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Delivered July 23, 2001, Batasan Pambansa (House of Representatives) Complex, Quezon City

His  excellency president Ramos, Senate President Drilon and the  other senators, Speaker De Venecia and the other Congressmen and  Congresswomen, the justices of the Supreme Court, the members of  the diplomatic corps, mga maralitang tagalungsod nanonood ngayon  sa video wall at sa TV; Mga maraming nakikinig sa radyo; mahal  kong kababayan:

Kamakailan, may sumulat sa aking tatlong batang taga-Payatas,  sina Jayson, Jomar at Erwin. Ginawa nilang paper boats ang liham  at pinalutang sa pasig river patungo sa malacañang.

Ito ang sinulat ng sampung taong gulang na si Jomar Pabalan:  "Sana po ay mabigyan ng permanenteng trabaho ang tatay ko  para hindi siya mahirapan."

Sabi naman ni Jason vann Banogan, sampung taong gulang:  "Sana po matulungan ninyo ako na makatapos sa pag-aaral ko  hanggang kolehiyo, kasi po ang nagpapaaral sa akin ay ang lola  ko lamang."

At ang tanging nais ni Erwin Dolera, walong taong gulang:  Ipasara ang Payatas dumpsite, at bigyan ng lupa ang kanyang  pamilya.

Napakalinaw, napakasimple ang hiling ng mga anak ng Payatas:  Trabaho. Edukasyon. Sariling tahanan. Idagdag na rin: Pagkain sa  bawat mesa. Ito ang mithiin ng masa.

And this, in common sense and plain talk, is the core of my  vision.

A vision for the future must be rooted in the past.

A revolution gave birth to the first republic in Asia.

A sense of nationhood was born but also the dream of a better  life for all Filipinos. Andres Bonifacio, the poor man, the  great plebeian who started this revolution, nurtured this dream.

In 1963, another poor man rose. He rose to the most powerful  position in the land and risked everything to fulfill the poor  man's dream.

Inspired by the great plebeian, my father, president Diosdado  Macapagal, promulgated the land reform law to emancipate the  peasant from a feudal bondage to the soil.

In 1986 Filipinos peacefully reclaimed their civil liberties in  the people power revolution. Under the leadership of Corazon  Aquino, we reaffirmed our commitment to freedom and democracy on  a mere stretch of highway -- with hardly a drop of blood shed or  a shot fired in anger.

Six months ago, on that same highway, people rose up to restore  morality as the first institution of society and as the  animating principle of justice and the rule of law.

Thus, we see, the historic pillars of a national vision:  Prosperity, freedom, justice.

Ito ang mga layuning ipinaglaban ng bayan mula nang ito'y  isilang: Kasaganaan, kalayaan, katarungan.

We also see in our great history a progressive advancement  towards the ultimate goal to transfer power over the state from  the traditional economic and political bosses to the people.

Last may one, the poor raised their voices in anger and their  fists in fury. Imprisoned in poverty, shackled to shame, denied  justice in society, they personally delivered the message that,  100 years after they revolted to establish this nation, they had  yet to partake of the national dream.

Dinig na dinig ko ang pahayag nila, at napakumbaba ako. Hindi  ba't nasa balikat ko ang tungkuling mamuno sa pakikibaka laban  sa salot ng kahirapan? ako na siyang anak ng tinawag na  "poor boy from lubao"?

I take this duty upon my shoulders.

I do so without fear or foreboding of failure.

For I know that the greatest obstacle we as a nation must  overcome is inside us. The enemy to beat is ourselves: When we  spread division rather than unity; When we put ourselves above  country and profit above fairness; When we think the worst of  those with whom we should be working for the common good, and  when we wallow in despair rather than rise to achievement  --indeed, when we make politics replace patriotism in our  country's hour of need.

Let us, here in the home of democracy, therefore resolve, to  grab hold of this enemy within, and beat him.

The internal enemy engaged, the battle will not be easy. We  inherited very difficult problems.

From 2.5 million jobless four years ago, unemployment now stands  at four million. From a budget surplus in 1997 under president  Ramos of more than a billion pesos, my government inherited a  deficit exceeding 140 billion pesos. In the same period, poverty  incidence rose from 36.8 Percent of the population in 1997 to 40 percent in the year 2004.

And, unlike the situation in 1997 when a battered Asia could  still lean on the strength of the advanced economies, today our  main trading partners like Japan and America are slowing down as  well.

But we will prevail. We will prevail because the mainstream of  our nation is united.

In the May elections, this administration received a solid  mandate to carry on with the business of governance and reform.

I do not view this mandate as a choice between personalities of  this administration and those of the opposition.

I see it rather as a vote for all of us -- administration and  opposition -- to roll up our sleeves, stop looking back, and  move forward, most especially in the fight against mass poverty.

Hinalal tayo upang labanan ang kahirapan, hindi ang isa't-isa.

Our challenge is clear: Sugpuin ang kahirapan.

In this spirit, i appeal to everyone here today to undertake  something unconventional but much to be desired in these  especially hard times.

From today, let us set aside bickering and politicking for at  least one year. We may congratulate ourselves on our forbearance  at the next state of the nation address.

Sa halip ng alitan, isang taon tayong magtulungan sa ikabubuti  ng taong bayan.

This is our duty. This is our mandate. This is our mission.

Unity for the country's recovery will set the stage for national  mobilization needed to undertake the great and difficult tasks  ahead.

What are these tasks?

When I became president last january, I told the people about my  vision of winning the war against poverty within the decade.

To succeed, the template of our national agenda must revolve  around four components -- apat na elemento ng pakikibaka sa  kahirapan.

The first is an economic philosophy of free enterprise  appropriate to the 21st century. Pagnenegosyo upang dumami ang  trabaho. Not a pitiless free-for-all but free enterprise with a  social conscience.

The second component is a modernized agricultural sector founded  on social equity. Palalaguin ang kita at ani ng maralitang  tagabukid.

The third component is a social bias toward the disadvantaged to  balance our economic development plan. Pagkalinga sa mga bahagi  ng lipunan na naiiwanan ng kaunlaran.

And the fourth component is to raise the moral standards of  government and society. Moralidad sa gobyerno at lipunan bilang  saligan ng tunay na kaunlaran.

Pagnenegosyo, pagpapaunlad ng agrikultura, kalinga sa nagigipit  na sektor, at moralidad sa gobyerno at lipunan -- ito ang mga  sandata natin sa digmaang-bayan laban sa kahirapan.

I have therefore organized my interpretation of the state of the  nation along these four components of our national anti-poverty  ideology.

The first is an economic philosophy for the 21st century. Under  this philosophy, the way to fight poverty is to create jobs, not  destroy them.

To create jobs, we will attract investments. To attract  investments, we will attend to macro measures and concerns.

In addressing macro concerns, we will focus on long-term  structural issues. We started with the reform of the power  sector, and i congratulate those of you who are here and who  were in the previous Congress for this accomplishment. Now, we  will turn to other basics like infrastructure, productivity, and  the savings rate.

In focusing on infrastructure, we will harness the private  sector via the build-operate-and-transfer law. Our priorities  include telecommunications facilities for high-speed  productivity at low cost, roads to target tourist destinations,  infrastructure for the modernization of agriculture, mass  transport infrastructure for Metro Manila, and commuter and  transport systems to disperse communities towards subic-clark  and calabarzon.

We will minimize bottlenecks to productivity, such as the high  cost of power, deterrents to investments in agriculture, overly  confrontational labor-management relations, and corruption and  red tape at the national and local government levels.

To reduce the cost of power, we will begin implementing the  power sector reform law which the previous Congress just passed.

To reduce deterrents to investments in agriculture, i ask  Congress to enact a law making farm land acceptable as loan  collateral.

To reduce excessive friction in labor and management relations,  we will go the extra mile to work for industrial peace, and to  work with labor and business to retrain workers for the  fast-changing technologies of the new economy.

To reduce corruption in the executive branch, Cabinet  secretaries will have to deliver tangible results within 12  months in fighting graft. Our new e-procurement program will  save billions and minimize anomalies. And i gave the reinforced  presidential anti-graft commission added teeth to investigate  and prosecute moto propio corruption in high places. And we will  make the BIR and Customs showcases in this fight against graft and corruption.

To reduce corruption among elective officials, we will help  honest people get elected by financing the full computerization  of elections. We have released two billion pesos of the needed 3.4 needed for computerization. I ask Congress to add another  500 million in the 2002 budget. Let us make the polls of May 14, 2001 the last national elections that use primitive methods of  voter identification and ballot tabulation.

To reduce red tape in the national government, within 12 months,  all government agencies will implement measures to cut in half  the number of signatures required for their service. Housing  permits shall only need 45 approvals, instead of 188.  If  legislation is required to effect this efficiency, the agencies concerned will draft appropriate bills for my endorsement to  Congress.

I congratulate the LOT for issuing licenses in half an hour. I  congratulate the NBI for issuing clearances in one day.

I ask our local governments likewise to streamline their  operations and slash red tape. There must be continuity between  national and local governments in their efforts to be  investor-friendly.

We will address issues related to the savings rate, so that the  cost of domestic capital can be reduced. These issues are tied  up with the strength of the financial and fiscal sectors.

With regard to the financial sector, i ask Congress to amend the BSP charter and the banking act to improve supervision and  promote financial prudence. These amendments should take us out  of the money-laundering list.

We adhere to a freely convertible peso and market exchange  rates. However, we support the central bank's measures to curb  speculation.

To those speculating against the peso, i only have this to say:  Have you no pity for the common people, have you no love for  your country? Makonsyensya naman kayo.

Instead of speculating, let us further strengthen the financial  sector. We will design innovative policies to develop our  capital market. We will set up a secondary housing mortgage  market, an asset management company, and a provident fund for  overseas Filipinos. We will simplify and clarify the system of  incentives. We will interpret investment laws in favor of the  investor.

And i ask Congress to enact laws on capital market reform such  as the Personal Equity Retirement Act, The Investment Company  Act, The Securitization Act, and amendments to the Securities  Regulation Code.

With regard to the fiscal sector, we will control the budget  deficit by collecting taxes vigorously and spending money  prudently. For the longer term, i ask Congress to enact a law  providing for a gross income tax.

Alisin na natin ang mga tax deduction na nagiging sanhi lamang  ng katakut-takot na corruption.

The strength of the financial and fiscal sectors partly lies in  how we use the realities in the global and regional environment  to our benefit. Thus we will enhance our relations with the  United States, whose economic and military power continues to  make it important as a factor in the affairs of the region and  in the nation. We will also strengthen bilateral economic and  political relations with Japan, our biggest source of  development assistance and a major trading partner. And more and  more, we will design foreign policy and foreign trade policy in  the context of ASEAN. And i ask Congress to enact a law giving  overseas Filipinos, who continue to play a critical role in the  country's economic and social stability, giving them the right  to vote.

Preparing our growth sectors of the future enables us to tap the  opportunities of the 21st century.

We will promote fast-growing industries where high-value jobs  are most plentiful. One of them is information and  communications technology, or ICT, our English literacy, our  aptitude and skills give us a competitive edge in ICT Filipino  workers are ranked number one in the field, number one among  knowledge workers. And analysts point to two developing  countries as the likely world centers for software development  and data management in this decade: India and the philippines.  We will live up to that forecast.

As a first step, let us declare that technology is the  foundation of future economic development, as China did in 1998.  ICT will jumpstart our old stalling economy and make it leapfrog  into the new economy.

High-speed connectivity at low cost will increase the use of ICT  it is also the way for Smart and Globe to properly interconnect.  Then we will finally hear the last of those annoying words,  "Network busy."

Our rules will promote rather than regulate ICT, but in turn, i  ask cellular phone companies to stop charging on dropped calls,  this is both irritating and unfair to the public.

I ask Congress to enact laws to address Internet privacy and  security, allow for multi-media convergence, and create a  department of telecommunications and information technology.

To prepare our youth to be the next generation of knowledge  workers, we will upgrade math and science teaching in basic  education.

We will take a hard look at education and ask: Is it preparing  the youth for the jobs of the new economy? or is it  just-keeping-them-off-the-streets-until-they-are-thrown-there  jobless after graduation? if they finish school at all.

To increase the chances of Filipino children finishing school,  we will minimize the cost of going to school. When we stopped  the collection of miscellaneous fees last enrollment day,  900,000 more students enrolled than anticipated. And to reduce  the time and money spent to actually travel to school, i want a  school building in every barangay by 2004. Ibig nating tumalas  ang ulo ng mga estudyante, at hindi malaspag ang paa.

To improve the quality of education as required by the new  economy, we will increase the number of textbooks per student as  well as the quality of instruction. This year all public school  students will have textbooks for priority subjects in grades one  to four and in the first and second years of high school.   And they will have better paid and therefore better motivated  teachers not to mention more teachers because sound fiscal  management enabled us to provide a supplemental budget of 1.5  Billion pesos to hire more teachers and increase their pay  without increasing our deficit.

Aside from ICT, we also have the competitive edge in tourism in  the natural wonders of our country and the natural warmth of our  people. We will provide the roads to those wonders and the means  to take the tourists there. Thus, we will continue to liberalize  the airline industry.

The second component of our national agenda to fight poverty is  the modernization of agriculture founded on social equity.

Nasa bukid ang nakararaming maralita, kaya payayamanin natin ang  pagsasaka at pangingisda.

There can be a million new jobs in agriculture and fisheries.  Within the year, the department of agriculture shall begin to  implement the program to generate them. We will approach this  with a sense of urgency. I do not want the one million new jobs  to come in the long term. I want a timetable. I want to identify accountabilities. I want milestones.

Hindi ito pangakong mapapako dahil nakasalalay rito ang  kabuhayan ng milyung-milyong maralitang pilipino.

Mga kababayan kong magsasaka, ang inyong pangulo mismo ang  magbabantay sa kagalingan ninyo.

Starting tomorrow i will hold office at the Department of  Agriculture, until i can get a clear and demonstrable picture of  our agricultural accomplishments for our first 100 days and i  can see the program for the million new jobs get off the ground,  and i can see that short-term goals are in synch with the goals of farmer groups and agribusiness.

Upang lumikha ng isang milyong trabaho sa kanayunan, tutuparin  natin sa wakas ang agricultural and fisheries modernization act  o afma.  Hindi bababa sa dalawampung bilyong piso ang  gagastusin upang mapalakas ang kita, ani at huli ng magsasaka at  mangingisda. Kasama na rito ang mga sumusunod: Anim na bilyon sa  patubig; Dalawang bilyon sa post-harvest facilities; Dalawang  bilyon sa imprastraktura; Dalawang bilyon sa pautang; At  dalawang bilyon sa research and development.

There is money -- and there will be money -- and the Department  of Agriculture shall demonstrate its capacity to use these  funds.

Sa anim na bilyong piso sa patubig at dalawang bilyon sa  post-harvest mula Aparri hanggang Jolo, makakalikha tayo ng  walongdaang libong trabaho. Sa pagbukas ng dalawangdaang libong  ektarya ng bagong lupang masasaka makakalikha ito ng  dalawangdaang libong trabaho. Sa ganitong paraan malilikha ang  isang milyong trabaho sa kanayunan.

Ngunit dapat tiyakin ang merkado ng produksyon ng mga bagong  magtatrabaho sa agrikultura at pangingisda pati na rin ng  kasalukuyang magsasaka at mangingisda.

Para sa kaginhawaan ng taong-bayan, dapat hindi nagkukulang ang  bigas. Sabi nga ng AFMA, sikapin nating magkaroon ng rice  self-sufficiency. In the meantime, we will remove the monopoly  of the NFA in importation. If a shortage seems likely, we will  allow the farmers themselves to import rice, basta magbayad sila  ng customs duties. Gagamitin naman ang binayarang buwis para sa  modernisasyon ng rice production.

Murang bigas at masaganang magsasaka -- ito ang hangad natin  para sa masa.

Mas malaki pa ang matutulong ng gobyerno sa mga magsasaka ng  niyog oras na maresolba pabor sa magsasaka ang kaso ng coconut  levy. Kapag mangyari ito, gagamitin ang pondo para sa  modernisasyon ng mga niyugan. Pinawalang-bisa ko ang kautusan sa  coconut levy mula sa dating administrasyon upang hindi madehado  ang magsasaka. Hindi tayo hihinto habang hindi nakikinabang ang  mangnyo-niyog sa coco levy fund.

To fight poverty, agricultural modernization will be socially  equitable. We shall redeem in earnest the promise of land  reform, a commitment that spans several presidents. Isa pa itong  pangakong hindi dapat mapako.

Bawat taon, mamahagi ang gobyerno ng (dalawangdaang) libong  ektarya para sa reporma sa lupa: 100,000 Of private land and  100,000 hectares of public land, including 100 ancestral domain  titles for indigenous peoples.

We will bring our war against poverty to rural Mindanao,  especially the areas most affected by the past conflicts. We  have helped more than half of the 27,000 evacuee families return  to their farms and rehabilitate their homes. The rest will go  back home this year. In the next 12 months, we will spend 500 million pesos from the OPEC fund for community projects in these  areas.

If the long-delayed Malmar irrigation dam is not completed by  September, i will transfer its construction to the army  engineering brigade.  This dam is so important because it  will irrigate 3,000 hectares immediately, with another 10,000 to  follow next year.

We will make Mindanao the gateway to ASEAN by putting back on  track the East ASEAN Growth Area.

Inshala, mahimo tinu-od ang saad sa Mindanao ubos sa akong  administrasyon.

The third component of our national agenda is a social bias to  balance economic development.

This social bias consists in immediate measures for the poor as  well as improving and ensuring the quality of life of the  masses.

Bukod sa magbubukid, maralitang taga-lungsod ang malaking sektor  na kailangan ang dagliang tulong.

Upang agad silang matulungan, nabigyan na ng ating  administrasyon ang karapatang bumili ng lupang tinitirahan sa  mahigit walumpung libong pamilyang maralita. And we will work  double time to give security of land tenure to 150,000 urban  poor families every year. Sandaan at limampung libong pamilya  taun-taon ang magkakaroon ng karapatan na bumili ng sariling  tirahan. Ginagawa ko ito dahil nalulungkot ako 'pag may nakikita  akong squatter sa sariling bayan.

Dapat din tugunan ang karaingan ng madla sa mahal na bilihin at  kulang na sahod. Umaasa akong magpapasya ang Kongreso o wage  board sa nararapat na sweldo. Pansamantala, nananawagan ako sa  mga negosyanteng may kakayahan: Magbigay na kayo agad ng  emergency cost of living allowance. Maaari naman itong i-credit kapag may bagong sahod o allowance mula sa batas o sa wage  board.

Sa kabilang dako, kumikilos ang gobyerno upang mapigilan ang  pagtaas ng presyo ng mga pangunahing pangangailangan ng  manggagawa. Binabantayan ang presyo ng langis, at salamat naman  na bumaba ito noong biyernes. Pinagsisikapan din ng gobyernong  huwag itaas ang pasahe, lalo na ang LRT.

Dahil presyo ng bigas ay napakaimportante sa mga manggagawa,  magpapasada tayo ng isanlibong rolling stores. Ang mga  manggagawa at maralita ay makakabili dito ng bigas sa halagang  labing-apat na piso sa halip na labing-walo bawat kilo.

Bababa din ang presyo ng gamot. Sa loob ng isang taon hahatiin  natin ang presyo ng gamot na madalas bilhin ng madla.

At upang iwasan ang malaking gastos sa pagpapagamot, itong taon,  ilalahok sa National Health Insurance ang kalahating milyong  maralitang taga-lungsod. Sa ganoong paraan, ang insurance ang  magbabayad ng pagpapagamot.

At upang maiwasan ang pag-upa na nagbabantang tumaas,  tinutulungan natin na magkaroon ng sariling tahanan ang mga  manggagawa at maralita. Handa na ang sampung libong tahahan sa  iba't-ibang lugar para lumipat na rito ang manggagawa at  maralita. Pinondohan na rin natin ang pagtayo ng labing-walong  libo pang tahanan. Taun-taon, magtatayo ng sandaang libong  tirahan para sa manggagawa at limampung libong pabahay para sa  higit na maralita. Nakahanda sa government financial  institutions ang dalawampung bilyong piso para sa pabahay ng  manggagawa.

Itaga ninyo: Dalawampung bilyong piso para sa mga tahanan ng  masa. Ito ang handog ng gobyerno para sa seguridad ng pamilyang  pilipino.

Upang mapatakbo ng mabuti ang mga programang ito, hinihiling ko  sa Kongreso na lumikha ng kagawaran ng pabahay. A department of  housing will not only build homes for the poor, it will also  spark the housing industry and create jobs.

Hinihiling ko rin sa Kongreso na sa tax reform na gagawin ninyo,  damihan ang kategoriya ng manggagawang hindi na kailangang  magbayad ng buwis.

Mayroon tayong espesyal na proyekto para sa mga kabataang  maralita ng Metro Manila na hindi na makapag-aral, ngunit walang  trabaho. This is the emergency employment program. Bawat taon,  dalawampung libong out-of-work, out-of-school youth ang bibigyan  ng dagliang trabaho. Maaari magtagpi ng bubong, mag-ayos ng railing, mag-gwardya sa eskwela ng kanilang barangay, maglinis  ng kalsada o estero, o iba pang dagliang trabaho.

The social bias in our economic development plan involves  ensuring the quality of life of the masses.

Sa sulat ni Erwin na taga-Payatas -- 'yung binanggit ko kaninang  pag-umpisa ng diskurso -- hiniling niya na ipasara ang dumpsite.  Talaga namang dapat nang magkaroon tayo ng bagong sistema sa  pag-aasikaso ng basura. Basura ang sanhi ng maraming problema sa  siyudad: Masamang hangin, paglaganap ng sakit, trapik, at iba  pa. Tapusin na natin ito. Inatasan ko ang Metro Manila  development authority na bago makalipas ang isang taon,  maglunsad ng programa upang ayusin ang problema ng basura.

Suyang-suya na rin tayong lahat, lalo na ang madla, sa trapiko  ng Metro Manila. Babawasan ang trapik sa tulong ng mass transit.  Nagtatayo tayo ng limang bagong linya ng mass transit para  makapagbigay-ginhawa sa halos apat na milyong pasahero. Tatlong  linya matatapos sa 2004, isa sa 2005, at isa pa sa 2006. These  five mass transit systems are being prioritized because they  will add 119 kilometers of railway projects. During construction, i expect the MMDA to minimize the resulting  congestion, and i expect it to minimize the current congestion  within six months.

Masyadong masikip ang Metro Manila, kaya miserable ang buhay sa  slum areas. Magkakaroon ng mabilis na transportasyong  magdurugtong ng mga karatig-rehiyon sa kamaynilaan. Ang  nasisikipan na sa maynila, makakalipat balang araw sa maaliwalas  na lalawigan.

We will decongest Metro Manila by attracting communities north  towards Subic-Clark, and south towards Calabarzon and Batangas  port. We will achieve this not by demolishing shanties but by  building commuter and transport systems to better homes.

Whether in Metro Manila or in the countryside, we will make  microfinance a cornerstone in our fight against poverty. Ang  ibig sabihin nito ay maliliit na paluwagan para sa maliliit na  negosyo. Kakalisensiya lang ng opportunity microfinance bank,  ang unang micro-lending program sa bansa na naging bangko. Bawat  taon, dadagdagan natin ng tatlongdaang libong maralitang  kababaihan ang makikinabang sa paluwagang programa ng  microfinance.

Panahon na upang makinabang ang maliliit sa iniimpok ng bayan.  At umasa kayo, nagbabayad ang masa. In microfinance, the  repayment rate is 98 percent.

Wala pang koryente ang marami nating barangay. Kaya araw-araw,  gabi-gabi, magkakabit ng koryente sa apat na barangay. Sa ganoon,  walumpu't-limang porsyento ng barangay ay magkakailaw na sa loob  ng isang taon.

With exports slowing down due to the world downturn, we will  strengthen the domestic market. We will intensify efforts to  promote small and medium enterprises or SMEs especially in the  countryside. Last Friday i inaugurated the SME board in the  Philippine Stock Exchange. To help small and medium enterprises,  i will restore the policy of providing government guarantee for  their bank loans.

The fourth component of our national agenda is improving moral  standards and the rule of law.

We need every ounce of resource to wage this war on poverty. We  cannot afford to lose anything to waste or graft and corruption.

First we must strengthen justice and the enforcement of law and  order.

This pertains to two levels. At the level of principle, this  administration affirms its commitment to the principle that no  one is above the law.

Thus, our policy is to support the fair and speedy trial of all  the accused involved in the cases against former president  Joseph Estrada.

If there were times that i showed concern for the personal  circumstances of the former president, it is not a sign of  diminished determination to see justice done.

Rather, it is out of sensitivity to the feelings of the segments  of our masa who have continued to identify with his personal  circumstances.

But as i sometimes extend a hand covered by a velvet glove,  inside it is an iron hand where justice and the rule of law are  concerned.

As a sign of this, i will support legislation to amend the  charter of the Ombudsman so he can accept the services of  private prosecutors.

The second level pertains to our sense that justice prevails and  the rule of law works in our daily lives.

A re-energized police will stamp out the crimes that have  plagued our businesses, terrorized the common folk, and  embarrassed our country. In the economics of fighting crime, the  more resources devoted to crime prevention, the less the amount  of crime. Our administration will spend to modernize and professionalize the police. We will start with one billion  pesos.

Although the numbers say that index crimes in the first semester  were down 14 percent since a year ago, we are determined to  stamp out violent crimes altogether. The ongoing reorganization  of the police is part of the effort to add vigor to its  anti-crime drive. The new national anti-crime commission will  tighten coordination among law enforcement agencies as well as  with the Chinese-Filipino community. We are giving special  attention to the kidnap-for-ransom syndicates. I want the bulk  of them to be behind bars before the year is over, so that every Filipino will at last feel safe in his home, in his workplace,  and in his streets.

On the drug front, I ask Congress to enact a law reducing the  amount of drugs in a suspect's possession for him to be charged  with drug trafficking.

We will uphold law and order through a holistic response  consisting of political, economic, psychosocial and security  components. We will meet the defense and security challenges of  this era. To achieve this end, we have earmarked additional  funding in several billions of pesos for the AFP modernization  program.

We have given the Armed Forces and the police the leeway to  fight a treacherous and elusive enemy in Basilan. But it must  end, and it will end soon, for good. The leadership of the Abu Sayyaf has started to fall. The crackdown has neutralized 130 of  them. Many of them have come down from their mountains because they have been abandoned by their leaders. Itaga ninyo sa bato:  Tatapusin natin ito.

On the peace process, while the AFP stands ready to protect our  people at a moment's notice, we will continue to talk with the  Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the National Democratic Front  as long as all sides maintain good faith. Our ceasefire  agreement with the MILF last month encouraged us in this.

To attain our full potential as a nation, let us come to terms  with the fundamental issues in Mindanao. Let us forge consensus  on a just, lasting, and honorable peace in one country. Peace  and development are inseparable twins. But our framework must  not compromise constitutionality, national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Instead, let us recognize that we have a  multi-ethnic society which should be founded on social justice  for all and institutionalized accommodation of ethnic  traditions. This would finally introduce a new culture in our  nation's attitude towards Mindanao.

We will also introduce a new culture in governance: A culture of  plain talk and common sense.

Cabinet secretaries will do less cluster and inter-agency  committee work so they can concentrate on running their  departments. Less meetings, more action, more tangible results  whether in generating jobs, improving peace and order, or  fighting graft.

I throw full support behind BIR Commissioner Rene Bañz.   He has undertaken a mission many believe impossible: Overhauling  the bir which accounts for 80 percent of our tax revenues.

Rene has been threatened. He has been blocked by restraining  orders at every turn. After the Supreme Court ruled in his favor,  he was accused of the very corruption he is stamping out.

This man needs friends, who share his goals, and I know he will  find them in this young Congress.

The Bureau of Customs is exceeding collection targets. But the  anti-smuggling drive must be relentless. So must the drive  against the harassment of legitimate businessmen doing  legitimate imports. I call on all concerned to help end the open  drawer syndrome.

But the government cannot do it alone. It cannot do it alone in  customs, it cannot do it alone in fighting graft, it cannot do  it alone in fighting poverty. I'm not a miracle worker. All of  us must do our share. We have to think Filipino, buy Filipino,  invest Filipino. I invite the taipans and other business people  all over the country to start pump-priming the economy by  investing once again in the philippines. I invite you to create jobs, accelerate progress, and thereby address the root causes  of the crime and unrest that so much alarm us.

Sa madaling salita, mga kababayan, magkaisa tayo at  magtulung-tulong upang labanan ang salot ng kahirapan at isulong  ang kasaganaan, kapayapaan, at katarungan sa bayan. Magkaisa  tayo. Labanan ang kahirapan.

Marami na akong sinabi tungkol sa gagawin ko. Subalit mabibigkas  sa ilang salita lamang ang pakay ng lahat ng mga plano, programa  at panukalang tinukoy ko: Trabaho, edukasyon, sariling tahanan,  pagkain sa bawat mesa.

Sa lahat ng mabibigay ko sa bayan, kabuhayan, karunungan,  tahanan at pagkain para sa masa ang ipagmamalaki ko nang higit  sa lahat.

Lahat ng ito ay para sa mga kabataang tulad nila Jayson, Jomar  at Erwin, at sa magiging anak nila dahil tungkulin natin ito sa  mga darating na henerasyon.

Mga kababayan, nais ko pong ipakilala sa inyo ang mga anak ng  Payatas. Eto sina Jason, Jomar, at Erwin.

Salamat sa inyo, Jason, Jomar at Erwin. Salamat at sumulat kayo  sa akin ng mga liham na ginawa ninyong bangkang papel at  pinalutang sa Pasig.

Jason, Jomar at Erwin, pakinggan niyo ako.

Paparamihin natin ang mga kababayang may trabaho. Paparamihin  natin ang mga batang makapag-aaral sa kolehiyo. Paparamihin  natin ang mga kababayang may sariling tahanan. Paparamihin natin  ang pamilyang may pagkain sa mesa. Ang pangarap ninyo ay  pangarap ko rin. Gagawin ko ang lahat upang matupad ang pangarap natin.

Mga kababayan: Tulungan ninyo akong tuparin ang pangarap nila  jason, Jomar, at Erwin. Magkaisa tayo upang lahat ng kabataan --  kasama ang kanilang magulang -- ay magkaroon ng bagong buhay at  bagong pag-asa sa hinaharap.

Trabaho. Tahanan. Edukasyon. Pagkain sa bawat mesa.

Salamat, Jayson, Jomar at Erwin pinaalala ninyo sa akin ang  napakahalagang tungkulin ko.

Pinaalala ninyo sa aming lahat kung bakit kami ay narito ngayon  sa bulwagang ito.

Mga senador at kongresista: Ipangako natin sa kanila, sa harap  at sa tulong ng poong maykapal, na sa mga susunod na araw, buwan  at taon, tayong mga hinalal, tayong may pananagutan sa kanilang  kinabukasan ay handang magsakripisyo at magkaisa para sa  kabutihan, kaunlaran, katatagan ng bayan at sa kinabukasan ng kabataan.

Jason, Jomar, at Erwin, hindi namin kayo bibiguin.

I am not a miracle worker. But i will do what is right and i  will do my best. Let us all do what is right, let us all do what  is best and God will take care of the rest.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.


View video coverage at State of the Nation video (GMA-7)


2004 ADDRESS
Angelo de la Cruz is home. We did it! Congratulations to the Filipino people.

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2003 ADDRESS
Yesterday, without bloodshed, without damage to property, and within a single day, we overcame an ill-conceived mutiny carried out by misguided military officers.

Read more...
2002 ADDRESS
In the corridors of power, in the Palace where I work, past presidents of the Republic sit in their portraits in judgment of me. In this gallery of the highest public servants, none sits in sterner judgment than the man who first led me by the hand into the Palace as a teenager.

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2001 ADDRESS
Kamakailan, may sumulat sa aking tatlong batang taga-Payatas, sina Jayson, Jomar at Erwin. Ginawa nilang paper boats ang liham at pinalutang sa pasig river patungo sa malacañang.

Read more...



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