Press Release
July 1, 2013

June 29, 2013

RCCV President Henry Abrillo; Immediate Past President Dale Bryan Mordeno, Vice-President Jose Antonio Estrella, Club Secretary Gaspar Gonzales Jr., Treasurer Joyce Libot, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer Fatima Macas, Auditor Edgar Rulona, club officers, fellow Rotarians, friends and guests, a good evening to all of you.

Fellow Rotarians, I am deeply honored and extremely privileged to be invited to speak to you this evening among the distinguished members of the Rotary Club of Carmen Valley here in Cagayan de Oro City on the occasion of your 34th Induction and Turnover Ceremonies.

Allow me to extend my deepest congratulations to your outgoing officers, led by IPP Dale Mordeno, for a job well done during the past Rotary Year; and bring my best wishes to the incoming officers, led by President Henry Abrillo for what I am confident to be another banner year for your Club.


Indeed, your Club has a lot to be thankful for. Since the Rotary Club of Carmen Valley was chartered on August 18, 1981, thirty-four years have seen your organization grow in committed advancement towards international understanding, goodwill and peace through fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service. Indeed, this is a commitment sustained over the decades in making a difference in this part of the world and its successful resistance to challenges that your club has faced from the beginning and throughout the years. This is an extraordinary record and I am delighted to be asked to participate in this illustrious gathering of exceptional Rotarians tonight.

Indeed, the Rotary Club of Carmen Valley has deservedly lived up to its name of being the brilliant movers and shakers of your generation of Rotarians in this part of Cagayan de Oro. Busa congratulations kaninyong tanan.


The profile of your club membership today pretty much reminds me of my own Rotary experience more than nineteen years ago. In 1994, I joined a group of thirty-eight other kindred spirits and organized the Rotary Club of Manila Bay. When I served as President during Rotary Year 2005-2006, I adopted "Service Above Self" as my term's underlying theme. During that time, we concentrated on conducting a host of community projects, including the donation of dialysis machines to the Hospital ng Maynila, giving 84 wooden pushcarts for livelihood and cleanliness, giving free wheelchairs to the disabled, offering free training seminars to public school teachers, anti-dengue campaigns and many more literacy and livelihood projects.

I joined the Rotary International after my stint in the Jaycees because I believe that Rotary represents the greatest potential for transforming our country from poor to great. Why? Because Rotary represents great principles and great values. We have the Four-Way Test; we are always asking: "Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?" And then we have one of the greatest policy thrusts of any civic organization: "He profits most who serves the best." When that happens, we have a great society because the most profitable are those who have served the best.

"Service Above Self" reminds us that none of us can live for ourselves alone. A life lived in isolation is empty and without joy. But when we live for others -- when we focus on our role within our family, our community, and all humanity -- then we begin to realize our own place in the world.


This year's Rotary theme is "Engage Rotary, Change Lives." It is a very simple theme, but it is also a challenge for all of us tonight. Why do I say that?

There might be a lot of difference about the Rotary Club meeting you walk into today from, say, the weekly meetings of thirty years ago, but the foundation that Rotary is built on hasn't changed. Rotary is based, as it's always been, on our core values: service, fellowship, diversity, integrity and leadership. These are the values which define us as Rotarians; they are the values that we live by, and the values we strive to bring to the communities that we serve.

Being a Rotarian is a commitment that goes far beyond just showing up at induction ceremonies like this and once-a-week meetings. It means seeing the world and our role in it, in a unique way. It means accepting our communities as our responsibility and acting accordingly. This means taking the initiative, making the effort, and doing things what's right - and not what's easy.

All of use came to Rotary to get involved and to make a difference. And in Rotary service, as in just about everything else in life, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. If we only put in a token effort, we won't accomplish very much, and we won't find very much satisfaction in what we do. But when we make the decision to truly ENGAGE ROTARY - to bring Rotary service and Rotary values into every day of our lives - that is when we start to see the incredible impact that we are capable of. That is when we find the inspiration, the excitement, and the power to truly change lives.

I believe that is the essence of what your theme this year is. And no one's life will be changed more than our own.

Ladies and gentlemen: I can say this with conviction because, not only have I adopted this theme as a personal conviction long before it became fashionable - I have also made it my personal advocacy as soon as I joined the Rotary.


Now, as I begin my second term as Senator of the Republic on July 1, I will try to define as briefly as possible the priorities that I intend to do.

As you know, my first term in the Senate was defined by my four-year struggle to search for truth and justice against election fraud, of which I have been a victim. I firmly believe that elections are needed in a democracy. Elections that are clean and honest and reflective of the will of the people. Where the will of the voters must prevail because only then can democracy have any meaning to our country and people.

In the little over a year that was left of my first term as a senator, with the help of my colleagues in the Senate, and with the assistance of our people and the blessings of Our Lord, I filed bills that sought to streamline our electoral processes, specifically to ensure accessibility to Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens, amend the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, the Absentee Voting by members of the media, as well as the creation of an automated fingerprint identification system.

In all humility, I report to our brothers and sisters in Cagayan de Oro that those bills were approved even as we were pressed for time!

While I am still committed to be the election reform "watchdog" in the Senate, I have pledged to make the revitalization of our local governments as one of my priorities in the next Congress. Just as the family is the basic unit of society, the local government, starting with the barangay, is the basic political unit of the Philippine government and territory. The autonomy and development of local governments is a basic test of democracy without which regional and national growth will suffer.

I pledge to continue the work of my father, former Senate President Nene Pimentel, who was the leading advocate of local autonomy in Congress and principal author of the Local Government Code of the Philippines, a landmark in Philippine legislation. The Constitution is eminently correct in mandating Section 25 of Article II (Declaration of State Policies and Principles) that the State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.

To this end, I will seek a bigger "Share in the National Taxes (SNT)" for cities, towns and provinces, including Bacolod City, to speed up our economic growth, create jobs and deliver comprehensive social services. I believe that LGUs are entitled to an equitable share in the proceeds of the utilization of the national resources within their jurisdiction.

This proposal, which is called the "Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice Bill," will first include in the funds to be divided between the national government and the LGUs ALL taxes like Customs duties, LTO collections, and Wharfage dues, not just internal revenue taxes. It is estimated that by doing so, the fund (which is the Pie) that will be divided between the national government and the LGUs will grow bigger by several billions more.

Then, the shares of LGUs or the Slices from the Pie will naturally also grow bigger especially because I propose that the sharing would now be 50-50 between the national government and the LGUs in lieu of the present 60-40 percent provided for under the Local Government Code.

This increase in the funding of local government units and the change in sharing percentage would likewise greatly raise the capacity of cities and municipalities to deliver the basic services demanded by our communities.

For Cagayan de Oro and the rest of Mindanao, I will also do my best to help stabilize the power supply that our people need to develop their ownselves and our communities, and ensure the future of our children.

Obviously, kung walay kuriente, how can we do things in our workplaces, and in our homes?

Hence, revising the EPIRA law is a priority in my legislative agenda. For the sake of our people in Cagayan de Oro, and in Mindanao, and the rest of the country.

I will also do my level best to bring peace among our peoples - the Muslims, the Lumads, and the rest of the population, not only in the Autonomous Region but in the whole of Mindanao.

It is hard to work and bring development to our communities if bullets continually whizz by our ears, or kill people, and worsen the law and order condition around us.


Fellow Rotarians, we have to give more of ourselves. We have to give the greatest that is within us - our spirit, what we stand for, our vision, our mission, our principles, and that is what, I believe, makes Rotary great.

Fellow Rotarians, I believe that is what the Rotary begs of us today. We, who have voluntarily come together to live out our desire to help the needy and improve the lives of our fellowmen, are again being called to summon our collective talents to help our nation and our government pursue its programs towards the path of peace and development.

This year, your club has committed to "Engage Rotary, Change Lives." I ask you, therefore, to be unselfish with your dedication so that together, we can explore the frontiers of moral and institutional reform and renewal so that democracy and its blessings of truth, freedom, justice and dignity for every man, can finally flow to cleanse and revitalize our people, and create for us all a kinder, more humane, more just society, and a stronger nation. This is what gives Rotary its power: the power to change lives. We are the catalyst for change as we work towards a shared purpose.

We as Rotarians have the responsibility to leave this world a better place for our children and their children. Please do ask yourselves from time to time, "Why am I a Rotarian?" I do hope that as members of the Rotary Club of Carmen Valley, you will all arrive at the same answer as I have: "To make a difference." As Rotary members, we can!

Again, salamat kaayo.

Congratulations, ug mabuhi ang Rotary Club sa Carmen Valley!

News Latest News Feed