Aquino hits Arroyo in 1st Independence Day speech

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has challenged all Filipinos “not to forget the mistakes of the past lest we repeat them,” as he took a swipe at the Arroyo administration’s failure to reform the country’s system.

Leading 113th Independence Day rites at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, the President said the problem of corruption and poverty will not end until the country learns to free itself from greediness.

He said his administration remains true to its course to implement reforms to eradicate graft and corruption so that the benefits of a stronger bureaucracy redound to all.


Same as his first State of the Nation Address (Sona), Aquino hit the Arroyo administration for the alleged over importation of rice that resulted in wastage as it ended rotting in warehouses.

The President also hit the past government for the controversial "pabaon" system for outgoing military generals and the issue on the scholarship grant for the so-called “Bangkang Papel” Boys.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a radio interview Saturday said, the first independence speech of Aquino "might give a preview" of his upcoming second Sona in Congress on July 25.

Apart from hitting former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino boasted several achievements of his administration including the passage of one of his priority measures the Governance Act for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) and the approval of Senate of the measure postponing the August 8 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Aquino last June 6 signed into law Republic Act 10149 which indicates the rationalization of reported fat salaries, bonuses and benefits of officials and employees of GOCCs. On the same day, the Senate approved Senate Bill 2756 seeking to postpone and synchronize the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) polls with the May 2013 mid-term elections.

The Chief Executive also noted his decision to scrap questionable contracts at the Laguna Lake Development Authority and the Department of Public Works and Highways, among others.

He also cited the implementation of the open skies policy that aims to boost the country’s tourism, the housing projects for the military and police personnel and conditional cash transfer for poor families.

“Ang tunay na kalayaan ay kalayaan din mula sa gutom, kamangmangan, kahirapan, at kawalan ng pagkakakitaan. Ang tunay na kalayaan ay kalayaang may dignidad at karangalan (The true freedom is freedom from poverty, illiteracy, difficult life and lack of job. The true freedom is freedom with dignity and honor),” he said,

Aquino said he is committed to fight corruption regardless of whoever gets in his way.

President Aquino was recently criticized for appointing his ‘KKK’ (kaibigan, kaklase at kabarilan) in key government positions.

Malacanang defended the Chief Executive saying that friends and allies of the administration are not "untouchables" and could still be censured like former Bureau of Corrections chief Ernesto Diokno, who was reprimanded by the President over former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste’s caper.

In his speech, President Aquino also defended his love life and his purchase of a second-hand sports car.

"At kung sa tingin ng iba napakalaking kasalanan ang aking panliligaw habang binata naman ako, segundamanong sasakyan gamit ang sarili kong pera o maski ang pagkanta na kung minsan ay sintunado, walang problema sa akin yan. Ang mahalaga sa akin ang mahalaga sa taumbayan ay resulta, di pagpapapogi di headline at mas lalong hindi ang pagkapit sa kapangyarihan (If others think that courting somebody while I am single is a big mistake, buying a second hand car using my own money or singing even if sometimes out of tune, it is no problem to me. What is important to me and the public is result, not good headline statement and much more hanging on to power)," he said.

In line with the celebration of the 113th Independence Day, President Aquino led a flag-raising ceremony at the Aguinaldo Shrine.

Similar flag-raising ceremonies were also held at the Luneta Park led by Vice President Jejomar Binay, at the Barasoain Church led by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, the Monument in Caloocan City led by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, at the Pinaglabanan Shrine led by Senator Teofisto Guingona III and in Cebu City led by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

After the event in Cavite, President Aquino went back to Malacanang for the traditional vin d’ honneur for the diplomatic corps.

"The best way to pay our respects to the heroes who sacrificed for us is to put in the same amount of effort they did to making our country a better place—to building a nation truly free and committed to inclusive and equitable progress, borne of compassion and integrity," Aquino said in his speech before hundreds of officials and members of the diplomatic corps.

"My father once said that the Filipino is worth dying for. My mother articulated it again after she won back our democracy: The Filipino is worth living for. I have now committed my life to showing the world the truth that both my parents proclaimed," he added.

He led a toast for the country’s soldiers and martyrs who died in achieving the democracy.

Acting dean of the diplomatic corps His Excellency Abdullah Ahmed Yousif Almutawa expressed gratitude to the President for the invitation to join in the country's celebration of Independence Day.

In behalf of the diplomatic corps, he vowed support for the policies, initiatives and programs of the Aquino administration.

Present at the event were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, among others.

At 4 p.m., the President went to Rizal Park for the grand parade, which gave emphasis on Philippine culture through various floats displayed at the parade.

The event was also highlighted by a job fair providing jobs for thousands of job seekers in the country.

At 6:30, the President graced a community fellowship dubbed “Pakain” at Kalayaan Hall in Malacañang. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

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