Delivered July 22, 2002, Batasan Pambansa (House of
Representatives) Complex, Quezon City
In the corridors of power, in the Palace where I work,
past presidents of the Republic sit in their portraits in judgment of me. In
this gallery of the highest public servants, none sits in sterner judgment than
the man who first led me by the hand into the Palace as a teenager.
In a country where a man’s worth was measured by his
property, he was born in a nipa hut, into a family that tilled less than a
hectare of land.
After years of hard struggle and brilliant achievement,
my father took his oath as President of the Republic on ground made hallow by
the martyrdom of our national hero. A hero whose name he would honor, and
ideals he would pursue.
Indeed, in a democracy, a man may rise to the nation’s
highest service by dint of energy and intelligence alone, without regard to
wealth and connections of which my father had none.
It was Jose Rizal who wrote: “A life not dedicated to a
great ideal is useless; a mere pebble in the field that forms no part of an
The words of Diosdado Macapagal echoed this theme as he
assumed the mantle of national leadership forty years ago: “No President can
build the whole edifice of a nation. All that he is called upon to do is add a
fine stone to that edifice, so that those who shall come after him may add
other fine stones that will go for a strong and enduring structure.”
Modest words from a modest man who would yet change for
all time how a feudal society would come to view a vital institution—land
My countrymen, the fine stone i should like to add to the
edifice of our nation, right above the stone of social justice that my father
left behind, is a strong republic.
Two essential features mark out a strong republic. The
first is independence from class and sectoral interests so that it stands for
the interests of the people rather than of a powerful minority. The second is
the capacity, represented through strong institutions and a strong bureaucracy,
to execute good policy and deliver essential services —the things that only
governments can do.
The results of these two features—good policies and
empowered institutions—is faster economic development and social reform. A
strong republic takes care of the people and takes care of their future.
Thus, a strong republic is the bedrock of the victory we seek over poverty
within the decade.
During these past eighteen months, our efforts to build
the strong Republic have been difficult, with both domestic and global
conditions extremely harsh. At home, The poor were pitted against the rich to
further inflame our nation’s social divisions.
Abroad, the contracting economies of our main trading
partners were further aggravated by the tensions generated by the global war
Meanwhile, one shocking corporate scandal after another
severely eroded public faith in the most promising system for conducting
economic activity—the free market.
These were the large long-term crises of social justice
and the capitalist system itself, whose resolution awaits events well beyond
one small nation’s ability to influence in the short term.
But as I report on the state of the nation today, I can
say this: The immediate crises have been resolved.
This resolution was achieved by focusing on three things.
First, by showing tangible results in the delivery of
government services. Thus, in my State of the Nation address last year, I did
something never done before: I detailed a long list of measurable targets that
would show a government on the move, marking progress by swift sure steps,
despite the turbulent state of domestic and global affairs.
Halimbawa, target natin noong isang
taon: dalawandaang libong ektarya para sa land reform. Nakamit natin:
dalawandaan at limpam pung liiibong ektarya. Congratulations sa mga
topnotchers: Negros Occidental, at Sultan Kudarat, higit pitong libong ektarya
Target natin: dalawampung bilyong piso para sa
modernisasyon ng agrikultura. Nakamit natin: dalawampu’t apat na bilyon.
Target natin: sandaan at limampung libong pamilyang
maralitang tagalunsod na makatitiyak sa lupang tinitirikan. Nakamit natin:
sandaan at waluuumpung libo.
Target natin: sandaan at limampung libong pamilyang
mahihirap na magkaroon ng pabahay. Nakamit natin: sandaan at limampung libo na
Target natin: sanlibong rolling stores na magbebenta ng
bigas na P14 per kilo. Nakamit natin: 1,500 rolling stores.
Target natin: ibaba sa kalahati ang presyo ng gamot na
madalas bilhin ng mahihirap. Nakamit natin: Naroon sila sa mga parmasya ng 72
government hospitals at sa mga outlet ng Unilab. But sad to say, except for
Unilab, the wider distribution network of commercial drugstores—under pressure
from the multinational drug companies—will not sell our cheaper medicines. We
are studying punitive measures to correct this unfair, unjust, and heartless
Target natin: limandaang libong maralita para sa health
insurance. Nakamit natin: apat na milyon.
Target natin: pagdating ng 2004, may eskwela sa bawat
barangay. May 1,612 na barangay na wala pang eskwela. Nakamit natin: 1,005 na
malapit nang matapos, bukod pa sa 285 schoolbuildings na humahalagang P100
million galing sa alokasyon ni Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Target natin: kompletong libro sa pangunahing subjects sa
Grades One to Four at sa First at Second Year High School. Nakamit natin:
Magkakaroon ngayong taon ng 54 million books para sa labing-anim na milyong
Target natin: pag-ibayuhin ang pagtuturo ng mathematics.
Nakamit natin: dagdag na oras para sa Math sa bagong curriculum.
Target natin: mas maraming guro. Nakamit natin:
labinlimang libong bagong guro.
Target natin: dagliang trabaho para sa dalawampung libong
out-of-school youth. Nakamit natin: tatlumpung libo.
At noong isang taon, dinala ko ang tatlong batang
kumatawan sa adhkain ng Payatas. Sabi nila, ang kailangan nila ay edukasyon,
kabuhayan, pabahay. Higit apat na daan ay iskoral na ngayon, kasama na si
Jayson, Erwin at Jomar. Halos walundaang pamilya ang nabigyan ng kabuhayan. May
pitong daang pamilyang binigyan ng karapatang bilhin ang lupang kanilang
tinitirahan. Inaatasan ko ang Department of Environment and Natural Resources
na apurahin ang pag-ayos ng natitirang problema sa lupa ng mga residente ng
This is just the tip of our accomplishments, all in the
just the first year of the ten-year fight I projected against poverty. I am
submitting the entire iceberg to Congress in a comprehensive performance
report. For good measure, it has been published and nationally circulated.
These were our commitments. We delivered on them. A strong Republic does what
It takes care of the people and takes care of their
OUR second focus to achieve the resolution of the
immediate crises was the preservation and defense of the republic against
forces that seek to destroy its unity and tear the fabric of its society, not
least in the name of ideas that history has already passed by.
The turning points are clear.
This year, May 1 passed peacefully.
This year, our soldiers rescued Gracia Burnham and
finished off her terrorist captor.
This year, what used to be Camp Abubakar became an
authentic community of new hopes and dreams, where our flag flies and our
soldiers protect those who have returned to their homes.
Beyond the symbolic significance of these accomplishments,
we have brought back inter-faith solidarity, energized by the invaluable
initiative of Speaker Jose de Venecia, and sealed peace agreements with the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
We achieved all of these backed by the valor,
professionalism, and restraint of our soldiers and police. I salute our men and
women in uniform, at the forefront of our Republic’s efforts to fight terror
and enforce peace.
The third focus to resolve the crises and build a strong
Republic was to restore macroeconomic stability and win back investor
The linchpin was to control our fiscal deficit. If Edsa 2
had not happened, the government would simply have gone bankrupt with a deficit
of P245 billion. But we controlled it, brought it down to P147 billion and
against all odds, turned our international credit rating from risky to stable.
It was hard work, here and abroad, to rekindle global interest in our country,
but we did it.
The adoption of strong administrative measures, including
fighting smuggling and graft and corruption, will enable us to close the gap in
our revenue targets.
The basic macro signs indicate that things are under
control. Inflation is at a low, driven down by stable food prices and now by
declining power costs.
Nang ako ay naging Pangulo, ang presyo ng galunggong ay
otsenta pesos ang kilo. Noong isang linggo, nakabili ako sa palengke ng sesenta
pesos lamang. Ang presyo rin ng bigas na binibili ng mahihirap ay nananatiling
P16 ang kilo sa palengke, gaya pa rin nang isang taon.
Interest rates are also at a low, and our peso is stable.
>From P56 to the dollar, it is now a little over P50.
Internationally, the Philippines is back on the map.
We are the third best performing economy is Asia and the
best in southeast Asia.
As a result of our decisive action after September 11,
the Philippines is now a recognized player in world affairs. The President of
the Philippines was the first head of government to emphasize the
interconnection between the war against terrorism and the war against poverty.
Nations large and small now embrace this interconnection.
We have gained powerful allies in our domestic war
against terrorism. I am certain that our increased international visibility
will continue generating capital inflows for the Philippines.
Where we have fallen short of achieving what we intended,
it has not been from misdirection or a lack of trying. After all, it has really
been only one year and a half.
In any event, I promise to work even harder if that is
possible, and do even better because I believe that there is always room for
improvement. I cannot grow taller but I can always get better.
My working agenda for the coming year will focus on
creating and improving job opportunities. Citizens with rewarding jobs paying
decent wages constitute not just a stone in the edifice but the very foundation
of a strong Republic.
We need investments to generate jobs, and to draw in
investments, we will address certain problems in the short term: katiwalian,
peace and order, and the cost of power.
Bilang Pangulo, tinatanggap ko ang pahayag ng mga
negosyante na dapat sugpuin ang katiwalian sa bansa.
Noong isang taon nga sa aking State of the Nation Address,
sinabi ko na, na aalisin natin ang mga hadlang sa ating productivity, kagaya ng
mahal na koryente at katiwalian.
At dahil ako ay naluklok sa pagkapangulo dala ng
malawakang galit sa anomaliya, alam kong kailangan wakasan ang katiwalian.
Naniniwala rin ako na pinahihina ng katiwalian ang daloy ng puhunan sa ating
Kaya noong isang taon, sinabi ko na ang kabinete ko ay
kailangan gumawa ng konkretong resulta sa paglaban sa katiwalian. pinapaalala
ko sa kanila ngayon na sa mga sumusunod na araw, magbigay ng kanilang ulat sa
naturang mga resulta.
But even now I can tell you that our new e-procurement
program is saving billions and minimizing anomalies.
The Presidential Anti-Graft Commission is doing its best
to ensure that good governance is carried out. Inaatasan ko ang PAGC na gumawa
rin ng ulat sa kanilang trabaho.
Tungkol naman sa katiwalian sa mga korte, inaatasan ko
ang Department of Justice na kasuhan ang prosecutor na tinuloy pa iyong kaso
kontra sa Kimberly-Clark kahit nagkaroon na ng affidavit of desistance ang
complainant. kaya tuloy ang kimberly clark ay dinala iyong kanyang Asia
operations sa Thailand imbes na sa Pilipinas. Inaatasan ko ring kasuhan ng DOJ
iyong prosecutor na ginawang accessory embes na principal iyong ilang mga
nagkidnap kay Rowena tiu. At inaatasan ko rin ang DOJ na kasuhan pati na rin
ang mga huwes na gumagawa ng katiwalian.
Noong isang taon, sinabi ko na gagawin nating sample ang
b.i.r. at customs sa paglaban sa katiwalian.
This is still a continuing effort. tax evasion is a
white-collar crime and the response is a white collar response—systems
improvement, audit, prosecution. but smuggling is something else. It is done by
hoodlums and criminal gangs. But the punishment for both must be the same:
Blue-collar time. Kalaboso.
Indeed, criminal gangs and homegrown terrorists have
exploited the poisoned political atmosphere to spread poisons of their own:
rampant smuggling, kidnapping, gambling, drug-dealing.
You have seen political will in the harsh interpretation
of command responsibility with regard to illegal gambling. That draconian
application was a dress rehearsal for enforcing command responsibility in the
more difficult challenges of kidnapping, drug-dealing, and smuggling.
I am determined to build a strong Republic by breaking the
back of terrorism and criminality.
In the year 2000, despite all the reports of rampant
smuggling, only P16 million worth was confiscated. But, last year, in a show of
political will, my administration seized P1.2 billion worth of smuggled goods,
including more than a million bags of smuggled rice, as compared to much less
than a hundred thousand the year before.
I congratulated the commissioner of customs but told him
also: Go beyond getting smuggled goods and get me the big time smugglers. I
have instructed the DOJ to charge them not just with smuggling but also with
economic sabotage—a non-bailable capital offense.
Criminal syndicates will be treated as what they are,
direct threats to national security. Criminals are criminals, whether of the
common kind or the kind that kill in the name of political advocacies. They
will feel the full brunt of the arsenal of democracy. Freedom, too, is entitled
I have given very clear orders to spare nothing in
hunting down kidnappers.
We will go by scorecards and track progress by counting
beans, if we have to.
Remember Mary Grace Rosagas of Uratex who was kidnapped
from UP. Remember her aunt Connie Wong who was killed by the kidnappers.
Remember Rowena Tiu who was kidnapped in La Union. Remember the owner of Liana
Supermarket. And the whispers about the kidnapping of the granddaughter a big
banker and the son of a steel magnate. We have taken down the syndicates
responsible for kidnapping them and 52 other victims. 170 kidnappers were
killed or captured.
The ideal response to kidnapping was in the case of
Rowena Tiu,.. She was rescued in 8 days, the ransom money was recovered, and
her kidnappers were arrested and are now facing trial. Hers was the first and
last kidnapping to take place in Region 1 in my administration.
I want to smash the other 21 syndicates in the same way.
We are getting a clearer picture of the leadership, membership and area of
operations of these syndicates. I now want their linkages and modus operandi. I
am overseeing how they are being watched, tracked and infiltrated. We will
start with the two biggest syndicates, the Bucala and Fajardo gangs. I have
challenged the Philippine National Police to eliminate them within a year.
I have told the PNP that they must start with the
cleansing of their own ranks. The rascals among them disgrace the uniform and
paint in the same broad brush the majority who do their duty well.
I salute the men and women who scorned to be bribed and
confiscated 500 kilograms of shabu in Quezon Province last year, and caught the
biggest fish so far in the drug trade.
I salute the men and women who raided the shabu factories
in Batangas, Zambales, San Juan, Varsity Hills, and other places, seizing a
total of P5 billion worth of illegal drugs and lab equipment in the largest drug
Within a month, we shall organize the new Dangerous Drugs
Board and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency which Congress has just
created. With the drug menace now elevated to the level of a national security
problem and no longer just a police problem, I am instructing the Armed Forces
of the Philippines to field military resources for intelligence and to field
soldiers in drug raids in support of civilian law enforcement. Drug lords will
be treated as enemies of the State!
In this war with the drug trade there will be no
compromise and no quarter, not for fear or favor.
Indeed, we are at war: at war with the terrorists, at war
with the kidnappers, at war with the drug lords-- and we are determined to win
decisive victories on all fronts.
The global anti-terrorist coalition is a historical
watershed. This new global consensus helps us immensely in finally breaking the
cycle of terrorism and criminality. To that end, we shall enhance our strategic
relationship with the United States through continuing training exercises to
sharpen our soldiers’ capabilities to move and commuuunicate, to fix and finish
off their targets.
Yesterday we captured the mastermind of the Gensan
bombings that killed and maimed 80 persons a few months ago. He is considered
the number one terrorist bomber.
We cannot afford to lose . Even a stalemate will be a
defeat. For what is at stake is our country as a viable proposition in the
world economy. And we must be viable if we are to win the most fundamental war,
the war against poverty.
I ask the newly elected barangay captains to take an
active role in this war. TO be the frontliners in this fight in your
And as with war in the past, so will it be with this war.
As Commander-in-Chief, I am taking a direct hand in the war against the enemies
of the Republic. This was how I did it with the Abu Sayyaf, leading to the
death of Abu Sabaya. This is how I will do it with the criminal gangs.
Nakasalalay dito ang pamamayani ng ating Republika. Our
At stake in this war is the very life of society, the very
possibility of basic rights and liberties, which have been under attack for too
The right to work in peace is as basic as the right to
life and liberty, and when both are in danger their preservation by all lawful
means becomes not just a higher right but an overriding duty. And that
duty I will discharge.
This is a war we will wage on behalf, and with the rage,
of all the victims: those whose businesses were ruined by extortion, those held
down in poverty by fear, those whose lives were snuffed out by addiction, and
those taken hostage and killed. To them, I say : We shall redeem your pain we
shall redeem your loss.
I endorse to the collective wisdom of Congress, with a
great sense of urgency, a new bill that will strengthen our legal armory in
this war: the anti-terrorism bill. When passed into law, this bill will plug
the loopholes by which crimes spread and democracy is undermined. Congress will
also note a reallocation of resources in this year’s budget to enhance the
Republic’s crime-fighting capabilities.
There are a number of other critical bills linked closely
to the overall run of social, economic and political reform. i will hold more
meetings with the legislative-executive development advisory council, or ledac,
to push this momentum of reform.
We must team up, as i said last year, to enact a law
making farm land acceptable as loan collateral, in order to remove a big
deterrent to investments in agriculture.
We must pass the special purpose vehicle act in order to
encourage asset management companies to put back into productive circulation
assets now tied up in problematic loans.
We must pass a law to give overseas Filipinos the right to
vote, consistent with the Constitution. we must pass the bill that will give
equal respect and recognition to an overseas Filipino’s dual citizenship,
consistent with our national honor. this is the least return for the enormous
contribution of our overseas filipinos to the national welfare.
We must pass the Transco franchise bill to make our
electric service more efficient and more reliable.
Everywhere I go, I ask people about their electric bill.
This is not just a pet concern for the moment. I think about it all the time.
You have seen your recent electric bills. You know they
have gone down. Because I brought down the PPA.
I did not invent the PPA. I merely inherited it. But my
administration chose to confront and stare it in the face and find the
Before I became President, we had the second most
expensive power rates in Asia. Now we have gone down to 6 . This is first fruit
of a comprehensive ten-point plan we have put in place to reduce power costs.
We have brought electricity for the first time to the
barangays of Balud, Masbate, of Lake Lanao, and 1,500 other barangays.
We have improved the electric service in Boracay, by
taking over the electric cooperative. To other electric cooperatives, I ask: be
efficient in your operations and improve your customer service.
To electric utilities, I ask: be transparent in your
procurement and contracts with affiliates.
To Napocor and Meralco I ask: Stop bickering and instead
work together to give price incentives to large users so that excess power can be
utilized, economic activitiy can be encouraged, and jobs can be created.
The results of the review of the contracts of independent
power producers are in. We have three months to carry out the concrete courses
of action stemming from this review that will further ease the burden on our
Soon we shall have the first-ever wholesale electricity
spot market in Asia, without the pitfalls of California. . In due time, we will
give electric consumers the power TO choose their electricity suppliers.. WE
are giving you the power of choice.
The power of choice will lead to lower prices and better
With cheaper power will come a more competitive economy,
and more investors.
We know where we are going and how to get there; we are
planting the milestones along the way to a strong republic and a prosperous
A republic does not exist by the mere fact of declaring
itself to be so.
A republic must be so in fact, in reality, and especially
in the difference it makes for the better in the lives of its citizens.
It is not a given but a task, a project undertaken by an
entire society for its progress and preservation.
A republic is like a shield that needs a strong arm to
hold it up.
A republic is a roof, and walls, that need to be
A republic is an edifice towards the building of which
each must give the finest stone within their ability to shape. In the end, this
stone is the only thing by which one will be remembered.
Like my father, I am working on my stone. The stone of the
strong republic. I intend to be well remembered.
Legions of ordinary Filipinos, many of them students,
came, stood and clamored at Edsa, for a better government
It is to them I look for validation.
I know that it is to me that those many Filipinos are
looking for the vindication of their decision to go to Edsa. I shall not
It is for them that I am working hard on that stone that
will fit just above my father’s, adding security to social justice, and
prosperity to the promise of social equality in which he believed so much.
Ang malakas na republika ay para sa mahihina, para sa
mahihirap, para sa walang trabaho, para sa nagugutom, para sa nanganganib ;
Para sa agrabyado, para sa mga api.
Toward the achievement of this strong republic, i shall
bring to bear the full weight of the Executive, and call upon local government
officials, to add their own. This is our common struggle, it shall be our
I hope to get from Congress at least the same cooperation
it extended to me last year.
The judicial branch needs no reminder of its key role in
the unspoken component of justice, fairness, integrity and truth in the
equation of law and order .
It has been eighteen months of putting out small fires and
soothing hurt feelings, while taking what I hope have been giant steps forward
in the economy.
But now the time has come. Now we must devote ourselves
entirely to taking more of those giant steps towards the achievement of the
As I look back, down the road on which I came, I see, with
some regret, the shards of broken friendships. But I console myself by looking
forward to a time when these broken friendships will heal and grievances will
be forgotten in the collective satisfaction of our common success.
In the end, we are one nation under God, one people, with
one aspiration : a country as good as it can get!
For a country to be as good as it can get, many of the
right decisions are tough decisions. I have made some of the toughest. And I
will make even more tough decisions in the year to come. Because the easy way
out may postpone the pain but only prolong the problem. A But the tough
decisions which are the right decisions, because they serve the people, are the
source of our hope for the future.
In the last year and a half:
I led our nation in making the world recognize and
respect our economic discipline.
I led our soldiers in defeating the Abu Sayyaf.
I led our government in meeting the targets we so bravely
set for the welfare of our people.
Now I will lead our country towards the strong
Stay with me. Samahan niyo ako! Itayo
natin ang matatag at malakas na Republica!
Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.