I had coffee with some call center agents last Labor Day. Lyn, a new college graduate, told me, “Now I don’t have to leave the country in order for me to help my family. Salamat po.” I was so touched, Lyn by your comments. With these structural reforms, we not only found jobs, but kept families intact. Thank God, I thought, or someone might also try to impeach me for violating Article 15 of the Constitution on the solidarity of the family as the foundation of the nation.
As Louie Villafuerte argues, to step into the future, a country that wants to be a player in the global economy needs bold and well-funded research and development initiatives of its own. To this end, we will continuously increase the budget for science and technology, and education. For in today’s global economy, knowledge is the greatest creator of wealth.
In summary, I named only a few priorities to illustrate that on many fronts, your government is working, and working well. Our economy is now growing over the longest period in the last quarter-century: 22 consecutive quarters of growth. Umakyat ng mahigit tatlumpung porsyento ang kita ng pinakamahihirap na pamilya sa unang tatlong taon ng ating panunungkulan, at bumaba ang dami ng maralita sa 25% ng mga pamilya, mula 28%, katumbas ng dalawang milyong katao na lumaya sa kahirapan. According to Thornton and Punongbayan, 70% of medium-sized business owners are optimistic, the fifth most optimistic among 30 countries, just behind India, Ireland, South Africa and China.
Bickering in politics may delay, but not derail the initiatives that need to be taken on our pro-poor, pro-growth, and pro-peace agenda. Regardless of the fate of the national budget, we must automate our election process. Local governments must get their rightful share of revenues. I ask Congress to pass a supplemental budget to effect this.
We are a great people. We have honest students and honest cops. We have scaled the heights of Mount Everest, dominated the Southeast Asian games, we have won international beauty titles, and of course punched our way to triumph in the boxing world. Our people compete and win every day in every imaginable job throughout the world. Individually, we’ve taken the world on and won; together, we must take on the challenge of creating a new, peaceful, humane and competitive nation and prevail.
For those who want to pick up old fights, we’re game but what a waste of time. Why not join hands instead? Join hands in the biggest challenge of all, where we all win or we all lose: the battle for the survival and progress of our one and only country.
After three years, eleven months, and six days, I shall relinquish the Presidency, with much if not all that I have outlined completed. I do not want it said then that, in the end, I defeated my enemies. I would rather have it said that all of us, you and I, friends and foes today, achieved together a country progressive, prosperous and united.