11 December 2015

President Aquino expects country’s columnists to deliver message of hope
President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Friday he expects the country’s leading columnists and commentators to enlighten the public as the country holds a national election next year.Attending the Bulong Pulungan Christmas Party at the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City, President Aquino praised the media luminaries for their contribution to democracy and development.

“All of you are veterans and luminaries in the world of media. Throughout every election, you have probably seen every possible character: the false prophets, the wannabe messiahs, the corrupt patrons, and the well-intentioned but ultimately ill-equipped candidates,” he said in a speech before participants of the Bulong Pulungan.

“In May, however, for the first time in memory, there is a valid call to continue the upward trajectory of our country. We finally have someone selling a vision—with a track record that proves that this vision is not only achievable but very much probable through the continuity of reform,” he said.

“We can now legitimately put forward to our people: Their dreams do not have to expire after only six years.”

The President said that in the 2016 election, his administration’s Daang Matuwid policy will be subjected to a referendum.

“It is a campaign that I will personally lead, and I am mindful that there are those who will be relentless in making sure that they retake the reins of powers, in effect setting us back to the old days where personal gain rather than public interest held sway over governance,” he said, adding that these are the same individuals who cannot afford another defeat.

He further noted that some candidates will offer the moon and the stars, without actually putting forward any plan for the nation’s future.

“In short, there are those who are certain about their ambition, but are much less certain about its implications on the rest of the country,” the Chief Executive said.

President Aquino said he trusts that the country’s major columnists would continue to do their part in speaking the truth and delivering a message of hope,¬ not only in the remaining six months of his administration but even after he leaves office.

This, he said, is the same message that enabled the country to stand up against a dictator in 1986; dismantled the system of lying, cheating, and stealing in government in 2010; and laid the foundations for a Philippines that is more inclusive.

“It has indeed been an honor for me to participate in Bulong Pulungan. It is an event that I will surely miss,” the President said. PND (as)

President Aquino wants his presidency to be remembered as a bringer of hope, optimism
President Benigno S. Aquino III wants Filipinos to remember his presidency as a story of overcoming adversities, when he steps down from power next year.

During this year’s Bulong Pulungan Forum at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila Hotel on Friday, the President was asked about his legacy to the Filipino people.

Being the son of a former president, he said he was able to observe his mother work from a distance and he had some knowledge of the demands of the presidency.

“But having even that inkling was not enough for all of the challenges that we had to surpass,” he told participants of the forum.

The Chief Executive recalled that his administration has so far faced challenges that, in most instances, occurred during the Christmas season, among them Typhoons Pablo and Sendong, supertyphoon Yolanda, the Zamboanga siege and the Bohol earthquake.

“Now, if we look at all of these things that we’ve had to undertake… I’m hoping that people will say: Look at the challenges that we had to undergo as a people and how we overcame them,” he noted.

“And if there’s a future challenge, then perhaps they will be able to say: We will also surmount this in the same way that we managed to surmount that which we thought was insurmountable.”

President Aquino said he draws inspiration from his parents’ accomplishments.

Citing an example, he said his father, the late senator Bengino Aquino, Jr., had no access to the media or had very limited access to people in his more than seven years of detention during the Marcos regime.

“But he had to deliver the message passing it through mimeograph sheets, Xerox sheets, word of mouth. I think his efforts and his actions contributed to the point that we got in EDSA. And he said something like, I think he was quoting the Bible, ‘If the time is not right, a thousand prophets do not make a difference, but if the time is right, not a single prophet is necessary,'” he said.

President Aquino attends the Bulong Pulungan forum every year, answering questions that range from his personal life to his experiences and insights as president. PND (as)

President Aquino hopes for a peaceful Christmas
President Benigno S. Aquino III wishes the country to have a peaceful, calm, and optimistic Christmas.

Asked to give his Christmas message during the annual Bulong Pulungan Forum at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila Hotel on Friday, the President said he hopes for a joyful and family-centered Christmas.

“This is the time for reunions. This is the time to bond with each other and also commune with God, and we are re-energized for all of the challenges in the coming years,” he said.

He said he is slated to video his Christmas and New Year’s message for the country within the week.

Asked what he would be doing this Christmas, the President said he hopes there would be no national emergency that would need his attention, so he could join his family during the holidays.

“Hopefully, I will not be attending to some emergency, come this Christmas season,” he said. PND (as)

Next leader must be a good listener, says President Aquino
Great democratic leaders are the ones who have the ability to listen to their people and heed their call, President Benigno S. Aquino III has said.“I guess the best leader, especially in democratic countries, is one who has the ability to keep on listening and acting on the wants, the needs of his bosses, the electorate, the people who put him into office,” President Aquino said when asked about his advice to his successor, during the annual Bulong Pulungan Forum at the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City on Friday.

“I guess in essence that will be it: Don’t lose your ability to be able to really listen so that you can best serve your masters, who are the Filipino people.”

The Chief Executive further noted that the next president must be smart enough to navigate the bureaucracy.

“There are so many rules, laws, et cetera, that have to be complied with. For instance, when we want to procure anything, you are lucky to get what you want to procure in six months,” he explained.

“And sometimes at the back of my mind, when suppliers quote you prices, do they factor in what they think the prices will be six months hence, instead of what the current price is?”

On what programs he wants the next administration to continue, the President mentioned the Salary Standardization Law that aligns the compensation of state workers to that of the private sector.

He pointed out that the government could not get good people if it does not offer them adequate compensation.

“How do we encourage them to join government service and stay in government service? So, the starting salaries are supposed to be higher than the private sector,” he said, adding that he wants government employees to be given opportunities to improve themselves through training. PND (as)