Oath Taking of the Vice President of the Philippines
Quezon City Reception House, June 30, 2016
To my beloved countrymen:
There are moments in our lives that shine brighter than others. Like when I met Jesse. Or when I saw my children’s faces for the first time. Or when the plane crashed.
We are facing one of those moments once again.
I will be forever grateful that you are here today. You, who have given me your trust and have taken this fight as your fight. I am touched that you are with me again in this journey we are about to take.
But this journey is not just about us. This is a chance to bring those at the fringes of society to prosperity—in a bigger, more powerful way.
This is a dream come true for someone like me who hold consultation meetings on train tracks, sleep on boats, and ride single-motor version of tricycles called habal-habal to reach those we need to serve.
We are in this position because we cannot and will not turn our backs on the responsibility for inclusive growth and progress that matters, and we will not waste this chance to lift our advocacy to higher levels. We accept this chance to serve with humility, gratitude and a commitment to excellence.
The chosen direction of our President and our plans for the country have wide intersections and converge on the singularity of this vision: of bringing real prosperity to our people, especially those that have been left behind.
Much has been done, but we continue to face more challenges. That is why we aim to resolutely face all obstacles, determined to eradicate them.
We will not allow anything to derail us in our goals and we are willing to work with all to bring our plans to fruition.
The only way for all of us to realize our vision for our nation is to work together. During these times when there seem to be significant divisions and conflict in the world, the challenge is to come together, celebrate our commonalities and differences, and turn them all into strengths.
We must do right by the people, not only by our own people. Our loyalties must lie on those we are sworn to serve, even at the cost of personal interest.
This has always been the manner by which we have served; and it will remain that way for the rest of our lifetime.
The doors of the Office of the Vice Presidency are always open. Ours will be a listening office. We seek to unite the government and the private sector in a partnership for change, for those at the fringes of society that we have vowed to serve.
Our plan is to create partnerships between the government and the private sector towards real change.
Collaboration is today’s most important and powerful resource. In our world today, our most important work are the things that we can do together.
If you recall, this is exactly the story of our journey together. When we started, very few believed that we had a sliver of chance to win. But because of the contributions of each single individual— like Nanay Alberta who pawned her ring to help with the campaign, like the Sumilao farmers who walked again to Metro Manila, like the dad-and-son tandem we randomly witnessed fixing our destroyed posters—like each one of you who sacrificed so much to get us where we are now and believed when nobody believed.
When we stand for what we believe in, when we are ready to sacrifice our personal interests, we can make the impossible possible.
We can accomplish many things in the next six years. We invite all who have a passion for helping the poor, for fixing systems for the poor, for unlocking barriers that perpetuate the status quo in the poorest areas of our country, to come to our office.
We will streamline and bring all these efforts together so that we can extract the highest possible impact from each point of collaboration.
We have identified hunger and food security, universal health care, rural development, education and people empowerment as our main priorities. In these areas, there is no time to lose because every day, there is real suffering on the ground. Our dream is to make a head way on easing that suffering as soon as we can. Join me.
Together, let’s take another journey.
In our first 100 days, we plan to once again go to the farthest and the smallest barangays to pray with you, to laugh and cry with you, and most of all to listen to the things that you want changed. This is what we did in Naga City and in our district—the place where I was born, where I built a family with the love of my life, the place that formed my awareness of society’s problems, and calcified in my mind the solutions that work best. The place that gave birth to myself as a public servant.
The transformation that we personally saw in our district as we literally wore out our slippers walking with people on the ground, strengthens our resolve that this is the best way to bring about change in our nation.
We hope that as we bring the Office of the Vice Presidency to your barangay, you will feel the government is truly there for you, and when you feel that, you will be inspired to spark your own change as well.
When change begins in ourselves, the change we want to see in our nation will truly happen. We have seen this in the farmers and fisherfolk we have helped, in each battered woman we tried to empower, in each indigenous person, or barangay health worker.
Any groundswell begins from an individual’s resolve. If you want our country to leave behind the things that hold it down, we must start within. That will spark a real groundswell, a unity of effort that brings about strength.
Whatever change we want to see in our nation must begin within ourselves. And when we do that together, nothing is impossible.
As Jesse used to say when he was alive: “What brings us together as a nation is far more powerful than what pulls us apart.”
During these times of conflict, unity is most important for our nation. We may come from different walks of life or different advocacies, but our dreams are the same: that each Filipino will live a dignified, prosperous life.
This moment, today, is the start of the fulfillment of these dreams.
Thank you very much and mabuhay ang Pilipinas!