Speech of President Aquino at 55TH Founding Anniversary of World Vision in the Philippines

Smart Araneta Coliseum, Cubao, Quezon city
November 9, 2012

(aaplause) Maraming salamat po. Magandang umaga po. Maupo ho tayo.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno; Secretaries Mar Roxas, Jun Abaya, Ricky Carandang, Sonny Coloma; members of the Senate and the House of Representatives led by Senator Frank Drillon, Senator Kiko Pangilinan, Congressman Mel Sarmiento, Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, Congressman Luigi Quisumbing; Atty. Liwayway Vinzons-Chato; Ms. Nora Bailen- Avarientos; former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and the other members of the Board of Trustees of the World Vision Philippines; of course, the person responsible for bringing me here, Bishop Jonel Milan; Mr. Trihadi Saptoadi; Mr. Dirk Booy; other local government officials present; staffs, sponsors and partners of World Vision Philippines; fellow workers in government; honoured guests; mga minamahal kong kababayan: Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. (applause)

Pag nandito po ako, mas gusto ko yung nakikinig kaysa pinapakinggan kaya iiksian ko po itong ating talumpati, hindi ho lalampas ng tatlong pahina. (laughter)

Once again, we are nearing the holiday season. And apart from looking forward to spending time with our families, it is also a time for us to remember where this season finds its roots: in the story of Jesus Christ, who was born in the humblest of circumstances—in a manger in Bethlehem. It is the story that reminds us all that as the Gospel of Matthew says: “The last shall be first, and the first last.” It is this very idea that World Vision Philippines has taken to heart since its inception. It is also the idea that serves as our administration’s guiding star—that true leadership is servant leadership; and that true growth is one that is inclusive—where no one is left behind.

But perhaps you would agree with me that rendering genuine service to our countrymen is no simple task. Our administration has spent long days and even longer nights in the office figuring out the most efficient way to empower our people to build better lives for themselves. And I know, as well as anyone, that there are days when one may end up asking himself: “Am I really making a difference in the lives of other people?” It is in these moments of doubt when having a little faith can truly and really help.

This is what my father discovered in 1973, when he was in prison. In his letter to Soc Rodrigo, he said that it was through prayer, meditation, and through faith, that he eventually found his “inner peace.” His faith allowed him to survive a period of great trial; and it was in his fortitude that I learned how faith can allow a person to stand in the name of the difficult right, as opposed to succumbing to the easy wrong. Faith keeps a person from being overwhelmed by despair. It is that which allows us to stand the tests of the present and believe that the best is yet to come, and that we are capable of making it happen.

Today, we gather to strengthen that faith, and to pray for our collective hopes. More than that, however, we are also celebrating an organization dedicated to giving others back their ability to hope. World Vision has given children a chance to realize their dreams, while also giving those with resources a chance to enrich their lives by helping others. Your work has empowered many from different sectors to defeat the culture of negativity, and replace it with a culture of compassion. For that, I thank you and congratulate you. (applause) And I also thank as well all those who have contributed to your causes.

This season, let us all be reminded of what more we could do for our countrymen. By January, the Christmas songs may stop playing in malls; the lights that decorate our houses and streets may be gone; but it is up to us whether the hearts of the Filipino children—and those of the less-fortunate—will remain lit with hope. It is up to us to show them that Filipino compassion is not seasonal. And through our work, perhaps we may allow those in the margins to lift themselves and their families out of poverty, and to one day likewise give to their countrymen in need, contributing to the virtuous cycle of social good. The fulfillment of these hopes depends on our continuous actions today. I call on all Filipinos to use this season as an opportunity to spark, once again, the spirit of kindness and community that has long—pasensya na po may nakaalala po ata sa atin, (laughter) sana ho makilala ko na siya sa darating na panahon, (applause) pero unahin ko na muna kayo—(laughter) a community that has long characterized our people, so that together we can move our nation forward.

Yun na po ang ating dalawa’t kalahating pahinang talumpati. Ulit-ulitin ko lang po: walang magandang hindi ho bumabalik sa nagbigay ng kagandahang ito; wala hong kabutihang hindi nasusuklian. (applause)

Binigyan ho tayo lahat ng pagkakataon makatulong sa ating kapwa, talagang sa ganito pong paraan, paggawa po ng pagtulong na yan pare-pareho tayo sabay-sabay umaangat.

Magandang araw po. Maraming salamat po. (applause)

February 10, 2016 12:35:15