113th Anniversary Celebration of the DOTC
Delivered January 20, 2012
at the The Columbia Tower, Mandaluyong City
Happy birthday to everyone.
A hundred and 13 years is quite a long time. 113 years, which started in the same year as the establishment of the First Philippine Republic in Malolos. So it’s quite historic that at the time when our people, our nation, first stood up for itself, in order to establish a Republic that would embody and that would actualize the hopes and dreams of every Filipino. At that time, the DOTC was also started, the point being that, when our forebears, when the founders of our nation, set forth to create the republic, they found it very important to have such an agency, that this agency would be part of the nation-building that they had embarked on in 1899.
So, today, indeed is a very historic day. and I congratulate the DOTC, all the so many Filipinos who have served as part of the DOTC family, all through the years, up to the present, and all those who, even up to today, continue to labor so that the DOTC can continue to carry forth its mandate. So let’s give everyone who has given everything to the DOTC, a hand.
I was sitting here, thinking about 113—it’s quite a historic number, it‘s a large number. Maybe too large for human comprehension, since most of us, we say, “Swerte na ako maka-eighty”, or maybe even 70. Kaya yung 113, parang napakalaking idea or cause.
But, we are fortunate because we have another number, which is, of much more human scale. Number 25. And just a few minutes ago, we honored all those who have served the Department for 25 years.
By the way, I was happy to note that in addition to the plaque there was an envelope because I’m a firm believer in the saying, “ A plake is nice but we prefer cash.”
Twenty-five years. Most of us can relate to that. I was scanning back in my memory banks, what job I may have held for 25 years and I could not find one. I have every 10 years or so, moved on to a different type of job.
Twenty-five years ago, our honorees joined the Department, a moment of great ferment, of great excitement, of keen enthusiasm for our nation. They joined the Department in 1986 at the time of the EDSA Revolution. There was great hopefulness. There was a great deal of looking forward. Of maybe this time we can get our country on the right track.
I relate that to the founding anniversary or the founding date of the DOTC because also on that day, in January of 1899, when the first Malolos Republic was established, it was also a time of great ferment, of great hope, of keen enthusiasm for the future of our people and our country.
And I relate that to us here serving today. It is also a time of great hope, enthusiasm and encouraged optimism for our future. There is a commonality that stretches through these three period of our history—Malolos, in 1986 when our honorees joined the Department, and us here today, under the leadership of President P-Noy.
At no time in contemporary history, other than in 1986, has there been such a feeling of “maybe this time”. Maybe this time we will get it right. Maybe this time we will not just go along to get along. But maybe this time, maybe, we will be able to make the substantive reforms, the substantive changes, we will break the glass ceilings. To use an analogy, we will break the eggs so that we can make omelette. You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. So maybe this time, we will get it right.
We have a courageous leader who is unafraid to challenge the status quo. And if one were to try and step back, and think about what is happening to our country today, it is in fact a challenging of the status quo. It is in fact a challenging of the “Ok lang yan. Yan talaga ang kalakaran, tanggapin na lang natin yan” attitude that we may have been all subject to all these years.
We had that spark in 1986. Somewhere along the way we lost it. And now we found it again. Maybe this time we’ll get it right.
And it is that spirit of enthusiasm, of hope, of optimism, of joy, even, in all of our endeavors, we labor everyday. Not everyday is a highlight day. Not everyday is a super day. Most days are regular days.
All through those 25 years of our honorees, all through those 40 and 42 years of our retirees, all through the years and days that everyone here experiences, we go through those ups and downs.
But nonetheless, like our honorees, like our retirees, we remain steadfast, we carry-on, we do our duty.
That’s the spirit that I hope we will all carry-forth. Not just this year, but into the years to come—that spirit of can do, that spirit of not “maybe this time” but that spirit of “certainly this time we will make sure, this time we will get it right, this time, we will deliver. This time we will be able to make change, this time we will be able to show how things can be and are.”
And that’s the spirit that is embodied in the theme for anniversary today—about DOTC CARES.
I might fail Bobet’s test, I think I’ll give it a try. About convenience, that’s the C. About affordability that’s the A; about Reliability, maaasahan, that’s the R; about efficiency, walang aksaya, that’s the E; and about Safety, which is the S.
What I’d like to remind everyone is, it is DOTC CARES, ha. As important as safety is, don’t put S ahead of the C, ‘cause it might be DOTC SCAREs.
So we will keep safety as our number one priority. It’s just that we will put it in the lettering at the end. Ok?
And so, I want to tell our retirees, and our honorees, and all of the “kawani”, all of the “kabahagi” of the DOTC family, I see all of the other agency heads here present. Before I end, speaking of our retirees, Mon Liwag of the Philippine Coast Guard will be retiring on his birthday next week. So let’s also give him a round of applause.
I joined the agency July of 2011. In that time, I’ve experienced several ship collisions, ship sinkings, certainly storms, and floods and now just recently, again, Sendong. And I can tell you that Coast Guard performed admirably. They were on-deck, they were … I can say that, although we truly mourn and feel at a loss, for any loss of life, these have been kept to a minimum, to the barest, barest minimum. Ginawa nating ang lahat para matugunan yung ating tungkulin na pangalagaan ang ating mga kababayan. So, thank you for your service, Mon, as well as thank you for our retirees, and to our 25-year awardees. Let’s give them again a hand.
So here we are, it’s birthday time. It’s a time for us to look back and give thanks to all those who have been helpful to the preceeding year, by the periods. It is also a time for us to re-dedicate ourselves to the very ideals, to the very passions, to the very goals that we have set for ourselves as we started out on this journey, as we embark on this long, long trip of ours to make things better for our people.
Just as our forebears in Malolos in 1898, 1899 set forth, when they instituted the First Philippine Republic, just as the DOTC forebears, I don’t see his…His picture we must put, whoever was the DOTC in 1899. I don’t see him on that wall. I was trying to figure out who he was but whoever he was, kudos to him, and to the long line of all those who have served the Department since then up to the present, and most importantly to all of you who continue to serve, who continue to patiently persevere, who continue to come in everyday, day-in and day-out, good days and bad days, healthy days and ill days, to come in, to try and do your job, to be professional, to deliver, to live up to that oath that we said at the start of this ceremony, about the oath ng mga kawani ng pamahalaan, to be able to render service to everyone who comes to our attention. It’s a great calling. It’s a great ambition to be able to be of service.
To our retirees, and our awardees, I was thinking that, you know, they are honored here for five minutes, they come up, they receive their plaque. Parang medyo empty. Medyo kulang.
But I was also thinking that, it’s the idea of having been professional. The idea of having been able to deliver everyday, that is of greater one, of greater value than the plaque. The plaque will, I don’t know, I’m at a loss for words, in Bisaya it’s “napanas na”, nabura na, ano? The plaque will be a…will be erased. And the money, you might spend it, o baka nagastos na ninyo pambayad utang. But it’s the satisfaction of knowing, of coming home knowing that in your own sphere, in your own world, you were able to leave it after 25 years, after 40 years, 42 years in some instances, you were able to leave it much better than you had first come upon it. That you in fact, were a positive ripple, amidst all the other ripples that are going on in the world. That you in fact contributed something as opposed to being a net-taker away.
So I congratulate you. I congratulate all of those who continue to serve the DOTC. I encourage you to continue with your sense of professionalism, of your sense of duty, of being able to deliver, so that every year, when we celebrate our anniversary, we can say that we have moved forward. That this year is better than last. That next year will be better than today, because collectively, all of the energies and the spirits of everyone here at the DOTC, within the DOTC, is a family, are contributing to that future goal of being of service to our people and of service to our country.
Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Maraming salamat sa inyong serbisyo. And, happy birthday. Thank you very much.