Speech of President Aquino, Radisson Blu Hotel, Cebu

Speechof
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
During the opening of the Radisson Blu Hotel
[November 10, 2010, Cebu City]
It gives me great pleasure to join you today for the opening of Cebu’s newest hotel, the Radisson Blu Hotel. Let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to Mr. Henry Sy, Sr. and the Sy family for their steadfast commitment to providing quality, yet affordable products and services. For over five decades, you have set the standard in the shopping mall industry, never failing to meet the ever-changing needs of your consumers. As you expand your investments to other industries such as commercial property development, leisure, banking and financial services, to name a few, I am confident that you will continue to uphold the same culture of excellence in all your endeavors. I commend your initiative in teaming up with the Carlson group, which owns and operates the internationally renowned Carlson Hotels, in building this 400-room hotel, the first of its brand in the Asia Pacific region. In launching this new facility, SM Investment Corporation (SMIC) demonstrates it is bullish on our country’s economy.

I always enjoy visiting Cebu – it’s a place that brings together essential elements that make Philippine tourism so special. Aside from being home to some of our country’s greatest natural attractions, Cebu is a haven where guests can opt for either outdoor adventure (like Secretary Almendras), or just to take some time off to kick back, relax and enjoy world-class accommodations and services (especially for Secretary Purisima, our very hardworking Secretary of Finance). With the Department of Tourism’s intensive campaign to boost our tourism, the demands for accommodations are expected to dramatically increase. Indeed, there is no better time to open up this new facility than now.
During my visits to the United States and Vietnam, the rest of the world responded positively to our good news that the Philippines is open for business. As our economy enjoys an upturn it has not experienced in almost a decade, so does the confidence of the Filipino people in the government. From day one, we have committed to restore the faith of our countrymen in their government, and the first two Executive Orders we issued are a testament to this pledge.
With Executive Order No. 1, we formed a separate body dedicated solely to unravel the anomalies of large scale graft and corruption during the previous administration, and to bring closure to them by prosecuting the corrupt and securing justice for all. The Truth Commission was established on the principle that as servants of the people, public officials and employees must at all times be accountable to the latter. Our fight against poverty is dependent upon our commitment to stamp out corruption and extravagance in all branches of government.
Crafted to recall, withdraw, or revoke the midnight appointments by the previous administration, Executive Order No. 2 was issued to ensure that the steps we are taking to re-establish a decent government will be upheld and protected by people who share our aims, not by those who accept illegal appointments. It is therefore necessary for the Truth Commission to be led by someone who stands by his integrity and moral principle; someone who objectively seeks the truth, regardless of who is involved; someone who will look after the interest of the country and not of a cabal. And I cannot think of any other person who embodies all these qualities better than your fellow Cebuano, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. I have full confidence that the trust and confidence the Filipinos have in him will embolden Justice Davide to further seek the truth in whatever case the commission will investigate.
Closure is what we need. We cannot have a cloud of doubt hanging over an entire chapter in our nation’s life, as it would not only corrode our institutions, it will also embolden those who brazened it out in the past, to not only enjoy the fruits of their crimes but plot their comeback.
Let us be clear that there are those who will stop at nothing to preserve the status quo that has already hampered our ability to achieve the true potential of our nation. Almost a month ago, the Supreme Court issued a status quo ante Order which limits the scope of Executive Order No. 2. This was released during the time when the public confidence in our institutions was picking up. This means that those who have lied, cheated, and stolen for the longest time are trying to make their way back to power, desperately finding ways to destroy our democratic foundations once again. I still hope that the Supreme Court heeds the call of the majority for judicial prudence, and promote justice with dignity, rather than pander to the influence of those who are itching to return to their old corrupt routine. Amidst the set back, this order can inflict on the significant strides we have taken forward, my promise remains the same: there is no room for thieves and the corrupt in our administration.
We all share a commitment to make the present the great turning point in the life of our nation. This will be the time where honesty and hard work will be rewarded, and where cutting corners and defying the rules will gain nothing but hard time. As our well-known warmth and genuine hospitality continue to be demonstrated to foreign as well as domestic tourists, may each of us keep on working hand in hand to develop the potentials of our motherland. With each and everyone’s contribution to our tourism supply chain, our country’s development potential is enhanced. With partners like SMIC, our administration is confident that its transformative agenda will be accelerated. As we inaugurate this hotel, may more progress and prosperity enter your halls and doors to gain additional income out of the expected tourism upsurge, and continue to establish the building blocks of our country’s growth.
We have bright days ahead of us. After almost a decade of retreating into a dark corner of hopelessness and cynicism, our nation has finally re-awakened to a new dawn of light dispelling the darkness. May this newfound hope guide us in achieving the fulfillment of our aspirations, and for us to never be overshadowed again by greed and corruption. As we enter a period of daylight, let us adhere to the straight path, mindful of the obstacles that we can overcome, steadily journeying to a better future that the coming generations will truly be proud of.
Thank you and good day to one and all.