The following are some of the highlights of President Aquino’s speech:
- “Kami ay narito para magsilbi, hindi para maghari.”
- “Sisimulan natin ang pag-usisa sa midnight appointments.”
- “Kami, ang pamahalaan ang inyong kampeon… Hindi na puwede ang puwede na.”
- “Hindi tama na ang nagmamalasakit ay kinakawawa.”
- “There can be no reconciliation w/o justice.”
- “Sa tamang pamamahala, gaganda ang buhay ng lahat.”
- “To our friends and neighbors around the world… we will be a nation where we can say ‘It all works.'”
- “Walang lamangan, walang padrino, at walang pagnananakaw. Walang wang-wang, walang counterflow, walang tong.”
- “Kung kailan tayo nanalo, saka pa ba tayo susuko? Kayo ang boss ko, kaya hindi maaaring hindi ako makinig sa mga utos ninyo.”
- “I am blessed with this (my parents’) legacy.”
- “Samahan ninyo ako… sa tuwid na landas. Maraming salamat po.”
Anti-Wang Wang Campaign Held a Congresswoman and Police Officer
WOTL: Wang Wang Ina Mo!
DURING HIS INAUGURATION WEDNESDAY, PRESident Aquino assured the Filipino people that he was just like every one of them. “I know and feel the problems of ordinary citizens,” he said. And he proved it immediately by enumerating their hurts, their resentments and their disappointments with an uncaring government.
In one of the most applauded portions of his Inaugural Address, Mr. Aquino asked: “Have you ever been ignored by the very government you put into power? I have. Have you ever been rudely shoved aside by the siren-blaring escorts of those who love to flaunt their position and power over you? I have, too. Have you experienced exasperation and anger at a government that, instead of serving you, needs to be endured by you? So have I.”
And he vowed to end all that, saying: “No more junkets, no more senseless spending. No more turning back on pledges made during the campaign… No more influencing peddling, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No more sirens, no more counterflow, no more bribes. It is time for us to work together once more.”
Who would have thought that silencing the infernal wang-wang (police siren) would merit mention in a presidential speech? Yet there it was right in the President’s first address to the nation, taking its place alongside such weighty concerns as fighting graft and corruption, reducing poverty, dispensing equal justice and improving government services. And a relieved nation has been applauding in appreciation.
On Mr. Aquino’s second day in office Thursday, pedestrians cheered when they saw his convoy making its way to Malacañang from his Times Street home in Quezon City, without the blinking lights and the blaring sirens that used to announce the passage of the President and other men and women of power. Reporters also noted that the convoy stopped at red lights and dutifully used U-turns instead of turning on some street corners to save time. It seems that Mr. Aquino truly intends to lead by example, starting with following traffic rules.
A trivial gesture? Not at all. Not in a country where anarchy reigns in the streets and road rage can have fatal consequences. Not in a country where the powerful and the influential freely flout traffic rules, beating red lights, ignoring traffic signs, and driving against traffic, as traffic enforcers helplessly look on. Not in a country where public servants behave like kings and masters, especially in the streets. If Mr. Aquino wanted to show how different his administration would be from past administrations and how citizens can be equal before the law, he could not have picked a more powerful signal than this. While they were in use, those blinkers and sirens were the most visible and loudest demonstration of elitism, arrogance and impunity by people in power.
The point has been made and taken. The leadership of the Philippine National Police has ordered the deactivation of those gadgets in their patrol cars, and traffic enforcers have been ordered to go after violators of the ban. It is time to give the rule a second look.
If the ban on sirens is meant to stop arrogant displays of power, then low-numbered protocol plates as well as commemorative plates, particularly those issued by the police, should also be disallowed. Such plates, like sirens and blinkers, encourage their owners to violate the rules and intimidate the lowly traffic enforcers who might want to flag them down.
On the other hand, there is a need to relax the rule in certain cases like police emergencies and certainly the presidential convoy. Time is precious, and even more so the time of the highest official of the land. The President cannot be late for his appointments, like he was yesterday for the handover rites of the Armed Forces chief of staff, because of Metro Manila’s unpredictable traffic. Besides there are security risks involved when the presidential convoy stops at a red light or gets stalled in traffic. Mr. Aquino need not worry about using the privilege reserved for the country’s highest official to move around more quickly, safely and conveniently than everybody else. The people will surely understand, especially now that he has demonstrated how willingly he can give it up.