President Benigno Aquino III on Monday called his third state of the nation address (SONA) a “SONA of the Filipino nation” as he thanked those who have helped in bringing positive change in government.
“I remember well those early days when we first started working. I was keenly aware of the heavy burdens we would face. And I was among those who wondered: Is it possible to fix a system this broken? This is what I have learned in the 25 months I have served as your President — nothing is impossible,” he said.
President Aquino said indeed nothing is impossible “because if the Filipino people see that they are the only ‘bosses’ of their government, they will carry you, they will guide you, they themselves will lead you towards meaningful change.”
“It isn’t impossible for the Philippines to become the first country in Southeast Asia to provide free vaccines for the rotavirus. It isn’t impossible for the Philippines to stand strong and say, ‘The Philippines is for Filipinos — and we are ready to defend it.’ It is not impossible for the Filipino who for so long had kept his head bowed upon meeting a foreigner — it is not impossible for the Filipino, today, to stand with his head held high and bask in the admiration of the world. In these times, is it not great to be a Filipino,” he said.
The President said it is just right to hank those who have done their share in bringing about positive change in society.
“The obstacles we encountered were no laughing matter, and I believe it is only right that we thank those who shouldered the burdens with us, in righting the wrongs brought about by bad governance,” he said.
President Aquino thanked his Cabinet who worked hard in proving that “nothing is impossible. It was a change we dreamed of, and change we achieved; the benefits of change are now par for the course.”
“The Filipino people are lucky that there are those of you ready to sacrifice your private and much quieter lives in order to serve the public, even if you know that you will receive smaller salaries, dangers, and constant criticism in return,” he said.
“This is my third SONA; only three remain. We are entering the midpoint of our administration. Last year, I challenged you to fully turn your back on the culture of negativism; to take every chance to uplift your fellow Filipinos. From what we are experiencing today, it is clear: you succeeded. You are the wellspring of change,” the President said.
He also thanked all the nurses, midwives, or doctors who chose to serve in the barrios; to each new graduate who has chosen to work for the government; to each Filipino athlete who proudly carries the flag in any corner of the globe, to each government official who renders true and honest service and made the positive change in government possible.
“So whenever I come face to face with a mother who tells me, ‘Thank you, my child has been vaccinated,’ I respond: You made this happen. Whenever I come face to face with a child who tells me, ‘Thank you for the paper, for the pencils, for the chance to study,’ I respond: You made this happen. Whenever I come face to face with an OFW who tells me, ‘Thank you, because I can once again dream of growing old in the Philippines,’ I respond: You made this happen. Whenever I come face to face with a Filipino who says, ‘Thank you, I thought that we would never have electricity in our sitio. I never imagined living to see the light,’ I respond: You made this happen. Whenever I come face to face with any farmer, teacher, pilot, engineer, driver, call center agent, or any normal Filipino; to every Juan and Juana dela Cruz who says, ‘Thank you for this change,’ I respond: You made this happen. What was once impossible is now possible. I stand before you today and tell you: this is not my SONA. You made this happen. This is the SONA of the Filipino nation,” he said.