(Speech of Public Attorney's Office [PAO] Chief Persida V. Rueda-Acosta during the Philippine Councilors League's 3rd Quarterly National Executive Officers and National Board Meeting/Continuing Local Legislative Education Program [CLLEP], Bohol Cultural Center, Tagbilaran City, September 15, 2011)
MANILA, Philippines - Governor of Bohol and former Congressman Edgar Chatto, PCL President Alma Moreno-Salic, to all PCL officers and members, mga kababayan, maayong gabii sa inyong tanan,
I am honored with your invitation as your keynote and guest speaker. I am humbled to learn that you want to hear from me the role that I would wish you to play as local legislators.
Kayo na iginagalang na mga miyembro ng Konseho na binibigyang halaga ang payo para sa ikabubuti ng mga munisipyo at kalunsuran dito sa ating bayan, sa pamamagitan ng mga batas na inyong kinatha at maluwalhating naipasa, ay sa inyong abang lingkod ngayon nagtatanong. Maraming salamat sa inyong tiwala sa akin at sa pagpapahalaga sa maibabahagi ko sa inyo ngayon.
The late English philosopher Jeremy Bentham said that "the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation." Legislating for the happiness of the greatest number of our kababayans is hard enough- for as public servants we know that we cannot please everybody.
But unlike Bentham, our aim has always been and will always be the happiness of all. As parens patriae, the state/ the government, as parent or guardian of its citizens looks after the welfare of all.
As part of the government and as local legislators, a vital role is indeed placed on your shoulders. But I know that each one of you does not feel burdened like the mythological figure, Atlas. Sa pamamagitan ng Philippine Councilors League (PCL), nasa mga balikat man ng bawat isa sa inyo ang bigat ng tungkulin kung sama-samang babalikatin...siguradong kakayanin... At hindi lamang kakayanin kundi pagtatagumpayan para sa bayan...
At this juncture, I would like to share with you my thoughts on the topic you requested me to talk about today. As we tread on the straight path of public service, we have been equipped with a road map in our hands. This invaluable guide is the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016.
Through this Plan, H. E. President Benigno S. Aquino III, said that "we intend to pursue rapid and sustainable economic growth and development, improve the quality of life of the Filipino, empower the poor and marginalized, and enhance our social cohesion as a nation" (www.neda.gov.ph). Good governance and anti-corruption are the overarching theme of this Plan.
The Plan consists of 10 chapters, and these are the discussions on:
1. Inclusive Growth.
2. Macroeconomic Policy.
3. Competitive Industry and Services Systems.
4. Competitive and Sustainable Agriculture and Fisheries Sector.
5. Accelerating Infrastructure Development.
6. Towards a Dynamic and Resilient Financial Sector.
7. Good Governance and the Rule of Law.
8. Social Development.
9. Peace and Security.
10. Conservation, Protection and Rehabilitation of the Environment and Natural Resources Towards Sustainable Development.
Mga minamahal na konsehal ng ating Inang Bayan, iminumungkahi ko po na sa tuwina ay maging bahagi ng inyong mga ordinansa ang mga nabanggit na paksa, o di kaya ay magpanukala nang naaayon dito.
I would like to give emphasis on Good Governance and the Rule of Law; Peace and Security; Social Development; and Conservation, Protection, and Rehabilitation of the Environment and Natural Resources Towards Sustainable Development.
Good Governance and the Rule of Law; and Peace and Security
Good governance promotes among others, transparency, accountability, efficiency, and upholds the rule of law. There is rule of law when laws, statutes, rules and regulations are implemented regardless of the social status of the parties involved. At kapag namamayani ang katuparan ng batas sa sambayan may kaayusan at kapayapaan.
Among the powers, duties and functions of the Sangguniang Bayan and Sangguniang Panglungsod cited in the Local Government Code are the following:
1) "Maintain peace and order by enacting measures to prevent and suppress lawlessness, disorder, riot, violence, rebellion or sedition and impose penalties for the violation of said ordinances;
2) "Enact ordinances intended to prevent, suppress and impose appropriate penalties for habitual drunkenness in public places, vagrancy, mendicancy, prostitution, establishment and maintenance of houses of ill repute, gambling and other prohibited games of chance, fraudulent devices and ways to obtain money or property, drug addiction, maintenance of drug dens, drug pushing, juvenile delinquency, the printing, distribution or exhibition of obscene or pornographic materials or publications, and such other activities inimical to the welfare and morals of the inhabitants of the municipality."
Petty crimes like these usually cause the disputes being tackled in the Mediation program of PAO, one of our non-judicial services. Last year, the PAO handled 349,042 cases for mediation. Out of these, 247,700 disputes were resolved. From January, 2011, to June, 2011, the number of cases for mediation that the PAO has received is 39,945.
Ang mukha ng Mediation program ng PAO ay nakikita sa programang pangtelebisyon na "Public Atorni". Ipinapakita po namin dito na may paraan upang maayos ang sigalot sa pamilya at pamayanan nang hindi na kailangang maghabla pa.
Ipinapaabot po namin sa ating mga kababayan na posibleng matamo ang katarungan nang walang dahas at hindi na kailangang magbilang ng mahabang panahon upang ito ay makamtan.
Public Atorni is a 30-minuter reality based themed mediation-on-air program which is being hosted by this humble public servant. The 30-minute air time is given freely to PAO by TV5. Its time slot is every Thursday, after the late night news, Aksyon Journalismo.
It started airing on TV5 on September 9, 2010, and has successfully mediated disputes in all of its more than 50 episodes that have been shown so far.
The show highlights the settling of claims and disputes to avoid subsequent filing of cases in courts. It is the PAO's modest contribution to the Judiciary's endeavors in declogging court dockets and decongesting jails nationwide.
Ang konseho po ng bawat munisipyo at lungsod o ang PCL mismo ay maaaring maging bahagi ng Mediation program ng PAO sa aming pagbisita sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng aming Barangay Outreach Program.
Social Development; and Conservation, Protection and Rehabilitation of the Environment and Natural Resources Towards Sustainable Development
Social development is synonymous with the delivery to the poor and vulnerable sectors of basic social services, such as education, health and nutrition, housing, and social protection.
As a Ph.D-Social Development student at the College of Social Work and Community Development in UP-Diliman, I learned from my mentors that social development is based on the theory of sustainable development (Brundtland Commission, 1987).
Sustainable development is the economic and social development that meets the needs of the current generation without undermining the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In this context, we can say that sustainable development is also about responsible stewardship.
Kapag napag-uusapan na po ang responsible stewardship, mahalagang bahagi po nito ang ating kapaligiran at ang taglay nitong yaman.
In your Summit last month in Baguio City, I learned that Congressman Erin Tanada sought your support for the passage of House Bill No. 3528 or Depensa Bill as the country's primary defense against climate change. The establishment of People's Survival Fund, which it espouses, will be helpful to you, especially the LGUs which could give early climate action.
These LGUs "will be provided with financing stream for locally identified programs and projects that would address local climate change vulnerabilities" (www.cordilleraexpress.com). In connection with the People's Survival Fund, it is worthy to note DBM Secretary Florencio Abad's reminder to use government resources judiciously (www.bjmp.gov.ph).
The same is in keeping with the covenant of the national government with the people, which is - when there is no corruption there are no poor.
I personally pledge my support to Congressman Tanada's bill and its twin bill in the Senate authored by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. I am also an avid environmentalist, who is a grateful and honored delegate to the Climate Project's Asia-Pacific Summit in 2009 in Australia.
Ang pagpapahalaga po ng inyong lingkod sa kalikasan at katarungan ang isa po sa matitinding dahilan kung bakit patuloy na itinataguyod ng PAO ang pag-aahon mula sa karagatan ng Sibuyan ng mga labi ng nasawi sa M/V Princess of the Stars.
Your group's commitment to the environment could be inferred from you chosen venue, the province of Bohol. I read that my schoolmate, the Honorable Governor Edgar Chatto was given a plaque of distinction in recognition of the excellent environmental programs adopted by some towns here in Bohol.
From your ranks, another Governor Chatto will rise someday. Governor Chatto was himself a legislator: A Board Member (1980-1986, Province of Bohol) and Member of the House of Representatives (2001-2010, Bohol's 1st District).
Ngayong gabi, tunay pong puno tayo ng inspirasyon. Hindi lang po sa katauhan ni Gov. Chatto kundi maging sa mga kasama, kapatid, kaibigan, kapuso, at kapamilya sa paglilingkod bayan ng buong katapatan, paninindigan sa katotohanan at katarungan at paghahari ng kapayaapan sa ating Inang Bayan.
No doubt, the officers and members of the PCL have proven themselves worthy of their stature now and the love, respect, and admiration of their constituents. Honorable officers and members of the PCL, you are indeed commendable and admirable for your pro-active accomplishments and sacrifices for the common good.
Lakasan po natin ang ating mga kalooban habang tinatahak natin ang matuwid na landas ng buhay na pinangungunahan ng ating Minamahal na Pangulo ng bayang Pilipinas.
Thank you for giving me the pleasure and honor to be in your company tonight.
Mabuhay at muli-maraming salamat!…