Press Release
October 11, 2013


October 11, 2013
Iloilo City

Maayong gab-i, magandang gabi, good evening to all of you, my fellow JCI members.

Let me first of all recognize National President JCI Senator Ryan Ravanzo. He is an outstanding JCI member and well-rounded too, because he has served in practically all Jaycee leadership positions. A leader should know very well both his constituents and the structure and the various functions of his organization. You JCI members were wise and well-advised when you chose Ryan as your President.

Allow me too to recognize Immediate Past National President Randolf Ivan Ruste, National Secretary General Raymond Salazar, National Convention Director Michael Jun Moises, National Convention Adviser and 2009 President Fulbert Woo, as well as the officers of the JCI Philippines National Board, JCI Senators, past National Presidents and Officers of JCI Philippines, officers and members of the different JCI local organizations present in this Convention.

Fellow JCI members, delegates, Temiong awardees, ladies and gentlemen: It is my great honor to be a part of such a grand gathering as we have here tonight.

So my heartfelt thanks to National Convention Director Michael Jun Moises for inviting me here.

I have always been a very proud JCI member. Not only proud but very proud. I tell everyone who cares to listen of the wonderful times I had, back then, as a Jaycee, which is incidentally the term I grew up with, and which I like more than the term JCI member. When I say "back then", I am referring not to the Jurassic period but only to a little more than nine years ago. I would not have missed this occasion for the world! But, truth to tell, I would have missed this event for the dinner with US President Obama. But since Obama cancelled, I am here with you.

I owe a lot to the JCI movement. I won my re-election bid because of the JCI members, or to be exact about it, partially because of the JCI members. My political party, PDP LABAN, has very limited presence nationwide. I was not supported by any large organization or religious group. The largest groups which unofficially supported my candidacy, that is without fanfare or any official announcement, were the JCI and the Rotary, which incidentally are both non-partisan even non-political organizations. Hence I have a tremendous debt of gratitude to the JCI movement and to its members.

I have therefore made myself subject to the JCI movement's disposal. I have a brand new six-year term. Please feel free to use my senate office for the propagation, the expansion, and the ultimate good of our beloved JCI movement. Invite, and I shall come. Call, and I will be there!

Because of the logical division of functions and duties in the JCI organizational structure, I have been given an insight into effective and efficient good governance. Because of our grassroots projects which address the felt needs of our constituents, I have been given an insight into the situation of our people and their actual needs and concerns. Hence, because of the leadership training I got from the JCI, I believe that I can and will be a good and effective legislator for the next six years.

So, what do I intend to do for the next six years? Allow me to mention three general topics:

(1) Improve our justice system. I liken our justice system to the runway in an airport. The airplane is our economy and the passengers inside the plane are the Filipino people. We cannot take off if the runway is not "ready", that is, well-paved, strong, sturdy, and smooth enough for the purpose;

(2) Improve our electoral system. We are in a democracy and, whether you agree with this or not, there is a saying that "the people deserve the government they elect". Hence our electoral processes must report out the true will of the people in each and every election. We should concentrate on issues which affect our daily lives and the generations to come, not fight about election results after each election;

(3) Improve the Filipino's quality of life. I believe that we should start talking about "quality of life issues" like our general level of safety, the quality of our children's education, the availability of work as well as working standards, the general health condition of our people and our standards of sanitation, the time we spend in traffic instead of being with family or pursuing hobbies and other interests for our overall personal growth and satisfaction, the social services we can run to in times of hardship and need, etc. I have just mentioned a few of the "quality of life issues" which I intend to address during this term of mine;

I believe we have the needed resources to improve the quality of life of our people within our lifetimes. If only we minimize the waste. If only we stop the corruption. Which I believe we can do, if we help one another for this particular cause, kung magkakaisa tayo tungo sa hangaring ito.

See what unity can do. Just look at the Temiong Awards.

In 2006, JCI Senator Reginald "Reggie" T. Yu, the then National Records and Recognition Chairman of the National Awards Commission, thought of the Temiong Awards which he envisioned to be an awards program of world class caliber, like the prestigious Academy Awards of Hollywood, USA. There were admittedly serious misgivings at first. But after the JCI movement was convinced of the merits of such a proposal, you all got united behind the idea and now the Temiong Awards Program has been institutionalized and has been a big success not only here in our country but internationally as well, receiving recognition for introducing a lot of "firsts" like being the first fully integrated on-line e-awards system, the first on-line judging system, the first Judges Certification Program, and the first standardized JCI Philippines statuette.

See, what unity can do! Congratulations to my friend Reggie, and to the leaders of JCI and to all the members as well for a job well done. And congratulations too to the winners of the Temiong Awards which will be handed out later.

The Philippines has been first in a lot of things in the past. But somehow, after the passage of time, we predictably lose our leadership position in the field of endeavor we ourselves started. Let that not be said of the Temiong Awards. I urge JCI Philippines to continue innovating in order to make the Temiong Awards the leading exemplar of a JCI Awards program at the international level. And of course I urge all JCI members to unite and cooperate and help in this mission.

Let me remind everyone that the Temiong Awards is not designed to measure the superiority or inferiority of anyone. For embedded in the principles underlying the awards is the belief that every person is just as capable as the one beside him or her.

What makes the Temiong Awards unique is that the awards are granted to JCI members who not only have innate talents but specifically to those who use their attitudes, abilities, and skills in the pursuit of the noble purposes of the Junior Chamber International in activities that inevitably result in great deeds beneficial to our people.

We know why we are all here, gathered this evening. We have common beliefs. We have a common creed. This is the thread which stitches us together.

Together with our JCI brothers and sisters from all over the world, let us unite behind the JCI Creed and make this world a better place to live in.

And together with our Filipino brothers and sisters, as Filipino JCI members, let us unite with the rest of the Filipino People in the passionate call of the times, which is to fight corruption.

Fighting corruption is part and parcel of the struggle towards good governance. The fight against corruption can be reconciled with the non-partisan nature of the JCI organization, because the pursuit of good governance is non-partisan in nature. Good governance concerns us all. Good governance benefits us all.

We cannot have economic justice without good governance. We cannot have government of laws without good governance.

Hence, fellow JCI members, I urge you to take the lead in the pursuit of good governance in our country, for the good of our people and the future generation of Filipinos. You can focus on the fight against corruption if you want.

I don't know if you'll agree with me, but as a senior Jaycee, my attitude for 2016 is, "wag lang ang corrupt". If we make the wrong decision in 2016 and bring back institutionalized or unmitigated and conscienceless corruption, then we lose everything that we have gained under Tuwid na Daan and still stand to lose so much more. Hence, we should not make the wrong decision in 2016. "Wag lang ang corrupt" is a non-partisan call behind which we could all unite.

What is important is for us to unite behind something we all believe in.

As JCI members, let us continue to be united under the JCI Creed and make this country a better place to live in.

Congratulations once again to the Temiong Awardees, to the officers and members of JCI Philippines, and of course to the organizers of this well organized National Convention here in Iloilo City. And thank you very much to all of you for the Honor you have bestowed upon me to speak before you tonight.

Daghang salamat, damo nga salamat gid, maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat at magandang gabi!

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