Press Release
October 19, 2013


The Bayleaf, Intramuros, Manila

Good afternoon to all of you!

Fellow public servants, officers and members of the Kaya Natin! Movement, directors, officers, and members of SEAOIL Philippines, Inc., ladies and gentlemen:

It is my great honor to be a part of this occasion-the SEAOIL-Jesse Robredo: Champions for Good Governance and Education.

The late Department of Interior Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo made education a priority in his hometown, Naga City, when he served as its Mayor. It is thus most appropriate to honor the late Secretary Robredo with a program named after him that will encourage local government officials to engage in innovative activities that will address public education problems in their own areas of responsibility.

At Day 1 of this CGGE activity, you were shown a documentary about the life of the late Secretary. I hope that all of you were inspired by his public service-his advocacy for public education reforms, for persons with disabilities, and for the marginalized sectors, among others.

In sum, what made the late Secretary stand out over many of his contemporaries was his unwavering commitment to good governance. As a public servant who has the good fortune of having witnessed the late Secretary in action, I believe that good governance concerns us all. We cannot have economic justice without good governance. And certainly, we cannot have a government of laws without good governance. Good governance, then, must necessarily aim at the public good which cannot be attained without improving the quality of life of our people.

It is for that reason that improving the quality of life of our people has become the centerpiece of my senatorial advocacies for my new six-year term. Indeed, I believe that it is high time that "quality of life issues" like the quality of our children's education, especially in the public school system ought to be a collective and a never-ending concern of our people.

I believe we have the needed resources to improve the quality of life of our people within our lifetimes. But we must minimize waste. We must stop the corruption. And jail those who steal the people's money. We must also be transparent and accountable to our constituents for what we do. Then, good governance will follow.

As I wind up this brief intervention, let me say that this program-the SEAOIL-Jesse Robredo: Champions for Good Governance and Education-is a good example of how we can unite for a common cause.

What is important is for us to help one another to achieve something that we all believe in, just like our forefathers who worked together - moved by what is now known as the bayanihan spirit-that is characterized by unselfish teamwork and shared goals.

Thus, I commend the CGGE and everyone who is involved in this event. Through the CGGE, you already have taken the initial step towards the betterment of your respective local governments. It is now time to take what you have learned in the last three days a step further by utilizing your potential, and your strengths, and committing yourselves unalterably towards the goal of good governance.

Clearly, there will be the obstacles along the way. But if you persevere, those challenges would, in fact, turn out to be the concrete steps that would convert local government units into catalysts for change and inevitably bring about the development the nation's economy and the improvement our people's quality of life.

But we need each and every one of you - who are aligned with the Kaya Natin Movement!, hopefully with SEAOIL, Philippines, at your side - to take the lead in the pursuit of good governance in our country. For our people like the rest of mankind need examples of selfless individuals and groups who are dedicated to the advancement of the common good. You, the officers and members of the Kaya Natin Movement, are the kind of models our people are waiting for.

Congratulations once again to the participants of the SEAOIL-Jesse Robredo: Champions for Good Governance and Education, to the officers and members of the Kaya Natin! Movement, to the officers and members of SEAOIL Philippines, Inc., and to the organizers of this successful program.

And thank you for your kind attention.

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