Speech of President Aquino at the 2010 Ten Outstanding Young Men Awarding Ceremonies

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the 2010 Ten Outstanding Young Men Awarding Cermonies
[Rizal Ceremonial  Hall, December 13, 2010]
Please sit down. Good morning.
Ang problema ho, ‘pag sumunod kay Gang parang ang weak na ng sasabihin mo. Dapat naghanda na ho ako nang mas mabuti. Pangalawa na po niyang award this year. Pati itong aking greetings kinakabahan ako; mukhang kulang eh. But, anyway, let me try my best to be up to it.
Tita Judy, good morning; Mr Lorenzo Tan, Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, Mr. Bienvenido Tantonco III, Mr. Manuel Van Torrevillas, Ms. Olivia Lynn Dizon, Senators Angara, Cayetano, Guingona, Congressmen Quimpo, Angara, Golez and Banal, officers and staff of the Junior Chamber International, the General Roxas Foundation and the TOYM Foundation, Father Tito Caluag, Mr. Jose Mari Chan, my fellow workers in government; honored guests; mga minamahal kong kababayan.

I’m doing away with the speech that we had prepared today. It seems to be of such a generic nature. My uncle and ninong is also present in this hall. And undoubtedly, he will give me a sermon if I don’t do better.
So, number one, we are here gathered to really recognize these ten really outstanding individuals—Allan Peter would want to say younger individuals—but I do remember that when I started in public service, he had already been a senior public servant than me. However, he is undoubtedly younger.
All of these people in their chosen careers had, as Gang would say, made decisions—these decisions affected others. They could have said, let us just maintain the status quo, I am comfortable, why do I need to be concerned with others? And they did make decisions a lot of times leading them to uncomfortable situations but at the end of the day, I really do believe that they made positive changes.
I do remember that it was also during my father’s time, he and President Ramos, if I’m not mistaken were both of the same batch. And if I’m not mistaken, there is this, I assume a newspaper clipping with their older pictures that it has a prominent position in my dad’s commemorative wall in our house. And one has to wonder the quality of the judges that had selected these individuals to be the batch of 60 and the impact that they did on our country a few years hence.
Checkpoints—may I talk about checkpoints? Hopefully, there are less “kotong cops” that are checkpoints these days, if not; I will look for them even further. As far as checkpoints are concerned, I guess the only parameter that I do have, anyway, when I accepted the challenge to run was simply put:  will I be able to affect a change? Can I focus the people’s energies to really transform that which you already had? And if not, if I couldn’t convince myself, then it would be useless inspiring people to dream only to have those dreams falter.
And to that end, we are trying. We have been trying and I think we will be succeeding even by next year through the support of Congress. We have the Conditional Cash Transfer Program which seeks to do away with the trickle down theory and actively intervene in changing the situation of at least 2.3 million families next year.
We are not idealists who have our heads up in the clouds at all times. We do have a program to ensure that the 2.3 million will get the needed assistance and helping hand at this point in time without, as much as possible, providing— shall we say—leakages within the system that dilutes its intended purpose.
We are hoping that this intervention will be an investment for the future because the condition has a very large portion keeping their children in school. We put them in schools not just as mere numbers but also with an improved curricula that makes it a very good opportunity for them to actually learn instead of just reporting statistics that so many had gone through grade one. We will add years to our basic education program, prevent the creation of problems that have to be taking cared of at higher levels of learning.
We admit there are so many changes that we want to do. There are many who would—perhaps not that many—but there are those who have benefited from the status quo who would want to preserve the status quo while doing their utmost to derail all of our activities. Therefore, the checkpoints, the parameters, the values, the realizable results have to be very, very clear in our mind.
The Cabinet has been meeting since the start of a…well, the end of November and the start of December, to precisely layout to our people all of the guideposts by which we believe we should be measured with and by which we hope to continue and finish a substantial portion of the transformation process within the next six years.
We really are aspiring, like you, to make a difference. But given this unique opportunity to affect the whole country, we would like to be able at the end of our term, when we step down to hold our heads up high and say, when we look back that definitely we left something a lot better than what we have found.
With all of your help, with your continued guidance shall we say because you are my bosses with your continued aspirations, your strength that you share with us, undoubtedly, we will reach it and hopefully, at a faster clip than what we have managed to do these past six months. Lest, I ramble on and there are too many people that will raise their hands.
Again, let me congratulate our awardees; it’s truly well-deserved. And if any of you start calling me “tatang,” I will show you my birth certificate to show you that I was not biologically capable of bearing any of you.
Anyway, good morning. May your examples continue to inspire all of us. Undoubtedly, the people you have affected have had a better life because of it. Hopefully, we can effect better changes for more of our people in the coming years.
Thank you. Good morning.