Sine die Adjournment speech of Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr.

June 5, 2007 – WHAT DO WE LIVE FOR?

MY ESTEEMED COLLEAGUES, FELLOW WORKERS IN GOVERNMENT, DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, FRIENDS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: AS I STAND BEFORE YOU IN THIS CHAMBER FOR THE LAST TIME, I FIND MOST FITTING TO MENTION A PASSAGE I READ WHICH MADE AN IMPACT ON ME. THE AWARD-WINNING POET T.S. ELIOT SAID, “WHAT DO WE LIVE FOR, IF IT IS NOT TO MAKE LIFE LESS DIFFICULT TO EACH OTHER?” TO ME THIS SUMS UP IN SIMPLE TERMS THE ENORMOUS CHALLENGE FACING US AS LEGISLATORS TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF MILLIONS OF FILIPINOS WHOM WE SERVE. AND SUCH HAS BEEN MY PERSONAL QUEST.

MR. PRESIDENT,

AFTER TWELVE YEARS AS SENATOR, A TITLE AFFORDED TO A FEW GOOD MEN AND WOMEN, ALLOW ME TO SAY WITH UTMOST SINCERITY, “IT IS A UNIQUE AND GREAT HONOR TO HAVE SERVED OUR COUNTRY AND PEOPLE ALL THESE YEARS.”

WITH THE YEARS CAME WISDOM, AND ALONG THE WAY, COUNTLESS GOOD PEOPLE WHO SHARED IN THE CHALLENGE OF LEGISLATIVE WORK. MY GRATITUDE TO MY FELLOW LEGISLATORS WHOM I COLLABORATED WITH IN THE CREATION OF SOME IMPORTANT LAWS. IT WAS A JOY TO LEARN FROM THE MASTERS, FOR THEY ALL TAUGHT ME THE VALUE OF TEAMWORK AND PATIENCE. OUR VERBAL TUSSLES AND DIFFERING OPINIONS HAVE ONLY ENRICHED OUR FRIENDSHIP AND FORTIFIED THE RESPECT WE HAVE FOR EACH OTHER. WITHOUT ANY EXCEPTION, YOU HAVE SHOWN REMARKABLE SUPPORT, COOPERATION AND UNITY WHEN OUR NATIONAL INTEREST IS CHALLENGED, PARTY AFFILIATION NOTWITSTANDING. AND THAT IS THE STRENGTH OF THE SENATE.

BUT THE LEGISLATIVE WORK WOULD NOT BE COMPLETE IF NOT FOR THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE SYSTEM – ITS PEOPLE. I WOULD BE MISSING A GREAT DEAL IF I FAIL TO THANK THE SENATORS’ STAFF, THE SENATE SECRETARIAT PARTICULARLY THE COMMITTEE STAFF, THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS, THE LIBRARY SERVICE, BILLS AND INDEX AND ARCHIVES, THE OFFICE OF THE SERGEANT AT ARMS, THE ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF, MAINTENANCE PEOPLE AND THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE MEDIA – YOU HAVE MADE MY STAY IN THE SENATE TRULY WORTHWHILE AND REWARDING.

A SPECIAL AND SINCERE THANK YOU TO MY STAFF FOR THE SUPERB WAY EACH HANDLED HIS DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. YOU ARE A GREAT DYNAMIC BUNCH, AND I COULD NOT HAVE ASKED FOR A BETTER POOL OF YOUNG TALENTS. YOU HAVE BEEN MY ACTIVE PARTNERS IN MY LEGISLATIVE AND INVESTIGATIVE UNDERTAKINGS ALL THESE YEARS, AND MADE OUR OFFICE A PLACE OF HOPE FOR OUR MANY KABABAYANS IN NEED OF HELP. YOUR INITIATIVES HAVE GAINED SUBSTANTIAL RESULTS, AND YOUR COURAGE MAGNIFIES YOUR COMMITMENT TO MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE, ONE GOOD DEED AT A TIME. I AM PROUD TO SAY THAT WE HAVE DIRECTED OUR TIME AND EFFORTS IN TRULY VITAL MATTERS.

THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTIONS LAST MAY 14 DISPLAYED THE GROWING MATURITY AND WISDOM OF THE FILIPINO AS A VOTER. OUR PEOPLE, WELL– INFORMED AND DISCERNING, DECIDED TO SEND A VERY STRONG MESSAGE TO THE ADMINISTRATION THAT SAID, “WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH. IT IS TIME FOR SERIOUS REFORMS. WE WANT PEOPLE WHO CAN DELIVER.”

QUIETLY BUT EFFECTIVELY, CIVIL SOCIETY, LED BY YOUNG PROFESSIONALS, EDUCATORS, CHURCH AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS, FARMERS, WORKERS, STUDENTS AND EVEN THE MILITARY – BOTH ACTIVE AND RETIRED, AND COUNTLESS OTHERS WHO WANT TO PROTECT THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS, VOTED ALMOST AS ONE TO SEND A POWERFUL MESSAGE OF CHANGE.

WE IN THE SENATE HAVE THE POWER TO TRANSFORM LIVES. IT RESTS ON OUR MORAL OBLIGATION TO MAKE OUR SOCIETY GOOD AND JUST; TO GIVE EVERY FILIPINO AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A DECENT AND PRODUCTIVE LIFE IN HIS OWN COUNTRY. WE AS PUBLIC SERVANTS HAVE PROMISED THEM SO MUCH FOR SO LONG AND YET HAVE DELIVERED SO LITTLE. MAY I URGE THE SENATORS OF THE 14TH CONGRESS TO WORK CLOSELY TOGETHER TO HELP IMPROVE SOCIETY TO RENEW OUR HOPE AND REGAIN THE TRUST OF THE PEOPLE. WE HAVE ENDURED SO MUCH, IT ONLY FOLLOWS THAT WE SHOULD NOT LOSE SIGHT OF WHAT WE HAVE UNITED AND FOUGHT AGAINST THESE PAST FEW YEARS. THE FIGHT AGAINST GRAFT AND CORRUPTION MUST CONTINUE.

WE MUST BE EVER MORE VIGILANT TO PUT A STOP TO THE SYSTEMATIC LOOTING OF THE TREASURY. WE CANNOT ALLOW OUR ALREADY OVERBURDENED TAXPAYERS TO SUFFER DUE TO THE GREED OF THOSE IN POWER. THEY MUST BE PUT UNDER THE GLARE OF TRANSPARENCY AND PUBLIC RIDICULE, AND THEY MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. WE CANNOT CONTINUE TO HAVE A GOVERNMENT OF PASSIVE AND UNRESPONSIVE BUREAUCRATS. AS MAHATMA GANDHI SAID, “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.”

WE HAVE BECOME THE LAUGHINGSTOCK OF THE REST OF THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY. INVESTORS SHY AWAY FROM US. A GREAT NUMBER OF OUR PROFESSIONALS ARE PACKING THEIR BAGS FOR A SHOT AT A BETTER LIFE ABROAD. THE EXODUS IS KILLING OUR INDUSTRIES. THESE REALITIES TELL US THAT WE MUST ACT NOW.

THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO, AND A GREAT DEAL MORE TO LEARN. LET US ASK FOR THE LORD’S GUIDANCE AND WISDOM TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR THE COMMON GOOD. AND LET US THANK HIM ONCE AGAIN FOR LEADING THE PATH TOWARDS CHANGE.

TO MY WIFE MARILOU, MY CHILDREN MARGA AND PACO, MY SISTER MILA AND MY ENTIRE FAMILY WHO HAVE SUPPORTED ME COME HELL OR HIGH WATERS, YOU KNOW THAT WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH TO EXPRESS HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND GENEROSITY. BUT STILL, LET ME THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART.

SA INYO PONG LAHAT, MARAMING SALAMAT SA KABUTIHANG IPINAKITA NINYO SA AKIN AT SA AKING PAMILYA. HANGGANG SA MULI NATING PAGKIKITA.

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