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Friday, August 29, 2008

Manny Vs De La Hoya : Mexico vs Philipines Pen-Ultimate Round


The Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao versus Oscar "The Golden Boy" De La Hoya tiff this coming December is on!!!
Reports are saying that both camps have agreed in principle to stage the fight at years end. Manny Pacquiao will go up another weight class while De La Hoya will go down his. Both fighters will sacrifice some thing just to make the terms meet.
The height issue is the main issue on this tiff. Surely it is De La Hoya who has an edge. But no matter what, we'll surely see some great counters from the Pacman. He is used to being the underdog anyways. So fight fans take your pick .
I go for Pacquiao, by left hook or by crook!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Old World vs New World: Spain and USA meet in Olympic Basketball Finals

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As yours truly predicted in an earlier post, the Americans and the Spaniards will face off in the Finals of Beijing Olympics Mens Basketball tournament.

The US team led by Carmelo Anthony who snatched 21 points won 101 - 81 over reigning Olympic Hoops Champion Argentina. On the other hand, Spain beat Lithuania in the first semi-final game 91-86.

I was able to watch the preliminary match between the US and Spain and I can't help but wonder what adjustments Pau Gasol and his brother Mark will put into play come game time. The US clobbered the Iberian matadors 119 - 82 during pool play, where the Americans showed thier quickness.

However, I think we ought to see a much tighter game this time around. Pau and the Spanish Crew I think learned their lesson the first time and they should never commit the same mistakes now that the Gold is up for reaping.

The US team led by NBA MVP Kobe "My Idol" Bryant showed how serious they are in the first game between them. Noticed how Kobe dismissed Pau by shoving him to the ground when the latter tried to set a pick for his teammate in the first few minutes of the game? Kobe just walked on, stoned-faced as if nothing happened while Pau just can't help but smile. To me, that is the difference.

So if this time Spain is still thinking of horse-play, they should just pack up and not attend the match. For the US of A means business... means vengeance... means Gold... and nothing less!

Scores by Quarter during the USA and Spain pool match-up:
Q1: 31 - 22
Q2: 61 - 45
Q3: 86 - 63
Q4: 119 - 82

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Advocacy: Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health


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From this moment on, I plan on making this my personal advocacy. To influence as many people as possible, especially the people I know to stop smoking.


I tried smoking before, albeit briefly. It was never really a habit or an addiction for me. It was because of the people around me. Sometimes you have to do things just because your friends do so also. Well, I was young back then and I thought that that was the way to go. Good thing I met my future wife, and I stopped.


It is not really hard to stop smoking. It is just a matter of taking your mind to the right concept of how you are going to be able to show others that you have control of the things you do.


Take for example my dear father. He was an addictive smoker back in the days. He is able to take that bad habit away. From a tiny-thin man, my father became bigger. People who knew him before were always amazed at how much my fathers physique changed. It is all because he stopped smoking. He is healthier and more full of life.


I will be posting more about this advocacy in the future. Less smokers, less sorrow, less death.


Monday, August 18, 2008

How to Cook Noodles Correctly

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I just want to share this tip that I got through email. I am not really sure if this is a fact though. I will be researching about this later at work. ;-). Here is how the email goes:

CORRECT WAY OF COOKING NOODLES

The correct way to cook instant noodles without harming our bodies and health:

Normally, how we cook the instant noodles is to put the noodles into a pot with water, throw in the powder and let it cook for around 3 minutes and then it's ready to eat.

This is the WRONG method of cooking the instant noodles. By doing this, when we actually boil the ingredients in the powder, normally with MSG, it will change the molecular structures of the MSG causing it to be toxic. The other thing that you may or may not realize is that, the noodles are coated with wax (lilin) and it will take around 4 to 5 days for the body to excrete the wax after you have taken the noodles.


CORRECT METHOD:

1. Boil the noodles in a pot with water.

2. Once the noodles is cooked, take out the noodles, and throw away the water which contains wax (lilin).

3. Boil another pot of water till boiling point and put the noodles into the hot boiling water and then shut the fire.

4. Only at this stage when the fire is off, and while the water is very hot, put the ingredients with the powder into the water, to make noodle soup.

5. However, if you need dry noodles, take out the noodles and add the ingredients with the powder and toss it to get dry noodles.



Please share this info and help save a life.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

USA vs Spain : Beijing Olympics

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I was planning of writing something about this after the game. But I just can't help myself as I am really so excited about it. But I have a very big problem: I might not be able to watch it live... BUMMER!!! BUMMMERRRR!!! BUMMMMEEEERRR!!!! lol

I am going to my future wife's place and staying there for the night. And they have no cable tv so I sure am going to be able to watch the game when it is replayed already, hopefully the next day.

Kobe has been talking about this game since the last NBA post-season. Remember those interviews when he constantly talked about meeting Pau Gasol in Beijing? Now is the preview of that matchup. A preview because I really think these two teams will meet up eventully in the Olympic Basketball Finals although they are on the same grouping.

The Spaniards are power packed also led by the Gasol brothers. Their height might will surely bring in some headaches for Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh. To me that is where the Spanish is going to have a little edge, the middle. However, we all know that Bosh and Chris can always try to stir things up their way. Whew! I can't help but be regretful that I am gonna miss it. I just love my girl so much that is why.

Enough of this.. see you later at the game. On replay that is...

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The Men's basketball game today Saturday will be as follows:

Game 1: Greece (1-2) vs. Angola (0-3)
Game 2: Russia (1-2) vs. Australia (1-2)
Game 3: Croatia (2-1) vs. Lithuania (3-0)
Game 4: Iran (0-3) vs. Argentina (2-1)
Game 5: China (1-2) vs. Germany (1-2)
Game 6: USA (3-0) vs. Spain (3-0)

Go Kobe!

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Education, Training and Employment Fair 2008

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Here is another public service announcement for those jobseekers out there. There is going to be an Employment, Training and Employment Fair this coming September 5 to 6, 2008. The fair will be held at SM Megatrade Hall 1, 5th Floor SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City. This job fest is sponsored by JobQuest.Ph.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Job Fair: Festival Mall Alabang

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Jobstreet will be putting up a job fair in Alabang to end the month of August. Scheduled to happen at the Festival Mall , this serves as the third leg of the leading career agencys program dubbed as JOBSolutely Cool.

Click here for more details.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

All Eyes on Harry Tañamor: Updated

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Update: Our very own Harry Tañamor lost his light flyweight match with Ghana's Mangyo Plange. The Filipino boxer lost 6 - 3 in a one sided match. Looks like our hopes for an Olympic glory are now pinned on the jins, and whoever is left standing. But with the opposition so much formidable, we can only close our fingers and pray.
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All eyes are now on Boxer Harry Tañamor. The man is in a very unenviable position being the only man in the lean Philippine contingent in the ongoing Beijing Olympic games who all Filipinos think should be able to win at least a bronze medal. The other members of the Philippine team does not enjoy the same such high expectations from his countrymen. So even right now, I am all praises to the Filipino flyweight veteran. His ability to handle such pressure is worth a medal already.

Tañamor will be going up against Ghana's Manyo Plange at 7pm Manila time. Too bad, I will be at work at that time. Surely, I will be following the match on the web.

Let us all pray for the sweet chance for Harry to bring home the chinese bacon that is made of Gold.
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A Filipina in the US Olympic Swimming team in Beijing? I read it from Miss Dine Racoma's blog. According to the respected blogger, the swimmer Natalie Coughlin is 25% Filipina who eats pancit and lumpia in Bay area gatherings. Read more about it in The D Spot.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Beijing Olympics 2008 ::: 8.8.08


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Simply the best ever Olympic Games opener!!!


That is how I am going to describe the Beijing Olympics 2008 Grand Opening! Imagine an Olypic torch bearer running in mid air??? And the finale, that is the lighting of the Olympic flame put the mythical Barcelona Olympic Archer shot to shame!


The fireworks capped the night. Remember the Bombing of Baghdad? Well, it is nothing to how the Beijing skyline lit up after the Olympic flame is in full view.


The Chinese are simply on top of the world right now. Even the US can not match the patriotism, the nationalistic fervor, the economic prowess and the total edge of the Awakened Dragon. The Beijing Olympic Games is the proof. Indescribable!!!


Whoever is the head of the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, Congratulations!!!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Globe iPhone 3G - August 22



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Come August 22, 2008 the Philippines is going to experience firsthand the magic of iPhone 3G. Globe announces that they are going to launch the much awaited sequel to the original iPhone. Happy? Excited?


The price is very affordable. It comes at a very cheap price of P41,899! Toinks!! What a bummer!!!


Well! The price matches the mobile experience. This includes faster connection, support for ActiveSync, built-in GPS and you can run hundreds of 3rd party applications through it.


Globe will be offering special post-paid plans to would be subscribers. Want to learn more? Want to subscribe? Click here!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

GTA GTA'ed as in Get the Axe

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Swooping!!!! That's how I would call it!!!

After the deadly incident involving a GTA and a Thai teen where the 18 year old boy gets to re-live his online gaming illusion by killing a cab driver. The Thai authorities spearheaded by the only legal distributor of games and software in Thailand started to take off the game in Thailand. And they did not stop at that. They even warned people about the types of games they buy. For a company to do that at the behest of its own interest, I give my big props to them. This is such a big deal, not only to the gaming community in Thailand or anywhere else but also to those who are conducting businesses, especially here in Asia.

If only Philippine companies can do the same. Imagine the same thing happening here in the Philippines. Do you think these game distributors in the Philippines will have the conscience to do the same? I tend to think not!

Well!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Grand Thai Auto

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Ever heard of any direct link with playing GTA and violence? Check this out!

A Thai teenager robbed a cab driver and stabbed him to death because he could not afford toplay Grand Theft Auto. The young man even confessed that he copied it from the game. He used the $15 allowance given to him by his civil servnt parents two purchase two knives.

Now that is daaaaangerous!!!

If I am a parent, I will not let my kids play these kind of games. And so my next question. Is GTA liable in such cases wherein a game addict tends to copy the violence seen while playing and do things in real life? Is there enough rules and regulations concerning games? If movies and television and radio have content regulating body, why not games?

Calling our dear Philippine lawmakers...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

2008 SONA

The following is the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's State of the Nation Address for the year 2008.




STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO DURING THE 2ND REGULAR SESSION OF THE 14TH CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, 28 July 2008

Thank you, Speaker Nograles. Senate President Villar. Senators and Representatives. Vice President de Castro, President Ramos, Chief Justice Puno, members of the diplomatic corps, ladies and gentlemen:

I address you today at a crucial moment in world history.
Just a few months ago, we ended 2007 with the strongest economic growth in a generation. Inflation was low, the peso strong and a million new jobs were created. We were all looking to a better, brighter future.

Because tough choices were made, kumikilos na ang bayan sa wakas. Malapit na sana tayo sa pagbalanse ng budget. We were retiring debts in great amounts, reducing the drag on our country's development, habang namumuhunan sa taong bayan.

Biglang-bigla, nabaligtad ang ekonomiya ng mundo. Ang pagtalon ng presyo ng langis at pagkain ay nagbunsod ng pandaigdigan krisis, the worst since the Great Depression and the end of World War II. Some blame speculators moving billions of dollars from subprime mortgages to commodities like fuel and food. Others point of the very real surge in demand as millions of Chinese and Indians move up to the middle class.

Whatever the reasons, we are on a roller coaster ride of oil price hikes, high food prices and looming economic recession in the US and other markets. Uncertainty has moved like a terrible tsunami around the globe, wiping away gains, erasing progress.

This is a complex time that defies simple and easy solutions. For starters, it is hard to identify villains, unlike in the 1997 financial crisis. Everyone seems to be a victim, rich countries and poor, though certainly some can take more punishment than others.

To address these global challenges, we must go on building and buttressing bridges to allies around the world: to bring in the rice to feed our people, investments to create jobs; and to keep the peace and maintain stability in our country and the rest of the world. Yet even as we reach out to those who need, and who may need us, we strive for greater self-reliance.

Because tough choices were made, the global crisis did not catch us helpless and unprepared. Through foresight, grit and political will, we built a shield around our country that has slowed down and somewhat softened the worst effects of the global crisis. We have the money to care for our people and pay for food when there are shortages; for fuel despite price spikes.

Neither we nor anyone else in the world expected this day to come so soon but we prepared for it. For the guts not to flinch in the face of tough choices, I thank God. For the wisdom to recognize how needed you are, I thank, you Congress. For footing the bill, I thank the taxpayers.
The result has been, on the one hand, ito ang nakasalba sa bayan; and, on the other, more unpopularity for myself in the opinion polls. Yet, even unfriendly polls show self-rated poverty down to its 20-year low in 2007.

My responsibility as President is to take care to solve the problems we are facing now and to provide a vision and direction for how our nation should advance in the future. Many in this great hall live privileged lives and exert great influence in public affairs. I am accessible to you, but I spend time every day with the underprivileged and under represented who cannot get a grip on their lives in the daily, all-consuming struggle to make ends meet.

Nag-aalala ako para sa naka-aawang maybahay na pasan ang pananagutan para sa buong pamilya. Nag-aalala ako para sa magsasakang nasa unang hanay ng pambansang produksyon ng pagkain ngunit nagsisikap pakanin ang pamilya. I care for hardworking students soon to graduate and wanting to see hope of good job and a career prospect here at home.

Nag-aalala ako para sa 41-year old na padre de pamilya na di araw-araw ang trabaho, at nag-aabala sa asawa at tatlong anak, at dapat bigyan ng higit pang pagkakakitaan at dangal. I care for our teachers who gave the greatest gift we ever received - a good education - still trying to pass on the same gift to succeeding generations. I care for our OFWs, famed for their skill, integrity and untiring labor, who send home their pay as the only way to touch loved ones so far away. Nagpupugay ako ngayon sa kanilang mga karaniwang Pilipino.

My critics say this is fiction, along with other facts and figures I cite today. I call it heroism though they don't need our praise. Each is already a hero to those who matter most, their families.

I said this is a global crisis where everyone is a victim. But only few can afford to avoid, or pay to delay, the worst effects. Many more have nothing to protect them from the immediate blunt force trauma of the global crisis. Tulad ninyo, nag-aalala ako para sa kanila. Ito ang mga taong bayan na dapat samahan natin. Not only because of their sacrifices for our country but because they are our countrymen.

How do we solve these many complex challenges?

Sa kanilang kalagayan, the answer must be special care and attention in this great hour of need.
First, we must have a targeted strategy with set of precise prescriptions to ease the price challenges we are facing.

Second, food self-sufficiency; less energy dependence; greater self-reliance in our attitude as a people and in our posture as a nation.

Third, short-term relief cannot be at the expense of long term reforms. These reforms will benefit not just the next generation of Filipinos, but the next President as well.

Napakahalaga ang Value Added Tax sa pagharap sa mga hamong ito. Itong programa ang sagot sa mga problemang namana natin. Una, mabawasan ang ating mga utang and shore up our fiscal independence. Pangalawa, higit na pamumuhunan para mamamayan at imprastraktura.
Pangatlo, sapat na pondo para sa mga programang pangmasa. Thus, the infrastructure links programmed for the our poorest provinces like Northern Samar: Lao-ang-Lapinig-Arteche, right now ay maputik, San Isidro-Lope de Vega; the rehabilitation of Maharlika in Samar. Take VAT away and you and I abdicate our responsibility as leaders and pull the rug from under our present and future progress, which may be compromised by the global crisis.

Lalong lumakas ang tiwala ng mga investor dahil sa VAT. Mula P56.50 kada dolyar, lumakas ang piso hanggang P40.20 bago bumalik sa P44 dahil sa mga pabigat ng pangdaigdigang ekonomiya. Kung alisin ang VAT, hihina ang kumpiyansa ng negosyo, lalong tataas ang interes, lalong bababa ang piso, lalong mamahal ang bilihin.

Kapag ibinasura ang VAT sa langis at kuryente, ang mas makikinabang ay ang mga may kaya na kumukonsumo ng 84% ng langis at 90% ng kuryente habang mas masasaktan ang mahihirap na mawawalan ng P80 billion para sa mga programang pinopondohan ngayon ng VAT. Take away VAT and we strip our people of the means to ride out the world food and energy crisis.

We have come too far and made too many sacrifices to turn back now on fiscal reforms. Leadership is not about doing the first easy thing that comes to mind; it is about doing what is necessary, however hard.

The government has persevered, without flip-flops, in its much-criticized but irreplaceable policies, including oil and power VAT and oil deregulation.

Patuloy na gagamitin ng pamahalaan ang lumalago nating yaman upang tulungan ang mga pamilyang naghihirap sa taas ng bilihin at hampas ng bagyo, habang nagpupundar upang sanggahan ang bayan sa mga krisis sa hinaharap.

Para sa mga namamasada at namamasahe sa dyip, sinusugpo natin ang kotong at colorum upang mapataas ang kita ng mga tsuper. Si Federico Alvarez kumikita ng P200 a day sa kaniyang rutang Cubao-Rosario. Tinaas ito ng anti-kotong, anti-colorum ngayon P500 na ang kita niya. Iyan ang paraan kung paano napananatili ang dagdag-pasahe sa piso lamang. Halaga lang ng isang text.

Texting is a way of life. I asked the telecoms to cut the cost of messages between networks. They responded. It is now down to 50 centavos.

Noong Hunyo, nagpalabas tayo ng apat na bilyong piso mula sa VAT sa langis-dalawang bilyong pambayad ng koryente ng apat na milyong mahihirap, isang bilyon para college scholarship o pautang sa 70,000 na estudyanteng maralita; kalahating bilyong pautang upang palitan ng mas matipid na LPG, CNG o biofuel ang motor ng libu-libong jeepney; at kalahating bilyong pampalit sa fluorescent sa mga pampublikong lugar.

Kung mapapalitan ng fluorescent ang lahat ng bumbilya, makatitipid tayo ng lampas P2 billion.
Sa sunod na katas ng VAT, may P1 billion na pambayad ng kuryente ng mahihirap; kalahating bilyon para sa matatandang di sakop ng SSS o GSIS; kalahating bilyong kapital para sa pamilya ng mga namamasada; kalahating bilyon upang mapataas ang kakayahan at equipment ng mga munting ospital sa mga lalawigan. At para sa mga kalamidad, angkop na halaga.

We released P1 billion for the victims of typhoon Frank. We support a supplemental Western Visayas calamity budget from VAT proceeds, as a tribute to the likes of Rodney Berdin, age 13, of Barangay Rombang, Belison, Antique, who saved his mother, brother and sister from the raging waters of Sibalom River.

Mula sa buwang ito, wala nang income tax ang sumusweldo ng P200,000 o mas mababa sa isang taon - P12 billion na bawas-buwis para sa maralita at middle class. Maraming salamat, Congress.
Ngayong may P32 na commercial rice, natugunan na natin ang problema sa pagkain sa kasalukuyan. Nagtagumpay tayo dahil sa pagtutulungan ng buong bayan sa pagsasaka, bantay-presyo at paghihigpit sa price manipulation, sa masipag na pamumuno ni Artie Yap.

Sa mga LGU at religious groups na tumutulong dalhin ang NFA rice sa mahihirap, maraming salamat sa inyo.

Dahil sa subsidy, NFA rice is among the region's cheapest. While we can take some comfort that our situation is better than many other nations, there is no substitute for solving the problem of rice and fuel here at home. In doing so, let us be honest and clear eyed - there has been a fundamental shift in global economics. The price of food and fuel will likely remain high. Nothing will be easy; the government cannot solve these problems over night. But, we can work to ease the near-term pain while investing in long-term solutions.

Since 2001, new irrigation systems for 146,000 hectares, including Malmar in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, Lower Agusan, Casecnan and Aulo in Nueva Ecija, Abulog-Apayao in Cagayan and Apayao, Addalam in Quirino and Isabela, among others, and the restoration of old systems on another 980,000 hectares have increased our nation's irrigated land to a historic 1.5 million hectares.

Edwin Bandila, 48 years old, of Ugalingan, Carmen, North Cotabato, cultivated one hectare and harvested 35 cavans. Thirteen years na ginawa iyong Malmar. In my first State of the Nation Address, sabi ko kung hindi matapos iyon sa Setyembre ay kakanselahin ko ang kontrata, papapasukin ko ang engineering brigade, natapos nila. With Malmar, now he cultivates five hectares and produces 97 cavans per hectare. Mabuhay, Edwin! VAT will complete the San Roque-Agno River project.

The Land Bank has quadrupled loans for farmers and fisherfolk. That is fact not fiction. Check it. For more effective credit utilization, I instructed DA to revitalize farmers cooperatives. We are providing seeds at subsidized prices to help our farmers.

Incremental Malampaya national revenues of P4 billion will go to our rice self-sufficiency program. Rice production since 2000 increased an average of 4.07% a year, twice the population growth rate. By promoting natural planning and female education, we have curbed population growth to 2.04% during our administration, down from the 2.36 in the 1990's, when artificial birth control was pushed. Our campaign spreads awareness of responsible parenthood regarding birth spacing. Long years of pushing contraceptives made it synonymous to family planning. Therefore informed choice should mean letting more couples, who are mostly Catholics, know about natural family planning.

From 1978 to 1981, nag-export tayo ng bigas. Hindi tumagal. But let's not be too hard on ourselves. Panahon pa ng Kastila bumibili na tayo ng bigas sa labas. While we may know how to grow rice well, topography doesn't always cooperate.

Nature did not gift us with a mighty Mekong like Thailand and Vietnam, with their vast and naturally fertile plains. Nature instead put our islands ahead of our neighbours in the path of typhoons from the Pacific. So, we import 10% of the rice we consume.

To meet the challenge of today, we will feed our people now, not later, and help them get through these hard times. To meet the challenges of tomorrow, we must become more self-reliant, self-sufficient and independent, relying on ourselves more than on the world.

Now we come to the future of agrarian reform.

There are those who say it is a failure, that our rice importations prove it. There are those who say it is a success-if only because anything is better than nothing. Indeed, people are happier owning the land they work, no matter what the difficulties.

Sa SONA noong 2001, sinabi ko, bawat taon, mamamahagi tayo ng dalawang daang libong ektarya sa reporma sa lupa: 100,000 hectares of private farmland and 100,000 of public farmland, including ancestral domains. Di hamak mahigit sa target ang naipamahagi natin sa nakaraang pitong taon: 854,000 hectares of private farmland, 797,000 of public farmland, and Certificates of Ancestral Domain for 525,000 hectares. Including, over a 100,000 hectares for Bugkalots in Quirino, Aurora, and Nueva Vizcaya. After the release of their CADT, Rosario Camma, Bugkalot chieftain, and now mayor of Nagtipunan, helped his 15,000-member tribe develop irrigation, plant vegetables and corn and achieve food sufficiency. Mabuhay, Chief!

Agrarian reform should not merely subdivide misery, it must raise living standards. Ownership raises the farmer from his but productivity will keep him on his feet.

Sinimula ng aking ama ang land reform noong 1963. Upang mabuo ito, the extension of CARP with reforms is top priority. I will continue to do all I can for the rural as well as urban poor. Ayaw natin na paglaya ng tenant sa landlord, mapapasa-ilalim naman sa usurero. Former tenants must be empowered to become agribusinessmen by allowing their land to be used as collateral.

Dapat mapalaya ng reporma sa lupa ang magsasaka sa pagiging alipin sa iba. Dapat bigyan ang magsasaka ng dangal bilang taong malaya at di hawak ninuman. We must curb the recklessness that gives land without the means to make it productive and bites off more than beneficiaries can chew.

At the same time, I want the rackets out of agrarian reform: the threats to take and therefore undervalue land, the conspiracies to overvalue it.

Be with me on this. There must be a path where justice and progress converge. Let us find it before Christmas. Dapat nating linisin ang landas para sa mga ibig magpursige sa pagsasaka, taglay ang pananalig na ang lupa ay sasagip sa atin sa huli kung gamitin natin ito nang maayos.
Along with massive rice production, we are cutting costs through more efficient transport. For our farm-to-market roads, we released P6 billion in 2007.

On our nautical highways. RORO boats carried 33 million metric tons of cargo and 31 million passengers in 2007. We have built 39 RORO ports during our administration, 12 more are slated to start within the next two years. In 2003, we inaugurated the Western Nautical Highway from Batangas through Mindoro, Panay and Negros to Mindanao. This year we launched the Central Nautical Highway from Bicol mainland, through Masbate, Cebu, Bohol and Camiguin to Mindanao mainland. These developments strengthen our competitiveness.

Leading multinational company Nestle cut transport costs and offset higher milk prices abroad. Salamat, RORO. Transport costs have become so reasonable for bakeries like Gardenia, a loaf of its bread in Iloilo is priced the same as in Laguna and Manila. Salamat muli sa RORO.

To the many LGUs who have stopped collecting fees from cargo vehicles, maraming, maraming salamat.

We are repaving airports that are useful for agriculture, like Zamboanga City Airport.
Producing rice and moving it cheaper addresses the supply side of our rice needs. On the demand side, we are boosting the people's buying power.

Ginagawa nating labor-intensive ang paggawa at pag-ayos ng kalsada at patubig. Noong SONA ng 2001, naglunsad tayo sa NCR ng patrabaho para sa 20,000 na out of school youth, na tinawag OYSTER. Ngayon, mahigit 20,000 ang ineempleyo ng OYSTER sa buong bansa. In disaster-stricken areas, we have a cash-for-work program.

In training, 7.74 million took technical and vocational courses over the last seven years, double the number in the previous 14 years. In 2007 alone, 1.7 million graduated. Among them are Jessica Barlomento now in Hanjin as supply officer, Shenve Catana, Marie Grace Comendador, and Marlyn Tusi, lady welders, congratulations.

In microfinance, loans have reached P102 billion or 30 times more than the P3 billion we started with in 2001, with a 98% repayment record, congratulations! Major lenders include the Land Bank with P69 billion, the Peoples' Credit and Finance Corporation P8 billion, the National Livelihood Support Fund P3 billion, DBP P1 billion and the DSWD's SEA-K P800 million. For partnering with us to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit, thank you, Go Negosyo and Joey Concepcion.

Upland development benefits farmers through agro-forestry initiatives. Rubber is especially strong in Zamboanga Sibugay and North Cotabato. Victoria Mindoro, 56 years old, used to earn P5,000 a month as farmer and factory worker. Now she owns 10 hectares in the Goodyear Agrarian Reform Community in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, she earns P10,000 a week. With one hectare, Pedro and Concordia Faviolas of Makilala, North Cotabato, they sent their six children to college, bought two more hectares, and earn P15,000 a month. Congratulations!
Jatropha estates are starting in 900 hectares in and around Tamlang Valley in Negros Oriental; 200 in CamSur; 300 in GenSan, 500 in Fort Magsaysay near the Cordero Dam and 700 in Samar, among others.

In our 2006 SONA, our food baskets were identified as North Luzon and Mindanao.

The sad irony of Mindanao as food basket is that it has some of the highest hunger in our nation. It has large fields of high productivity, yet also six of our ten poorest provinces. The prime reason is the endless Mindanao conflict. A comprehensive peace has eluded us for half a century. But last night, differences on the tough issue of ancestral domain were resolved. Yes, there are political dynamics among the people of Mindanao. Let us sort them out with the utmost sobriety, patience and restraint. I ask Congress to act on the legislative and political reforms that will lead to a just and lasting peace during our term of office.

The demands of decency and compassion urge dialogue. Better talk than fight, if nothing of sovereign value is anyway lost. Dialogue has achieved more than confrontation in many parts of the world. This was the message of the recent World Conference in Madrid organized by the King of Saudi Arabia, and the universal message of the Pope in Sydney.

Pope Benedict's encyclical Deus Caritas Est reminds us: "There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love for neighbour is indispensable."
Pinagsasama-sama natin ang mga programa ng DSWD, DOH, GSIS, SSS at iba pang lumalaban sa kahirapan sa isang National Social Welfare Program para proteksyonan ang pinaka-mahihirap mula sa pandaigdigang krisis, and to help those whose earnings are limited by illness, disability, loss of job, age and so on-through livelihood projects, microfinance, skills and technology transfer, emergency and temporary employment, pension funds, food aid and cash subsidies, child nutrition and adult health care, medical missions, salary loans, insurance, housing programs, educational and other savings schemes, and now cheaper medicine-Thanks to Congress.

The World Bank says that in Brazil, the income of the poorest 10% has grown 9% per year versus the 3% for the higher income levels due in large part to their family stipend program linking welfare checks to school attendance. We have introduced a similar program, Pantawid Pamilya.

Employers have funded the two increases in SSS benefits since 2005. Thank you, employers for paying the premiums.

GSIS pensions have been indexed to inflation and have increased every year since 2001. Its salary loan availments have increased from two months equivalent to 10 months, the highest of any system public or private-while repayments have been stretched out.

Pag-Ibig housing loans increased from P3.82 billion in 2001 to P22.6 billion in 2007. This year it experienced an 84% increase in the first four months alone. Super heating na. Dapat dagdagan ng GSIS at buksan muli ng SSS ang pautang sa pabahay. I ask Congress to pass a bill allowing SSS to do housing loans beyond the present 10% limitation.

Bago ako naging Pangulo, isa't kalahating milyong maralita lamang ang may health insurance. Noong 2001, sabi natin, dadagdagan pa ng kalahating milyon. Sa taong iyon, mahigit isang milyon ang nabigyan natin. Ngayon, 65 milyong Pilipino na ang may health insurance, mahigit doble ng 2000, kasama ang labinlimang milyong maralita. Philhealth has paid P100 billion for hospitalization. The indigent beneficiaries largely come from West and Central Visayas, Central Luzon, and Ilocos. Patuloy nating palalawakin itong napaka-importanted programa, lalo na sa Tawi-Tawi, Zambo Norte, Maguindanao, Apayao, Dinagat, Lanao Sur, Northern Samar, Masbate, Abra and Misamis Occidental. Lalo na sa kanilang mga magsasaka at mangingisda.
In these provinces and in Agusan Sur, Kalinga, Surigao Sur and calamity-stricken areas, we will launch a massive school feeding program at P10 per child every school day.

Bukod sa libreng edukasyon sa elementarya at high school, nadoble ang pondo para sa mga college scholarships, while private high school scholarship funds from the government have quadrupled.

I have started reforming and clustering the programs of the DepEd, CHED and TESDA.
As with fiscal and food challenges, the global energy crunch demands better and more focused resource mobilization, conservation and management.

Government agencies are reducing their energy and fuel bills by 10%, emulating Texas Instruments and Philippine Stock Exchange who did it last year. Congratulations, Justice Vitug and Francis Lim.

To reduce power system losses, we count on government regulators and also on EPIRA amendments.

We are successful in increasing energy self-sufficiency-56%, the highest in our history. We promote natural gas and biofuel; geothermal fields, among the world's largest; windmills like those in Ilocos and Batanes; and the solar cells lighting many communities in Mindanao. The new Galoc oil field can produce 17,000-22,000 barrels per day, 1/12 of our crude consumption.

The Renewable Energy Bill has passed the House. Thank you, Congressmen.

Our costly commodity imports like oil and rice should be offset by hard commodities exports like primary products, and soft ones like tourism and cyberservices, at which only India beats us.
Our P 350 million training partnership with the private sector should qualify 60,000 for call centers, medical transcription, animation and software development, which have a projected demand of one million workers generating $13 billion by 2010.

International finance agrees with our progress. Credit rating agencies have kept their positive or stable outlook on the country. Our world competitiveness ranking rose five notches. Congratulations to us. We are sticking to, and widening, the fiscal reforms that have earned us their respect.

To our investors, thank you for your valuable role in our development. I invite you to invest not only in factories and services, but in profitable infrastructure, following the formula for the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.

I ask business and civil society to continue to work for a socially equitable, economically viable balance of interests. Mining companies should ensure that host communities benefit substantively from their investments, and with no environmental damage from operations.

Our administration enacted the Solid Waste Management Act, Wildlife Act, Protection of Plant Varieties, Clean Water Act, Biofuels Act and various laws declaring protected areas.
For reforestation, for next year we have budgeted P2 billion. Not only do forests enhance the beauty of the land, they mitigate climate change, a key factor in increasing the frequency and intensity of typhoons and costing the country 0.5% of the GDP.

We have set up over 100 marine and fish sanctuaries since 2001. In the whaleshark sanctuary of Donsol, Sorsogon, Alan Amanse, 40-year-old college undergraduate and father of two, was earning P100 a day from fishing and driving a tricycle. Now as whaleshark-watching officer, he is earns P1,000 a day, ten times his former income.

For clean water, so important to health, there is P500 million this year and P1.5 billion for next year.

From just one sanitary landfill in 2001, we now have 21, with another 18 in the works.
We launched the Zero Basura Olympics to clear our communities of trash. Rather than more money, all that is needed is for each citizen to keep home and workplace clean, and for garbage officials to stop squabbling.

Our investments also include essential ways to strengthen our institutions of governance in order to fight the decades-old scourge of corruption. I will continue to fight this battle every single day. While others are happy with headlines through accusation without evidence and privilege speeches without accountability, we have allocated more than P3 billion - the largest anti-graft fund in our history - for real evidence gathering and vigorous prosecution.

From its dismal past record, the Ombudsman's conviction rate has increased 500%. Lifestyle checks, never seriously implemented before our time, have led to the dismissal and/or criminal prosecution of dozens of corrupt officials.

I recently met with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US agency that provides grants to countries based on governance. They have commended our gains, contributed P1 billion to our fight against graft, and declared us eligible for more grants. Thank you!

Last September, we created the Procurement Transparency Group in the DBM and linked it with business, academe, and the Church, to deter or catch anomalies in government contracts.
On my instruction, the BIR and Customs established similar government-civil society tie-ups for information gathering and tax evasion and smuggling monitoring.

More advanced corruption practices require a commensurate advances in legislative responses. Colleagues in Congress, we need a more stringent Anti-Graft Act.

Sa pagmahal ng bilihin, hirap na ang mamimili - tapos, dadayain pa. Dapat itong mahinto. Hinihiling ko sa Kongreso na magpasa ng Consumer Bill of Rights laban sa price gouging, false advertising at iba pang gawain kontra sa mamimili.

I call on all our government workers at the national and local levels to be more responsive and accountable to the people. Panahon ito ng pagsubok. Kung saan kayang tumulong at dapat tumulong ang pamahalaan, we must be there with a helping hand. Where government can contribute nothing useful, stay away. Let's be more helpful, more courteous, more quick.
Kaakibat ng ating mga adhikain ang tuloy na pagkalinga sa kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino. Iisa ang ating pangarap - maunlad at mapayapang lipunan, kung saan ang magandang kinabukasan ay hindi pangarap lamang, bagkus natutupad.

Sama-sama tayo sa tungkuling ito. May papel na gagampanan ang bawat mamamayan, negosyante, pinunong bayan at simbahan, sampu ng mga nasa lalawigan.

We are three branches but one government. We have our disagreements; we each have hopes, and ambitions that drive and divide us, be they personal, ethnic, religious and cultural. But we are one nation with one fate.

As your President, I care too much about this nation to let anyone stand in the way of our people's wellbeing. Hindi ko papayagang humadlang ang sinuman sa pag-unlad at pagsagana ng taong bayan. I will let no one - and no one's political plans - threaten our nation's survival. Our country and our people have never failed to be there for us. We must be there for them now.

Maraming salamat. Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat.
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