of the Nation Address
Excellency, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada
is the first opening session of Congress and my first
address to be held in the 3rd millennium and in the 21st century. It is
obviously an auspicious occasion for new beginnings.
it should be a new beginning for Mindanao, a new beginning for the
a new beginning for integrity in government, and a new beginning for
country. It will also be a new beginning for the presidency.
begin with, we will write a new history for Mindanao. We will rectify
of historical wrongs committed by successive colonial powers, and
of inequities committed by successive Philippine governments.
has traditionally been called the ''Land of Promise.'' This romantic
has always been a one-way affair. The rest of the country has always
Mindanao to fulfill its promises to them. It is now time for the rest
the country to fulfill its promises to Mindanao. We should now convert
Mindanao into the ''Land of Fulfillment.''
us not forget that Mindanao is an integral, inseparable, and organic
of the Philippines. It has been so for the past four and a half
It is so today, it will be so forever.
is why the government had to neutralize the attempt of the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front to amputate the southern parts of the country away
the organic whole and to convert them into an independent Muslim state.
They were winning their war of territorial encroachment simply because
the previous government refused to fight, pretending that it wasn't
In fact, the MILF had already occupied and hoisted their flag over
territories in Mindanao--in at least 46 camps--under the nose of the
administration, which was either naive enough to tolerate them or too
to stop them.
contrast, my government was decisive enough to expel them. As
I could not just stand by while the rebels ate up more and more of the
country's territory they were not elected to govern. When I took
I swore to preserve and defend the Constitution. It was my solemn duty
under that Constitution to repel the armed rebellion and to defend the
sovereignty and integrity of the republic.
MILF could not be talked out of their position, whether territorial or
ideological. They said that their goal of secession was non-negotiable.
Well, neither is the sovereignty and integrity of the republic. No one
can challenge that proposition by force of arms and get away with it.
would have been quieter if the conflict could be resolved by an
of words rather than by an exchange of fire. But whenever words were
in the past, in the name of so-called peace but which in reality was
the rebels simply used the peace talks as an opportunity for arms
for troop recruitment and training, for deployment, for territorial
and for enlarging their threat to the republic.
would have been a larger space for tolerance if they had pushed their
in the open marketplace for ideas. But instead, they built up an army
used their firepower to force their separatist aims on an unwilling
to form, the MILF took advantage of the 1997 ceasefire to commit at
227 violations. These include the kidnapping of Father Luciano
in September 1998; the occupying and setting on fire of the municipal
of Talayan, Maguindanao; the takeover of the Kauswagan Municipal Hall;
the bombing of the Lady of Mediatrix boat at Ozamiz City; and the
of the Narciso Ramos Highway. By doing so, they inflicted severe damage
on the country's image abroad, and scared much-needed investments away.
numerous camps they maintained were not Boy Scout camps. They were
areas and launching pads for expanding the MILF rebellion further.
military camps were not under the command and control of the government
of the Philippines. They owed their allegiance elsewhere.
all these, plus the unabated murders, terrorism, ambushes, extortion,
illegal control of buildings and public highways, and other atrocities
committed by the rebels in the pursuit of their secessionist aims, the
government was faced with two choices. One was to play the sucker, keep
tailing and let the problems grow until the republic was in real mortal
danger. The other was to meet force with force. An armed rebellion
an armed response. The sitting-duck strategy has never been known to
well...for the duck.
order to ensure permanent peace in the future, we had to demolish the
apparatus for making war. Moreover, abstention from military action
have been tantamount to political abdication.
effect, we did not choose the military option. It was forced upon us.
we used it. And we succeeded.
retaking of these territories was not just a symbolic victory but a
one. We upheld the constitutional principle that the Philippines is one
state, one republic, with one government, one military answerable to
civilian Commander in Chief, under one Constitution and one flag, in
undivided territory. That is what it is now. That is what it will be
buong bansa ay nagpupugay sa kagitingan ng mga opisyal at mga kawal ng
ating sandatahang lakas ng Pilipinas sa pamumuno ng ating kalihim ng
of National Defense at ng ating chief of staff. Kasama ng ating mga
commanders, tinupad nila ng buong katapatan at katapangan ang kanilang
tungkulin sa ating pagsakop ng mga kampo ng MILF. Let the whole country
salute the Filipino soldiers who valiantly and bravely fought the
in defense of the sovereignty, integrity and honor of the Republic of
Philippines. Let the whole country pay tribute, in particular, to those
who gave up their lives or were injured fighting to preserve the unity
of their motherland. Sila ay nakadagdag sa hanay ng ating mga bagong
ang buong lipunan ay nakikiramay din sa mga mahal sa buhay ng mga
sa hanay ng dalawang puwersa, sibilyan man o mga sundalo.
tayo doon sa mga nasaktan at napinsala ng kaguluhang ito.
that we have won the war, it is time to win the peace. Toward this end,
the government has adopted a four-point strategy in approaching the
question from here on.
first is to restore and maintain peace in Mindanao--because without
there can be no development.
second is to develop Mindanao--because without development, there can
third is to continue seeking peace talks with the MILF within the
of the Constitution--because a peace agreed upon in good faith is
to a peace enforced by force of arms.
the fourth is to continue with the implementation of the peace
between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front, or
that is our commitment to our countrymen and to the international
now invite the MILF into a brotherly embrace of peace. Let us walk away
from the battlefield and into the conference room. But we must do so in
good faith. You must talk peace with us, not talk while preparing for
you must accept our conditions. You must drop secession, drop your
activities, and drop your arms.
are not requests but demands. They are not proposals but premises. We
talk about when, where and how, but not about whether or not. We can be
flexible on time-tables and methods, but not about principles.
reasons for each demand should be obvious. I will briefly discuss them
in reverse order.
must drop your weapons because outside of the Armed Forces of the
and the authorized police forces, no group whatsoever has any right to
maintain an armed force or military camps within the sovereign
of this republic.
by itself is a mere ideology, but if backed by armed force, it becomes
a rebellion. A secessionist can only argue, but a rebel can kill. The
has no choice but to disarm the rebel--except for duly licensed
must drop all your criminal activities because terrorism, bombings,
and violence have no place in a civilized society. Criminals have no
in a negotiating table. Their place is in jail.
of all, you must drop your secessionist goals. We do not ask that you
and recognize the sovereignty of the republic. We demand that you do.
I give the MILF some unsolicited advice. Secession in the Philippines
an impossible dream. There simply is no space in our geography, in our
demographics, and in our national psyche for forcibly carving another
out of the present Philippine territory. For that reason, the foreign
you invoke, like East Timor, will not work for you.
bear in mind that you are neither the sole occupants nor even the
in the lands you wish to carve out to convert into your own state.
are whole Filipino populations in Mindanao--Muslims, Christians, and
do not want their territories and their residencies disturbed. Not even
the majority of the Muslim population shares your separatist views nor
the violent means you employ to attain them. The overriding passion of
the people of Mindanao is for peace.
people will simply not stand for the dismemberment of the country. All
of the Philippines belongs to all Filipinos. No part of it belongs to
the international community as a whole will neither support nor
with secession. In fact, we deeply appreciate the statement of his
Dr. Azeddine Laraki, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic
(OIC), encouraging Muslim minorities in non-member states [and I quote]
''To contribute effectively to the progress of the countries they live
in and to respect their sovereignty and laws.'' [Unquote.]
as a dream is also out of tune with history. If there is one lesson
historical evolution has taught us, it is this: That diversity is a
for celebration, not segregation; that cultural cross-breeding leads to
strength while in-breeding leads to weakness; and that cultural
are enriched by interaction and impoverished by isolation. Some of the
most glorious creations and achievements of civilization are the
of the historical confluences between Islam and Christianity.
we should strive for is not just peaceful coexistence but interactive
and constructive interdependence.
cannot negotiate over secession. The sovereignty and the integrity of
republic are not available for compromise or trade--not even for the
of peace. Any peace won by bartering any portion of our sovereignty is
an immoral peace.
the sovereignty and integrity of the republic are unconquerable. No
will ever terrorize the Filipinos to surrender any piece of their
to anybody: not--as our history shows--to any colonial power, not to
foreign invader, and certainly not to any internal rebel.
cannot talk about secession. But we can talk about a new beginning for
fact, if you are bold enough for it, we can talk about a different war,
a bigger war that needs to be fought. I do not mean the guerrilla
that you appear to have shifted to. I hope you stop--for the sake of
people, especially the poor, who will suffer the most from continued
But if you decide to engage us further, we are ready for you. If you
shift strategies and tactics, so can we.
I talk of another war, I mean the war to correct historical wrongs,
left a sad legacy of poverty and social injustice to Mindanao. This is
the war that all of us, including ex-rebels, should fight together.
the rebellion is one thing. It takes the military to do it. But
the root causes of rebellion is another. It will take the whole society
to do it.
can talk about the possibility of amnesty. I ask the MILF leaders to
your followers in walking with us along the path of peace. On the other
hand, I invite the MILF followers to walk with us in peace even if your
leaders won't. Instead of the lives of hunted fugitives, you can now
the lives of peaceful farmers, fishermen, factory workers, merchants,
or civil servants, soldiers, or policemen. In short, we can talk about
you re-integration into our society.
can also talk about autonomy. On this subject, we are willing to be
and to explore a wide range of possibilities, including radical changes
in our political structure. I urge that we jointly envision and create
a new order for Mindanao, which will restructure the governance, the
and the social environment of that island, with all its beauty and
will convert Mindanao into the main food basket of the Philippines,
an agricultural paradise, and into a booming manufacturing base. Camp
itself will be developed into a special economic zone.
thing I must emphasize, however. Autonomy does not confer immunity or
from good governance, transparency, and accountability, particularly in
the use of public funds.
government has been providing full development support for Mindanao.
1996, where the peace agreement was signed, up to 1999, the government
poured in more than P32 billion for socio-economic development programs
into the special zone of peace and development (or SZOPAD) comprising
provinces, as well as for the support and strengthening of the
institutions in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (or ARMM).
to move both the peace process and the development of Mindanao forward
faster, I urge Congress to pass the bill amending the ARMM Organic Act
and the bill granting special powers to enable the fast-track of
the matter of the Abu Sayyaf, we are all happy that some hostages have
been released. I wish to give the assurance that the government will do
everything reasonable to obtain the release of the remaining hostages
soon as possible and not to put them in harm's way.
to rebel propaganda, our fight is not against Muslims at all. They are
all our brothers. Our fight is against rebels and other outlaws,
of their religion.
I wish to send a message to all Muslim Filipinos, the majority of whom
share a passion for peace and renounce the separatist rebellion.
Muslim brothers: We worship the same God--the God of Abraham and Moses.
You call him by his Arabic name, ''Allah,'' which in Filipino simply
''Ang Diyos'' and in English, ''God.'' Is he on your side or ours?
He is on the side of peace, and therefore on both our sides. The
invoked the Constitution when it rolled back the rebellion. Let us now
invoke our common God as we build the structures of peace.
we embark on a new beginning in Mindanao, we shall also launch a new
for integrity in government.
my address to you last year, I said: ''Hindi binebeybi and rebelyon.
Pinipisa.'' Iyan ay aking tinupad. More recently, I also said; ''I
offer peace to those who want peace. But I promise defeat to those who
want war.'' Iyan ay tinupad ko rin.
remind you of these statements because from the rebellion, I am
the war toward another enemy: Graft and corruption. Ito ang pangako
ko sa inyo: Ito ay tutuparin ko rin.
aking susunod na digmaan ay laban sa mga tiwali sa pamahalaan at sa mga
tao ng pribadong sektor na nakikipagsabwatan sa kanila.
and corruption is the worst form of rottenness in our society. It
the moral fabric of our people, robs the poor, increases the costs of
business, erodes tax collection efforts, and drives away investments.
World Bank estimates that at least 20 percent of government project
ends up as kickbacks.
a people, we must purge graft and corruption out of our systems.
World Bank, at my personal request, has conducted extensive studies
they assembled into a report titled ''Combating corruption in the
It presents an exhaustive analysis of corruption in this country, and
forward a set of recommendations for implementing a broad-based
can no longer fight corruption piecemeal. We need a comprehensive
that would reduce opportunities for corruption; remove needless
and simplify procedures; eradicate the end to recover electoral
by corrupt means; increase public vigilance both to deter and to detect
commissions of graft; reform budget processes; improve meritocracy in
civil service; target selected departments and agencies for cleansing;
increase the efficiency and speed in catching offenders and their
stiffen sanctions against corruption partnerships with the private
and support judicial reform to make the courts part of the solution
than part of the problem. The courts should not allow themselves to be
used as a refuge for scoundrels.
warn all departments and agencies of government to brace themselves,
those consistently listed in surveys and studies on government
will be submitting to Congress an urgent bill creating an anti-graft
corruption commission. This bill will provide the government with the
powers and resources to combat this long-festering cancer in our
I also urge Congress to pass the anti-racketeering bill (with
supilin, sugpuin ang graft and corruption!
the war on graft intensifies, the war on povery continues. Our premise
is that the most effective way of eradicating poverty is through sound,
non-inflationary growth and development. This, however, must be
by focused interventions that aim directly at poverty reduction. Hence,
the high priority accorded by my government to agriculture and the
areas, education, health, housing, and agrarian reform.
after a momentary dip in the first quarter from the 6-percent growth in
1999, resumed its robust performance with a 4.8-percent growth in the
quarter of this year.
education, last year we constructed thousands of new classrooms,
hundreds of thousands of new desks, addressed the teacher shortage
and proposed improvements to the curricula to meet both global
and local needs. In partnership with the private sector, we have
assistance to students by providing them access to the Internet.
health, we launched a parallel importation program to bring down the
prices of medicines drastically and make them affordable to the poor.
the 10-month period from July 1999 to May 2000, more than 190,000
were provided with housing units. This represents 52 percent of the
households to be sheltered in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.
agrarian reform, our government has distributed a total of 523,000
of land to 305,000 farmers.
continued to lay the groundwork for future growth with continuing
in the construction and completion of major roads and water supply
in the energizing of our barangays, 77.4 percent of which now have
and in the exploitation of natural gas fields to reduce our dependence
on imported oil.
have been implementing the Clean Air Act, among others, by phasing out
leaded gasoline in Metro Manila ahead of schedule. We have been
massive debris from the Pasig River, including sunken vessels, and we
rehabilitation works on Laguna Lake and its tributaries.
terminated the customs valuation and surveillance contract with the
We not only saved P4.2 billion a year in fees; we also exceeded our
collection target by P3.7 billion without their help.
pushed the passage of the E-commerce Act, for which I thank Congress.
makes the Philippines only the fourth Asian country to have such a law.
We are among the very few countries whose legal systems now recognize
trade and financial transactions are shifting away from the physical
the paper-based world to the rapid electronic highways of the Internet.
our external relations, we agreed with the other Asean leaders to
the full establishment of the Asean Free Trade Area. We continued to
an active role in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group (or
the Asia-Europe Meetings (or Asem) and the United Nations and its
agencies. To strengthen our bilateral partnerships, I visited China,
Brunei Darussalam, Chile and Argentina this past year. Tonight, I will
be leaving for my official visit to the United States.
I last addressed you, our economy as a whole has experienced moderate
low inflation, low interest rates, strong exports, a healthy balance of
payments, and record-high international reserves.
1999, our GDP grew by 3.4 percent while GNP rose by 3.7 percent. In the
first quarter of the current year 2000, GDP rose by 3.4 percent and GNP
by 3.45 percent. Not spectacular, but respectable. The industry sector
reversed its 3.6-percent decline in the first quarter of last year with
a 4.8-percent rise in the first quarter this year.
inflation rate was 6.6 percent in 1999, and a highly commendable 3.5
for the first semester of this year.
rates remained low. The 91-day Treasury bill rates stayed below 9
since the last week of June 1999. Correspondingly, commercial bank
rates also remained soft.
of the rise in private consumption expenditures, the government pulled
back from the pump priming activities it had engaged in to counteract
recessionary effects of the Asian crisis. The deficit for the first
months of the current year was P34.1 billion, or P11.2 billion less
led by electronics and semiconductors, reached an impressive $11.3
in the first four months this year, 10.6 percent higher than for the
period last year.
posted a balance of trade surplus of $732 million in the first quarter
and $4.31 billion for the whole of 1999, reversing by multiples the
million deficit in 1998.
a result of this, plus the remittances of our overseas Filipino
our gross international reserves reached an all-time high of $15.44
in May 2000, and are expected to rise to $17.1 billion by the end of
recent weaknesses in the foreign exchange rate of the peso cannot
be attributed to our macroeconomic fundamentals, but more to what we
call the ''politicals'' and the ''psychologicals.'' Our fundamentals
by any standards respectable--except to those who refuse to see. Wala
nang mas bulag pa kaysa sa ayaw makakita. In fact, barely two weeks
ago, we re-entered the Japanese Samurai Bond Market with a successful
bond float of around $330 million.
depreciation of the peso is the result largely of a new Asian currency
contagion: Other currencies in the region have been weakening due to
factors and the strength of the US economy and the US dollar. If the
had not adjusted accordingly, our exports would have become less
Obviously, the nervousness about the potential implications of the
conflict on the economy also contributed to the depreciation of the
were thus witness to a paradox: strong exports, large external trade
payment surpluses, and record levels of international reserves side by
side with a depreciating peso.
paradox, in fact, might be a harbinger of some dark clouds coming back.
After a brief period of recovery from the financial crisis, the Asian
is suffering from a mild relapse. As mentioned, currency exchange rates
are depreciating. Oil prices have gone up substantially. Unemployment
rising. And investments are nervously staying away from the East Asian
region as a whole.
we take a long, hard look at the future, what we see is the need for
hard work ahead.
threat of a national and regional slowdown, we must keep working at the
basics which, because they had been forgotten, led to the Asian crisis
in the first place. We must keep up the pace of reforms, particularly
improving governance all around, by adhering to sound macroeconomic
and by taking measures to keep the banking and financial system sound,
strong, and prudent.
must confess, however, that I find the faddish word ''reform'' as too
and wimpish. What I believe the Philippine economy needs is not just
but radical restructuring, from the ground up.
are asking why is it that other Asian countries, which went through a
crisis than we did, actually grew faster on the rebound. One reason is
that we recovered from a higher base, they from a lower one. A more
reason is that the very structure of the Philippine economy today was
from past decades of import-substitution and protective policies,
by economic mismanagement and corruption. Our industrial base is thin.
Due to decades of neglect, our agricultural productivity is low. Our
growth rate is high. And our technology is on a catch-up mode.
these decades of historical errors and lapses will take much more than
two years of any presidency.
restructuring entails the modernization of the economy, both physically
and electronically, to make it more productive, efficient, and globally
competitive. And modernization must touch not just agriculture and
but the brains and hands of our people, to put the country squarely on
the path of the information superhighway, which in turn links the
knowledge-based economies into one vast global network.
the sunset industries we inherited from the past must yield to the
industries of the Internet age. Agriculture must go through a total
conversion and our education must catch up with the twenty-first
the meantime, we must lay the basic foundations, the infrastructure,
enabling these ''modernizations'' to happen.
fact, infrastructure is our response both to our long-term and our
needs. The expected slowdown in private consumption and investments
be counteracted by a new wave of pump-priming.
are about $10.3 billion of official development assistance (or ODAs)
One billion dollars of this can be readily used for the rehabilitation
and development of Mindanao. We will attack the institutional defects
bureaucratic bottlenecks that have prevented the government in the past
from utilizing ODAs. It's a shame that because of these bottlenecks,
disbursements on ODA-funded projects fell to $800 million last year.
are also development funds abroad that can be made available provided
are used for major road projects in Luzon. These we will seek to
ask Congress to pass two vital bills: the ''Government Projects
Implementation Act,'' which limits to the Supreme Court alone the power
to issue temporary restraining orders (or TROs) against government
and ''the Act Providing for Measures to Facilitate the Acquisition of
for Government Infrastructure Projects.'' In addition, I ask you to
my proposal in the 2001 budget to double the appropriations for
these institutional reforms and radical restructurings, plus additional
measures I will mention later, should restore and increase the
ability to compete for investments in the future.
we build our infrastructure, so shall we build our information
In fact, instead of just retracting the history of other faster-growing
countries, we have decided to leapfrog from the so-called old economy
the new economy: using information technology, including e-commerce, to
fast-track our output, our productivity and our competitiveness.
the 1,408 remaining days of my presidency, there is more to come. Let
share with you a few highlights of my vision for the future, which
both of continuities from the past and of quantum leaps into new
economy will grow by an average of 5 percent during my term. My
critics say that this target is unambitious and lower than that of our
Asian neighbors. I should remind them that this growth rate is much
than what we achieved in the past. And if I can, for the first time,
the boom-bust cycle, my successor will have a good shot at achieving
growth rates. (Is that a smile I see on the vice president's face?)
will concentrate on providing both socialized and affordable housing
the poor and the wage earners. Housing as a program provides shelter, a
basic human need. It is labor-intensive and generates employment. It is
a recession antidote.
must by all means prevent another Payatas by encouraging the reduction,
segregation, recycling and composting of garbage; and by using
will continue with our program of deregulation and liberalization. We
push through with the privatization of a number of our government
that have been identified and prioritized.
will convert the power sector into a competitive, market-driven
The aim is to ensure a higher and more reliable supply of power at
cost to commercial and residential users. May I urge Congress to pass
Power Bill as a matter of high priority.
will push through further with reforms that strengthen our
In line with this, I ask Congress to pass the new Central Bank Act,
will empower the government to add to the durability and responsiveness
of what already is one of the soundest banking systems in all of Asia.
Philippines will rapidly evolve into a center for software programming
and a base for hosting and providing Internet services. As we now excel
in the export of electronic products and semi-conductors, we are also
becoming a major link in the limitless world of the Internet. The big
have begun to converge here, in addition to Texas Instruments in Baguio
and Acer in Subic. Clark now hosts the America Online (or AOL) Call
Scheduled for signing during my trip to the US are memoranda of
with Oracle, Inc. and with Pacific Technology International.
is encouraging to see that the members of our young up-and-coming
are excitedly doing entrepreneurial work in creating new Dot.com
products and services.
Philippines, in other words, is fast moving from the world of "brick
mortar" to the world of "clicks and portals."
the cooperation of the private sector, and by linking up our schools to
the world of the Internet and wiring them to the cyber world, the
educational system will take a giant stride in both its coverage and
Our future "e-schools" will be able to reach more students and provide
higher-quality, up-to-date instruction.
Philippine National Police will continue to pursue its policy of
zero tolerance against illegal drugs. It will also continue to
itself in its no-nonsense fight against crime, even as it intensifies
no-nonsense campaign against excessive waistlines.
will modernize the fighting capabilities of the entire Armed Forces of
the Philippines, both in terms of personnel and equipment. Their
performance in Mindanao further highlighted their importance in
the territorial integrity of the republic from external and internal
fact, we will streamline the entire government, enhance the quality of
government service and increase the efficiency by which basic services
are delivered. In this connection, I call on Congress to pass the Bill
re-engineering the bureaucracy.
way of electoral reform, 45 percent of all the 190,000 precincts all
the country will be computerized by the year 2001, and 100 percent by
elections of 2004. This program will speed up the counting of votes and
eliminate opportunities for fraud. I will never tolerate election fraud
since I was once cheated when I first ran for mayor of San Juan. I know
how it feels. Fortunately, the Supreme Court declared me the winner.
over the past two years, the presidency itself has struggled through
challenges of coping with the learning curve. Made all the more
by the long-lasting effects on the corporate sector of the Asian
crisis and by the vicious attempts of my detractors to discredit me and
my family. These attacks started way back during my campaign and never
let up. Now, it has intensified in a more vicious way after the SWS
a recovery in my approval rating. Unfortunately, by discrediting me,
head of state and of government, they also undermine the confidence of
the international community in the country, and thereby damage the
for our economy.
halip na tayo ay magsiraan, kailangang magkaisa at magtulungan tayo sa
darating na apat na taon upang mapabilis ang ating pag-unlad. Habang
ay nag-aaway-away, nagpapalakpakan naman ang ating karatig-bansa dahil
sa kanila pumupunta ang mga dayuhang kapital at turista.
the presidency has learned its lessons well at this point, the
itself is poised for its own new beginnings.
assure crystal-clear transparency in all government transactions and to
remove all opportunities for abuse by all government officials, I wish
to make the following announcements.
long as I am President, there will be no negotiated contracts in all
procurements, public works and other construction projects. We will
allow another Amari or Centennial Expo to happen ever again. All supply
and construction contracts will be awarded through public bidding.
to make doubly sure that future bids will be completely transparent,
government will resort to electronic public bidding, or the so-called
auction'' method, where bids from all suppliers and contractors will be
posted on a website, watched by the whole world, and where each bid can
be improved upon by other bidders, this brings transparency to a new
long as I am president, there will be no government guarantees issued
the loans of private firms. No creditors should be shielded by the
sovereign guarantees from the market risks that they themselves should
bear. The risks of their debtors' default should be borne by them, not
by the taxpayers.
only guarantee to be given will be under the most restrictive
such as those provided by the BOT law.
shall not do to the next administration what the last one did to mine,
namely, hand over multibillion-peso guarantees on failed negotiated
that my administration now has to honor.
government financial institution shall extend any new loans, nor shall
any government agency enter into any new contracts, with any private
with any past-due loans from a GFI, a record of foreclosure or special
bad debt settlement by any GFI, or any pending and unresolved dispute
will further curb smuggling by rationalizing the operation of duty-free
shops. We will confine them to traditional merchandise, like alcoholic
beverages and cigarettes carried in plastic bags, not frozen chickens
cheese curls loaded on grocery shopping carts; where consumers can
chocolate bars, but not the refrigerators to store them in. Duty
should not operate as supermarkets, and vice versa.
have ordered all the agencies concerned to carry out with unrestrained
determination the investigation and, if warranted, the prosecution of
suspected of illegal involvement in the trading of the shares of BW
Incidentally, I wish to thank Congress for passing the new Securities
Act, which provides for stronger protection of investors from fraud and
deception and which strengthens the capabilities of the SEC both for
and developing our capital markets.
hereby order the concerned agencies to resolve the air dispute with
at the shortest possible time. Taking into account the interests of our
OFWs, Balikbayan, and tourists, as well as cargo shippers. We will
our aviation policies to promote primarily the interests of the economy.
I conclude, I wish to extend my administration's gratitude and
to Congress for its diligence and dedication in acting on a significant
number of measures. You have enacted a large number of important laws
the economy, including the Electronic
Commerce Law, the Safeguard Measures Act, the Securities Regulation
Code, the Retail
Trade Liberalization Law, among others. Our Congress worked long
hard to deliver these measures. Alam kong inuumaga kayo sa inyong
sesyon at ako ay taos-pusong nagpapasalamat.
hindi pa tayo tapos. May utang pa tayo sa bayan. Umaasa ako na inyong
ang mga panukalang batas tulad ng amendments to the ARMM Organic Act,
Anti-Racketeering Act, amendments to the Omnibus
Investment Code, and the bill granting special powers for the
development of Mindanao.
conclude, with all due candor:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
have done quite well, but we could have done better. We have gone quite
far, but we are far from where we want to go. And before we can tell a
story of success, we will have to go through a story of struggle. The
ahead will be a bit rough before we get to see some real sunshine.
the face of the difficulties we face, I call on the whole country--the
government, the legislature, even the judiciary,
the private sector and civil society--to work together in unison rather
than to fall apart in dissension. We can ride the storm if we unite. It
will blow us apart if we fight.
also call on the affluent to pay their taxes correctly. There is only
thing worse than not spending enough on pro-poor programs, and that is
running excessive deficits and allowing inflation and macroeconomic
to rob the poor.
present uncertainties call for courage, hope and faith in our ability
cope and to prevail. If we face these challenges with the proper
we will survive the storm and thrive when the sunshine returns.
that I have brought my presidency through a process of renewal, I ask
once again, as I did at the elections of 1998, to give me your trust
your support. Let us leave the past with all its disappointments
and let us shape our future together. Let us all embark on a new