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    Message at the Grand Opening of the Orchid Gardens Complex and Inauguration of the Forum and the Orchidarium

    Office of the Vice President 9 June 2017

    The Orchid Gardens, Lazatin Blvd., San Juan, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, 08 June 2017

    Before we proceed, let me first greet, of course, Mr. Nelson Castro – the man behind this dream project. Palakpakan po natin si Sir Castro, the President and CEO of Orchid Gardens.

    Of course we would not have been able to accomplish this without his very supportive wife, Mrs. Maureen Castro, Vice President for Corporate Communications and Public Relations; Engr. Jesse Quiwa, Vice President for Operations and Finance; my friend, Mayor Ed Santiago, Vice Mayor Jimmy Lazatin, and members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod; members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan who are here this evening; my boss at the 16th Congress, he was my chairman at the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability – I was his deputy chair – former Congressman and former Mayor Oca Rodriguez, also my dear friend; other local officials present; Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre and other representatives of the Department of Tourism; representatives of national government agencies who are here with us; Archbishop Emeritus Paciano Aniceto, magandang gabi po sa inyo; representatives from the business sector, religious sector, and the academe; my fellow workers in government, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen: Magandang gabi pong muli sa inyong lahat.

    First of all, thank you very much for the huge honor of inviting me over and joining you in such an important occasion. Pangalawang pagkakataon na po na nakabalik ako sa San Fernando mula noong eleksyon, and I would like to thank many of my supporters who are also here with us tonight. It was not an easy fight, pero I would not have survived it without your help. Kaya maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyo.

    When we were walking over from the ribbon-cutting ceremony, I was told of the history and origin of Orchid Gardens. Ang sabi ko po sa sarili ko, napaka-inspiring ng kuwento ng Orchid Gardens. At ang kuwento ng Orchid Gardens, kuwento rin ng City of San Fernando. Kuwento rin ito ng lalawigan ng Pampanga. At kuwento ng Pilipinas. Ito ang kuwentong nagbigay sa atin ng napakaraming aral – na sa maraming dagok na pinagdadaanan ng bawat isa sa atin, kapag tayo ay nangangarap nang malaki, tayo ay nagpupursige na maabot ito, walang imposible.

    In the recent years, the City of San Fernando has been at the forefront of developments, not only in the Philippines, but in the whole of Asia. Parating awardee ang City of San Fernando, of course, started by Mayor Oca then and Mayor Ed now. Malaki ang pinagbago. To think na 1991 lang, hindi makilala ang buong lungsod. But you were able to rise up from the rubbles of Pinatubo and emerge as one of the major cities in the Philippines.

    I was here since lunchtime, nandito na po ako kanina pang tanghali. I visited several groups. I was in a factory at the PEZA area. I also visited a public high school. All the visits since early today have been sources of inspiration. Mga istorya ng pag-asa. Ito po ang mga kuwentong dala-dala ng bawat isa sa atin dahil ito ang mga kuwentong nagbibigay sa atin ng pag-asa.

    In these very difficult times, your story—the story of Orchid Gardens and the story of the City of San Fernando—should be one that would give us hope that in many difficult moments in our lives, basta tayo ay hindi huminto, basta tayo ay magpupursige, maaabot natin ang ating pinapangarap.

    I don’t know if Sir Nelson and Ma’am Maureen realized this, but Orchid Gardens is not just a place to go to. It will become—as it was before—a part of the history of the City of San Fernando and the province of Pampanga.

    Pinagkukuwentuhan po namin ni Asec. kanina na it is very timely for you to have built this structure in this area, ngayon na kailangan natin ang inclusive growth. We know that with agriculture and infrastructure, tourism is one of the greatest drivers of inclusive growth. Ang pagtatayo nito ay makakatulong nang marami sa tourism dito sa Pampanga.

    And judging from the attendance tonight, ang buong pamilya ng San Fernando, nandito. And it gives us hope, it gives us courage, that in the midst of many difficult times, we will again emerge victorious, just as Orchid Gardens has emerged victorious, just as San Fernando City has emerged victorious.

    Kaya maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyo, for not giving up on all of us. For giving us reasons to stay hopeful, for inspiring all of us to continue pursuing our dreams, and continue fighting for a better Philippines.

    Muli po, congratulations to the Orchid Gardens family. Congratulations to the City of San Fernando.

    Magandang gabi pong muli sa inyong lahat. Maraming salamat po.

    Posted in Speeches on Jun 09, 2017