[The following speech was delivered in Tagalog by Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay at the Coconut Palace, Manila, Philippines today and, here, translated into English by the author of this post.]
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Now is the new beginning of our fight against poverty.
I resigned from the Cabinet because I cannot accept the way my programs, which succeeded at uplifting the lives of the masses in Makati and which I hoped to expand across the whole nation, are being sidelined and badmouthed by this administration.
I cannot accept the continued lack of justice in our country. I cannot accept that only a few enjoy what the majority are entitled to.
Most of all, I cannot accept the prospect of depriving the Filipino people of the opportunity to enjoy a government that is committed to and competent at serving the needs and assuring the welfare of the greater public.
My hope is that the country could one day enjoy good governance so that the majority — and not just the few — could benefit from the progress we could achieve under such a government.
We need a government that serves and listens to the poor, specially.
A government that promotes justice and peace; a government that strives to create employment that brings relief to long-suffering people.
A government that gives effective and broad health service and education; a government that is pro-people, not apathetic, and is caring towards all.
A government that will open opportunities for a better life to the poor.
This is what I am fighting for. And this is also the hope of our people: a government that is the opposite of the apathetic and incompetent one we see today.
My fellow Filipinos, I had in the past accepted the offer to serve in the Cabinet to give back committed service and earn the trust of the public.
When you elected me, I promised to be a working Vice President. And over the last five years, I quietly worked — implementing reform in the housing sector, addressing the needs of our overseas workers (OFWs).
But in the course of engaging with people as I travelled from one province to another, I learned that most people did not feel the progress this government boasts was achieved under its watch.
Those who actually benefit from this so-called progress are few, including chosen friends and party members of the powers that be.
I’ve weathered many challenges. I’ve been thrown in prison many times during the Martial Law years because of my fight for freedom and democracy. Even after the 1986 EDSA Revolution, I was still under pressure and under threat of being silenced because I continued my fight against oppression and abuse.
Now under the present administration, I am once again being ganged upon by people who aim to slander and threaten me as well as attempt to remove me from my position as Vice President and even imprison me. It is because I am seen to be the main hindrance to these people’s personal ambition and objectives.
And while all that was going on, these people allowed their own party mates to get away with vast anomalies: the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of their allies, party members, and friends, and the plunder of the MRT as well as overseeing the massacre of the 44 Special Action Force officers in Mamasapano.
They did not hold accountable officials who stopped the release of the 2013 Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of the local governments, all the while knowing that many people were dependent on the IRA.
This is the crooked justice of today’s governance. Selective justice rules.
Justice and benefits of friends and allies of the party in power is set apart from all the rest. There is no justice nor benefits for the majority, specially the poor.
There is a limit to people’s tolerance for suffering. Enough already. It is all too much. Why don’t they face me in a clean election?
They know that many of their party candidates will not win in a clean and fair election — which is why they will use dishonest means, will baldly lie, will spend huge amounts of public funds, and violate the law with impunity.
I thank those who responded to surveys to express the their trust for me.
To the poor and suffering among our people, do not worry about me.
I am prepared to face any further abuse thrown at me by these people. But I can no longer tolerate the continued suffering all of you are subject to day to day.
To my political enemies, I tell you now: if your objective is to pressure me into backing down from my bid to run for president in 2016, you are making a big mistake. I will not back away from the challenge. More importantly, I will not abandon our poor and suffering people.
I remain your Vice President, Jejomar Binay who, head held high, am proud to be a true Filipino at heart and in deed — always with you in both suffering and in good times and, now, heading the Opposition.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas. Power to the Filipino people.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.