His Excellency Fidel V. Ramos
President of the Philippines
On his First 100 Days
[Delivered on October 8, 1992]
The first one hundred days
Sa araw na ito, matatapos ang unang isang-daang araw ng aking panunungkulan. Bukas, ang Simula ng dalawang libo at siyamnaput isang araw pa.
Sa dami ng dapat gawin ng Pangulo, ang bawat araw ay mahalaga kung kaya’t minahuti kong mag-ulat sa inyo kung ano ang nagawa na natin; at kung saan tayo magpapatuloy mula rito.
Magtatapat ako sa Simula: Hindi nagawa ang lahat ng akala ko’y magagawa. Ngunit mayroon ding mga mahalaga na magawa na hindi natin akalaing magagawa. Ako sana ay nagmamadali subalit kinakailangang hawiin muna natin ang mga sagabal sa ating layunin.
At mayroon ding mga sakunang hindi natin maiwasan—gaya ng Bulkang Pinatubo. My assumption of the Presidency signalled an unprecedented chance for a new beginning for the Philippines.
FOR the first time in our nation’s history, our people had elected not only a President and a Vice-President but also an entire Congress and all local officials down to the municipal level.
For the first time in more than a quarter of a century, we had an orderly transfer of power, the acid test of any democracy.
This new beginning could also very well be our last chance to transform our situation peacefully.
We inherited a politically fractured nation. The campaign had spawned intrigues and petty rivalries that divided our people. Stability had been battered by the Communist insurgency, secessionist movements and military rebellions. Our society was gripped in fear by rising criminality.
The economy had lagged behind those of most of our neighboring countries. Our foreign debts weighed heavily on our shoulders. Our country’s wealth remained in the hands of a few.
The bureaucracy had overgrown and yet the quality of basic services—from garbage collection to police protection—sharply declined.
Our energy crisis crippled industries and brought to households untold miseries.
Nature wreaked havoc through earthquakes, typhoons and volcanic eruptions, dislocating thousands of families and laying their productive lands to waste.
Agenda for government
In my inaugural address, I said there were enough problems to engage us all. I also said there were no easy answers, no quick fixes for our basic ills. I called on our people to join me in the reform and renewal of our society. I asked our people to help me in laying the groundwork for political stability, economic growth, a revitalized bureaucracy, adequate supply of energy and protection of the environment.
These five major concerns constitute the course we have charted toward alleviating the poverty of our people and the poverty of the nation.
We have not wavered from this course. And I am proud to say that despite the many obstacles, we have had steady gains in the first one hundred days of our Administration. My main objective for this initial phase has been to set the course of my Administration and lay the basis for effective government.
I had begun by restoring political stability and enhancing our national security. In the pursuit of peace, our offer of amnesty and the legalization of the underground Communist party has recovered for Government the moral high ground in the struggle against the insurgents. Even as we peacefully erode the bastions of leftist and rightist rebels, we continue reaching out to various sectors so that they may commit themselves to the Government’s agenda for peace.
We are proceeding in full force against criminal elements. The Presidential Anti-Crime Commission, headed by the Vice-President, is dealing with kidnapping and other heinous crimes. I myself have initiated the cleansing of the national police and the armed forces.
As part of this cleansing process, I am enforcing the principle of command responsibility—which makes the immediate commanding officer equally liable for the crimes of his subordinates if he fails to act effectively to prevent, pre-empt, investigate and punish the offenders.
We have reached out to various sectors, the religious groups, NGOs and peoples’ organizations, Local Government units, civic organizations, the media and the people themselves to consolidate the divided forces of the nation.
Recognizing that local officials are partners in national development, we have provided support for the Local Government executives and called for a fast-track implementation of the Local Government Code. My meetings with a wide spectrum of sectoral groups as well as my provincial visits equally accorded the people an immediate response from the President on their deepest concerns.
To symbolize my Government’s concern for the too, I hold a monthly “People’s Day” at Malacañang. To date, I have visited all but three of our 15 administrative regions.
To lay the groundwork for a healthy economy, we have removed all controls on foreign-exchange transactions and taken steps to privatize Government corporations. And we are moving progressively to reduce tariffs and quantitative restrictions on most of our imports.
With the economic stabilization program, we have brought down inflation down to 8 percent. We hope to reduce interest rates further by the end of 1992. The consolidated public sector deficit we shall hold down at less than 3 percent of GNP.
On the foreign debt, a financing package signed in July should reduce our debt service obligation as a percentage of exports from about 19 percent this year to 16 percent in 1993.
Inflow of foreign investments
Investments approved by the Board of Investments reached P63.7 billion during the period, exceeding the target by at least 105 percent. Investments registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission amounted to P29 billion—14 times higher than the same period last year; and inflow of foreign investments totalled $144 million in July alone (an increase of 161.8 percent over July 1992).
Also, tourist confidence has been strengthened. Tourist receipts increased by 16 percent and visitor arrivals by 17 percent during the past 100 days. Investments in tourism for the same period amounted to P8.3 billion and are expected to generate 6,500 new jobs.
Our 1993 budget commits P87.1 billion to public investments — most of which will go to power plants, telecommunications, highways, seaports, irrigation and other infrastructure.
These reforms, taken together, prepare the ground for sustained growth.
In the last three months, 16 poorest provinces had been identified and assisted as priority areas for development.
We have continued to boost agrarian reform by resolving bottlenecks and fast-tracking operational procedures even as we extended postharvest, credit and technical assistance to new landowners. Infrastructure support has been actively pursued, from the schoolbuildings of Zamboanga, the roads of Batangas, to the national telephone program.
We are working toward self-sufficiency in food by improving delivery systems and providing agricultural workers with better access to credit.
The expected increase in agricultural land conversion as a result of industrial and urban expansion has resulted in the adoption of interim guidelines under a national land-use framework plan. With this start, effective land use on a nationwide basis will be assured.
We have encouraged the establishment of more small and medium-scale businesses under the Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation for the local and export markets while providing alternative livelihood opportunities for those who have been displaced by natural calamities.
The Presidential Commission to Fight Poverty was created to integrate the efforts of the poorest among our poor into the mainstream of our economy. Our efforts are concentrated on generating productive jobs and living wages for our people.
Today, several regional industrial centers are being developed on an accelerated basis that are intended to capture investments and employment opportunities for our skilled manpower and generate services from the countryside. Foremost of these are the Subic Bay metropolitan area and the CALABARZON Integrated Development Project in Luzon; the Mactan Export Processing Zone in the Visayas; the Davao City-South Cotabato area; the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Industrial corridor, and the Northern Luzon quadrangle.
We have effected the reduction of brownouts through more diligent maintenance of power plants and by tapping the generation capability of the private sector. A fast-track program to put an additional 800 megawatts into the Luzon grid by mid-1993 is now in place.
We are establishing a Department of Energy to carry out a national energy and power development program to ensure in the mid-term the steady flow of electricity to our homes and factories. More efforts have also been poured into oil exploration and the development of hydroelectric and geothermal power sources.
A revitalized bureaucracy
Memorandum Order 27 initiated the revitalization of our bloated bureaucracy. We have begun to decentralize and simplify administration — to focus the bureaucracy on delivering basic social services; and to sensitize it to its primal function of serving the people.
Performance and finance audits I have ordered of the most sensitive bureaus, agencies and institutions shall become the baseline for probity in the care and use of public funds.
We have accelerated the resolution of criminal cases and improved access to Government legal aid services to improve the delivery of justice. To break the bottleneck in resolving administrative cases, we are providing, through an executive order, the implementing rules to the 30-day requirement in the Administrative Code to act on such cases.
We have also initiated local programs and projects that address directly the needs of specific groups — marginal farmers, coastal fishermen, upland cultivators, disempowered women, out-of-school youths, urban squatters and slum dwellers. Today, we launched the project to convert Smokey Mountain into a healthier housing and work area.
Basic services continue to be delivered to our people.
For public health, breakthroughs in preventive medicine have been made through mass immunization of babies.
In education, we have started the process to set up schools in each of the 6,000 barangays that need them even while we upgrade the quality of teaching standard and instruction materials.
Our employment rate has increased by a modest 3.7 percent over last quarter’s figure.
Meanwhile, the Metro Manila Authority is moving steadily in the improvement of garbage collection, traffic management and the cleaning and greening of the metropolis.
We have done all these even while we undertake massive resettlement and rehabilitation work in Central Luzon.
The revitalized bureaucracy is used to make the public actively conscious of the environmental ills we face and the steps we must all take to preserve the environment. All agencies have been enjoined to translate our agenda for sustainable development and environmental protection into realistic goals. Strict enforcement of environmental laws and the active involvement of the private sector to assist our agencies in environmental protection measures should be the yardsticks for our environmental plans.
Amid all of these domestic concerns, I have not neglected our foreign relations: I have, in fact, just returned from two days in Brunei Darussalam, where I consulted with our partners in ASEAN on new modes of regional cooperation.
We are reviewing our relationship with the United States, in the wake of its withdrawal from Clark and Subic Bay. And we are refocusing Philippine embassies abroad toward economic diplomacy—to make them serve our foreign trade and our urgent needs for foreign investment and technology; and to care for our heroic overseas workers.
Our continuing consultations and economic cooperation in ASEAN lay the foundation for the future growth and welfare of the region without closing its doors to the rest of the world.
In our effort to empower ordinary Filipinos, the principle we follow is that governing functions which can be done adequately at a lower organizational level should not be usurped by a higher authority.
In this spirit, we are devolving political power from the central government to Local Government units — and from the public to the private sector.
My Government now works more closely with NGOs and people’s organizations —to whom we have given representation in development councils at municipal, city and provincial level. Today, NGOs are involved in nearly every civic project — from waterworks associations to food-for-work projects; from farmers cooperatives’ to credit networks.
People’s organizations are represented in the various committees drafting the successor medium-term plan; in the Presidential Commission to Fight Poverty; and in the enforcing of environmental laws. Local organizations are active in our campaign against illegal logging and in forest protection. NGOs and people’s organizations are well represented in the new council on sustainable development—which is our lead agency in protecting the Philippine environment.
The Kabisig People’s Movement has been strengthened and revitalized. In addition to advocating Government-private sector cooperation toward increased productivity of our people and the self-reliance of our communities, it has also been tasked with the implementation of our moral recovery program to spiritually awaken our people in support of the reforms we have initiated.
The reaction to our initial initiatives gives us ground for optimism—an optimism the stock market and recent opinion surveys increasingly reflect.
If Filipinos are still hurting, they have also become hopeful about the future. And this to me, is the most significant change of all—because “hope is the anchor that will keep our state firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).
In the teeth of defiance by kidnapping syndicates preying mainly on the Chinese-Filipino community, I have ordered elements of the armed forces and other agencies to support the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission and the Philippine National Police in the campaign against them.
I know I speak for every one of us when I express my anguish—and anger—over the brutal killing by kidnappers of two young Chinese-Filipinos.
No matter what it takes, we will eliminate these outlaw-gangs. We can never allow them to hold our civic stability to ransom.
Reconciling with the rebels
To our Communist adversaries, we are reaching out with no illusions that negotiating peace will be easy.
Even so, we are willing to sit down with them—in the hope that we can stop the killing and bring back to civil society the cadres of the movement—the young men and women who are also its sacrificial victims.
It is to these misguided young people that my heart goes out. To them I say: Do not throw your lives away for a lost cause. Your country needs you to live for it: to help it be the best it can become.
I foresee reconciling with the military rebels. Here also Government has taken the first step — by releasing their captured leaders to the custody of their service chiefs.
As for our Muslim communities of Mindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, the viable option has always been development through autonomy and not separatism.
Government’s best policy is to support-in every way it can-the economic and social policies of this autonomous government, to hasten the modernization of our Muslim communities and their integration in the national community.
The next 2,091 days
My dream is to see our country on a steady course to newly industrialized country (NIC) status by the end of my term.
My dream is to see the less fortunate of our people equipped with all the humanities of life.
My dream is to see our national community working as one to achieve these goals. To this vision I intend to devote the 2,091 days that remain of my Presidency.
By 1998 we should be hitting 10 percent in real GNP growth. By then, income per capita should be at least $1,000; and poverty incidence down from today’s 50 percent to less than 30 percent.
What will it take for us to attain this vision?
We need to generate from among us a civic revolution—an explosion of social energy —which must begin in our hearts and minds as one people.
It must begin as a revolution in social attitudes, in civic commitment.
Civic responsibility has always been the price of freedom.
We must accept that national society is more —much more— than just an aggregation of individuals or families or clans.
We must realize that every human society is a partnership of the connected generations of changing persons that include not only those who are living but those who are dead and those yet to be born.
And we cannot continue—as we have done in the past—to pass the buck to some future generation. There is no one here but us: We are responsible for one another.
May isang awit ng makabagong simbahan na nagsasabi ng lahat tungkol sa pananagutang sibiko. At ito’y simpleng-simple at lalong marubdob kaysa ano mang sermong sekular ng Pangiduhan.
At ayon sa awiting ito:
Walang sino man ang nabubuhay, para sa sarili lamang.
Walang sino man ang namamatay, para sa sarili lamang.
Tayong lahat ay may pananagutan sa isat isa.
Tayong lahat ay tinipon ng Diyos, para makapiling niya.
God bless the Philippines. May God bless us all!
Source: Presidential Museum and Library
Ramos, F. V. (1993). To win the future : people empowerment for national development. [Manila] : Friends of Steady Eddie.