Speech of President Aquino, Tenshu Maru Bulk Carrier

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
During the naming and delivery ceremony of the Tenshu Maru SC-185 DWT Cape Size bulk carrier
[November 10, 2010, Tsuneishi Shipyard, Buanoy, Balamban, Cebu]
We have certainly come a long way. It seems only some time ago that we saw paper boats being ceremoniously set adrift on the Pasig River, and bore witness to the emptiness of its promise. Now, we are formally naming the biggest ship ever to be made in a Philippine shipyard.
We are honored by the roles that Tsuneishi Heavy Industries and the Aboitiz Group of the Philippines played in this victory. Thank you so much for the investments you have made; for the jobs you have provided our people; for the trust and the confidence in our nation; and for expressing your solidarity with our agenda of hope. Thank you for recognizing your company’s social responsibility to the community—for your very generous donation that will be instrumental in constructing a hospital, a public market, and school buildings in Balamban and its neighboring municipalities. Our people will remain forever grateful for this, and I remain positive that it is only the first step to a more fruitful partnership in the years to come.
Tomorrow Friday, my delegation and I will be going to Yokohama for the APEC Summit. God willing, we will be bringing home more good news from the private companies of one of our longest-standing partners, Japan, and from the rest of our allies around the world. We are hoping, with great optimism, to bring home more jobs for our people and more revenue to the national coffers, which can now be safely and directly put in its rightful place: into crucial services for the Filipino, which will sow the seeds for a better future for the coming generations.
This ceremony signifies our readiness to set sail. Hope lives in the Philippines, and powered by this hope, we have begun the journey toward the achievement of our aspirations.
The time of darkness is over. Daylight is finally peeking from beneath the clouds.
For so long, it was easy to imagine our ship of state floating into the heavy fog, sinking slowly and steadily. We were aimless and at dark in a sea of cynicism, hampered by a corrupt government and an absentee ship-captain. We are now unfurling our sails, and carried by the wind of our people’s trust, their optimism, and the honor and esteem that our nation has reclaimed from across the globe, we will get to where we deserve to be.
My most earnest call to our people and our partners: steel yourselves; tighten your grasp on the railings of hope. Let us not allow ourselves to be carried away by pettiness, pessimism, and the winds of overblown bad news. As in any journey, the farther we are at sea, the greater the dangers we face. Storms brew in the horizon, the waves are high, and the sharks continue to circle around us, nibbling at our oars. There are those who oppose our dreams of progress, oppose our newfound hope, oppose the Filipino people.
Lost in the din of negativity from the usual suspects is the progress we have made to curb corruption, in only our first four months in office. We have set up a Truth Commission to investigate past anomalies, headed by one of the brightest lights of integrity in Cebu’s own Justice Jun Davide. Deal after anomalous deal has been stopped. We have proposed a reform budget to Congress in order to plug the leaks in the ship of state. We have strengthened the Conditional Cash Transfer program, granting the poorest of our poor both a life vest to keep them afloat, and a ladder to enable them to raise their standards of living. Even PAG-ASA’s weather forecasting has been vastly improved by a simple change of leadership and consequently, a change in its institutional mindset. While we have taken significant steps to weed out the dregs of the dark, old ways in the bureaucracy, those who enjoy being obstacles rather than catalysts of reform continue their attempts to block our efforts.
We ask for the same steadfastness from our partners from Japan’s private sector, its government, and from across the globe. We have not always been keen on playing up our achievements. Naysayers abound, and they have been constantly chipping away at the hope and optimism of our people. The things we have already done were not and could not have been done in the old system wherein hopelessness held sway, and the powerful few dictated upon the lives of those who wish only to bear the fruits of the hard labor of our people.
Our nation has far too long been ravaged by cynicism. There is no reason to keep ourselves tethered to the docks of despair while the shores of progress await our eventual arrival.
Your government is here for you: together, we will not fail.
I plead to everyone: do not let go. Do not be swayed by those who wish only to preserve the old ways of lying, cheating, and stealing, of putting their own interest above that of everyone else’s. We have achieved much in such a short time, and we stand to achieve so much more. Join us in this journey toward progress.
In return for your trust, we pledge a steady course along the straight and righteous path—toward communal and equitable progress, for those who wish to further invest in our economy, and for our people.
To the Filipino people, I say: Ako pa rin po ito, walang ibang nais kundi ang gawin nang mabuti at tapat ang aking trabaho, wala pa ring ibang boss kundi kayo. Daylight is in the horizon, and we must—we shall—navigate toward it, carried by the winds of reform and genuine, meaningful change.
Thank you and good morning.