Statement of Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III
On the week of May 2-6, 2016
[Released on May 7, 2016]
Nothing short of real, transformational change has swept our country these past six years. Our progress has been acknowledged by numerous international organizations, as well as by our fellow members in the community of nations. Concretely, we see this manifested in infrastructure projects and initiatives like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which has already lifted millions out of poverty. The data is encouraging: Under the Aquino administration, we managed to boost our national economy and international reputation while also ensuring that the poorest Filipinos benefit from our advancement.
Just this week, the President inaugurated several projects that would directly improve the lives of our countrymen. It is clear: Whether in Cagayan, Camarines Sur, Davao Oriental, or any other province, this administration has continually sought to bring true government service to the people. Rather than settle for trickle-down economics, we actively pursued inclusive growth.
But the fight is far from over—in fact, it has only just begun. Long after the election clamor has died down, the quiet work of governance will continue, and it is up to us to choose who will lead us during this next chapter of our history. Who will build on the foundation we carefully laid down these past six years? Who can we trust to uphold the rule of law? Who do we want to represent us and speak for us in international community and its platforms? Everything we have worked so hard to achieve is at stake.
Once, we successfully overthrew a dictator that had promised us peace, order, and a New Society—but instead gave us oppression, violence, and reason to fear our own government. Today, we see these same promises being dangled before us by those who would seek to cast aside our hopes and instead take advantage of our fears. By working together, we have already achieved so much these past six years. Of course, much more remains to be done—but when has a quick fix ever worked? When has dictatorship ever worked? Now that the world’s eyes are on us, do we want them to see us vote for the kind of one-man rule we ousted only a generation ago?
There was a time when we feared our government, when we didn’t dare speak against those in power. There was a time when we feared our neighbors, of what they—or the people they know—might do to us should we happen to have a difference of opinion. Those days are long gone, and we must unite as a people to ensure that they never return.
It is imperative that we align our votes with our vision for the country. Do we want a leader who represents the best in us—a nation of decent, hardworking individuals—or do we want one whose popularity is fuelled by fear, hate, ignorance, and disrespect for the law? Whomever we choose, it is certain that nothing will ever be the same again. But whether for good or bad is something we must individually decide. During these last two days before the elections, let us ask ourselves if our candidate is truly the best we Filipinos can offer. On Monday, our choice will tell the world who we are as a people.