His Excellency Manuel Roxas
President of the Philippines
At the official opening of the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation
[January 2, 1947]
I can think of no more significant ceremony with which to open the New Year than this formal launching of the operations of the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation.
This organization, created by the Philippine Congress, is the vehicle of the hopes of the administration and of the entire Filipino people for major progress on the road to rehabilitation and recovery. Great expectations are pinned on you, Mr. Lovina, and on your fellow board members. There is no agency of government and no department of government which bears a more focal responsibility for the years to come than the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation. By means of this government instrumentality, which is really much more than an instrumentality, the nation expects that vigorous impetus will be given not only to national rehabilitation but to a progressive expansion of the national economy, to a broadening of the national economic horizons.
Congress has seen fit to give this agency comprehensive powers. No other department or agency of the Government in the history of the Philippines has had comparable authority. The Rehabilitation Finance Corporation has an authorized capitalization of P300,000,000, an astronomical sum three times the entire pre-war revenue of the Government and one-eighth of the entire pre-war assessed value of all property in the Philippines; and even this need not be a ceiling upon the efforts and activities of this organization. Congress has given you power to issue bonds; and I do not doubt Congress will be willing to increase your capitalization should practical needs be shown. The obligations of the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation will be obligations of the Philippine Government. There is thus placed in your hands the responsibility for the credit and financial standing of our Government. It is a towering responsibility to delegate to any group of officials. It is almost too great, but there is no other way. You must know that you will be held strictly to account for the manner in which you discharge that responsibility.
The Rehabilitation Finance Corporation will have vast funds, of which to dispose. You will be subjected to political pressures and to financial temptations. Those pressures, however strong, you must resist with all vigor. I promise you without qualification that my office will support you to the limit against pressure from any quarter for the granting of loans or other favors on the basis of political attractions. The temptations to which you will be exposed may be cunning, indirect, subtle and insidious. They may be unconscious temptations. I appeal to you in the name of patriotism, in the name of the future of your nation, to steel yourselves with impenetrable resolve and to arm yourselves with never-ceasing vigilance against any inducement, honor or promise which may be made to you, which would lead you to act in any different manner, even in the slightest respect, from that in which you would act, had such an inducement not been offered or given you. I have named you to this board in the belief, my knowledge, that you are all men of unquestioned integrity and irreproachable honor. I warn you that the people will scrutinize all your acts, official and personal, to detect the least sign of departure from the high moral level at which your business must be conducted. This organization and all of its personnel must be beyond reproach, and this means above the appearance of evil as well as of evil itself. I must also advise you that error will be almost as dangerous as evil.
As you see, it is not a light task which you will undertake. Your shoulders must be broad and your spirit strong to bear the weight which has been placed upon you. Yet I do not wish that the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation to operate in a narrow and conservative mold. Vision and courage must characterize your undertakings. You are not here merely to lend money at interest. This is neither a bank nor a pawnshop. You are entrusted with a major part of the rehabilitation and reconstruction program of the Philippine Republic. You must look far into the future to ascertain and fulfill the basic financial needs of an expanding economic structure. The primary consideration of every venture must be: will it aid the productive economy of the nation? Will it help bring wealth to the people? Will it give them employment? Will it bring them lasting good?
You are the servants of the people. Your activities must help Filipinos to find a productive place in the national economy, especially in small business and industry whose development is so vital to true economic democracy. You are not authorized to subsidize any undertaking which would create an artificial enterprise not capable of competition and independence within a sound and reasonable period of time. You must use the same scales in weighing the proposed activities and undertaking of government instrumentalities which will appeal to you for financial aid.
I do not think any Filipino would envy the roles in which you have been placed. Yet if you play them heroically, you will earn the nation’s gratitude. You will make possible the strengthening of the national economy; you will be building a road for the glorious future of our people.
NOTE.―See No.35. The Corporation started with a capital of P101,276,523.88 of public money; and this was augmented by the issuance of bonds that amounted to P54,123,552 on November 30, 1949. As of this date, its capital and borrowed money totaled P170 million already. In addition, it has been given the management of several trust funds amounting to some P98 million.
Its investments were distributed as follows: agriculture, 16 per cent; industries, 31 per cent; real estate, 47 per cent; the rest to provincial and local governments, backpay certificates, and financial companies.