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    Message at the Launch of Istorya ng Pag-Asa, Cebu

    5 March 2017

    Launch of Istorya ng Pag-Asa Cebu City Hall, 4 March 2017

    Magandang magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat. Maayong hapon sa inyong tanan.

    First of all, thank you very much for your presence here this afternoon for the launch of Istorya ng Pag-Asa. Istorya ng Pag-Asa is a program that we feel is an important way of changing the narrative of our country.

    So, I’m very happy this afternoon to see local government officials, community leaders, members of the different organizations who came together to launch this movement. So, maraming maraming salamat po sa inyo.

    Alam ninyo po, going back to Cebu is like going home. I always say this every time I go to Cebu, which is often enough.

    Unang-una, Mayor Tommy was one of the very few closest friends of my husband. When he was elected, tinatanong ko nga si Mayor Tom, sabi ko Mayor, when I was having lunch with him, I asked him, Mayor, did you recall when you just had one child?

    That was so many years ago. Nag-breakfast kami sa bahay ninyo, at naalala kong sobrang sarap ng breakfast. Alam ninyo po, iyong asawa ko, hindi naman ma-barkadang tao, and Mayor Tom was one of his closest friends.

    And because of that friendship, when my husband died, Mayor Tom was one of the first local government officials who came over. Pero hindi ninyo po alam na noong napapalaban na ako, when I ran for congress in 2013, pumunta si Mayor Tom bigla sa amin, tinitingnan niya kung ano ang kailangan ko.

    When he went, that was in the early days of the campaign. Walang-wala pa ako, wala akong tao, wala akong gamit, walang-wala lahat. So, Mayor Tom spent a few days in Naga, training all my campaign staff.

    Hindi pa siya nakuntento, dinala pa dito ‘yung aking campaign staff. At noong mag-uumpisa na ang kampanya, wala akong ka-pera-pera, sabi niya wala ka man lang bang ipapamigay na calendar for Christmas? Siya iyong nagpagawa.

    Noong napalaban na naman akong Vice President, talagang sinaklolo na naman ako ni Mayor Tom. I don’t know if you are aware that Cebu gave me a very big mandate.

    I won in 37 of the 44 towns in Cebu, and 4 out of the 9 cities in Cebu, I won by almost 500,000 votes in the entire province of Cebu. In Cebu City alone, nanalo po ako ng more than 70,000 votes over Marcos.

    Kaya maraming salamat sa tulong niyo. So, balik tayo sa programa natin this afternoon.

    Hope is a powerful thing. It lives very intimately with many of our other homegrown values as a Filipino. Courage. Grit and determination. Pride in hard work. Pride in hard and honest work. Pride in a life simply lived.

    A few weeks ago, naimbitahan po ako in a Youth Forum, and iyong topic po sa isang Youth Forum, “Let’s Change The Conversation”.

    Youth groups in that forum were telling me that they have been feeling beaten and depressed by all the negativity around them and they wanted to do something about it.

    Ang exact words po nila, pagod na pagod na kami. Pagod na pagod na kami sa mga napapanood namin at naririnig araw-araw. Kaya they took it upon themselves to organize this forum called “Let’s Change the Conversation.”

    So, ang tanong ko po sa kanila, ano ba iyong nararamdaman? Ang sabi nila parang ayaw na naming magbukas ng TV, ayaw na naming magbukas ng diyaryo kasi lahat na lang, lahat na lang mga negative iyong aming nakikita.

    So sa mga susunod kong pinupuntahan, parati kong tinatanong, do you feel the same way? Pareho ba iyong nararamdaman niyo? Are you somehow feeling lost in all the hatred around us? Has hope become difficult to come by? So iyon iyong aking tinatanong.

    And, you know, there is a saying that darkness is the mere absence of light. Di’ba? Iyong iyong laging sinasabi. Darkness is the mere absence of light.

    So, if that is so, then it is up to us to fight this darkness by surrounding our society with our own light. Light can come from ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Light that can come from every street corner and every pathway.

    Light that comes from within, rather than from the trappings of power, fame, or fortune. Light that comes from all of us.

    So, gustong sabihin, kung madilim na iyong paligid, huwag tayong maghintay na dumating iyong liwanag. Tayo na iyong gumawa ng sarili nating liwanag.

    So when we do so, we can already change the conversation and build our nation with hope that transcends gender, social status, political party, religion or region, or business affiliation.

    So Istorya ng Paga-Asa is borne out of this need to change the national conversation. Eto iyong dahilan kung bakit tayo may Istorya ng Pag-Asa. I don’t know if anyone of you attended the launch of our flagship program Angat Buhay yesterday. Kahapon nagkaroon kami ng launch ng aming flagship program called Angat Buhay. It is an anti-poverty program.

    Istorya ng Pag-Asa is part of that program. Pero naisip namin to have a separate launch for Istorya ng Pag-Asa. If only to highlight that we already want to take it upon ourselves to change the narrative of our country.

    We already want to take it upon ourselves na baguhin na iyong kuwento na nangyayari. So, because of Istorya ng Pag-Asa, we want to bring extraordinary stories of ordinary people to every nook and cranny of our country, to every school and government office, to every mall, airport, and bus station.

    We want our people to know that they, too, can be a source of hope. So ibig sabihin, iyong Istorya ng Pag-Asa, gusto nating maghanap ng mga kuwento ng mga ordinaryong mamamayan na may ginawang extraordinary things.

    Naghahanap tayo ng mga kuwento na magbabago ng kuwento ng ating bansa. Hinahanap natin iyong kuwento na pag narinig natin o nabasa natin, masisiyahan tayo at magkakaroon tayo ng pag-asa.

    Para mabago na. Hindi na negative. Gagawin na nating positive.

    And this afternoon, we want to present to you some examples, kasi kanina tumayo na si Luisito no? Luisito ang pangalan mo? Siya iyong motorboy ng Cebu. Kinukuwento kanina ni Leah kung ano iyong kuwento ni Jejomar. Kung ano iyong kuwento ni Jejomar, iyon iyong hinahanap natin.

    Iyong mga ordinaryong tao na dumaan sa matinding mga pagsubok, pero nanalo sa huli. Ngayon po, we want to present to you, ayun, some stories we have come across.

    This is the story of Nanay Lorna. Ayan si Nanay Lorna, who has a sari-sari store in Quezon City where she sells turon and banana cue. Ordinaryo, di’ba? Ordinaryo. Nanay Lorna is widowed, single parent. She struggled day by day to send her children to school and by sheer determination and strength as a mother, brought them up to value excellence and hard work.

    Iyong isa po niyang anak ngayon abugado na, iyong isang anak, apat iyong kaniyang anak, iyong isa abugado, iyong isa teacher, iyong isa nurse, isa na lang iyong nag-aaral, pero iyong kaniyang bunsong anak na lalake, nag-aaral po sa UP, intermed. Iyong intermed, iyon po iyong, napakahirap po noong pasukan na kurso kasi kukuha ka ng medisina pitong taon lang.

    So iyong anak niya, nakapasok doon sa UP intermed, magiging doctor din. Iyon sa pagbenta niya lang ng turon at banana cue, napalaki iyong mga anak niya na mahuhusay. Iskolar sa paaralan.

    Iyong pangalawa namang kuwento ay tungkol kay Mike. Ordinaryo din. Si Mike ay isang Pilipino pero naglaki na siya sa San Diego, California. Pero panaginip ni Mike, panaginip ni Mike na balang araw ay makakauwi rin siya ulit dito sa Pilipinas. Pero kailangan kasi mag-ipon muna siya.

    Kailangan siya ay magtrabaho muna, tiniis niya iyong hirap at lungkot para makapag-ipon. Pero noong siya ay nakaipon na, bumalik siya sa Pilipinas, nag-umpisa siyang mag-negosyo ng kaunti.

    Ngayon ay mayroon na siyang dalawang napakalaking negosyo sa Laoag, Ilocos Norte. Iyong kaniyang negosyo ay isang resort at isang restaurant. Kanina, iyong pinakita natin si Nanay Lorna, iyong hashtag ni Nanay Lorna ay nanlaban sa buhay at nagtagumpay. Si Mike naman ang kaniyang hashtag, laking AmBoy, nangulila, nagbalik-bayani, ngayon proud na negosyanteng Pinoy.

    Iyong pangatlo, ayan, si Alexander. Si Alexander ay isang traffic enforcer sa Eastwood. Alam niyo ba iyong Eastwood sa Quezon City? Traffic enforcer siya sa Eastwood. Noong nag-umpisa siyang traffic enforcer, parang routinary lang siyang traffic enforcer. Pero na-broken hearted si Alexander.

    Kasi may girlfriend siya, iniwan siya ng kaniyang girlfriend. Dahil sa kaniyang lungkot, he channeled his sadness sa pagsasayaw. Kaya ngayon kilalang-kilala na si Alexander bilang dancing traffic enforcer. Lahat ng taga-Eastwood kilala na si Alexander.

    Sa picture kasi parang masyado siyang seryoso di’ba. So, siya iyong example na, siyong example na-broken hearted pero instead na magmukmok, chinannel niya ito sa pagsasayaw. Kaya iyong hashtag natin kay Alexander ay nagmahal, nabigo, sumayaw, at nagmahal ulit pero ang kanyang pagmamahal sa traffic araw-araw!

    Iyong pang-apat na kuwento na example, si Hidilyn Diaz. Kilala nating lahat si Hidilyn di’ba? Siya iyong nag-medal sa Olympics. Si Hidilyn, I don’t know if you’ve watched any of her interviews, any of the features on TV about her, pero Hidilyn was born ito a very poor family in Mindanao.

    Her humble beginnings have been well-known, and her struggle and eventual success in being a weightlifter representing the Philippines is really an inspiration to us all.

    Iyong kuwento ni Hidilyn, noong nag-uumpisa pa lang siya, inisip niya ano kaya iyong bagay sa akin. So naisip niya ang bagay sa kaniya mag weightlifting, wala naman silang pera para pang-train.

    So noong umpisa, parang iyong uncle niya ginagawan lang siya ng metal pipes na mahaba. She used to train with metal pipes and cans filled with cement on each end. Iyon iyong kaniyang ensayo.

    At alam natin, even if she didn’t have money, no access to decent training, pero iyong natira sa kaniya lots of determination. In the end, the nation was transfixed, as her small body carried not just the weight of metals but also the pride of her nation. So iyon, mga halimbawa lang.

    Sabi nga natin kanina, iyong hope is what will keep us alive. Hope is the only thing that is stronger than fear. Kasi ngayon parati nang nakakatakot, ganito ganito. Di’ba ang Cebuano noon paglaum? Ang Bicolano kasi paglaum din. Palitan natin ang takot ng paglaum.

    We need more of it to counter the negativity in this era of post-truth, fake news, trolls, alternative facts.

    We need more of it to nourish our sense of dignity as a nation, to build our people’s trust in liberty and freedom, and to fight for truth in an age of lies.

    So, bakit tayo naghahanap ng mga kuwentong ganito? Kasi pagod na tayo sa mga bad news. Pagod na tayo sa takutan. Pagod na tayo.

    Hanapin naman natin iyong mga magagandang kuwento. Pero, kailangan ng tulong niyo sa paghanap ng mga magagandang kuwento sa inyong communities.

    So we would like to thank JCI Zugbuana for being willing to partner with us in this endeavor, and of course to Ma’am Leah for all the help. Pero iyong pagpunta niyo po dito sa City Hall ngayong hapon, inaaya din naming kayo na magtulong-tulong tayo sa paghanap.

    Andito iyong ating councilor, andito iyong ating congressmen. Sigurado kami na doon sa lugar ninyo, maraming-maraming mga kuwento na pwedeng magbigay ng inspirasyon.

    Ngayong umaga, galing po kami sa San Remigio. Marami na kaming napulot na inspiring na mga stories doon. At noong kinukwento ko po, mayroon doong isang NGO, ang pangalan noong NGO ay RARE.

    Tinutulungan nila ang ating mga mangingisda doon, kinuwento ko iyong ating mga programa. Ang sabi nila, Ma’am sasali din kami, kasi andami na naming naipon na ganiyang mga kuwento.

    Kaya kahapon po, nandoon po kami sa Capitol, nandoon kami sa provincial capitol, mayroon din doong NGO na inaasikaso iyong mga battered women. Ang sabi din nila, ang dami na po naming compilation noong mga dati naming tinutulungan na clients na nagtagumpay sa mga kahuli-hulihan.

    So now, we’re on the lookout for these stories. At pag naipon po naming iyong mga kuwento, we want to change the entire conversation. Gusto natin pag nagbukas na tayo ng Facebook, huwag na iyong mga awayan ng mga trolls.

    Pag nagbukas tayo ng Facebook, mga kuwento nila iyong mga mababasa natin. Makikiusap po tayo na mag-partner sa mga malls, iyong mga halls po, i-display po natin iyong kanilang mga kuwento.

    Kahapon po doon sa Capitol, may mga student council leaders. Gusto nilang dalhin sa kani-kanilang mga paaralan, and we’re doing this because we’re taking upon ourselves to find our light and push darkness away.

    So ito po, ito iyong aming humble contribution and our humble attempt to transform out country. Marami kasing nagrereklamo ngayon, saan na ba tayo patutungo? Ano na ba iyong susunod?

    Nasa kamay naman po natin iyon. Iyong kung saan tayo patutungo, hindi naman iyon dahil sa isang tao pero dahil sa atin iyan lahat. So, ito magtulong-tulong po tayo. Magtulong-tulong tayo na in the midst of hopelessness, let us give hope.

    In the midst of lies, let us give them the truth. In the midst of darkness, let us give them light.

    Let us not wait for hope to find us. Huwag po tayong pasasabi nasaan na ba iyong paglagum. Iyong paglagum, andiyan lang iyan, pero tayo iyong maghahanap.

    We just need to find it ourselves, and give it a place to stay in our hearts and our minds. We need to feed it with extraordinary stories of ordinary people around us. And we need to tell stories of hope to our people, wherever they are.

    So, in closing, today, we ask you all to partner with us and JCI Zugbuana. Pag naipon na po natin, ifo-flood na natin ang social media. Gusto na naming mamili ng mga extraordinary stories.

    We will compile it into a coffee table book. Sabi ko kanina sa mga malls, sa mga offices, sa mga paaralan, para ito na iyong nakikita natin.

    Palitan na natin kung ano man ang pangit na nandiyan, huwag na tayong maghintay, tayo na ang maghanap ng kung anong ipapalit diyan.

    Kaya maraming maraming salamat po for coming over and for accepting our invitation to be with us this afternoon.

    Magandang hapon ulit sa inyong lahat.

    Posted in Speeches on Mar 05, 2017