Press Release
May 24, 2009

Press statement of Senator Loren Legarda


With the rainy season now upon us, the Department of Transportation and Communications, the Philippine Navy, the Coast Guard and other agencies concerned with inter-island shipping should accelerate their inspection and supervision of inter-island vessels to ensure safety for the passengers.

It is in this season, when typhoons and squalls frequently occur, that the most number of casualties from sea accidents happens. This is highlighted by the capsizing the other day of a motorized banca ferrying holiday makers to Puerto Galera off the Batangas coast in which four persons, including a Japanese tourist, drowned.

The government should ensure that passenger sea vessels are seaworthy, and that passengers and crew are provided with adequate safety equipment, while the navy and coast guard should be constantly for an immediate rescue. For the long run however, government should strive to modernize our sea-going fleets, including inter-island ferries and ships, to minimize sea accidents.

There is a need to upgrade our inter-island sea travel not only to ensure safety for passengers but also to facilitate inter-island trade and thus bring down the cost of commodities through efficient and safe transport.


Those who claim that the "no-el scenario is a phantom that only exists in the idle minds of intrigue peddlers who, ironically are misty-eyed in seeking elective posts" should back their words with action. They should withdraw their resolutions in the House of Representatives which seek to amend the Constitution and which in reality are intended to throw a monkey wrench into the elections scheduled for next year.

These resolutions are not "phantoms". They exist, they are written in documents, preserved in computer hard disks and filed in the Lower House, and they call, among others, for changing the system of government from presidential to parliamentarian, for extending the terms of incumbent elective officials, who will sit in a transitional government. What they want is to lull the public into a sense of complacency and delusion, so that they could easily pull the wool over their eyes, and yank out the rug of democracy from underneath their feet.

But 66 percent of our people do not believe them as verified by opinion surveys.


The suicide of former Korean President Roh Moo-hyun just because he was being investigated for corruption shows that for our Asian kins, like Koreans and Japanese, the sense of "hiya" or "delicadeza" is still strong. Mr. Roh had not been found guilty and would probably have been judged innocent, but the mere fact that he was suspected was too much for him.

But what happened to the present generation of Filipinos, especially our current crop of public officials? Is there no sense of shame or loss of face when accused of corruption and even when it is already proven in public hearings that evidence exists to back up their guilt? Could we not be more sensitive to public opinion and public disgrace? What happened to the "hiya" culture of our ancestors when those who were accused or merely suspected of wrongdoing or immorality were ostracized and voluntarily exiled themselves from society?

What we should do, especially those in public service, is to recover this culture of shame and delicadeza and thus restore the purity of our race and set an example for our children. To the old Filipinos, honor and integrity are the highest values. Let us reinstate these values.

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