Press Release
July 30, 2015

30 July 2015

I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak before you here today because I am pleased to join you this morning to give you my views on good governance and inclusive growth.

The average GDP growth rate under this Administration has been around 6.28%. Some analysts have called this a stellar performance. Indeed,navigating through various challenges yet managing to sustain vigorous positive growth is laudable. Unfortunately, this growth is not experienced by the entire country, nor shared by every Filipino. There is inequitable distribution of income, and poverty still prevails in many regions of the country. In fact, the Philippines has the worst Gini Coefficient -- a measurement of income inequality -- among ASEAN countries. We also have the highest proportion of the population -- more than one out of every four Filipinos -- living under the poverty line. This -- to me, and indeed, to all of us here -- is simply unacceptable. This is why I am an advocate of Inclusive Growth as a development paradigm. Inclusive growth seeks to achieve economic development in ways that enable all our people to participate in the shaping of growth strategies, as well as to share in the gains and benefits derived from such strategies.

It is a way to generate wealth without one class gaining advantage over another, yet at the same time lifting the underclass into the status of an empowered, equitable partner. It avoids the risk of zero-sum growth, where one man gains at the expense of another.

For those of us in the public sector, our decision shall always have an impact on the lives of others. Thus, our decision-making should be transparent, accountable, fiscally responsible, participatory, equitable and scrupulously subject to the rule of law. Taken together, these attributes define what we call "good governance" which has been key in many recent development successes all over the world.

Good governance can provide the enabling environment that can encourage inclusive growth. inclusive growth is a process where everyone is entitled to an opportunity to share in a nation's growth as well as in the benefits of that growth, this process must necessarily require the socio-economic and political empowerment of its citizenry, most especially, the poor and other vulnerable sectors. inclusive growth can thrive in an environment where the people are encouraged to participate meaningfully and effectively in public life.

I believe that now is the ideal time to institutionalize this participatory structure of good governance, so we can take advantage of the relatively robust growth our economy has enjoyed in recent years.

I've advocated for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill that aims to open to public scrutiny and understanding every piece of documentation the government produces. Of Course there ate exceptions when it comes to national security, patents and bank secrecy law. I want to simplify government, to untangle its complications, by making its workings transparent, accessible, and understandable.

These happen to be the goals of two other Senate bills that I have authored. The Plain Writing for Public Service Act of 2013 eradicates jargon and obscurity in public documents, making them easier to understand dahil hindi naman po lahat ay makakabayad ng abogado para i-eksplika sa kanila at maski na ang mga kawani sa ating gobyerno ay nauubusan rin ng oras na mag-eksplika kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng mga dokumentong pinipirmahan ng ating mga kababayan.

I've also filed the Electronic Publication Compliance Act of 2013 which makes use of the Internet in order to make government publications widely accessible to our people. If you have the Freedom of Information, certain government documents should be automatically uploaded in the internet. For example, the Internal Revenue Allotment, the board members or officers of that government agency. And I know that the DBP to a large extent already does that but there are still many other government agencies that don't. In fact, my FOI bill is even better than other versions in other countries because it does not exempt LGUs which I feel is really more in touch with the people in the grassroots. Both bills are foundational companions to the more comprehensive FOI bill, which I am determined to see through passage hopefully soon. In the Senate, we passed at a record--eight months. Tama lang pong timing noong inihain ko ang FOI bill. Bakit? Sa tulong ng media at nandito sila ngayon, ang ating kasama sa senate media. Sa tulong nila at ng mga netizens, noong pumutok ang PDAF Controversy nakita natin ang kahalagahan ng pagkakaroon ng freedom of information sapagkat ang mga nangyari na iyan, kung merong kapangyarihan ang ating mga kababayan na bantayan ang mga proyekto ng gobyerno at kung sino ang mga nabibiyayaan nito, hindi na sana hahantong sa ilang bilyon na ninakaw sa ating lahat.

It is not enough that information is made available, but more importantly, that citizens should be able to do something constructive with this information. That's why social media also plays a very important role because even those that seemingly does not care about what happens in the government, kahit papaano pag na-tatag sa facebook at nakikita nila and they are apalled, they are more interested to read about it.

I believe that this is one of the highest purposes of good governance: to create an environment for our people to participate in the workings of their government. Let us not forget the Arab spring which began in a relatively not very active country like Tunisia has created that spark that brought about the Arab spring? and several countries followed suit after that. And it was thru the internet and thru the young. Alam niyo ba papaano nag-umpisa yun? Sa tingin ko marami sa inyo ang nakakaalam pero para doon sa hindi nakakaalam sa Tunisia po noon, ang nagpapalakad doon at siguro ngayon pero mas nabawasan na ay mga dati ng pamilya, mga dynasty at sila sia pa rin sa gobyerno. Meron pong isang nag graduate doon, matalino naka graduate ng kolehiyo pero walang mahanap na trabaho. So inakala nila na mabuti na lang na magtinda sa kalsada pero tinanggalan pa po siya ng permit para gawin iyon kaya nawalan siya ng pag-asa at siniklaban niya ang kanyang sarili, sinunog niya ang kanyang sarili. Yun ang ginawang inspirasyon, his martyrdom sparked the Arab spring which we would not have known if not for the netizens of that country which also awakened the international press regarding what was really happening in Tunisia. We've seen what happened after that, sunod sunod na po kahit sa Libya, sa Egypt at sa mga iba pang bansa.

It is important to build this constituency of new stakeholders from our most vulnerable populations, who can then be beneficiaries, decision-makers and partners in shaping development in the Philippines.

Obviously, diverting public funds into the pockets of public officials, is antagonistic to the idea of good governance, Not to mention, criminal behavior. Unabated corruption results in the hemorrhage of scarce resources that could have been used for development programs or social protection measures for our countrymen.

It is therefore, a chief deterrent to progress and a stumbling block to inclusive growth.

The elimination of corruption has been a fervently declared policy of our country for some time now. Yet, we continue to struggle against a pervasive culture of corruption. However, we must commend our Ombudsman for significant gains in the fight against corruption over the past 5 years:

  • The prosecution of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo;

  • The impeachment of a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the first in the history of our country, for graft and betrayal of public trust;

  • The filing in September 2013, of charges of plunder, malversation, bribery, graft and corrupt practices against Janet Napoles and 3 Senators, who were allegedly involved in the PDAF scam.

More recently, corruption and money laundering charges were filed against the Vice President. I was one of the signatories to the Senate committee report that found grounds for the charges. In the Senat what we do is investigate for oversight kasi po sa Senado at sa Kongreso dumadaan ang budget. So hindi lang po kami nagbabalangkas ng batas, we don't just legislate we have to do our oversight function, meaning we have to be able to investigate if the money that is allocated to these different departments are actually spent wisely and properly. That's why when they say pulitika lang 'yan, well maybe to an extent certain rhetorics or maybe grandstanding by some but essentially it is a function that needs to be done by the Senate. Hindi po kami pwede magpakulong sa kanila, rekomendasyon lang po ang pwede namin ibigay sa Ombudsman. Kaya po ang pag-iimbestiga sa dating PNP Chief, ako pa po ang kusang nagtawag ng delikadeza na mag resign bago pa po nangyari ang Mamasapano. At yung Mamasapano hearing mismo, rekomendasyon ang aming ibinigay sa Ombudsman pero kinailangan namin ilagay kung ano sa aming pananaw ang mga naging kasalanan nila sa ating bayan.

These prominent cases have certainly strained the public's faith in public officials. But we must persevere since the manner in which we handle the prosecution of these cases will convey our fidelity to the rule of law and the government's avowed adherence to good governance.

Higit pa po sa pagtatawag ng kung sino ang may kasalanan dito at pagpapakulong, ito ay ehemplo sa ating mga kabbayan na hindi natin dapat payagan ang ganyang uri ng pagkilos sa ating gobyerno at pamahalaan. It is an example that we are trying to set among ourselves and to the future generation. That's why it can be disheartening if you know that somebody has curtailed the law and has avoided prosecution. Kung napapansin po ninyo nabanggit ko si Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, doon po sa SONA ng pangulo, marami po siyang pinasalamatan. Ang mga, with all due respect sa mga kalalakihan na pinasalamatan niya, ang mga nasabi niya ay dahil kayo ay loyal sa akin at kayo ay nakasama ko na ng matagal. Pero ang mga binigyan niya ng recognition dahil sa kanilang trabaho ay mga kababaihan at sunod-sunod niyang binanggit iyon. Si Omb. Carpio-Morales, si Sec. De Lima, si Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan, si Chief Justice Sereno at si BIR Comm. Kim Henares. Puro po babae ang gumgawa ng mga desisyon at hindi po natatakot na ilahad kung ano ang dapat ilahad.

Alam niyo po, hindi po porket salungat ang aming pananaw sa ibang mga bagay ay hindi na tayo magka-alyado sa ating mga layunin. Ang sabi nga nila, you can be a principled ally of this administration and it is more valuable because it underscores the real importance of our loyalty to the people. Ahead of everything else, it is our loyalty to the mandate and the trust given to us, kaya nga po sa daang matuwid, ang daang matuwid ay hindi tinatahak ng iilan lamang, ito ay dapat lakarin o takbuhin ng mgs marami sa atin at ito ay papunta sa iba't-ibang lugar pero iisa rin po ang ating kahihinatnan, ito ay ang kung ano ang makabubuti sa mas nakararami at sa ating bayan.

The economic costs of corruption are staggering. A study done in the year 2000 estimated that corruption caused losses totaling more than 600 billion pesos from 1995 to 2000, or an average of 100 billion pesos for every year of the six-year study.

More troubling, the study found that these losses amounted to 3.8% of GDP on average. Ladies and gentlemen, 3.8% is even more than our infrastructure average budget. In other countries, they achieve progress consistently because it is at least 5% of their budget that is allocated for infrastructure, dito sa atin 3% and we're trying to increase it. In due fairness to our president and also to DPWH Secretary,they've done a better job than most of this administration.

Extrapolating this figure to the present, and assuming that corruption levels have remained steady, the cost of corruption would have been 450 billion pesos just for 2014 alone. I don't need to tell you that this amount is mind-boggling. It is one-fifth of the government's entire budget for that year.

Even if we assume -- and this is an extremely unlikely assumption -- that the cost of corruption had remained flat and constant from 1995-2000 rate of 100 billion pesos a year, it would still be a massive figure, even in 2014. To give you an idea of how much 100 billion pesos will buy, the 2014 budget of the Department of Education's supplementary feeding program was 1.07 billion pesos. That was how much it took to feed 562,262 severely wasted children for a total of 120 days in 2014, at 16 pesos per child per day. The conservative cost of corruption in just one year could have funded the DepEd's feeding program for 99 years, feeding more than 55 million children!

The detrimental effect of corruption on the state's ability to address such fundamental issues as childhood nutrition, development and education has led me to sponsor more than half a dozen anti-corruption bills in the Senate, aimed at, among other things:

  • enhancing the code of conduct and ethical standards for public servants;

  • strengthening the Office of the Ombudsman in cooperation with them;

  •  strengthening the Internal Affairs Service of the Philippine National Police; ang ibig sabihin nito, ang IAS head ng PNP ay dapat sibilyan, hindi po dapat isang active PNP Officer. Mahirap naman na ang mga kasamahan mo ang iyong iniimbestigahan. Lalo na sa isang institusyon katulad ng PNP na napakahalaga ang kooperasyon at tiwala sa isa't-isa. Matagal ko nang sinasabi iyon. Dapat sibilyan ang head ng PNP IAS pero hindi pa po iyan nagagawa. Siguro ngayon, bago na po ang ating PNP Chief at mukha naman po siyang responsable, matipuno nga, halos kabaligtaran. Kaya nga po baka pwede nating mapakiusapan. At ibabalik daw po niya ang physical exercise, importante po iyon, dahil nga naman paano mo hahabulin ang mga kriminal.

Perhaps the most critical government function where good governance and inclusive growth can be applied to greatest benefit would be in our budget process.

Drawing up our national budget can be made participatory and accessible. We achieve this by opening meaningful social access to pre- and post-budget consultation -- among other phases of the budget process -- in the formulation and implementation of our national expenditure program. This will make our budget more responsive to the poor, eliminating tiers of interference from partisan politics and special interests.

I understand that the Department of Budget and Management has been using a method called, Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB), which embodies these concepts. As opposed to the traditional budget formulation which is made by government officials, BUB begins at the grass-roots level and encourages citizens to take active roles in the community by articulating their needs to the government and determining what projects are responsive to their needs.

Hindi pa po tapos diyan, alam niyo po maraming bids sa gobyerno, ang problema minsan ay doon sa terms of reference. Alam niyo po dapat talaga may komite na tumitingin diyan. Kasi minsan ang terms of reference ay favorable sa isang particular bidder. Katulad na lang po ng ibang gamit sa PNP, muli, constructive criticism po ito. Wala po tayong sinasabi na may anomalyang nangyari pero katulad ng binabanggit sa radyo yung mga patrol cars natin halimbawa - masyadong maraming failed bidding na nangyari at yung ibang kwalipikado ay hindi po nakakapasa doon sa terms of reference kaya parang napunta sa isang kumpanya rin na hindi naman natin masyadong kilala pero bigyan natin sila ng pagkakataon din na mapatunayan ang kanilang sarili. Pero ito ang ibig nating sabihin, kung papalit-palit po ang terms of reference, ito'y maaaring magamit sa maling paraan.

But participation during the preparation of a budget till the passage of an appropriations law is not enough. The participation of the citizenry after the appropriations law has passed is also crucial. And this is where an FOI law would be necessary. The FOI law will give ordinary citizens the power of oversight.

To illustrate, the FOI bill will enable citizens, for instance, to monitor how the national budget was disbursed, and to track the particulars of each expenditure. It will make stealing public funds more difficult and easier to discover.

The key is to expand the space for social participation on government projects that affect the community; from design and conception, all the way to project completion.


Good governance has a positive track record in producing development success, particularly where it reduces corruption and promotes stability. Good governance should be able to provide an emergent nation like us with the framework to sustain our recent economic growth.

Tama po ang sinabi ng NEDA, ang ating economic growth should be sustained for many more years. At least for another adminstration and in doing, we can have that.

Ang ating growth rate na 6.2% nangyari sa administrasyong ito. We have to give credit this administration. And more than anything I think it is because of his example of honesty and sincerity and Aquino himself does not steal. That has encouraged more confidence in our economy.

Alam niyo po ang sinasabi nila if we continue this path of 7% growth, by 2042, tayo po ay nasa first world bracket or ibig sabihin nasa higher income level na po sapagkat ang ating per capita income from 2,800 dollars per annum ay magiging around 10,000 dollars per annum.

Let us not forget that our greatest resource is our people, specially our young population. Kaya dismayado ako pag nakikita ko ang MRT pero nakikita ang nakapila diyan. Sapagkat nakikita mo na lahat ay ganado na pumasok sa trabaho pero napipigilan dahil sa ating imprastraktura. Makikita sa kanila halos kalahati ay kabataan, ganyan po kayaman ang ating bansa. Nagpupunta po ang mga banyaga dahil sa kanila. Pagdating po ng 2050, isa sa bawat tatlo ay magiging average po ay 23 years old, samantalang sa 2050, isa sa bawat tatlo sa China ay 50 years old ang average age.

Kaya lang hindi po tayo aabot sa puntong iyan kung hindi aalagaan ang mga kabataan. Kaya nga po ang ating mga bills hindi lamang po anti-corruption kundi po feeding the children, the first 1,000 days when the brain is developed, kailangan po sa sinapupunan pa lamang maayos na ang kinakain ng mga magulang pati ng mga anak hanggang two years old, importante po talaga ang brain development.

While registering higher annual GDP is always a good objective for development planners, addressing endemic social inequality will require a development paradigm that places emphasis not only on the outcome, but also the process. Society, especially the poor, should be able to participate in and benefit from gains derived from development. How do we, as agents of development, provide meaningful access to the process of development? Tourism, agriculture--we need more dams and irrigation.

In closing, I would like to thank you all for this opportunity because good governance has a positive track record in producing development success particularly where it reduces corruption and holds stability. Good governance should be able to provide an emerging nation like us with the framework to sustain our recent economic growth.

A nation is strongest when there is an equitable sharing of wealth coupled with an empowered citizenry. As public officers, we must endeavor to be accountable to the people, and at any time, citizens must be able to call us out for wasting resources or deviating from the straight path, o ang tinatawag natin na "Daang Matuwid".

Inuulit ko po, mayroon tayong iba't-ibang paraan para makatulong sa ating bansa. Ang tuwid na daan ay hindi dapat tinatahak ng iilan lamang. Lahat tayo ay dapat sumama dito. Iba't-iba man ang pakay natin, sa bandang huli, yan din ang sinasabi ng pangulo. Iba't-iba man ang ating paraan o ang ating lakbay, diretso pa rin dapat at para sa bayan ang gagawin sa gobyerno.

Our end goal is to find ways to provide all citizens with a community where they can live in dignity, exercise their rights freely, and share in the gains of our economic success.

Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.

News Latest News Feed