President Aquino Bids Farewell, Thanks Pinoys for Opportunity to Serve Them

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By FRANCO G. REGALA

PILAR, Bataan (via PhilAmPress) – With less than two months to go into the end of his herm, President Aquino bid farewell to the veterans on April 9 thanking the Filipino people for giving him the opportunity to serve them in six years.

“Bago po ako magtapos, sa pagpasok ko po rito, may isang aleng bumati sa akin, ang sabi, ‘Salamat sa anim na taon,'” the President said in a speech during the 74th commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan here.

“Ang dapat po sanang tugon ko dito, ‘Salamat sa inyo sa ipinagkaloob ninyong mandato para makagawa ng pagbabago. Talaga naman pong hindi mapapantayan ang pagkakataong ito.’ Ito na nga po ang huli, ako po’y magpapaalam na sa inyo sa Bataan.”

As he said goodbye to the nation, the President once again reminded Filipinos that they will be once again facing a crossroad.

In the coming election this May, he said he hopes Filipinos would choose leaders who put public service before self interest.

“Ang tanong ko sa inyo: Pipiliin ba natin ang lideratong inuuna ang sariling interes, habang ginagarantiya ang pagdurusa ng mga nasa ibaba? Pipiliin po ba natin ang lideratong gustong daanin ang lahat sa shortcut, nang walang pagsasaalang-alang sa mga nasasagasaan?” he asked.

“Pipiliin po ba natin ang mga napakatatamis na pangako, pero tila ba walang sapat na pag-unawa sa mga prosesong kailangang daanan para makamtan ito?”

He told the people that he continues to adhere to the Daang Matuwid agenda that he has initiated, hoping Filipinos will support new leaders who also believe in his reform agenda.

As to the programs carried out by his administration for the World War II veterans, he said one of the reform measures include the Pensioner’s Validation Program that intends to clean up the list of veterans so that legitimate recipients get the benefits they deserve.

The government also extended free healthcare services to the veterans and their dependents through the Veterans Hospitalization Program.

In less than six years, he said 10,600 veterans and their dependents got free medical assistance not only at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, but also from 183 accredited public and private hospitals across the country.

“Nasa halagang P91 million na nga po ang halagang naisukli ng taumbayan sa inyong sakripisyo sa ilalim ng programang ito,” he said.

The veterans’ daily hospitalization subsidy was also increased to P1,500 from P1,200, he said.

The government has also modernized the VMMC, put up an eye center, renovated the Operating Room Complex, Medical Intensive Care Unit, and the Outpatient Department Complex.

The hospital’s Renal Dialysis Unit, Medical Intensive Therapy Unit, and Post-Anesthesia Care unit were also expanded, the President said.

Aside from providing healthcare, veterans’ direct descendants can now receive up to P36,000 each year as financial support for their college education. He reported that his government has so far spent P370 million for the program within his term. (Franco G. Regala)

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MT. SAMAT, Pilar, Bataan —  President Aquino extolled war veterans for their contributions to the Filipino people and urged them to become heroes once more by helping elect the “righteous” and “experienced” successor who will continue his program of good governance and transparency. 
 
“You know my position in this matter: I am for the right, for the honest, for the one with vast experience in governance (Alam naman po ninyo ang posisyon ko sa usaping ito: Ako po, nakapanig sa tama, sa tapat, sa may malawak na kaalaman sa pamamahala),” Aquino said before thousands of war veterans and guests who were present at Mt. Samat Shrine in Pilar, Bataan.
Aquino stressed that the war veterans are the people “who can give the truest testimony on how far the Philippines has soared in the past six years” under his adminsitration.
He lauded the war veterans who came from various parts of the country for participating in the national observance of Day of Valor, which marks the greatness of Filipino and American fighters during World War II. 
The President also challenged Filipinos to help in addressing the global issues of terrorism and health hazard, citing situations in Europe and Syria that may also happen to Philippines.
He deplored the atrocities of war saying the ordinary people are always victims of the perennial hostilities. 
 
“If there is a crisis in other parts of the world, however far, we should involve ourselves and contribute to the solution. Because if we let it escalate, adverse consequences will also affect us in the end (Kung may suliranin sa ibang bahagi ng mundo, gaano man ito kalayo, dapat po tayong makilahok at makiambag sa solusyon. Dahil kapag hinayaan lang po natin itong lumaki, sa huli po ay maapektuhan din tayo ng masasamang ibubunga nito),” President Aquino said.
This year’s Araw ng Kagitingan commemoration is President Aquino’s sixth and final rites. Others who also imparted messages during the activity were Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa and United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg.
 
Roughly 3,000 guests including Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene Almendras attended the annual ceremony, according to Bataan Gov. Albert Garcia. (Franco G. Regala,)

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