May 4, 2019
WATCH: SunStar Bacolod News Online launches our newest segment dubbed “Know Your Candidates”
FIRST STOP: Bacolod mayoralty candidate Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue as she presents herself, her track record and her platforms for the city.
May 4, 2019
WATCH: SunStar Bacolod News Online launches our newest segment dubbed “Know Your Candidates”
FIRST STOP: Bacolod mayoralty candidate Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue as she presents herself, her track record and her platforms for the city.
Delivered during the Talking Points – AC US Embassy Talks
September 27, 2019 USLS Bacolod
We are living in the midst of a revolution – the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a digital revolution.
Human beings are now more connected than ever before. Through the Internet, using devices and services for work, for school, for personal information sharing, for practically all aspects of life.
Our parents made use of these good old typing machines. Today these useful typewriters have become a thing of the past. Like dinosaurs beside powerful computers which exponentially increased human productivity.
We spend time being tied down to wired telephones to communicate with others. Today we can place a call everywhere we are using our mobile phones – smart phones.
We used to wait for weeks, or months to receive a mail. Today it would only take seconds to send or receive an email.
If we say we will see a doctor, we mean that to be literal. But today telemedicine has bridged in real time – patients and doctors who are unable to meet.
We spend hours researching inside libraries to accumulate data or information. Today we Google it.
We buy things we need or want from a physical store. Today we can also get them online and pay for them online.
That is the power of digitization. The technical conversion of traditional to digital. Physical to virtual. Slow to fast. Old to new.
Digitalization is the process of digitization. Creating digital systems to impact on various industries, services and sectors of society.
Its total and overall effect is called digital transformation.
Let me share with you the major technological breakthroughs that make digital transformation possible.
BIG DATA and ANALYTICS – data discovery process using techniques and tools like mining useful information or insights from huge sets of data either structure or unstructured. This is enabled through exponential increase in both computing power and storage capacity. Imagine all the health records of the city over the last 10 years – analyzed to understand most common diseases and causes. Data about recidivism among young people over the last ten years to understand causes and develop intervention strategies.
INTERNET OF THINGS where everyday devices connected to the internet through sensors and computing power to monitor and manage actions, offering users greater influence over their environment. Think of lights that you can turn and off even without touching the switch. Think of a digital jacket which has thermal capacity and adjusts to the weather.
AUTOMATIC AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE which combining technology such as Robotics Process Automation or RPA, Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Have your heard of chatbots on Facebook Messenger answering your through chat.
CLOUD COMPUTING which delivers IT services hosted over the internet to transform compute resources into a utility. Everything is on cloud as they say.
Digital transformation will have significant impact on business, workforce, education, consumer behavior and our lifestyle. But today I will take this opportunity to highlight its impact on our workforce – in the skills that are required given the new ways of doing things, and its impact to our traditional working environment.
In the Philippines, the latest reports show – 9.8 million unemployed Filipinos. We are standing on the crossroads of opportunity and adversity. Whether we go and generate millions of jobs for the country or lag behind as among the countries with huge a labor mismatch – is up to us.
In the Education to Employment or E2E research of Mackinsey’, there are 75 million youth unemployed today. About 40 percent of employers surveyed – say a lack of skills is the main reason for entry-level vacancies. In the Philippines, the number are even worse. It could up to sixty percent of our graduates being without skills required to be hired for the first time.
We need to continue serious efforts instead of trifling around with the future of our country, or of our city.
We need skills. The World Economic Forum in its 2016 Future of Jobs Report identified the 10 important skills. Complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and the rest of the skills make up for soft and non-technical skills. The challenge is how to teach these skills in traditional schools characterized with textbook information and typical classroom lectures.
Moving forward to the bigger picture – The International Telecommunication Union, a specialised agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies believes there is a large skills gap emerging today. They are zeroing in on digital skills gap. With tens of millions of jobs opening up around the world for those with advanced digital skills – and a shortage of qualified people to fill the positions.
The ITU is sharing this digital skills continuum which is practically applicable to all industries. Digital skills are classified into basic, intermediate and advanced. Our goal is to be able to move a significant portion of our workforce from basic to advanced in order to be competitive with other economies.
In its latest Digital Skills Insights for 2019, the ITU Academy further consolidated the list to include soft skills and digital entrepreneurship, having identified the demand of industries over the next few years.
Basic Digital Skills – generic ICT skills required for nearly all jobs. They relate to the effective use of technology, which is necessary in most professions like web research, online communication, use of professional online platforms and digital financial services
Mid-level Digital Skills – these include digital graphic design and marketing, desktop publishing and social media management, both for job and entrepreneurship opportunities
Advanced digital skills – skills necessary to create, manage, test and analyse ICTs. They relate to technology development, including coding, software and app development, network management, machine learning, big data analysis, IoT, cybersecurity and blockchain technology
Soft skills – complementary to technical skills, these are skills necessary for all professionals to ensure collaborative and effective work in the digital economy. They include leadership, communication, teamwork and client focus, among others
Digital entrepreneurship – digital skills required by entrepreneurs, including online market research, strategic planning and business analysis, using financing and crowdfunding platforms, online marketing, online networking and establishing mentoring relationships.
Why are skills evolving? Because the nature or kind of jobs we have today are also evolving. Here is a Tholons list of Future Jobs, the word “Future” is simply an adjective here because most of these jobs are actually existing today.
A revolution disrupts the way we all do things. A revolution pushes all to step up the value chain. Skill. Reskill. Upskill our workforce. Tholons provide us with some insights how. But it all boils down to leaving behind our notion that traditional classroom lectures are enough.
The Fourth Industrial revolution is an age of disruption. It disrupts recruitment process, workplace ecosystem and creates more and more newer technology. As many jobs as will disappear or are made irrelevant due to new technology – these technologies will generate more jobs – but the question – will there people fit for the jobs?
Most experts say – Collaboration is the key. In their latest research on how countries can survive the advent of artificial intelligence or AI causing huge displacement of workers but creating new jobs requiring advanced digital skills – Mackinsey reinforced the need for collaboration. I like this model because it very realistic in identifying the stakeholders.
What else can we do – I believe and promote several strategies as solution to the digital skills gap based on years of research and discussion with stakeholders –
First – an improved quality apprenticeship program because industry today would like to take the lead in upskilling the talent in most countries.
Second – Digital Skills Strategy – the ITU recommends for all countries to have a digital skills strategy to move its workforce from basic to advanced digital skills.
Third – Experiential Learning – more non-traditional ways of leaching and learning outside the four walls of the classroom to allow students to experience actual industry of workplace environment.
Fourth – Conducive startup ecosystem – support to startups and students ho wish to take the path of entrepreneurship instead of employment, and to allow them an environment conducive for their ideas to grow into business models
Fifth – Building a strong brand for Filipino products and services – even as we create more jobs and as we upskill our workforce, we must promote the Filipino brand of services.
We are in the midst of a revolution filled with so much opportunity despite of all the many challenges.
In the words of Brahima Sanou, Director for Telecommunications Development Sector of the ITU – Let’s imagine a country where basic digital skills are prized, promoted and prioritized for all its people – integrated as one of the nation’s foundational skills alongside traditional literacy and numeracy skills. Imagine a country where all segments of the population can access news and information, communicate with friends and family, make everyday use of services related to e-health, e-government, digital finance, agro-tech, smart transportation – and benefit fully from immersion in a vibrant and global knowledge society. Imagine a people that has the requisite digital skills to be employable, productive, creative, and successful – societies where all our young people can develop basic skills and then progress to acquire intermediate and advanced levels of digital expertise – able to participate in emerging industry sectors and to start their own businesses.
Let’s us not leave this to our imagination – let us make this a reality. Welcome to the Fourth Industrial revolution!
Outline of Speech of mayoralty candidate Jocelle Batapa-Sigue delivered during the Opening Salva of One Bacolod last April 1, 2019 at the Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Center
It is not a question of what Bacolod is today but what Bacolod could become in the future. For what Bacolod is today is not a work of one but of everyone – And the future we all dream is not going to be the work of one- But of every one of us.
We cannot allow our City to be left behind. When other Cities already demand specific and measurable developments and outcomes from projects and programs using public funds- Our leaders simply extend public funds to hire thousands of temporary workers near election time to serve as armies to justify their stay in power.
But to stay in power, to be re-elected is anchored on concrete indicators –
Traditional politics has crippled our City for a long time – Politics anchored on slogans, patronage, hypes, personality. While these are not entirely bad. We deprive ourselves of real and genuine leadership.
A leadership anchored on a vision. When I joined politics for the first time in 2001, the first question I asked was- Am I competent? And capable of becoming a councilor? Can I deliver and fulfill my promises to author milestone legislations for women, for children, to create jobs, to impact the lives of people.
I spent my years in the council writing, crafting ordinances under my committee- women and gender to information and communications technology. Sadly, I have never chaired any other committee until my last year – When I handled tourism and trade.
But I am not giving up on my dream of making a difference. I used women and gender and CT to create a difference. I worked with as many organizations. With as many people over the last decade. I represented Bacolod in national and international avenues lifting the banner of Bacolod to the world as an Eisenhower fellow of the Philippines, Asia Society Ten Young Leaders, Philippine ICT Individual Contributor of the year, one of the Outstanding Women in Nation service and many other accolades.
You have heard this already – I was a neophyte in 2001 – trying to think if I can be valuable to this City- After 18 years- I dare say- I am ready. I am competent. I am capable. I am strong to be MAYOR of BACOLOD. My time has come. And tonight is NO longer about me. It is already ABOUT what this City can become.
Let me now outline my vision in 3 years:
I will be your voice. I will stand for you. Please give me 3 years!
To my esteemed colleagues, the Honorable Members of the Sanggunian Panlungsod, other fellow workers in government, my fellow women lawyers and advocates for women and children’s rights, friends – good afternoon.
I rise today for the first time ever to address this august body not for myself but for a few hundreds of advocates all over the Philippines – who are shocked, disheartened, and worst, terrified of the news of the brutal murder of our fellow advocate, a young but courageous women’s rights lawyer, a soft-spoken and prayerful wife and mother of three, and a staunch proponent of many legal reforms in our legal and judicial system.
Atty. Arbet Sta. Ana Yongco, of LAW, Inc. or the Legal Alternatives for Women, Inc, in Cebu, was gunned down by an unknown assailant in her home last October 11, 2004. I share in the grief of her husband, Atty. Filemon Yongco and join the National Network of Family Violence Prevention Programs, and the Gender Watch Coalition of Negros Occidental as they salute Atty. Arbet Sta. Ana Yongco today. While we are in this hall, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon today, thousands of women rights advocates and supporters gather in the Cebu Capitol to rally for Arbet including our former Councilor Celia Flor and other Bacolod lawyers.
I met Arbet thrice, one in Cebu when we were trained as lecturers by LAW, Inc, for the D-A-W coalition project to lecture about Republic Act 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, then in Bacolood at Business Inn a couple of years ago, when she lectured about RA 7877 and then in Manila, where we had a national congress sponsored by TUCP, where she guided us in proposing amendments to the Anti-Job Discrimination Law.
I am sad to hear the news of her death not only because I knew her but because deep in my heart, I know that there are only a few members of the legal profession that share Arbet’s mission. There is no money in lawyering for abused women and children because most of them are economically incapable, one of the common reasons why they are susceptible to abuse. But we cannot just sit and watch because government’s role is to protect her citizens especially those who are incapable of protecting themselves. That too, I firmly believe is also the role of the legal profession.
In my almost eight years as a lawyer, I have devoted my profession to the cause of abused women and children but like most of them, there are many times when my courage waivers and my enthusiasm wanes – as I see in the eyes of these women and children that disillusioned look. They are disillusioned because many groups and public officials challenge them to report, to come out in the open, and to be not afraid to tell their stories – but only to end up without a lawyer to help them achieve justice. And if there are lawyers, these lawyers become slaves – working, spending their resources, and risking their lives for these hapless ones. That is why there are a few takers, after all lawyers have to eat, too.
I challenge the Sanggunian Panlungsod to support all programs geared towards the emancipation of women and children from the culture of violence both domestic and external.
I challenge the administration of Mayor Bing Leonardia and this Sanggunian Panlungsod to give the 5% Gender and Development or GAD fund where the same is due and that the GAD Council be convened for the purpose of finally creating a comprehensive GAD Plan for the City of Bacolod. In fact in this aspect, we were rated with a “ZERO” for implementation by the DILG last year because while there are many laws and ordinances for women and children – these laws and ordinances were not accordingly implemented.
As chair of the Committee on Women and Gender, head of the USLS Women and Children’s Legal Desk, and a member of the Gender Watch Coalition, I propose that this administration publish a guide for GAD workers containing all the laws on women and children, especially the recent ones like the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004, the Anti-Trafficking in Women and Children Act of 2003 and the Worst Forms of Child Labor Act of 2004. The printed guide shall also contain all the ordinances so far passed to protect women and children and enforce their rights as well as a comprehensive databank of all NGO’s and government agencies working for women and children. Through this and through many other projects, we can strengthen our barangays against family violence.
Finally, I ask the people of Bacolod to support projects geared towards the protection of women and children. On November 29 to December 10, 2004, we will once again mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence and at the same time, the year 2005 has already been declared by the president as the year of the feminist movement to mark the centennial year of the feminist movement in the Philippines.
If the mastermind of this dastardly act thinks that by killing Arbet he has cowed her fellow lawyers and advocates, he is mistaken. Arbet’s dreams did not die at her funeral, and it is a fitting celebration of her life and work that we continue defending women and advocating for their rights, and work for reforms in the legal and judicial system.
Arbet’s brutal murder in her own home shows how law and order is but an an empty phrase for criminals who roam freely in our county today. The five shots the murderer mercilessly fired on Arbet’s head and body were shots also aimed at our system of democracy and the rule of law. Lawyers, judges and people in the media are being killed because they courageously questioned the culture of corruption, criminality and social injustice.
Privilege Speech Delivered by Councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue on April 23, 2008 before the Regular Session of Sangguniang Panlungsod of Bacolod
At the outset – I want to state that I am delivering this privilege speech on the occasion of the on-going celebration of International Earth Day which was yesterday – actively participated in by at least 60 non-government organizations, public and private institutions and offices, schools as well as concerned groups and individuals who comprise the Earth Day 2008 Bacolod and Negros Occidental Convenors.
We have 10 demands for the Earth addressed both to our leaders and to ourselves.
For the record, please allow me to enumerate this appeal:
After having read that and due to limited time – I shall only dwell with the NUMBER ONE appeal – Make Recycling a Habit! Compost! Re-use! Implement Waste Reduction and Diversion Now!
My dear colleagues of this august body, it pains me sincerely to feel that I might be encroaching in others committees concerns but I have to make this ultimate sacrifice for the sake of bringing this urgent matter to our attention.
As one of the Earth Day Convenors, I feel guilty that I publicly advocate waste diversion and reduction – but I cannot even speak up in this hall because I am afraid of the political backlash they say. But today, I want to be free from being afraid. It is the privilege of every member of this body to speak up.
Although many supporters of the Earth Day continue to strive to advocate their causes – many of them find the activities and the projects without any big impact. So today I take the cudgel to speak for them. I am praying that I will not earn anybody’s ire but if that is the consequence then I am willing to sacrifice and be accused of suspicions and speculations. But what I have to say is simply based on law and conscience. I respect my duty to the Sanggunian, but I respect more my duty to the people.
After this speech – I might not be able to look at some of you straight in the eye but I would endure that – rather than not look at our constituents straight in the eye for not speaking up.
My conscience is deeply bothered by many questions as a local legislator. I am very sorry – I really feel accountable and I can no longer maintain my silence. I have reached a stage when I can no longer hold back and say what I have to say.
I feel like an inutile and I have always hate that feeling since I was a student that I always take the cudgel to lead people and contribute what ever little I can. As a local legislator, I feel the only thing I can contribute is to set policy directions – if even this is curtailed – then my only usefulness is to speak.
In the September 19, 2007 issue of Sun Star Bacolod, Engr. Efren Canlas from the Department of Public Services in response to the lowest assessment ratings result of the Local Government Performance Management Systems or LGPMS with regards to the city’s solid waste management program, was quoted to say – that the present dumpsite, which is still an “open dumpsite,” is in violation of Republic Act 9003 otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
For many days now – we have been plagued by the issue regarding the “dumpsite”. I read and I hear it in the newspapers and other media. That word – “dumpsite”. Pardon me – It breaks my heart to say this – but under RA 9003 – but since 2006, dumpsites, whether opened or controlled, have already been disallowed by law. We are trained as lawyers that another term for that is “illegal”.
Why do we continue to say “dumpsite” or use the word “dumpsite”? As a lawmaker, I ask myself – I am not duty-bound to respect the law? If we cannot implement the law – can we not just at least refrain from actively pursuing something that is not allowed by law?
I would like to share with you the following excerpts from my research – it says The Solid Waste Management Law is quite interesting because it now reflects the shift in the mindset and treatment of garbage or solid waste. Whereas garbage was formerly treated only as garbage to be disposed of and thrown away, the mindset of the law now views solid wastes as a resource that must be re-used and recycled.
According to the article, RA 9003, one of the most sensible laws in recent memory, requires the segregation of solid wastes, at source. In effect, it shifts responsibility for solid waste management from the government to the individual – where it should be. In the art and science of environmental governance, the vigorous and proper implementation of the solid waste management law cannot be overemphasized.
The article further states – A government cannot dare to talk of such high-faluting terms such as ‘economic progress and development’, if it cannot properly handle such a simple matter as proper solid waste management.
The article finally states – Good environmental governance is a condition sine qua non for good overall governance. There is a more fundamental reason for this however. Cleanliness of self and surrounding is a good exercise for a people to convert a simple environmental awareness (of cleanliness) into a conscious individual action. It is also known as ‘acting out a consciousness’). And the fact that members of the community all work together, individually and collectively, to clean their homes and surroundings is another excellent exercise of community cooperation and confidence building.
In the news article, Engr. Canlas was quoted to say – the “what pulled our LGPMS ratings down is the open dumpsite and the failure of the barangay-based waste segregation program”
Based on the article and the statement of Engr. Canlas – the question that has been nagging me – as I reflected on and thought so lengthily is – whether or not as leaders and laws makers – we are able to inspire our people to adopt this mindset? Do we inspire by our example and our policies? Or do we also ask them to maintain “dumpsites” as matter of rule.
Unlike a mayor or a governor or a president, we were elected into office as lawmakers. Therefore, I honestly believe that we should uphold the law of our fellow lawmakers especially in the national level. First and foremost, various concerned organizations envision a COMPREHENSIVE SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM which initially entails the preparation of the Local Government Solid Waste Management Plan or LGSWMP. Pardon me for my poor memory but I cannot recall the Sanggunian having perused or approved an LGSWMP.
Under the IRR of RA 9003 – there are at least 13 Components and Elements of Local Government Solid Waste Management Plan or an LGSWMP:
The Background Information component which mandates that the LGU collate all necessary information such as population of each barangay, actual and projected, proposed sites for disposal and other solid waste facilities; estimated solid waste generation and projection by source and inventory of existing waste disposal and other solid waste facilities and capacities; as well as of existing equipment used for collection and the number of people involved in solid waste management.
The second component is Waste Characterization which shall identify the constituent materials which comprise the solid waste generated within the jurisdiction of the LGU.
The third component is Source Reduction which involves strategies in reducing the volume of solid waste generated at source, the methods that the LGU will use to determine the categories of solid wastes to be diverted from disposal at a disposal facility through re-use, recycling and composting; and new facilities and of expansion of existing facilities which will be needed to implement re-use, recycling and composting.
The fourth is the recycling component. The fifth is the composting component. Both components shall show the methods by which the LGU shall, in combination with the source reduction, reduce a sufficient amount of solid waste disposed of within its jurisdiction to comply with the diversion requirements through composting.
The sixth component is Collection and Transfer which takes into account the geographic subdivisions to define the coverage of the solid waste collection area in every barangay and encourages and holds them to be responsible for ensuring that a 100% collection efficiency from residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural sources, where necessary within its area of coverage, is achieved.
The seventh component is waste processing which involves the methods and the facilities required to process the solid waste, including the use of intermediate treatment facilities.
The eighth component is the solid waste facility component which includes a projection of the amount of disposal capacity needed to accommodate the solid waste generated.
The ninth component is the education and public information component which shall describe how the LGU will educate and inform its citizens about the source reduction, recycling, and composting programs and information on waste collection services, solid waste management and related health and environmental concerns.
The tenth component is the special waste which shall include existing waste handling and disposal practices for special waste or household hazardous wastes, and the identification of current and proposed programs to ensure the proper handling, re-use, and long-term disposal of special wastes.
The eleventh component is funding component includes identification and description of project costs, revenues, and revenue sources the LGU will use to implement all components of the LGU solid waste management plan.
The twelfth component is the Privatization of Solid Waste Management Projects which shall promote the participation of the private sector in the management of solid wastes, particularly in the generation and development of the essential technologies for solid waste management.
The thirteenth component is the incentive programs, cash or other wise, which shall encourage the participation of concerned sectors.
My dear colleagues, I agree – our immediate problem is to look for a place to throw our garbage. But I also appeal to the Mayor – and the City – let us please work on the twelve other components. Not only because we have to – but because we must.
Section 7 of RA 9003 calls for the Establishment of Mandatory Solid Waste Diversion Program within five years after the effectivity of the law or until 2005. This means the LGU shall divert at least 25% of all solid waste from waste disposal facilities through re-use, recycling and composting activities and other resource recovery activities. The baseline for the 25% shall be derived from the waste characterization results which each LGUs are mandated to undertake. Subsequently the waste diversion goals shall be increased every three (3) years thereafter. We are not even prohibited from exceeding the 25% goal – and in fact – ZERO-WASTE is encouraged.
Again, pardon me for my very poor memory – but I could not remember us having approved a waste diversion plan since I became councilor in 2004.
As regards the operation of open dumpsites – the law is clear. No open dumpsites shall be established and operated by any person or entities, including the LGUs, will be allowed after three years following the effectivity of RA 9003 or in 2004.
In all good faith – I believe the Sanggunian in 2004 approved the Barangay Felisa site with the view that it will not be an open but a controlled dumpsite.
The law clearly states that all open dumpsites shall be converted to controlled dumpsites. These controlled dumpsites shall be allowed only up to five years or until 2006.
As an alternative, sanitary landfill sites shall be developed and operated as a final disposal site for solid and, eventually, residual wastes of a municipality or city or a cluster of municipalities and/or cities.
It is now 2008, let us call for a sanitary landfill in accordance with the law.
I humbly – most humbly appeal that we concentrate our resources, time and efforts in complying with the law. Let us appeal for a sanitary landfill and waste reduction programs. Let us support Honorable Floor Leader in his efforts as chair of the Committee on Environment. Let us help him appeal for a LGSWMP.
At the end of the day – we are not only elected officials – we are stewards of the next generation. It is said that the results of what we do to protect our environment will be felt 30 years from now – not many of us will be in the seat of power by then – but I say that unlike a politician who plans only for next three years – it takes a statesman to plan for the next thirty years. I believe we are all statesmen and women in this hall.
Thank you for your time.
Inspirational Message of Senator Sonny Angara
DIGITAL CITIES PH AWARDS: Best Practices in eGovernance for LGUs
Friday, October 12, 2018| Jose Rizal Hall, PICC, Pasay City
WHILE WE CONTINUE TEACHING STUDENTS GEOGRAPHY, HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES USING MAPS THAT DIVIDE HUMANITY INTO COUNTRIES, THE WORLD TODAY SHOULD BE SEEN AS A COMPLEX WEB OF CONNECTIONS. AND IN THAT WEB, CITIES—MEGACITIES, IN FACT—ARE BECOMING MORE IMPORTANT, MORE DECISIVE TO HOW THINGS MOVE, CHANGE AND EVOLVE IN THE WORLD.
Parag Khanna, a Senior Research fellow at the New America Foundation, wrote in 2011: “The 21st century will not be dominated by America or China, Brazil or India, but by the City. In a world that increasingly appears ungovernable, cities—not states—are the islands of governance on which the future world order will be built.”
Let’s look at the numbers. According to the UN, up to 55 percent of the world’s population now live in urban areas, and is projected to increase to 68 percent by 2050. Historical data shows that while the world’s urban population was only 751 million people in the 1950s, today it has already ballooned to 4.2 billion. That means nearly half of the world’s population are technically city-dwellers.
According to the World Bank, more than 80 percent of global GDP is generated in cities. In fact, one Citylab article calculated that if you add the GDP of the ten largest metropolitan cities in the world, it would be bigger than the entire GDP of Japan and Germany combined.
There are various reasons for such developments, but I think chief among them is the advent of connectivity through ICT and the Internet.
ADMITTEDLY HOWEVER, WE’RE STILL GOING THROUGH THE STEPS TO IMPROVE ICT CONNECTIVITY IN THE COUNTRY.
We remain in the lower tiers of global internet speed indices (97 out of 125 for mobile speed, 84 out of 135 for broadband per Ookla speed monitor) averaging only 14 to 17 megabits per second. The slow speed takes away potential revenue of small businesses and disrupts essential online government services. Consider how lagging networks waste a full working week (4-5.5 days) per year according to a 2013 study by storage company Sandisk.
Government expenditure must be towed to match private sector investment on ICT infrastructure, where we have a little over 16,000 cell sites funded exclusively by telco companies compared to Vietnam’s 70,000 and China’s million invested by both state and private firms. For a single cell site to be assembled, more than 20 permits are needed combined with an 8-month waiting time and all with the risk of being denied by homeowners’ associations.
THIS ISN’T TO SAY HOWEVER THAT THE “ICT REVOLUTION” IN THE PHILIPPINES HASN’T BEEN GAINING MOMENTUM OVER THE YEARS.
In fact, we’ve achieved strides, especially now that an entire department—the DICT—is focused on making that revolution happen all over the country. We are now seeing the first, albeit slow and rocky, steps in the roll-out of the DICT’s Free Internet Wi-Fi program. But we’ve also registered gains in some of its projects like Rural Impacting Sourcing and Tech4Ed.
Likewise, we have witnessed the breakthrough 400% growth of average internet speeds in the country—the most in ASEAN in the last 5 years And soon, due to the efforts of Acting Secretary Rio, Jr and his team at the DICT, we could be welcoming a third telco player on or before December this year.
BUT WHILE EFFORTS ARE BEING DONE ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL, MUCH MORE IS DEFINITELY HAPPENING ON THE GROUND. LGUS—PARTICULARLY CITIES—ARE ALREADY LEVERAGING THE POWER OF ICT CONNECITIVITY FOR GOOD ENDS. IN FACT, THAT’S WHAT WE ARE CELEBRATING TODAY—CITIES WHO ARE MAKING BIG MOVES IN THE DIGITAL SPACE.
In the latest 2018 Tholons Services Globalization Index (TGSI), 6 Philippine cities were included in the Top 100 “Super Cities” of the World for outsourcing, namely: Metro Manila at #2 (from #4 last year); Cebu at #11 (from #12); Davao at #75 (from 85); Bacolod at #89 (from #97); Sta. Rosa at #87 (from #100); and Iloilo at #92. In fact, the Philippines as a whole was ranked #2 in the TGSI’s Top 50 Digital Nations.
Today, 65 entries on e-Government systems emanating from 36 LGUs will vie for 17 awards on various categories—including Best in Systems for Global Competitiveness; Best in Digital Finance; Best in Data-Driven Governance; Best in Business Empowerment; and Best in Customer Empowerment.
All these simply prove that our cities have the capacity to make waves around the world, especially in the digital space.
THE FOREMOST QUESTION THEN WE NOW HAVE TO ANSWER IS—HOW DO WE EMPOWER CITIES TO BECOME DIGITAL CITIES? HOW CAN WE BETTER HELP THEM WITH UNLEASHING THE POTENTIAL OF ICT? THAT IS A MATTER OF LEGISLATION, AS MUCH AS IT IS A MATTER OF TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER.
The DICT-DILG have already moved on their MOA towards digitizing and automating the business permits and licensing procedures of our LGUs.
As Chair of the Local Government Committee, we’re working hard to pass reforms that will download more funds not just to our cities, but to all LGUs. We are also working on breaking down all the barriers they face to fiscal autonomy.
In fact, there are several measure on data transparency of LGUs, pending in our committee that would be better implemented if ICT connectivity were enhanced. These include:
SBN 1002 (Sen. Gatchalian) – establishing an Information Technology Office in every municipality, city and province;
SBN 481 (Sen. Trillanes) – establishing a public finance website in every LGU, to act as a user-friendly source of information to track local revenues and expenditures; and,
SBN 511 (Sen. Trillanes) – establishing a local government information management program focused on helping LGUs build their own management of information systems.
Ultimately, there’s no better time than now for us to start getting strategic, to start finding where more synergies can be fostered in our individual efforts at making the Philippines a truly “Digital Nation.”
We may be leading now, but that could quickly change if we don’t boost our capacities and build up our ecosystems for incoming trends like Big Data, Cloud Computing, the Internet of Things, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. Let’s continue the dialogue on what sorts of policies we can roll out to prepare for these developments.
FOR MANY YEARS, MY FATHER SPOKE ABOUT THE POWER OF THE INTERNET AND ICT TO CHANGE OUR SOCIETY. NOW WE ARE SEEING FIRST-HAND WHAT THAT POWER CAN DO IN TERMS OF JOB CREATION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE—BASICALLY IN MAKING LIVES BETTER.
Nobody has a monopoly over how this power can be used. Hence, LGUs—not just cities, but also municipalities and provinces—should definitely dip their feet into using ICT to solve real-world problems.
And so, by recognizing our exemplars in eGovernment, hopefully, we get more to follow in their footsteps. Congratulations to all!
 Duterte Year 2: The broadband picture. Gonzales, G. Rappler. 30 June 2018. Accessed 11 October 2018. https://www.rappler.com/technology/features/206159-internet-services-philippines-duterte-administration-second-year
 Users lose a full working week due to slow computers. Tyson, M. Hexus. 8 October 2013. Accessed 11 October 2018. https://hexus.net/tech/news/systems/61001-users-lose-full-working-week-every-year-due-slow-computers/?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_pulse_read%3BlVne%2FT4dTZCKaErdFCYuFg%3D%3D
 The truth about internet speed. Philippine Daily Inquirer. 17 August 2017. Accessed 11 October 2018. https://opinion.inquirer.net/106393/truth-internet-speed-ph
 Philippine internet speed grew most among SEA countries in 5 years. Inquirer.net 31 May 2018. Accessed 11 October 2018. https://technology.inquirer.net/76240/philippine-internet-speed-grew-most-among-sea-countries-in-5-years
(Excerpts from my speech yesterday – August 10, 2018 during the Launch of the Voice of the Free at Astoria Plaza, Ortigas, in the presence of all agency partners and stakeholders)
It is inspiring for leaders to have role models. VF Founder “Nang” Cecil is one of my role models. I have worked with her and Visayan Forum Foundation since it was founded 27 years ago. First, as a reporter covering their news on abused children, I would interview Nang Cecil. Then as a lawyer, I handled cases for them and became a regular resource speaker for human trafficking lectures. Then as a city councilor, VF inspired me to author the creation of the inter-agency against trafficking in Bacolod, the Kasambahay and Anti-Worst Forms of Child Labor Ordinances. VF helped me in the Gender and Development (GAD) Council for 6 years. I was able to rescue 39 children victims of trafficking mostly with the help of VF. I would use their facilities in Manila, Iloilo and Bacolod for safekeeping of the children aside from other support. Until eventually, my husband, Atty. Arnel Sigue also assisted VF as NBI agent and eventually as a lawyer. We founded the Anti-Trafficking Legal Advocates Society (ATLAS) and made our advocacy against trafficking a conjugal mission.
Today, I am called again to work with VF as chairman of the board composed of distinguished men and women as we transition to Voice of The Free.
It is an honor for me to be part of VF’s journey and to meet all of you who have been partners of VF through these years just like me. Through its different programs, VF has helped 30,000 children and women in the last 27 years. Please continue to support us and join us in this journey to give a voice for those who have none.
As Thomas Watson, President of IBM says, “yesterday, we pioneered for today. Today, let us pioneer for the future.” Thank you for all your support.
Note: As inspired by Visayan Forum Foundation – the Voice of the Free (VF) Foundation’s Vision is a society where people are free, protected and empowered to explore opportunities without the risk of exploitation and slavery. Our goals are to prevent human trafficking through community watch and other strategies, to protect victims and potential victims and transform their lives through holistic interventions, promote policy and conduct solutions-based research and partner with the youth and other stakeholders to empower them against trafficking and modern slavery.
For more information, visit www.voiceofthefree.org.ph
[Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City | 23 July 2018]
Kindly sit down. Thank you for your courtesy.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and the members of the Senate; House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and the members of the House of Representatives; Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo; Former Presidents Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; His Excellency Gabriele Caccia and the esteemed members of the diplomatic corps; Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and the members of the Cabinet; Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and the justices of the Supreme Court; my fellow workers in government; mga kababayan.
About two years ago, I solemnly took my oath as a worker of the national government. I was as inspired to institute real changes for the greater good of the Filipino people, as I was greatly overwhelmed then by the daunting challenges that lay ahead.
Two years later, my solid commitment to directly and decisively address our nation’s collective challenges remains. It has not wavered. In truth, it has even gotten stronger through adversity and the desire to give the people the most we can, within my term in this government.
Let me begin by putting it bluntly: the war against illegal drugs is far from over. Where before, the war resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs worth millions of pesos, today, they run [into] billions in peso value. I can only shudder at the harm that those drugs could have caused had they reached the streets of every province, city, municipality, barangay and community throughout the country.
This is why the illegal drugs war will not be sidelined. Instead, it will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as on the day it began. These drug dealers know fully well that their business is against the law. They know the consequences of their criminal acts, especially when caught in flagrante delicto and they violently resist arrest. They know that illegal drugs waste away lives, dysfunctionalize families, and ruin relationships. They know that once hooked, addicts will die slowly — slow deaths. And yet, they persist in doing what they do, oblivious to the terrible harm that they cause to the people and communities.
And when illegal drug operations turn nasty and bloody, advocates of human rights lash at—and pillory—our law enforcers and this administration to no end. Sadly, I have yet to hear really howls of protest from the human rights advocates and church leaders against drug-lordism, drug dealing and drug pushing as forceful and vociferous as the ones directed against the alleged errant [law] enforcers in the fight against this social scourge.
If you think that I can be dissuaded from continuing this fight because of [your] demonstrations, your protests, which I find, by the way, misdirected, then you got it all wrong. [applause]
Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives. [applause] The lives of our youth are being wasted and families are destroyed, and all because of the chemicals called shabu, cocaine, cannabis, and heroine.
Human rights to me means giving Filipinos, especially those at the society’s fringes, a decent and dignified future through the social and physical infrastructures necessary to better their lives. The lives and freedoms and the hard-earned property of every Filipino whose condition we wish to improve shall be protected from criminals, terrorists, corrupt officials, and traffickers [of] contrabands.
You worry about the present; I am concerned [about] both the present and the future. [applause] I worry about the future because I know what crimes can do to the youth of this country. If not stopped, crimes can make human cesspools of succeeding generations. I will not allow it to happen. Not during my term. [applause]
Time and again, I have stressed that corruption must stop. [applause] Corruption is like a leech that it bleeds the government of funds programmed for its infrastructure and other social development projects. It saps the morale or the morale of dedicated and honest government workers.
Corruption destroys those who succumb to its temptation and eventually it is the innocent who will suffer and bear its horrible consequences.
The love of money is corrosive. And sadly, the desire to make the easy kind by being imaginative and manipulative, corrupts absolutely. Stolen wealth does not make the thief respectable. Neither will the trappings of wealth mask [nor] cap the stink that thievery exudes. One day, justice will catch up with those who steal government funds. And when that day comes, it will be the public who will have its retribution.
While we run after those who steal the people’s money, we are also enhancing the government’s delivery of frontline services. I thank Congress for the swift passage of the Ease of Doing Business [Act], [applause] which is a significant fight against corruption and improving service delivery. We need to sustain our momentum. And I hereby direct all [local] government units — makinig sana kayo — and government agencies to faithfully implement this law and simply simplify the process. Hinihingi ko ho ‘yan sa lahat nasa gobyerno under my control and supervision. Huwag ho kayong magkamali.
I particularly call the attention of the agencies with the [most] number of red tape-related reports from the public, make your services truly customer-friendly. Our people deserve efficient, effective, and responsive government services. They deserve nothing less. [applause] Kayo lang ang ayaw eh. Gusto ng tao kayo ‘yung binabayaran, make your living from the pockets of the people, and you have a lousy and corrupt bureaucracy.
I have friends and political supporters whom I appointed to public office and then dismissed or caused to resign. I need not mention their names or recount the circumstances surrounding their removal or resignation. Media has more than amply reported that.
I value friendship, make no mistake about it. But it has its limits.
This is a lonely place I am hemmed in. Do not make it lonelier by forcing me to end our friendship because you gave me the reason to end it. It pains me to end — the loss of friendships. And that is why I appeal to you to help me in my cause so that our friendship will endure.
For as long as I can remember, the bulk of the income generated in Mindanao used to be remitted to what we, in Mindanao, refer [to] as the “Imperial Manila” to fund national projects primarily in the Metro Manila area, leaving a pittance to Mindanao as its share thereof. Mindanao was dubbed as “The Land of Promise,” and Mindanaoans say in derision that this is so because what it got from the government through the years were promises, promises and more promises.
We aim to rectify that derisive observation and, as a matter of fact, we are now in the process of fulfilling that promise through significant increases in the budget for Mindanao. At the end of my term, I hope to see the promise of Mindanao fulfilled, or at the very least, approaching fulfilment.
Be that as it may, Mindanao pauses at the crossroads of history. One road leads to harmony and peace; the other, to war and human suffering.
Despite all that has been said [for] or against the Bangsamoro Organic Law by all sectoral groups, I make this solemn commitment that this administration will never deny our Muslim brothers and sisters the basic legal tools to chart their own destiny within the Constitutional framework of our country.
When the approved version is transmitted and received by my office… The law has been passed actually and I intend to… Give me 48 hours to sign it and ratify the law. [applause] Babasahin ko pa bago ko pipirmahan. Baka may isiningit kayo diyan na hindi maganda para sa — para sa ibang tao.
We will need loads of understanding and patience to endure and overcome the birth pangs or pains of the new beginning. To me, war is not an option. We have been through the catastrophe in Marawi. We have seen the horror, the devastation, and the human toll and the displacement of both Christians and Muslims alike.
I have made a pledge that ISIS terrorists or groups or its allies will never gain foothold in our country. Yet, when what remained of the decimated Maute-ISIS group in Marawi finally saw the error of their ways and expressed their desire to be reintegrated into society, we welcomed them with open arms and embarked on genuine efforts to embrace a peaceful, productive life for them. We owe it to our fallen soldiers and police officers in Marawi and elsewhere to put an end to the bloodshed and seek the path of true peace—a peace that will last beyond this lifetime, and whose dividends our children will reap.
On international relations, we shall continue to assert and pursue an independent foreign policy. Our long-term national development and national security goals come first.
We shall continue to reach out to all nations regardless of their prevailing political persuasions or proximity to or distance from our shores so long as these nations wish us well.
Our stronger bonds with our ASEAN friends have made possible our trilateral border patrols with Indonesia and Malaysia, which has since then put out of business sea pirates, piracy and other terrorists who used to infest our shared seas. This is a testament to the readiness of our country and our good neighbors to make regional peace and security our shared responsibility.
We have successfully hosted the 50th ASEAN Anniversary and the 31st ASEAN Summit last November 2017. We have shown the world what we are capable of when we work together. The ASEAN events showcased not only the world-renowned Filipino hospitality and organizational capabilities but also our artistic talent. I would like to commend the [ASEAN National] Organizing Council led by no less than my Executive Secretary, Salvador Medialdea. [applause]
Our re-energized relations with China has also led to an unprecedented level of cooperation between our nations on the war against transnational crimes. Our shared intelligence led to the discovery and dismantling of the clandestine shabu laboratories and the arrest of Chinese chemists [connected] with the Dragon organization called Wu Syndicate.
Our improved relationship with China, however, does not mean that we will waver in our commitment to defend our interests in the West Philippine Sea. [applause] This is why we engage China through bilateral and multilateral platforms such as the ASEAN-China and the Philippines-China Bilateral Consultation Mechanism.
Opening lines of communication and amicably managing differences have led to positive developments that include renewed access of Filipino fishermen in the areas in dispute in the Philippines — West Philippine Sea.
Participation in the ASEAN-China dialogue has also resulted to the draft framework for the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea which intends to resolve disputes by peaceful means.
We admire our Filipino migrant workers for their selflessness and courage in enduring the hardships of living away from home to provide for their families. You epitomize the innate resilience of the nation. You have shown your willingness to toil and sacrifice day-in and day-out, for the long-term good of your family and loved ones. You have also contributed greatly to the national economy, even as you help in small and big ways to the economies of our international partners.
This is why we strongly condemn the deaths and abuses experienced by Filipino migrant workers in the hands of their foreign employers. I have said this before and I say it again: I am a worker of government, and it is my vow to make sure that your well-being remains our foremost foreign policy concern. [applause]
It is for this reason that we are continuing to work with the host nations to ensure the welfare of our countrymen. I appeal to all host governments to help us, as true and dependable partners, in this endeavor.
I have always believed that no matter how well-intentioned a leader is, no matter how well-conceived may be his mission, if he lacks the political will to do what needs to be done, then he can only end up a failure and a hopeless dreamer.
As a worker of government, I promised to do whatever it would take to give all Filipinos a comfortable life, fighting powerful interests and making sacrifices. My obligation is to promote and uphold the greatest good, for the greatest number. [applause]
Our campaign against Endo has resulted in the regularization of more than 300,000 workers as of early this month. On May 1 of this year, I signed Executive Order 51, which sought to protect the workers right to security of tenure.
Read my lips, I understand that this does not satisfy all sectors. I share their sentiment; I truly do. Much as I would like to do the impossible, that power is not vested upon me by the Constitution. And neither will I make both ends meet even if I violate the laws to achieve that purpose. Simply, it is not part of my territory.
That is why I add mine to their voices in asking Congress to pass legislation ending the practice of contractualization once and for all. [applause]
Our farmers, especially our coconut farmers, form a significant part of the basic sectors of society. It is from the toil of their hands that we put food on the table. It is my hope that we finally see this through. I urge you Congress to convene the [bicameral] conference committee and pass at the soonest possible time the bill establishing the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund. [applause] I pray that you will do it.
My administration remains firm in its resolve to ensure that the country’s telecommunications services are reliable, inexpensive and secure. A draft Terms of Reference for the entry of a new, major industry player is at hand. The terms will be fair, reasonable and comprehensive. It will be inclusive so it will be open to all interested private parties, both foreign and local. The only condition is that the chosen entity must provide the best possible services at reasonably accessible prices.
However, our efforts to usher in a new major player shall be rendered futile if we do not improve its odds of success in an industry that has long been dominated by a well-entrenched duopoly.
We shall, therefore, lower interconnection rates between all industry players. Not only to lessen the cost to the consumers as it will also lower the costs [for the] incoming player to access existing networks, [thereby creating] a market environment that is more conducive to competition. This is a policy which is crucial to ensure that our solution to our telecommunication problems will be both meaningful and lasting.
In the last 2 years, experience has taught me that lack of consultation or insufficiency of information can, at times, lead to rash judgments. If and when I am unsure on the most appropriate course of action to take given the problem, it’s factual milieu and the desired end, I never fail to consult to discuss options with persons whom I trust and whose advise I value.
When I decided to establish Malasakit Centers in Cebu, Tacloban and Iloilo, my long-time aide, Bong Go and his team became instrumental in arriving at the right decision through proper consultations. [applause]
Deliberations with the proper agencies also made me decide to push for, and eventually approve, both the [free] Tertiary Education Act and the increase in the salary of our men in uniform, our soldiers and our policemen. [applause]
Boracay Island, widely regarded as one of our country’s treasures and admired worldwide for its natural beauty, has sadly become the representation of the government’s negligence, including mine.
I could not allow this decay to continue; decisive action has long been overdue. Recognizing that we are mere stewards of our natural resources, and I said enough is enough.
We intend to restore its environmental integrity, alongside measures to alleviate those whose livelihood were momentarily affected. Environmental protection and ensuring the health of our people cannot be overemphasized; thus, our actions in Boracay mark the beginning of a new national effort.
This is just [the beginning]. For the other tourist destinations needing urgent rehabilitation and enforcement of environmental and other laws shall soon follow. I urge our local government units to proactively enforce our laws and not wait for us to swoop down on your areas just to do your duty and work. [applause] At some other time, I would have to discuss sa local government units.
What has happened to Boracay is just an indication of the long-overdue need to rationalize, in a holistic and sustainable manner, the utilization, management, and development of our lands. I therefore urge the Senate to urgently pass the National Land Use Act [applause] to put in place a national land use policy that will address our competing land requirements for food, housing, businesses, and environmental conservation. We need to do this now.
To help safeguard the present and the future generations, we have to earnestly undertake initiatives to reduce our vulnerabilities to natural hazards, and bolster our resilience to the impact of natural disasters and climate change.
As I had stated last year, we must learn from the experiences from the Super-typhoon Yolanda, and other mega disasters, and from global best practices. We need a truly empowered department characterized by a unity of command, science-based approach and full-time focus on natural hazards and disasters, and the wherewithal to take charge of the disaster risk reduction; preparedness and response; with better recovery and faster rehabilitation.
Hence, we, in the Cabinet, have approved for immediate endorsement to Congress the passage of a law creating the “Department of Disaster Management,” [applause] an inter-agency — just like FEMA. Well, I don’t know if it’s — it’s an effective agency in the United’s government.
An inter-agency crafted and a high-priority measure aimed at genuinely strengthening our country’s capacity for [resilience] to natural disasters. I fervently appeal to Congress to pass this bill with utmost urgency. Our people’s safety requirements cannot wait.
Ours is a rich and beautiful country, indeed. Add to that a great number of people equipped with technical expertise and professionalism, and you have a country poised to soar and take its place among the world’s economic and financial eagles. God willing. Inshallah.
Nature endowed us with this wealth to be tapped for the benefit of all generations. My policy in the utilization of these resources is non-negotiable: the protection of the environment must be top priority [applause] and extracted resources must be used for the benefit of the Filipino people, [applause] not just a select few. Do not just give me taxes. I can get it from other sources. Give me what needs to be given to my countrymen. [applause]
To the mining industry, I say this once again and maybe for the last time, do not destroy the environment or compromise our resources; repair what you have mismanaged. Try to change [your] management radically because this time you will have restrictive policies. The prohibition of open pit mining is one. [applause] It is destroying my country. It is destroying the environment. It will destroy the world of tomorrow for our children. [applause]
Again, I warn irresponsible miners, along with their patrons, to stop destroying our watersheds, recharge areas, forests, and aquatic resources. You can no longer fish in our rivers. It’s all contaminated. And the color is not even brown or white, it’s black. You want to see it? I will invite you. We can go to Diwalwal and the other mining areas. And I’m sure you will puke with what is happening to this country. Expect reforms, radical ones. I do not intend to quarrel with anybody, with the moneyed, but for as long as I am here I said: you will just have to contend with me.
I expect you to do your part in ensuring our nation’s sustainable development, starting now.
I exhort all concerned agencies and local government units to uphold the concept of inter-generational responsibility in [the exploration] and utilization of our mineral wealth, the protection and preservation of our biodiversity, anchored on the right to a balanced and healthy ecology.
I applaud Congress for the timely passage of the TRAIN law. You have made funds available to build better roads and bridges, and improve health and education, and strengthen our safety and security. Some have incorrectly blamed our efforts toward a fairer tax system for all the price increases in the past months, and some irresponsibly suggesting to stop TRAIN’s implementation. We cannot and should not. We need this for sustainable growth that leaves no Filipino left behind.
TRAIN is already helping poor families and senior citizens cope up with rising prices. We have distributed unconditional cash transfers to 4 million people, and we will help 6 million more this year.
Following the one-peso discount per liter in gas stations, we have also started releasing fuel vouchers to public utility jeeps and other valid franchises. Further, we have fast-tracked the distribution of NFA rice to provide affordable rice for all. [Excuse me.]
This year, we are giving 149 billion pesos worth of subsidies to the poor and vulnerable. Next year, the amount will be increased to 169 billion pesos.
But no amount of subsidy can help the poor if some businesses take advantage of the situation to make more money. I ask businesses to cooperate with us in charging a fair price.
To help stabilize rice prices, we also need to address the issue of artificial rice shortage. I now ask all the rice hoarders, cartels and their protectors, you know that I know who you are: stop messing with the people. I hate to… Power sometimes is not a good thing. But I hope I will not have to use it against you.
Consider yourselves warned; mend your ways now or the full force of the State shall be brought to bear upon you. I am directing all intelligence agencies to unmask the perpetrators of this economic sabotage and our law enforcement agencies to bring them to justice.
We are also working on long-term solutions. On top of this agenda to lower the price of rice. We need to switch from the current quota system in importing rice to a tariff system where rice can be imported more freely. This will give us additional resources for our farmers, reduce the price of rice by up to 7 pesos per kilo, and lower inflation significantly. I ask Congress to prioritize this crucial reform, which I have certified as urgent today.
Alam mo, ako humihingi talaga ng tulong. Business is really for profit I understand that. But the Philippines has always been a playground for, you know, scoundrels and those who do it without really considering the plight of the others. It’s all conscience.
When I ran for public office, I promised to do whatever it takes to give all Filipinos a comfortable life, even if it means fighting powerful interests. I am committed to a comprehensive tax reform, and I ask Congress to continue the job.
Package 2 will lower corporate income taxes, especially for our small businesses. Lower taxes mean they will have more money to invest and create more jobs. More than 99 percent of our businesses are micro, small, or medium enterprises (MSME) and employ around 65 percent of our workers. The enactment of the Package 2 is what stands between today and millions of jobs in the near future.
Congressmen Cua, Gonzales, Abu, and Garin and Batocabe, as well as the Suansing family, filed versions of Package 2 last March 2018. Salamat po [applause] and I support their push to shepherd the bill. I hope the Senate will follow suit, maybe tomorrow, sir.
This matter is urgent. Do not be part of the problem by ignoring it. I hope to sign Package 2 before the year ends. I urge Congress to pass it in a form that satisfies our goals and serves [applause] the interests of the many, not just the wealthy few.
By the end of July 2018, all 5 packages of my tax reform would have been submitted to Congress. Apart from TRAIN, rice tariffication, and Package 2, they include the mining, alcohol, and tobacco tax increase, reform in property valuation, reform in capital income and financial taxes, and an amnesty program.
I urge Congress to take them seriously and pass them in succession, for there is no chance that we can deliver our promises without an equitable tax system.
One of the most important thrusts of this administration’s medium-term development plan is to cover all Filipinos against financial health risks. That is why I have directed concerned agencies to streamline the various sources of financial assistance for people with health-related needs.
We are currently institutionalizing the unified implementation of the “No Balance Billing Policy” [applause] through which the government and our private healthcare providers can work out a system that will provide an order of charging of medical expenses.
Much needs to be done to improve our healthcare system, which remains highly fragmented, resulting in disparity in health outcomes between the rich and the poor in the urban areas and rural. While investments in health have increased over the years, several policy and operational bottlenecks have constrained universal health care for this country.
We shall pool all our resources for health services under the [PhilHealth]; institutionalize primary care as a prerequisite to access higher level of healthcare; and supplement human resource gaps of the LGUs through a National Health Workforce Support System.
These will ensure that every Filipino [family] gets the appropriate, affordable, and quality health services in appropriate facilities and will be protected from financial burden due to sickness.
To this end, I urge the speedy passage of the Universal Health Care Bill authored by Former Representative Harry Roque. [applause] Strong political determination, not political ambition, is the guiding light. [applause]
I have no illusions of occupying this office one day longer than what the Constitution under which I was elected permits; or under whatever Constitution there might be.
Four administrations before me have tried to amend the Constitution to be able to introduce amendments and reservations to the charter — revisions rather to the charter. But none of them has successfully done for one reason or another.
I therefore consider it a distinct honor and privilege to have received earlier from the Consultative Committee that I created, the draft Federal Constitution that will truly embody the ideals and aspirations of all the Filipino people. [applause]
I thank all the members of the Committee, especially those who came out from their retirement, for their valuable services in crafting this draft Federal Constitution. I would like to extend my particular gratitude to Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno [applause] and Former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. [applause]
I am confident that the Filipino people will stand behind us as we introduce this new fundamental law that will not only strengthen our democratic institutions, but will also create an environment where every Filipino—regardless of social status, religion, or ideology—will have an equal opportunity to grow and create a future that he or she can proudly bequeath to the succeeding generations.
My countrymen, I will not bore you with a litany of this administration’s projects completed otherwise in the process. That would be too self-serving. I have instead caused to be prepared a written report on what has — what was and what has been done in the months and probably in the years to come. The reports shall be made available within the next few days.
I was informed that satellite facilities were set up by the Presidential Communications Operations Office in certain far flung barangays so as of today the residents of these communities can watch the State of the Nation and for the first time see you on TV. I hope you have enjoyed the experience. [applause]
In ending, may I quote — I have always quoted but — in my previous talks. One American that I salute, the great Abraham Lincoln. And this has been — I’ve been in government for the last… If I completed my… If I complete my term, Inshallah, God willing, I would have served government for 40 years.
And I came across this statement which has been with me since I was a fiscal in the 70s. And he said: If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop, the presidency, might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how—the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is — what has been said against me won’t amount to anything. But if the end brings me out wrong, ten angels of God swearing that I was right would make no difference.
Daghang salamat ka ninyong tanan. [applause]
— END —
Speech for the Launching of the Digital Cities Philippines Awards for Best Practices in eGovernance for LGUs on July 20, 2018 at Novotel, Manila
Good evening, fellow digital champions, movers, and shakers with special mention to the men and women in this room who believes that the strength of this country lies in the sum of all the strengths of all the municipalities, cities, and provinces.
This morning, the first qoutation I saw on social media says — Our success is achieved in uniting our strengths, not in gathering our weaknesses.
Tonight is a night to gather our strenghts – we are standing on the treshold of an important timeline which I firmly believe will be part of history – the beginning of an era that will allow us to witness the rise of digital cities
In 2011, as president of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines together with members of the board, met with Undersecretary Austere Panadero of the Department of Interior and Local Government to explore how local ICT champions can collaborate with the DILG. We identified the need to improve our ease of doing business in the local government level as one important parameter under business environment of the ICT-BPM scorecard.
In that meeting our former NICP president George Sorio, then president of the Metro Clark ICT Council offered to sponsor what became the 1st eGOV Awards or the Excellence in eGovernance Through ICT.
In 2012, a historical signing of happened the City of Naga, hometown of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo – of the Memorandum of Agreement between DILG and NICP. The event was assisted by ICT@Bicol and the city government of Naga.
Our first eGOV Awards was held in Sta Rosa, during the 4th NICP National Summit hosted by LINK-IT Laguna ICT council led now president of NICP – Dr. Tony Del Carmen.
Every year since 2012 – NICP, despite all the challenges continously staged the eGOV Awards with the full support of the DILG particularly under the Bureau of Local Government Development headed by Directlr Anna Liza Bonagua who is here today.
Our ICT councils all over the Philippines have transformed not only as IT-BPM champions but eGOVernance champions.
Since 2012 we have documented over 200 eGov projects from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Today belonging to our hall of fame as eGOV winners – are 13 cities, 11 municipalities and 3 provinces. These eGov winners receive our symbolic LIGHTHOUSE trophy to depict the role of eGOV winners as a guide and a light for other local government units to follow.
We celebrate many milestones tonight –
We have presented our eGov Advocacy in the Senate as our input for the passage of the latest law of Ease of Doing Business.
Several of eGOV LGU winners have also won other national and international awards for their eGov systems.
Our eGOV winners for the last three years have been featured to inspire and serve as benchmarks for other LGUs in the DILG LGU ICT Forum and in all NICP cluster summits in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Tonight we will witness another milestone – which began last year as the Department of Information and Communications Technology initiated the Digital Cities PH under which one component is Digital Governance. – the Digital Cities PH – Best Practices in eGOVernance or eGOV Awards.
In behalf of NICP, DILG and DICT, I am inviting all interested partners, associations and companies present tonight to support the new eGOV awards.
(Video on the DCP eGOV Awards is played)
SCRIPT OF VIDEO:
The fourth industrial revolution continues to change the way we do things. Technology has disrupted slow and obsolete processes to hasten and enhance human interactions. The pace of day to day transactions both in government and the private sector has grown faster than ever. It is time for cities and provinces to keep up with the speed at which citizens require public service. There is a growing demand for the application of e governance or the integration of information and communications technology in the delivery of public services
For this purpose, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) are proud to launch the Digital Cities Philippines Awards for Best Practices in eGovernance at the level of local government units
The awards aim to highlight and encourage the effective and efficient delivery of services and performance of the duties and responsibilities by local government units.
To share and replicate innovative practices, and commend and collate practices in LGUs in integrating ICT in their processes to serve as example and benchmarks to other LGUs
To improve the business development, social services and the ecosystem of the LGUs and motivate the private and business sector to actively participate and invest in the growth of the LGUs
To promote citizen’s responsibility and participation as well as accountability, efficiency and transparency in governance and encourage innovation
There are six categories for this year
Best in Customer Empowerment (G2C) Award
This category recognizes the measurable effect of an LGU’s outstanding practices using ICT solutions in the education and engagement of the public and in the use of electronic facilities towards providing improved timely and relevant delivery of public services
Best in Business Empowerment (G2B) Award
This category awards the significant effect of an LGU’s laudable practices in integrating ICT solutions and the LGUs responsiveness to the needs of business enterprises, thereby creating business opportunities
Best in Government Inter-operability Empowerment (G2G) Award
This category awards the valuable impact of an LGU’s initiative to connect data and systems with other government offices, both national and local for the convenience of their constituents and to improve its public service delivery
Best in Digital Finance Empowerment (P2G) Award
this category commends the initiative of an LGU to promote e-commerce or electronic payment facilities and systems to ensure effective revenue generation and improving the financial management of the LGU as well as giving convenience to the public
Best in Data-Driven Governance (D2G) Award
This category cites the efforts of local governments in recognizing that good governance through ICT goes hand in hand with the fair and responsible processing and use of data
Best in Systems for Global Competitiveness (G2W) Award
This category cites the efforts of an LGU in developing world class systems in using ICT that are at par with international or internationally –recognized standards, thus making the LGU globally competitive, recognized, and virtually accessible and interactive
One city, one province and one municipality will be declared as champion per category based on four major criteria.
Innovative management (25 points) – This criterion demonstrates the degree to which the entry explored, applied and managed the elements and “outside-the-box” strategies that brought about the success of the entry.
Impact (25 points) – The project demonstrates the major results, their effects and benefits to the recipients of the service (public, employees, or business).
Relevance (25 points) – The project demonstrates how the entry relates to the overall objectives of the LGU and to the category to which it is nominated.
Replication potential (25 points) – The project demonstrates the model qualities of the practice with the possibility and applicability of replicating it in other localities.
The Philippines will rise as a digital nation with every local government unit doing their share in effectively creating strategies to bring government closer to citizens, systems that will enhance transparency and accountability, platforms that will improve the business environment, attract investors confidence and stakeholders participation, and develop sustainable programs to achieve the goals of the communities.
Join the Digital Cities Philippines Awards today and be part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution! Visit http://www.nicp.ego.ph/DCP-eGov
Speech of ATTY. JOCELLE BATAPA-SIGUE for CONVERGENCE 2009 delivered on SEPTEMBER 11, 2009 as CHAIR of the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT (BNEFIT)
Bacolod City topped in the criterion of business environment with a score of 96 percent among the Ten Next Wave Cities Scorecard Ranking” of the Commission on Information and Communication Technology (CICT), Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and the Department of Trade and Industry for outsourcing in the Philippines outside of Metro Manila and Cebu.
The BPAP-CICT-DTI scorecard computed the scores using the following criteria: availability of talent (50%), infrastructure (30%), cost (5%) and business environment (15%).
Bacolod scored high under the business environment because this criterion took into account incentives from the local government units, peace and order situation, vulnerability to natural disturbances, travel advisories and crime rates.
We are second in terms of costs, which includes median base pay, real estate rentals and power rates. We ranked fifth in terms of infrastructure which considers airport standards, flight frequency and international flights, availability of real estate, hotel accommodations, road quality, telecommunications and power infrastructure.
Bacolod is in the lower five on the aspect of human resource, and we need to work harder in this area by involving the whole province of Negros Occidental in producing not just vailable manpower but hirable manpower.
We need to develop the kind of graduates required for services or outsourcing industry, which is primarily a people business. The talents and skills that our workers have are what can make or break the industry for us in the country as well as local level. A workforce with the correct skill set is our competitive advantage to India, China and all the other countries who have identified the development of the services sector as one of their economic strategies. To attain our country’s objective of becoming a serious global player in the outsourcing and off-shoring industry, Bacolod must join the direction of other cities, which focus on the development of graduates so that they can successfully integrate themselves into and become part of our services workforce.
Let me show you today – briefly what the latest scorecard of Bacolod is (begin slide)
Government Institutional Support
2005 – Bacolod Information Technology (IT) Focus Team under Executive Order No. 8 S. 2005
2006 – Information Technology (IT) Schools Network of Negros Occidental (ITSNET), Inc.
2007- Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Council of Bacolod under City Ordinance No. 440 S. 2007
Bacolod-Negros Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT) Membership in the Philippine Federation of ICT Organizations/Councils Organized by CICT
2008 – Membership in the National ICT Conference of the Philippines (NICP)
As important stakeholders, we are gathered here today for a shared vision – the vision of seeing Bacolod and Negros Occidental as progressive local government units not only in terms of infrastructure and outward development but likewise in terms of the quality of life of every individual Bacolodnon or Negrense.
I have always been a believer of the talent and knowledge of our people in Bacolod and Negros Occidental, that in 2004, despite all the odds – I, and all the other stakeholders, worked hard to make Bacolod a destination for IT-BPO outsourcing. Today, our challenge is to ensure the sustainability of these investments and to move up the value chain by aggressively improving our manpower quality. It is not enough that we have “available manpower”, we need to also ensure that we have “hirable manpower”.
Let us not be simplistic and think that Bacolod is a booming investment site today because of our politicians and our place per se. We are an attractive IT-BPO site because of our people. We need to support and bridge our people with the industry. As a politician, I have no delusions about how great our city is – because our greatness lies in our people, the private sector who supported since Day 1 to ensure the availability of PEZA parks and buildings, the HR and academic community who showed remarkable openness towards the idea of re-engineering their curriculum to suit the demands of the industry and most of all to our agents – the ones “on the floor” manning the operations of our call centers to prove that Bacolod might be a tiny city – but we can be world-class.
But the quest to be world-class and to provide jobs for our people regardless of economic status, gender and religion do not stop here. The jobs are coming from all corners. Our locators are expanding. Our opportunities are endless because they say “the world is flat”. But we cannot lag behind and not take care of our manpower pool. After many years, I have realized that our colleges can only do so much – we need to go back to the core – the high school and elementary years – where our children learn math and science (as their funadamentals for software, finance and accounting), English (as their fundamentals for CRS/BPO/Transcription), research (as their fundamentals for KPO), arts (as their fundamentals for animation), religion, Sibika and PE (as their fundamentals for human relations).
So today, let us work to make CONVERGENCE 2009 a success. And our success lies in how many young people we would be able to reach – through this awareness campaign.
Thank you for joining Convergence 2009 – there is nothing more satisfying than seeing people help themselves out from the bondage of helplessness.
Bacolod has all that it takes to soar! Kudos to all of us!!!