Joseph Estrada's First State of the Nation Address

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First State of the Nation Address
by Joseph Estrada
13th President of the Philippines
Opening of the 1st Regular Session of the 11th Congress
Delivered on July 27, 1998 at the Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City




Kagalang-galang na Pangalawang Pangulo. Kagalang-galang na Pangulo ng Senado. Kagalang-galang na Speaker ng Mababang Kapulungan. Kagalang-galang na Punong Hukom ng Korte Suprema. Kagalang-galang na mga miyembro ng Kongreso. Their Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps. Mga piling panauhin. Mga minamahal kong kababayan:


Noong Mayo onse, may mga labing-isang milyong Pilipino ang nagdesisyon na pamunuan natin ang bansa, patungo sa bagong milenyo.


Ngayon, sila ang nagtatanong, ano ba ang gagawin ng bagong pamunuang ito upang ihatid ang ating bayan sa bagong siglo?


Today, I stand before you with an accounting of the present and with a road map for our future.


Paano ba tayo itatawid sa krisis na bumabalot sa ating ekonomiya?


Nasaan na ba tayo ngayon?


Saan ba tayo nanggaling?


At saan ba tayo patutungo?


Hindi na ako magpapaligoy-ligoy pa. Nasa harap tayo ngayon ng matinding krisis na gumugulo sa buong Asya.


Ayon sa mga eksperto, wala pa tayo sa pinakamalubhang yugto ng krisis.


Kung babalewalain natin ang kinalalagyan natin ngayon, tiyak na lulubog ang ating bansa sa bigat ng ganap na recession.


Kaya pa ba nating iwasan ito? O hihintayin na lang ba nating tamaan tayo nang lalong matinding dagok sa ating kabuhayan?


Malubha ang lagay ng ating ekonomiya, at namimiligro ang kabang-yaman ng bansa.


Hindi kayang pamunuan ng pamahalaan ang kakulangan ng ekonomiya. Sa madaling salita, bangkarote ang gobyerno.


Ngunit hindi nangangahulugan na walang magagawa ang pamahalaan. At lalong hindi nangangahulugan na walang magagawa ang ating sambayanan.


Sawa na ang taumbayan sa mga walang-kabuluhang pangako't palabas. Sa harap ng matinding krisis na ating pinagdaanan nitong nakaraang taon, ang kailangan nati'y mga mabilis at mabisang lunas. Ito ang matinding hamon na dapat nating tugunan--tayong lahat: ang panguluhan, ang Kongreso, ang pribadong sektor, ang mamamayan. Mabigat ang hamon na ito--subalit buo ang tiwala kong mas matimbang ang pinagsamam nating talino, sipag, kakayahan.


But let us first make an accounting of the present. A true accounting that is perhaps long overdue.


Nitong unang bahagi ng 1998, ang paglago ng Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ay katumbas lamang sa dalawangpung porsiyento (20 percent) ng antas na naitala noong 1997.


Nangalahati ang produksyon ng mga pabrika natin. Pawang pagbabawas ng imbentaryo--at hindi ang paglikha ng mga produkto--ang ginawa ng mga industriya natin. Sa kanilang pangangamba sa recession, lalo lamang pinalala ang problema.


Bumagsak ang ating produksyong pang-agrikultura. Bumaba nang labing-apat na porsiyento (14 percent) ang ani ng palay, at bumaba din nang dalawampu't apat na porsiyento (24 percent) ang ani ng mais.


Malimit nating tukuyin ang phenomenon ng El Niño, subalit ang tunay na ugat ng suliranin ay ang pangkalahatang kaguluhan sa sektor na agrikultura.


Halos double-digit na ang ating inflation rate. Napakataas ang interes na sinisingil ng mga bangko kaya naman hindi makautang ang maraming negosyante. At lalo namang hinigpitan ng mga bangko ang kanilang pagpapautang, kaya't maraming kalakal ang nagsasara.


Dahil sa debalwasyon at sa El Niño, tuloy-tuloy ang pagbagsak ng ating piso. Ito ay lubhang mabigat para sa mga kababayan natin na isang kahig, isang tuka ang kinagisnang pamumuhay.


Unemployment is now 13.3 percent and growing; underemployment, 20 percent and also growing. 4.3 million Filipinos need a job. Twice that number wish they had a real, full-time job.


Maaaring sabihing ito ay maliit pa. Subali't paano mo sasabihin sa pamilyang gutom na mas masama ang kalagayan ng ibang pamilya sa ibang bansa? Paano mo sasabihin sa inang hindi makabili ng gamot para sa anak na malubha, na sa ibang panig ng daigdig, nangamatay na nga ang mga bata?


One lost job is one hungry family, and one cold statistic I cannot accept.


Statistics claim that the number of poor people has gone down in the past decade. I wonder if the people believe these statistics.


Wala sa akin ang mga statistics na iyan. Poor is poor--walang pera, walang pagkain, walang bubong, walang dignidad, at lalung-lalo na, walang pag-asa.


Hindi lang iyan. 'Yung mayaman ay higit pang yumaman, at ang mahihirap lalo pang humirap.


I wish that I could say that we shall set up a job security fund soon. But I don't want to add to the inventory of unfunded laws and bills that now amount to four hundred billion pesos ((₱400 billion) worth of promises that will never be fulfilled.


According to statistics, in the past six years, as the Philippine economy grew, the richest 10 percent got 40 percent of the national income.


And the poorest 10 percent? Wala pang dalawang porsiyento.


It is worse in the countryside, where 40 percent of Filipinos still work for one third of wages in the city. That is why they come here. But only to find that there are no jobs, or none for which they qualify.


Noong araw, inakala ng marami na kusang darating sa ating bansa ang mga banyagang negosyante dahil ang mga manggagawa natin ay mahuhusay at handang tumanggap ng mababang sahod. Hindi na ito totoo.


Napakababa ang productivity ng karaniwang manggagawang Pilipino dahil kalahati lang sa kanila ay nakapagtapos sa mababang paaralan samantalang tatlumpo't tatlong porsiyento lang ang nakaabot ng high school.


Nguni't limitado ang pondo na maari nating ilaan para sa edukasyon, may kakulangan tayong dalawampu't apat na libong silid-aralang, at labing-apat na libong guro.


Iisang aklat ang nakalaan para sa bawa't apat na mag-aaral. Malimit, walang kuwenta pa ang librong iyan--kaya marahil umiiwas sa pag-aaral ang marami sa mga kabataan.


Hindi lamang sa larangan ng edukasyon--hanggang ngayon, mahigit sa tatlumpung porsiyento ng tahanan sa bansa ay wala pa ring kuryente. At sa boung Asya, sunod lamang sa bansang Hapon ang taas ng singil natin sa kuryente.


Sa larangan ng agrarian reform, na ngayon an ika-dalawampu't anim na taon na.


Only 57 percent of target areas have been distributed, while productivity has become lower.

This does not mean that the land should have been left with the landlords, but that the farmers should not have been left to fend for themselves.


This is where we are now. Add anarchy on the peace and order front, where the only thing organized is crime, and the only thing systematic is kidnapping. The result: capital flight, yet some officials think they can attract foreign funds with tax incentives for potential kidnap victim.


Ang sinumang bagong Pangulo ay may pangarap at minimithi para sa bansa lalung-lalo na sa akin, na malaki ang inaasahan ng masang Pilipino. Ngunit gustuhin ko man na maibigay ang kanilang inaasahan, paano ko ibibigay kung wala tayong sapat na pananalapi na igugugol para mai-angat ang kanilang kabuhayan?


We have a seventy-billion peso budget deficit and a consolidated public sector deficit that could go as high as ninety billion pesos. Collection on taxes and duties are down, even as more and more tax exemptions and incentives cut deep into government revenues.


Government could borrow more. But that will only raise interest rates and worsen the economic slowdown. The result: less taxes and fewer jobs.


If high interest rates squeeze GNP by just 2 percent more, there will be half a million more jobless. But if we pressure the Bangko Sentral to print more money, inflation will shoot up.


Kaliwa't kanan, may latay, napakahirap tumimbang, at sadyang malala ang problema natin. Gayunpaman, nasa ugat ng problema and nakikita kong solusyon.


The problems we face are of such magnitude as to require nothing less than heroic and concerted action. We must move upon them as a single community, bound together by common rules that we all agree to respect and obey.


To begin with, we have to reduce the cost of governance, costs that go higher and higher with each corrupt act, with each wasteful project.


Bilyun-bilyong piso ang nawawala sa mga proyektong maaksaya at kulang sa silbi, at lalong malaki pa ang nawawalang parang bula dahil sa patuloy na kurakot.


Business pays taxes, but mostly into the pockets of BIR agents or customs examiners instead of the national treasury.


In 1998 alone, we can save as much as thirty four billion pesos from pork barrel.


4.6 billion pesos went to the centennial celebration, but the Department of Social Welfare had to beg for one hundred million pesos in emergency food aid to drought victims in Mindanao, and did not get it.


The 1997 World Development Report ranks the Philippine Civil Service as among the most politicized in the world, with politics deciding appointments down to janitor. The 1992 Corruption Index ranked the Philippines as the second most corrupt country in the region.


Debt service took 27 percent of the national budget last year. 26.4 billion pesos in the first semester of 1998 alone. The total external debt, including the private sector, is 45.4 billion dollars or 1.9 trillion pesos.


Nang ako'y maupo bilang Pangulo, nagulat ako nang ipaalam sa akin na umabot na pala sa 2.3 trillion pesos ang kabuuang utang ng pampublikong sektor.


Hindi na bilyun-bilyon ang usapan ngayon, kundi trilyun-trilyon.


We know where we are: in an economic slowdown, deep in the Asian crisis.


We know that we don't have much to work with.


Previous leaders have laid down both political and economic reforms that make up an enduring framework from which we can further build.


But we race against time, as an impatient public ask us: When will those reforms pay dividends for the common man?


Well, we just have to begin now. With honesty, with thrift, with efficiency.


Tama na ang pagpapasasa.


Tama na ang nakawan.


Tama na ang aksaya.


Tama na ang mga palabas.


Pagbabanat ng buto, at tunay na serbisyo ang siyang dapat na maging balangkas ng haharapin nating mga solusyon.


Bilang panimula, inatasan ko ang Gabinete na magbuo ng isang malawakang programa upang bawasan ang public sector deficit ngayon taon, mula sa inaasahang siyamnapu't tatlong bilyong piso, pababa sa anim na pung bilyong piso lamang. Kailangang magsagawa ng mga kaukulang pagbabago at pagtitipid ang pamahalaan upang lalo pang paliitin ang inaasahang kakulangan nito sa apat na pung bilyong piso lamang.


In order to achieve these targets, we will resolutely pursue several major cutbacks in expenditure programs.


First, I have instructed the secretary of the budget to continue to withhold 25 percent of budget allocation, excluding salaries and wages, from the various national agencies, including the Office of the President.


Second, we will continue to withhold 10 percent from the internal revenue allotment of the Local Government Units (LGUs).


Third, I believe that congress shares my conviction that we have to abolish the pork barrel. In the face of our fiscal position, our people ask no less.


Lastly, I will postpone the implementation this year of various programs earmarked for funding from the military camp sale proceeds, including the AFP modernization program.


We will also move quickly to dispose of the burden of government-owned corporations. I urge Congress to prioritize the bill privatizing the Napocor within the first three months of the 11th session. Privatization of government shares in Pasar, Philphos, Petron, FTI, PNB, PNOC-EDC, PNCC, Meralco and the two government-owned television stations will commence this year. The Department of Finance will put in place, within the next 100 days, a program to spin off or restructure the rest of the government corporations.


All dealings, contracts and negotiations will be done with complete transparency and integrity, every step of the way.


Any indication of anomaly I will immediately cancel the sale.


Uulitin ko, isang balita lang tungkol sa katiwalian, ipatitigil ko ang subasta.


I have ordered an inventory of all government lands titled to departments and bureaus and their transfer to the national government. I want my officials to keep out of the real estate business and stick to public service.


But let us not forget that privatization is mainly an emergency response to an emergency situation.

Panandalian at pansamantalang solusyon lamang ito. Higit na mahalaga, sa pangmatagalan, dapat tayong magsagawa ng mga bago at mas masinop na patakaran ng pamamahala.


It is therefore my intention to initiate institutional reform of the entire budget process. My administration has just completed its first three-year budget framework, which the national government will soon propose to Congress as our budget accord. In contrast to the current practice where only the executive decides on the initial list of programs and projects, the budget accord will involve both Congress and the executive in the selection of projects to be approved by the President. The total of these expenditures cannot exceed pre-determined, irrevocable ceilings over the three-year period.


Sa panig naman ng pananalapi, umaasa akong magtatagumpay ang action plan ng Department of Finance upang maging effective at efficient ang pangongolekta ng buwis.


The action plan of the Department of Finance will start with an asset census, intended to establish an up-to-date and reliable data base on the net worth of all tax-paying Filipinos.


We will push for a tax amnesty that will give peace of mind to delinquent taxpayers and tax credits to honest ones. Pagkatapos ng tax amnesty, I will assure you that we will apply the full force of the law against tax evaders.


Tinitiyak ko sa inyo na hindi lamang natin hahabulin ang mga tax evaders na ito kundi siguradong mapaparusahan, sino man sila.


We will establish a large taxpayers unit at the BIR. We will suspend the implementation of certain BOI exemptions granted to companies under laws and executive orders that expired in 1997.


The fiscal reforms forced upon us by the economic crisis will continue to serve us well even after the crisis is over. I will take this opportunity to establish fiscal discipline in the spending habits of government. Although we have to tolerate a certain amount of deficit this year, we will try as best as possible to pursue a balanced budget for the National Government in the coming years. The consolidated deficit for the entire public sector will be limited to no more than one percent of the country's GNP.


Makikinabang ang lahat sa mga gagawin nating ito: Hindi lamang ang pamahalaan, kundi ang karaniwang mamamayan na rin.


Sa larangan ng ating Financial System, patuloy na igagalang ng aking Administrasyon ang Kasarinlan ng Monetary Board at ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.


Subali't hindi kailangang magdusa ng lubos ang kalakalan sa patuloy na pagtaas ng interest rates.


Kakatigan ko ang pagbaba ng interest at ang pagpapabilis sa daloy ng pananalapi, lalo na sa mga maliliit na negosyo. Gayunpaman, titiyakin kong ang salapi ng mga Government Financial Institution ay hindi sosolohin ng ilang korporasyon.


Giant corporations and powerful groups have cornered a huge chunk of the resources of government banks, whose mandate is principally to help agriculture and small medium enterprises.


This practice we will reverse.


Sobra na ang kanilang pagsasamantala.


These billionaires have pushed small borrowers to lending windows that charge much higher interest rates. From this time on, GFIs will truly, sincerely, service the common people's needs.


Ipinamalas din ng kasalukuyang krisis ang peligro ng labis na pag-asa sa mga pondong nagmumula sa labas, kaya't kailangan nating pag-ibayuhin ang sarili nating pag-iipon, nang may sarili tayong pampuhunan sa ating mga proyekto.


Dumako naman tayo sa Agrikultura, na lubhang napabayaan, kaya't ang Food Security ng pitumpong milyong Pilipino ay nasa bingit ng alanganin.


The monopoly of rice importation by the National Food Authority has not stabilized prices, nor has it broken the cartels.


Two administrations have declared sugar a sunset industry, doomed to die. Maybe. All I know is that, sunset industry or not, I cannot leave three million families who depend on sugar in the dark, with nothing to eat after the sun goes down.


Marahil ang paglubog ng ating agrikultura ay dulot ng kulang na imprastruktura. Hindi sapat ang bilang ng mga daanan na nag-uugnay sa mga bukid at mga pamilihan.


Bakit nga ba magtatanim kung hindi mo naman maibebenta ang iyong ani?


We are condoning irrigation fees while at the same time launching a full-scale program, based on cost-effective irrigation technologies.


Kailangan nating gumawa ng sandaan apatapung libong kilometro ng mga bagong daan. Magkakahalaga ito ng four hundred eighty four billion pesos.


Without graft and corruption, this will be money well spent. It could also jump start the economy.


Tungkol naman sa ating kapaligiran, ipapairal natin ang ganap na pagbabawal sa pagtotroso o total log ban.


But not like in the past when massive reforestation was another excuse for massive corruption.


Traffic tells us that we need more roads and we need to finish them faster. One reason for delay are TROs. I will not interfere with the judiciary, but I urge the supreme court to remind judges of the lawyer's oath to delay no man for money.


Masyado ng garapal ang bentahan ng temporary restraining order o TRO.


Walang lakas ang mahihirap upang tulungan ang kanilang sarili ngunit ngayon, kahit ang gobyerno ay kapos sa pondo. So we must straategize to maximize.


Dole-outs are out, but basic social services are only just and right. That means basic health care, basic nutrition, and useful education for those who want it, but cannot afford it.


We will speed up the program to establish one Science high school in every province. We will give education subsidies straight to deserving students and teachers without passing through the schools. That way they can choose where to study and where to teach.


Ang lahat ng mga ito ay nangangailangan ng salapi. Sa mga susunod na hakbangin, kailangan lamang natin ang tapang at political will.


Nilagdaan ko na ang executive order na lumikha sa tinaguriang presidential task force against organized crime. Bunga nito, katakot-takot na batikos ang ipinukol sa akin.


Isang tanong, isang sagot: Kontra ba tayo sa krimen, o sa mga lulmalaban sa krimen?


The task force is what I think is needed to hit crime, and hit it hard so as to put it out--decisively.


Maybe there is a better way, but no one has shown me this. They only say that I am wrong but not how I can do it right and effectively.


Sawa na ako sa kanila.


Pati ang mga mamamayan, sawa na rin. Sawa na sa puro pamumulitika.


Sawa na sa puro salita, ngunit wala namang nagagawa kundi laitin ang mga lumalaban sa krimen.


Buo na ang aking pasiya. Tuloy ang task force.


I propose that congress amends the dangerous drug act to eliminate the possibility of probation for all offenders. Even if they say they are sorry. The only place for a drug dealer and the addict is together in jail.


I shall propose another controversial measure. I want to devolve greater administrative control over the Philippine National Police to the local government units. I am sure I will get hit for this also.


Perhaps there is a constitutional question here. But one thing is sure, I am not abusing power. What I am doing is sharing some of my power with the local executives over the National Police.


Ang pulis na baon sa hirap ay hindi nalalayo sa tukso na magabuso. Pero hindi ako nagdududa na gagampanan nang tapat ng mga alagad ng batas ang kanilang tungkulin kahit na gaano pa silang kahirap.


Ngunit bakit pa natin pabibigatin ang kaniyang kalagayan? Naniniwala ako na kapag sapat ang sahod ng ating mga alagad ng batas, higit na magiging propesyonal ang ating pulisya.


Sa krimen, ang sagot natin ay kaparusahan. Sa rebelyon, ang tugon natin ay negosasyon.


Sa mga nagsisi-alsa, na tapat lamang ang pagnanasa na makamit ang pagbabago sa lipunan, tayo ay handang makipa-negosasyon.


Subalit sa mga terorista, wala tayong panahon o pakikisama.


Sa mga kapatid nating Muslim, hinihiling ko ang pagkakataon na mabigyan ng katarungan ang napakaraming taon ng kapabayaan. Tigilan natin ang dahas, at pag-ibayuhin ang sandugong kapatiran.


As President, I inherit not only the problems but the responsibility to finish what my predecessors have started. That includes the resolution of ill-gotten wealth cases from the Marcos era. I will do so. We have talked of settlements but we have not precluded continuing prosecution.


Yet these cases have gone on long enough. Therefore, I order the Presidential Commission on Good Government to go forward on all ill-gotten wealth cases with all the evidence it has taken 12 long years to collect.


No more delays.


One way or another, I want these cases to end in one year, in final judgments or acceptable settlements.


Pagkatapos ng labindalawang taon, siguro naman may katibayan na upang mabigyan ng katarungan ang sambayanang Pilipino. Ito ang maliwanag na halimbawa ng justice delayed, justice denied.


Sa dakong external security naman.


Effective National Defense requires not just modern weaponry but better fighting men. Before we spend on expensive hardware, let us have the right kind of soldiers. It is not weapons that win wars but the men who fight them.


Until we develop a credible military deterrent, we must depend on the goodwill of our neighbors, on our treaty commitments with the United States, and on the skills of our diplomats in conveying to everyone that we want only peace, stability, and a shared prosperity.


It is said that my stand as a senator against the US bases treaty, in the face of strong public opinion and superpower pressure, disqualifies me as President from endorsing the visiting forces agreement with the United States.


On the contrary, because I stood up for the Philippine sovereignty in 1991, now as your President, I have the moral right to stand up for Philippine security today.


Sa bahagi naman ng pamamahala, itinatag ang pamahalaan upang paglingkuran ang mga mamamayan--at hindi ang kanyang sarili.


Kung tutuusin kailangan natin ng higit pang pamamahala--lalo na upang itaguyod ang kapakanan ng mga maralita.


Sa ngayon, labis-labis ang ating pamamahala, subalit kulang na kulang naman ang mga serbisyong pampubliko.


Pakikiusapan ko ang Kongreso na bigyan ako ng kapangyarihan para reorganisahin ang gobyerno upang ito ay maging matipid at masinop.


The aim is not to change officials but to rationalize government operations.


We are a small country, we should have only a small government. Not only on the nationality but also on the local level.


Tungkol naman sa ating electoral reforms hindi lamang halalang mapayapa ang ating kailangan, kundi kampanya ng hindi lubhang magastos.


Hindi lamang karapatan ng mga mamamayang bumoto ang dapat natin tiyakin, dapat siguruhin natin na ang mga boto nila ay mabibilang.


Upang makamit ito, kailangan bigyan ang komisyon sa halalan ng higit pang kapangyarihan upang harangin at parusahan ang lahat ng uri ng pandaraya. Hinihiling ko sa Kongreso ang magpatibay ng batas upang gawing heinous crime ang anumang election fraud.


Kailangan matapos ang computerization program bago sumapit ang susunod na eleksiyon.


Natitiyak kong marami pa tayong magagawa sa ikabubuti ng pangangasiwa ng pamahalaan--ngunit maaring kailangan pang baguhin ang ilang mga alituntunin ng saligang batas. Darating ang panahon ng pagbabago.


Mga kagalang-galang ng kinatawan ng sambayanang Pilipino: Hayaan ninyong wakasan ko ang mensaheng ito sa pagsambit ng isang taimtim na pag-asa.


Ngayong taon--sa kabila ng mga mabibigat na suliranin--susulong pa rin ang ating ekonomiya.

This year, despite formidable odds, we still expect some economic growth. Our gross national product is targetted to expand this year by 2 to 3 percent. We believe we can keep inflation based on 1998 prices in the single digit, at around 9.5 percent.


To conclude, my aim is to help our country escape the recession.


My solutions are obvious, my proposals may be common place, but they were never adpted before.


In sum, they are to spend wisely and less. And, by austerity and hard work generate the means to cover the shortfalls of the past, so we can have a smooth runway for a final take-off.


Perhaps by then, six years will have passed, and someone else will take over as pilot.


I am honored enough to be elected to the position of the highest responsibility, power and trust in the land.


I have neither pretension nor further ambition, only the sincere desire to serve. Only the desire to help the least of our people.


Kaya ako humihingi sa inyo ng kaunting pag-unawa, kaunting panahon, kaunting pagtitiis alang-alang sa ating bayan, at higit sa lahat para sa ating nakararaming naghihirap na mamamayan.


Naniniwala ako na kapag nagawa natin ito, tayo'y nagkaisa, tayo ay nagsama-sama, lahat ng klaseng pagsubok ay kakayanin natin. Nandiyan ang hamon ng ating panahon; nandiyan din ang ating tagumpay.


Salamat po at magandang hapon sa inyong lahat.


Joseph E. Estrada

This work is in the public domain because it is a work of the Philippine government (see Republic Act No. 8293 or Section 176 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines).
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