Vice-Governor of this province, the Chairman of the legislative
council, Mr. Majority Floor Leader, Members of this Honorable
Council – (composed of eleven gentlemen and one lady excluding
myself) – my esteemed colleagues, our friends from the tri-media,
all the provincial employees of our local government, and to all
those listening or observing our proceedings, my friends, ladies and
gentlemen, good afternoon.
Two days ago, I was
informed of a good news by some of our friends here in the capitol.
This was about the decision rendered by Honorable Judge Usman on a
class suit for petition for mandamus filed by our employees against
the previous local government chief.
Until the time that I was
able read the entire decision, I have reserved my sentiment and my
desire to speak before all of you today in our regular session. I
told myself, I must be fully convinced that indeed there was already
a decision signed by the Judge, and it had been promulgated to all
parties concerned. Now, I can safely say, that, yes, there was
already a decision and second, I presume, all contending parties
have been duly notified through their respective counsels.
If this was not an
important issue, I would not have spent hours writing the things I
have in mind so I could deliver and share it with you today. Mr.
Chair, honourable colleagues, indeed we live in interesting times
where diversity is more common than uniformity, and where opinions
are as important as our rights to be informed, and where doing what
is right is just as difficult as denying to do what is right.
I am so elated, jubilant
and happy to learn that the long-awaited bonus of our provincial
employees can now be theirs to claim, any moment now. Mr. Chair, my
colleagues, the legal battle that they fought was commendable and
were it not for some concerned employees who took the courage to
file the Mandamus case, this benefit would not have been possible at
all – it would only be a paper benefit.
I commend them for their patience and endurance to be able to finish
the case. Of course, it should also be noted that a former
Vice-governor of Samar was the counsel who represented them in this
case, none other than the very brilliant and competent and selfless,
retired Judge Clemente Rosales.
Mr. Chair, fellow members
of this Sanggunian, I want to tell you that for any person who has
had experience in court litigation – whether as counsel or merely a
party, it is quite an achievement to be able to finish the case, and
it is something more, when you win the case. That is why, I
congratulate them especially those who had to spend their time and
their own money just to religiously attend every court hearing. And
now, this is the prize of the efforts you put forth in your fighting
for what is deservingly yours.
Lest I forget it, Mr.
Chair, my fellow servants of our people in Samar, I also commend the
members of the previous board who strongly endorsed and submitted
the passage of the controversial ordinance. I remember that even if
we had divergent views on the 2009 and 2010 budget, all of us –
members of the last Sanggunian, we were one in this issue. We all
agreed that the employees deserve to receive the 25 Thousand
Productivity Enhancement Incentive – no less. It was not conditioned
upon anything, Mr. Chair, but simply for the reason that employees
are part of the local government family and are the frontliners in
the delivery of basic services. Despite our political differences
during that time, we have quite achieved something, and I want to
reiterate my profound commendation to my previous colleagues. In
fact, those who endorsed the ordinance were members of the
opposition and those who signed it were the administration allies
since it was eventually passed during a session were most of the
opposition board members were not around.
Clearly, this is a moment
to rejoice for it is a victory to be shared by all of us.
Let me go to another
point, Mr. Chair, my fellow members of this August body. I want to
remind us all that it is time to honor our obligations under the law
upon a clear understanding that what is asked of us to do is not
just an obligation written under human laws but more importantly, a
moral obligation as well. We can argue from all sides, but what
remains to be seen is our sincerity to the people we want to serve
and that of course, includes our fellow workers in the government.
Let us not argue of
whether there is a budget or whether it is incorporated in the
budget, but let us respect a pronouncement of the court whose
judgment has been rendered based on facts availing and the law
supporting such claim. Let us not argue which interpretation of the
law is correct as this has already been passed upon by a court of
competent jurisdiction. Let us not argue on the validity or legality
of the ordinance as the same has already been decided upon on merits
and law. Sabi nga sa isang Tagalog na
wikain: Pag gusto maraming paraan, pag ayaw maraming dahilan.
To this, we can put to end a battle which I think from the very
start should not have even been waged at all.
I leave this as an appeal,
and at the same time a challenge to the new governor – to no longer
appeal the case before the higher courts but give to our employees
what they have long awaited for. We do not need to wait for a writ
of execution coming from the court as the decision has been handed
There is thus a deeper
reason than the mere fact of granting the financial benefits due to
our employees. To my mind, that is merely symbolical. That amount of
money is simply a figure, an additional incentive that will soon be
consumed and depleted through time. But what is more significant is
our respect for our calling – to uphold the law and honor our
obligations under our mandate as servants of the people. We may have
differences along the course of how we want to do our respective
functions and duties, as this is the essence of democracy, but in
the end, what cannot be ignored is the interest of the people.
Mr. Chairman, honourable
members of the council, I wish to thank you for taking time to
listen to my sentimental musings as I cannot help but voice out my
joy for this triumph of our employees. Let this also be the
beginning for them to realize that they are important for the
functioning of our government as agents of the local government.
Then, they can start by reviving their respect for their positions,
no matter how insignificant they feel it to be, and thus, translate
this newfound dedication to actions that will help propel us to
progress, by serving our general clientele – the people of Samar.
They have eagerly waited
for this decision. God heard their prayers. It is time we transcend
the boundary of political divide and heed the call of service and
generosity. Ihatag ta an para ha ira. Damo
nga salamat ngan maupay ngaaga ha aton ngatanan. (Running
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