Aquino on Day of Valor: Remember history at this crucial time
BATAAN, Philippines – Presiding over his final observance of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) as chief executive, President Benigno Aquino III stressed the importance of a stable leadership at a crucial time at home and abroad.
Speaking to veterans and their families, diplomats , and other government offficials at the Mount Samat Memorial Shrine in Bataan on Saturday, April 9, Aquino emphasized the critical crossroads the nation faces on May 9, when Filipinos elect their new set of leaders.
"Pipiliin ba natin ang lideratong inuuna ang sariling interes, habang ginagarantiya ang pagdurusa ng mga nasa ibaba?...Pipiliin po ba natin ang mga napakatatamis na pangako, pero tila ba walang sapat na pag-unawa sa mga prosesong kailangang daanan para makamtan ito?" he asked.
(Will we choose a leader who prioritizes self-interest while ensuring the misery of those at the bottom?...Will we choose a leader full of sweet promises but who lacks a keen understanding of the processes necessary to achieve these?)
He then stopped short of directly campaigning for his anointed bets led by administration standard-bearer Manuel "Mar Roxas II: “Ako po, nakapanig sa tama, sa tapat, sa may malawak na kaalaman sa pamamahala. Nakapanig po tayo sa magtutuloy ng Daang Matuwid….At tiwala po akong magkahanay ang ating pangarap para sa susunod na mga salinlahi.”
(I am on the side of someone who's upright, with a wide experience in governance, who will continue Daang Matuwid....I believe we share the same dreams for our future generations.)
Lamenting the fact that in a war, everyone loses, Aquino emphasized the need to learn from the lessons of history guide for a brighter future. "Ang magagawa natin: Ituon ang paningin sa hinaharap, at sa pag-abot natin sa ating mga pangarap, ay siguruhing hindi malilimot ang mapapait na aral ng nakaraan," he said.
(What we can do: Focus on the future, and in pursuing our dreams, make sure that we don’t forget the bitter lessons of the past.)
To reinforce Daang Matuwid’s credentials, Aquino highlighted his administration's efforts to support veterans, among them, consolidating the list of veterans receiving aid under the Pensioner’s Validation Program.
This allowed 10,600 veterans and their families to receive free medical care at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and 183 other accredited public and private hospitals throughout the country, he said.
Aquino added financial assistance to veterans under the program has reached P91 million and that the daily hospitilization subsidies for veterans under his administration rose from P1,200 to P1,500.
Descendants of veterans also receive P36,000 a year in educational assistance. The Aquino administration has spent P370 million on this program.
Aquino also drew parallels between the situation the world faced during the last war and current geopolitical flashpoints gripping the world as he called for unity and concerted action.
“Malinaw po dito: Sa panahon ng tunggalian o kaguluhan, ang malayang bansa, maski ang mga hindi kasali sa nagbubungguang panig, ay hindi maaaring magwalang-kibo o manahimik na lang. Kung hindi po natin tutugunan ang ugat ng kaguluhan, tiyak na darating ang panahon na ang problemang ito ay lulubha, hanggang sa puntong di na maiiwasan pang madamay ang lahat,” he said.
(Its clear: In times of conflict, even countries that are not involved cannot keep silent. If we don’t address the source of trouble, then the time will come when the problem will escalate to such a point that it will affect everyone.)
The President said the current stiuation in Syria had pushed triggered a refugee crisis in Europe, which is also faced with terrorist threats that has claimed many lives in parts of the continent.
“Dulo po nito, kung hahayaan nating magpatuloy ang ganitong sitwasyon, puwedeng magkaroon ng outbreak at madamay tayong lahat (If we let the current situation continue then there might be an outbreak that can affect us all)," he added.
PH strategic partership with US, Japan
The annual ceremony marks the Fall of Bataan, one of the last holdouts of the combined Filipino and American forces facing Imperial Japan during World War II.
In his speech, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg reinforced Aquino’s message and played up the strategic partnership between the two allies illustrated by their ongoing joint military exercises in Subic Bay.
“When allies face problems and challenges, we do so together,” Goldberg said.
“Our agenda in the 21st century may include new issues and interests such as maritime security and domain awareness, the rule of law and settling disputes especially in the South China Sea, West Philippine Sea, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief just to name a few,” he added.
Japan's envoy highlighted its strong bilaterial cooperation with the Philippines in the decades following the war.
“Thanks to the hard work, unceasing efforts, and generosity of the past generations, Japan-Philippines relations are now flourishing and now we have become...strategic partners,” said Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa.
“This partnership has expanded beyond trade, investment, economic, and humanitarian assistance to also include security and defense cooperation and ...cultural, and people-to-people exchanges,” he added.
“Our 3 nations have developed strong and enduring relationships, the Philippines and Japan are among the United States’ most steadfast allies and we have all continued to work together to strengthen the stability and the security of the entire Pacific region,” Goldberg said. – Rappler.com