, let me reiterate that the Republic of the Philippines will honor treaties and international obligations. [applause]
On the domestic front, my administration is committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms.
I am elated by the expression of unity among our Moro brothers and leaders, and the response of everyone else to my call for peace.
I look forward to the participation of all other stakeholders, particularly our indigenous peoples, to ensure inclusivity in the peace process. [applause]
Let me remind in the end of this talk, that I was elected to the presidency to serve the entire country. I was not elected to serve the interests of any one person or any group or any one class. I serve every one and not only one. [applause]
That is why I have adapted as an article of faith, the following lines written by someone whose name I could no longer recall. He said:
“I have no friends to serve, I have no enemies to harm.” [applause]
Prescinding therefrom, I now ask everyone, and I mean everyone, to join me as we embark on this crusade for a better and brighter tomorrow.
But before I end, let me express the nations, on behalf of the people, our condolences to the Republic of Turkey of what has happened in the place. We offer our deepest condolences.
Why am I here? Hindi kasali ito diyan. [laughs] The past tense was, I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am here, why? Because I am ready to start my work for the nation. [applause]
Thank you and good afternoon.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines denounces the harassment of our US-based colleagues Steve Angeles, reporter of ABS-CBN, and Nimfa Rueda, Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent and NUJP-US chair, by apparent security men as they tried to cover the dedication of an Iglesia ni Cristo church in Bakersfield, California on February 20.
Angeles, in particular, was also singled out by INC members who vented their anger on him for what they perceived to be his network’s bias in covering the continuing controversy hounding the church. Others also blocked his attempts to shoot footage with placards.
The “men in black” also tailed the two reporters, videotaping them and taking shots of the license plate of Angeles’ car and loudly considering grabbing the ABS-CBN reporter’s camera. All this happened while the two journalists were outside the church compound, therefore in public space.
While the NUJP recognizes and respects the right of INC members to air their grievances against media entities they feel – rightly or wrongly – are biased against them, their freedom to do so does not include harassment or worse, and especially not of individual journalists merely going about their work.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time members of the church have gone beyond the bounds of free speech to threaten and actually physically assault journalists who happen to be working for news outfits they do not agree with. Colleagues were also attacked during the INC shutdown of EDSA last year. This leads us to consider that our call at the time to the leadership of the INC to compel their followers to respect press freedom and the role independent media play in our national life was either ignored or they unable to do so. Either way does not speak well of any religion.
Nevertheless, we once again call on the INC hierarchy to display true leadership and statesmanship and spare everyone not party to your conflicts from being victimized by partisans on either side of the divide.
In the face of this, we urge all our colleagues covering the continuing troubles within the INC to take extra care and immediately report any attempt to influence their work through intimidation or worse but to stand firm against curtailing our rights to pursue our profession and our duties to inform the people. We support any legal action our US colleagues may choose to take against this assault on their persons and profession.
RYAN D. ROSAURO
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) express serious concern following the disappearance of Indian journalist Chayan Sarkar in West Bengal. The IFJ and the IJU demand urgent action by the authorities to investigate the disappearance and the deteriorating safety situation for media workers across India.
Sarkar, the Alipurduar district correspondent of the Uttar Banga Samvad daily, was last seen on Sunday, August 2. His disappearance is believed to be linked with an investigative report he published on July 28, regarding unofficial payments to guarantee admissions into graduation courses to colleges in Alipurduar. After the reports were published Sarkar received threats and supporters of the state’s ruling party held a demonstration out the front of his home.
On August 2, Sarkar received a phone call at 7.30pm and went out. He was last seen near Salsalabari railway station. His motorbike was recovered that night near Salsalabari market with his wallet and ID card in a nearby bush. His phones are still missing and switched off.
In a statement, the IJU President S N Sinha, Vice-President Ambati Anjaneyulu and Secretary-General Amar Devulapalli expressed concerns that Sarkar’s life may be in danger as he might have been abducted.
The IJU said: “It is strange that no clue is available on the missing of the journalist even after four days raises questions over the investigation process, notwithstanding the assertions of state government spokespersons that the police are conducting a special drive to trace him.”
The IJU noted that some local leaders of the ruling party had threatened the journalist after his exposé of the scam. The IJU criticized the involvement of leaders of the ruling party in the disappearance.
The IJU leaders urged the Press Council of India (PCI) to immediately intervene and direct the West Bengal government to take immediate steps to find the missing journalist.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ is seriously concerned by the disappearance of Chayan Sarkar and demands immediate action. The IFJ also condemns the government inaction to provide security to Sarkar prior to his disappearance following the threats and demonstration against him.”
The IFJ added: “The number of threats and attacks on journalists has sharply risen in India in recent months, and the IFJ urge the Indian government to take necessary steps urgently to ensure journalists’ safety.”
(New York, August 6, 2015) – Fifteen human rights and press freedom organizations are urging Chinese President Xi Jinping to immediately release seriously ill journalist Gao Yu from prison. In a letter, the organizations also called for the release of all those held for the peaceful expression of their political views and in need of medical attention, as well as access to adequate medical care for all prisoners.
Gao, 71, has been incarcerated since her apprehension in April 2014 for allegedly leaking an internal Chinese Communist Party document disparaging human rights. In April 2015, she was convicted after an unfair trial and sentenced to seven years in prison. Gao suffers from chronic heart pain, high blood pressure, and other diseases. After her detention center allowed her a full checkup, a doctor found signs of blockages in her heart arteries and abnormal lymph node growth that could be malign.
“Since Gao Yu’s unjust imprisonment, her health has only deteriorated further,” saidSophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “Beijing has shown cruel disregard for the health of imprisoned critics of the government, as evidenced by the deaths in custody of Cao Shunli and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. Gao should be released immediately to get the medical care she needs.”
The organizations called on President Xi to:
Immediately release journalist Gao Yu;
Release all prisoners – especially those in poor health – incarcerated for the peaceful exercise of their political views;
Ensure that all prisoners receive prompt access to adequate medical care;
Accept an independent, international investigation into the deaths in custody of Tibetan monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and activist Cao Shunli; and
Allow prison visits by the United Nations expert on torture.
The 15 organizations include Amnesty International, China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, The Committee to Protect Journalists, The Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers, Freedom House, Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, Human Rights in China, Human Rights Watch, Independent Chinese PEN Center, Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, PEN American Center, Reporters Without Borders, Solidarité Chine, and Tiananmen Mothers Campaign.
16 June 2015
The threat by the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability to cite The Standard reporter Christine Herrera in contempt unless she names members of the House of Representatives who allegedly received bribes to approve the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is a brazen act of bullying.
Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga’s move to cite Ms. Herrera in contempt reveals not only his ignorance or but also his propensity to violate the law that legislators like him created.
The law was precisely enacted to protect sources of reporters and the journalists themselves against any attempt to force them to identify sources who have offered information on the condition of anonymity.
We are certain our lawmakers are fully aware of Republic Act 53, or the Sotto Law, Section 1 of which clearly says:
The publisher, editor or duly accredited reporter of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation cannot be compelled to reveal the source of any news-report or information appearing in said publication which was related in confidence to such publisher, editor or reporter, unless the court or a House or committee of Congress finds that such revelation is demanded by the interest of the State.
Clearly, Ms. Herrera was in the right to invoke the Sotto Law and refuse to name her confidential sources.
We do not see how anyone in the supposedly august chamber can invoke national security in trying to force Ms. Herrera to divulge any confidential information. House members would do better to undertake their own housecleaning instead of breaking the law to soothe their bruised egos.
Bullying and intimidating Herrera is forcing her to violate one of the basic tenets of journalism on the protection of confidentiality of sources.
This could set a precedent on House investigations involving journalists and poses a threat to the integrity of the media and journalists.
Rupert Francis Mangilit
We have run out of words of condemnation in the face of the murder of yet another colleague.
Maurito Lim was about to alight from his car in front of radio station dyRD in Tagbilaran City, Bohol where he hosted the daily program “Chairman Mao On Board” when a lone gunman onboard the now all too familiar motorcycle shot him around 10:35 a.m., Saturday, February 14, 2015, with reports saying the bullet hit him in the left jaw and exited on the other side of his face.
He was rushed to the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hos pital, just across the street from the radio station where doctors tried, in vain, to save him. Lim was declared dead around 1:15 p.m.
Maurito Lim is the second journalist murdered in Bohol, the 172nd since 1986, and the 31st under the administration of Benigno Aquino III.
We beg the indulgence of our hardworking government officials if we preempt them, lest in their concern for the impunity with which journalists have continued to be murdered under their watch, they chalk this one up to another “non-work related” death, by pointing out that colleagues in Bohol have confirmed that, before his death, Lim had been hitting hard at local officials linked to the illegal drug trade.
While we seriously doubt demanding justice will get us, or Maurito Lim’s family and colleagues, anywhere, we challenge the government to prove us wrong by acting swiftly to solve the case, arrest the killers and, most important, the mastermind who ordered his death.
To the family of Maurito Lim and to the Bohol media community, we extend our sympathies and our solidarity. Rest assured that we will be with you all the way in the search for justice.
To our colleagues in Bohol, we urge you to unite and remain resolute in serving our people in the face of continued threats to press freedom.
Rowena C. Paraan