Speech by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the President’s Night with the Manila Overseas Press Club

Speeches 5 October 2022

Thank you very much, House Speaker Martin Romualdez. Joining us… [Please be seated.]

Joining us this evening is our Department of Finance Secretary Ben Diokno; the Manila Overseas Press Club Chairman Tony Lopez, who just described me — I was clarifying it when he sat down sabi niya “too nice and too decent.” You haven’t spoken to some members of my staff recently. [laughter] But I have to say I’ve never been described in such glowing terms. Thank you very much.

MOPC Vice President Mike Toledo; the other members of the Board of Governors; fellow workers in government; ladies and gentlemen; and all our distinguished guests, good evening.

A pleasant evening to you all here tonight!

It is a pleasure to join you for this event and to share with you some of the insights as well as my administration’s upcoming initiatives for the country.

Since the campaign — unity has been our battle cry since the beginning of the campaign, and now we are settling into our track and finding our pace for the six-year marathon, it remains — unity remains one of the primary driving forces in pursuing economic recovery.

As I have stated many, many times to our friends and our partners from other countries and I say to them that it is important to forge and to strengthen partnerships that already exist and to forge new partnerships and alliances. Because in the uncertain world that we are facing, these partnerships will stabilize our transformation into the post-pandemic new global economy. And it is an uncertain world that we are facing, it is an uncertain future, and that makes those partnerships all the more important. And again the concept of unity applies.

Although it was during the campaign you could say a concept, an idea that we brought forward as a message to the people, it still remains as a guiding light to us and saying that what we need to do is to strengthen the Filipinos — the lives — each Filipino’s capabilities. What we have to do is to strengthen the Philippine economy, what we have to do is to strengthen our position in the world. And we need everyone’s help in that.

At the very first, as I assumed office, I asked for everyone’s help. No one person can do this. No one government can do this. No one entity, not one corporation, not one business.

However, if we understand what we considered to be important for our country and for our people and we work in our different ways to achieve that aspiration, to make that dream come true, that unity will bring us to that level of success.

And that is why it still remains our touchstone as we go through the nuts and bolts, I suppose of the problems that we face. And there is a very famous saying that we campaign in poetry but we govern in prose. And as we govern in prose, we keep close to our heart the idea of unity.

This constant aspiration for harmony amongst our people is not mere idealism or romanticism. It is a recognition of the fact that no vision, no undertaking — whether big or small — could possibly be realized without a clear and shared understanding of our end, our ways to get there, and our purposes for getting there.

The goal is simple, it is clear: we want every Filipino and every island in this archipelago to have an environment and the tools that will enable them to go beyond surviving each day.

We want our people to dream, to develop their talents, to explore the beauty of the country and of the world, and most especially, lead meaningful lives, and have in their heart a hope for the future.

And given solidarity as a premise, this event is a great opportunity to lay down the economic and diplomatic directions that this administration will undertake to ensure that we are all on the same page.

So I am deeply honored by this invitation to take part in this long-standing gala and the platform that it provides to discuss our concerns for the future.

I am grateful to the MOPC, as well as all the personalities, correspondents, diplomats, and businessmen and women present here tonight.

Thank you for this opportunity to lay down parts of the vision and initiatives for the country’s development amidst the global pandemic.

In previous engagements, I have expressed several of the key priorities of this government, and tonight, I wish to reiterate them to you all.

The Administration’s first crucial objective is to secure food sufficiency and post-pandemic growth. I’m proud to share that in the recent working — the recent visits that we have undertaken abroad, I was able to promote agricultural cooperation and encourage trade investment in key sectors.

Locally, the Department of Agriculture has continuously provided production inputs to farmers and fisherfolk, such as high-quality seeds and fertilizers, as well as post-harvest machinery and facilities, including trucks, dryers, and mills—all that can potentially contribute to the productivity and profitability of our farm workers and to increase their livelihoods and so for them to once again make a living out of the agricultural sector.

The government is also focusing on its agenda of strengthening public-private partnerships and sustaining the robust infrastructure initiatives of my predecessor with our very own flagship and I think it was described Build Better More Infrastructure Agenda.  We need efficient infrastructure systems to serve as the backbone of the economy.

There are certainly uncer… There are certainly difficulties and challenges in the global arena. But we remain resolute in our efforts to cushion the impact on the Filipino.

So we enjoin not only government and industries, but also the public to help in sustaining the positive trajectory of our socio-economic growth.

For all our visions and aspirations, I underscore the crucial role of the press in building an active citizenry — one that contributes to the development of our society.

The nation counts on the media in improving access to information and increasing awareness on issues that affect our country and the world.

Your proactive participation in keeping a well-informed citizenry forms part of our collective goal to empower Filipinos and establish a more robust Philippines.

I could not share all our plans for the next six years but let us — I will stand here and I will say that you may rest assured that we continue to articulate our plans with the members of the media, of course, especially the Manila Overseas Press Club.

As I share your club’s conviction in the importance of upholding the universal right of free speech and press freedom as well as giving and receiving accurate information, I’m committed to remain open with you, constantly communicating our progress as we move forward.

I urge you to effectively communicate to the public the government’s efforts and initiatives towards our country’s development.

This is the partnership that we must — another partnership that we must continue to strengthen. It is the job of our media practitioners to not only analyze, to not only make — give their opinion but to also inform and let our people know what the government is doing and how it will help their lives and how they can be part of that progress, that process of progress that we have started.

Under my lead, we will support and protect the rights of the media as they efficiently perform their duty.

Whatever difficulties we may encounter from this point on, the government will always be ready to lend an ear and to listen to your concerns and to answer all that you may want to know.

We will not be your leader but we will be your partner, as we work together to see the full promise of the Filipino nation fulfilled in the days and in the years ahead.

I thank you all once again for this opportunity and I enjoin you all to pray and hope for the success of our efforts.

Maraming, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas at magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat! [applause]

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SOURCE: OPS-PND (Presidential News Desk)