Transcription by Emy Bonifacio,
Maupay nga gab-I ha iyo
ngatanan, maupay kita ngatanan. Damo nga salamat.
Hi Pvt. Ada kanina han
pinapakianhan ni General Chan at he was being requested para kumulaw
kun mayda hiya natitipuhan nilaktawan ako.
I was hoping that Private
Ada would look at me and our glances would lock. Pero, waray ak nimo
pagbigyan hin kahit sandali lamang. Pero dadating tayo diyan.
Maraming, maraming salamat.
I donít know and God is my witness, I donít know what good have I
done to deserve this honor. I donít know what I did in my life to
deserve this honor to be in front of all of you. I have done a lot
of speeches, so many speeches. Hindi po ako kinakabahan. Matapang po
ako, Waray po ako. But, this is the first time, totoo ho yun. This
is the first time that I will be talking before newly graduated
soldiers. This is the first time that I am in front of young men who
make me proud. I am weeping inside and cry. Sabi ko nga kanina kay
Mayor Chan, kay Stephany, I am very emotional about certain things.
I am emotional about my country, I am very emotional about mothers.
Pag nanay ang pinag-usapan at mga tatay, akoż madaling umiyak. I am
very emotional about family. I am very emotional about being poor
dahil I came from there and I am aware of what you, young men, are
going through at this point in your lives.
Maupay nga gabi! Gginab-i
kita ngatanan. Ayaw ak niyo pag isge kay deri ko kasalanan. Cebu
Pacific, I was about to fly at 9:20, I woke up at 6:30 in the
morning to make it to the airport. Gin postponed nira ngada ha
11:55, nagin 12:30, nagin 1:20. An may kasalanan, so, Cebu Pacific,
remember that. Thank you!
Gen Chan, thank you. Thank
you very much for this opportunity. Sabi ko, I donít prepare my
speeches. I donít know what to say until I arrive in places like
this one. For the parents, bago ko makalimutan, dahil pag hawak ko
ang mikropono, dahil pag pinahawak po ako ng mikropono, tulo ka
adlaw, deri ko ini bubul-iwan. But I just want to say thank you. And
I just wanna say I am proud of all of you. I miss tatay. Heís gone.
I miss my mother. I thank you for your kindness. I thank you for
your humanity. I thank you for your compassion. I thank you for your
love of country. Damo nga salamat ha iyo nagatanan. Damo nga salamat
ha iyo ngatanan. Thank you!
Thank you for making
tonight possible. Thank you for making this evening possible, for
you, for us, for our country. Maraming, maraming salamat. I cannot
imagine what this world would be like without parents like you who
are devoted, doting, caring, nurturing, loving to their children.
The first time I was invited to speak before you, I thought, it
didnít make sense. I figured why would I be talking to young
soldiers? Until I came across some books, validated by a very short
conversation I have had with Gen. Chan today. I am in awe for your
compassion, of your genius, of your love for your country, general.
I am coming out, I am leaving Catbalogan, am coming out of this
experience a better person. I am coming out of this experience,
loving my country more. And thank you for this opportunity.
It didnít make sense. I
said, why am I speaking before you? I donít know anything about the military. But, I figured, when I read Clintonís book. Itís called,
Giving. Bill Clinton. And he said, ďwe are so interconnected with
each other. We should be celebrating our commonalities, rather than
our interesting differences, because at the end of the day, we are
so much alikeĒ. You and I. Today, as you stand there, I speak here,
I say, whatís common between the two of us? You love your country, I
love my country. You love Samar, I love Samar, with all my heart.
You serve differently, I serve differently. So, I figured, bakit ba,
kun ano kay ano nga anhi ako ha iyo atubangan? Naririnig ko ang
sarili ko. Well, thatís good. Thatís an echo. Well, I see, that
answers the question. We have more commonalities than our
interesting differences. We are so much alike and that answers the
question why I am here as your guest dito sa Ceremonial Entrustment
of Firearms of the 8th division Stormtroopers division, 8th Infantry
Division, Philippine Army. I am proud to be here. So, when you say,
Philippine Army and Boy Abunda, thereís supposed to be strange, bed
fellows. A long time ago, people would say what is the connection
between soldiers and me? But, today it doesnít mean that way
anymore. Today, weĎre friends.
Today, we are family
because today is an important today. As you are entrusted the arms,
you know that you are supposed to maintain peace and when you talk
about peace and security, you are not just talking about peace. Mga
nanay, mga tatay, when we talk about peace, we just donít talk about
armed conflicts. We talk about poverty. We talk about social
inequity. We talk about cultural biases. We talk about education.
And, when we entrust the arms into your hands, we simply say that we
trust you. And we do. We trust you with all our hearts. But as you
have the arms and as we live our lives, you will have reminded that
we will continue to talk. We will continue to negotiate because of
our differences. We will continue to argue, we will continue to be
different, we will continue to debate, but we will continue to
listen. We will continue to listen to each other because then and
only then can we have genuine peace and security. Mahaba pa ito and
intro pa lang yun. I will just test my mic. Mic test. Okay, this is
a better mic.
I wanna share some things
with you, very, very quickly. Col. Espeneli, salamat sa ating
conversation sa car on our way to Catbalogan. I had so much fun. A
few things lamang and this goes to the parents, to the soldiers and
to the new graduates. Una, I want to shout this out. I am proud to
be Waray and I will not get tired saying I am proud to be Waray. I
am proud to come from this island. I am proud to be Waray.
And I want to ask parents,
I want to ask you, soldiers. For the longest time, weíve been
trained, kumusta kayo? Waray. Kumusta kayo? Thatís better. Kumusta
kita? Maupay Letís change the paradigm. Waray is wala, Waray should
be maupay. So, every time, somebody asks you from then on and say
kumusta ka? Donít say waray. Kumusta ka? Maupay. Alam niyo po, when
I was very new in Manila, the first time I went to the Ateneo de
Manila University, hindi po kami mayaman, pobre an akon mga kag-anak
pero an amon amay nagtinirok hin gidadamui nga sensilyo para
makabayad ako ha Ateneo de Manila. Sering han akon amay, you have to
study in this school because this is where Rizal studied. But, I was
so afraid to talk, I was so afraid to participate in class. I was so
afraid to express myself simply because I was Waray. Nahahadlok ako,
natatakot ako mag Bisaya. Natatakot akong pagtawanan na ang aking O,
nagiging U, and aking I nagiging e. Natatakot ako na pag sinabi kong
Manela, pagtatawanan ako. Pag sinabi kong Atinio, pinagtatawanan ako
and I was so afraid. It was a fearful point in my life. Until I
discovered that the best way to survive in a jungle is to stay to
your core, is to stay true to your core. Eh, ano kung bisaya ako?
Eh, ano kung waray ako? Eh, ano kung ang e ko ay I, kung ang o ko ay
u? Thatís part of who I am. Thatís part of my core. I should be
proud of my accent. Until I found that piece, sabi ko lalaban ako.
And who would have imagined that one day I would be a television
talk show host. So, today when I commit mistakes on television, when
I mispronounce my words, I tell myself that in no way will I be
defined by my accent because I am better than that. No one will
define my dreams for my family and for my country, simply because I
donít talk like people in Manila. Pero, tatanggapin ko po, for the
longest time, I wanted to learn the Ateneo accent. I wanted to speak
the tagalog like the Manilenos. Until I figured I will not, until I
figured that I want to stick to my accent because it is my core.
This is a very inspiring
story. Barbara Walters is the greatest living broadcast journalist
in the world today. Do you know that to this very day, she cannot
pronounce the letter R. She lisps. She was called Baba Wawa instead
of Barbara Walters. And she has to strive for two straight years
because she was so insecure about not being able to pronounce R.
Until she realized that it was part of who she was. She worked hard,
she was dedicated. Today, sheís the greatest living broadcast
The only thing I am trying
to tell you, young soldiers, is be proud of who you are. Because who
you are, is okay. Magsasaka ang tatay, nananahi ang nanay, mahirap
ang pamilya, be proud of that because that is your take off point.
That makes you who you are. Be proud, be proud. Thatís who you are.
Today, narito tayo,
because we are entrusting arms to you. Letís talk about trust. Trust
is basically believing in the honesty and the integrity of the other
person. But, ang trust ay binibigay. In Philosophy, trust is given.
You do not demand for trust. There are two kinds of experiences when
trust is given. One is emotional. When I trust someone, when I trust
you to carry the firearms that would protect me, I open myself for
vulnerabilities. I open myself to the possibility that I will be
violated. So that is a keep of faith, that is an instinct that tells
me I will trust you because you love this country. Thatís an
The second experience is
logical ang trust. Pinag iisipan. Itís a process. Can I trust this
person? Do I have reason to trust this person? So, you calculate.
Can I trust him with a gun? That becomes a logical process. But in
real life, trust is given combining both, the emotional, the
instinctual and the logical process. When you are entrusted to carry
firearms, you are supposed to maintain peace. You are supposed to
protect this country from internal and external invaders. You are
not supposed to create bloodshed but to prevent it. You are not
supposed to have power over another personís life but to have
restrained from it. And young soldiers, whatever it cost, for the
sake of peace, as you carry your firearms, we cannot give up on
Whatever happens, you and
I will do everything within our power to have peace.
The third word that comes
into my mind tonight is integrity. Ano ba ang integridad? Mga
magulang, soldiers, ano ang integrity? Again. In Philosophy,
integrity is simply a sense of completeness, buo. Kaya may
naririning kayo na may integridad ang material na ito, may
integridad ang organisasyon na ito. Itís not inner sense of being
complete and integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness
of oneís character. You have integrity and that is the reason why
you deserve the trust. Maintain that integrity because this journey
is not going to be easy for you. It is not going to be easy for us.
There will be times in our lives when we will be confronted with
moments when our integrity is challenged. You go back to these
moments and you say. What is this for my country? What is this for
That brings me to my
fourth point, the culture of accountability. Mayroon tayong pananaw
na pag may nagkakamlai, pag may nangyayaring baha, may bagyo, we ask
who is accountable? May mga words that come about like command
responsibility. I know this is very strong in military training. I
want to challenge this concept. I want to challenge the concept of
accountability. Accountability should not only be applied when
things go wrong. Accountability must be applied every day. When you
do good things and bad things, you should be accountable for your
actions. When in the morning, you say hello, good morning and you
did something good, you are accountable for your actions. When you
commit mistakes and you accept and apologized, you are accountable
for your actions. Can you imagine a country, a world, a town, or an
organization where everyone is accountable to each other?
That brings me to the next
word, change. Madaming beses yan napapakinggan natin. Change is good
but itís not always easy. But, do not be afraid to change what is
wrong. Parents, donít be afraid to change what is wrong. You know
why? In the olden times, people would say ayaw kamo pag pinakiana
hit iyo mga anak. Pag nagkukurukayakan it mga lagas, it mga bata
deri nakikisali. Thatís wrong. Especially, when you talk about
things that has something to do with your children, ask your
children. Inform your children on matters that concern them. Ang
tawag diyan ngayon ay youth engagement. Nagpapakiana, nag-uusap para
nagkakaintindihan. And that is important for us today. Change what
is wrong. Challenge what is wrong.
In the last SONA of the
president, kung tama ang aking alaala. Towards the end of his
speech, he started to talk about changing the culture of negativism
and cynicism as opposed to critical collaboration and a culture of
hope and positivism. Sasabihin nila, bakit, are you depriving from
me from my right to question, from my right to debate, my right to
argue? No. Critical collaboration is, knowing that you and I, as we
disagree, you and I have a common goal. What is that common goal?
Itís the good of the country, itís for your good, itís my good, itís
for the good of our children. So, when you talk about change, do not
be afraid to confront things that you have been so used to but are
wrong. Say, this is wrong and I have to change it. Patron, waray
kuwarta, nangungutang kay kailangan magpakain. Change that. Live
within your means. Thatís the only way to do it. You know what is
happening in Japan today? You know whatís happening in Japan after
that tsunami, that nuclear incident. In the prefecture and in the
cities around where it happened, people live within their means.
Waray nainom. Waray nag babar. Everybody behaves towards that
direction of trying to recover. In a few months, Japan is back.
Thatís what you call in military parlance, as discipline.
And letís talk about
another culture. Letís celebrate our culture as integral part of our
national identity. Sino ba talaga tayo? Sino ba ang Pinoy? Ethnic
Nationalism. Col. Ellorda would know this. He was my classmate in
Internal Relations and Public Diplomacy. Napakalakas. Ethnic
Nationalism simply means that we identify ourselves as akoíy waray,
akoíy ilonggo, akoíy Ilocano, akoíy tagalog. Tama lahat yun, but
bottomline akoż Pilipino. We must work hard at softening the ethnic
nationalism that we have. Okay. Celebrate that culture. Sino ba
talaga tayo? Kultura is a way of life. Itís the way we think. Itís
the way we act. Itís evolving, Paano ba tayo magalit.? Ano ba ang
nagpapagalit sa atin? Ano ang nagpapasaya sa atin? What makes us
dance? What makes us laugh? Go back to that culture. Celebrate it.
That is good. Letís stop copying and letís stop blaming the 300
years of the Spaniards colonizers and the 50 years with the
Americans. Thatís okay. Thatís part of the past. Letís not be
haunted by the past. What is important is today. What is important
is what we made of ourselves out of those colonizers. Let us not be
defined and let us not be dictated by our sorry and by our lonely
experiences from the colonizers. Who are you today? Self-ascription
ang tawag diyan. Be proud of who you are.
Next, you can turn your
wounds into wisdom. Thatís forgiveness. I was talking to Col.
Espineli kanina and we were talking about the Balangiga. I cry every
time I talk about the Balangiga massacre. That was the only revolt
that we won during the Philippine American war. But, what we were
told, theyíre not even returning the bells of Balangiga. Theyíre
just in South Korea or in some base in Wyoming. Why canít they just
return the bells that symbolized the bravery of the Filipino? Be
proud of that. When I try to say turn wounds into wisdom, we are not
perfect. We have our feelings. We have our excesses but thereís a
way of turning wounds into wisdom. There is an expiration date to
anger, so that you can transform that anger into a positive energy
to lead you as better soldiers, as better people and that is very
Next is the art of making
the impossible, possible. It is possible thatís how the Czech
republic defines politics. Politics is the art of making that
impossible possible. Why do I believe on this? That is my point.
Nung bago pa ako sa Manila, lahat ng nakakasalubong ko. I was told
many times over that I couldnít make it. I was told many times right
in my face that Iím not going to make it because I was not mestizo,
I was not guwapo, because I was not rich. One big time producer came
to me straight to my face, if you want to try television, good luck
and tough luck. You are not gonna make it. Masyado kang inglisero
and may punto ka. I said, watch me. Today, they are still there by
the side lines. I donít know what they are doing, but I am still
here. I proved them all wrong. Why? For so long as you are at the
side of truth, you will survive anything. It is very clear for me
from the very beginning. Nung sinsabihan ako, hindi ako puwede, sabi
ko, hindi, puwede ako. Nung sinsabihan ako na hindi ka uursa diyan
sa negosyong yan dahil hindi ka maputi, hindi, puwede ako. It was
not easy to reach where I am. Nagbenta ako ng lahat ng bagay na
puwedeng ibenta, para lang mabuhay because I come from a very poor
and humble beginnings. But what was I afraid to succeed? Tough luck.
I said no, I am not afraid.
You, guys, young soldiers,
you have to remember this. Sometimes, you do not succeed because
subconsciously, you are afraid to succeed. Take that out. Take that
out! Open your eyes and your minds to the gifts of the universe.
Open your hearts to anything that is positive because God is kind
and this universe is kind. Everything that you want is there. It is
just a question of recognizing it.
Dalawang tao ang aking
hinahangaan sa ngayon. Papalit-palit ang hinahangaan ko. Si Nora
aunor lang ang permanente. Una, Nelson Mandela. He used to be the
poster boy of democracy of South Africa. He fought hard for the
african national congress. He is the father of democracy. He is
already ninety four years old. Sabi ni Mandela, courage is not the
absence of the fear. It is inspiring others to move beyond it. It is
not bad to take a few steps backward in a fight. Robin Green would
say the best way to win a war is not fight. Sabi ni Mandela, courage
is not the absence of fear. It is inspiring others to move beyond
it. Pag kinabahan kayo, kakabahan kami. But if you are in the
forefront of the battle against insurgents, and foreign invaders,
pag okay kayo, okay kami. Thatís how courage is to us. There is a
story. Si Mandela ay nakasakay sa eroplano. Nasira ang engine.
Everybody was panicking. Mandela was reading a newspaper. Pagbaba
niya sa eroplano at hindi nag crash ang eroplano. Sabi ng mga tao,
President, you were very relax. Sabi ni Mandela, are you joking? I
was dying up there but I could not show fear because everybody was
looking at me. If I started to panic, everyone would have panicked.
That is courage on the context of leadership.
May isa pang sinasabi si
Mandela and this is in the context of being young soldiers.
Appearances matter and donít forget to smile. Appearances matter
because in our struggle affects many things. Some people are nasty
and cruel. Nagbibihis talaga si Mandela. Nagbibihis siya.
Ipinapaalam niya sa kanyang mga kaaway, sa kanyang mga adversaries
na nagbibihis siya. Pinaghahandaan niya. And he would always fight.
Ang katuwiran ni Mandela there is direct connection between
physicality and leadership, even at soldiers. You should be trained
spiritually, psychologically and negotiations can start with a
smile. Donít forget to smile.
Thereís is also one that I
admire today. He just died. Steve Jobs. He invented the iPod and the
iMac. Just before he died, he was delivering some of the most
inspiring speeches in the world. One of the best quotes of jobs
says,Ē Remember that you are going to die is the best way I know to
avoid the trap for thinking that I am to lose anything. Life is
short. Donít waste it living the life of another person. Donít be
trapped by dogma, yung mga katalinuhan, philosophies which is living
with the results of other peopleís thinking. Do not allow the noise
of other peopleís opinions to drown your inner voice. Follow your
hearts and your instincts because they somehow already know what you
want to becomeĒ. Simply said, ano ba ang ating sinasayang na oras?
We were born naked, we will end naked, so we might as well live to
the best we can and the best way to do it according to Steve Jobs is
to follow your heart. That is why you are here tonight because you
follow your hearts. And I say thank you to all of you!
Young soldiers, ladies and
gentlemen, when you talk about peace and security, weíre not talking
about peace and security as a job of the military. This is ours,
too. Atin din yan, thatís why I talked about community engagement.
We have to engage each other, no matter how difficult it is, no
matter how much disagreement we have. Sabi nga ng Russian saying,
ďthe truth is born out of arguments so letís not get tired if we
want peace and security.Ē And, the biggest solution, according to
most glorious philosophers, ďin times of conflict, you look back at
all the chances of loving. Had we loved, we wouldnít have killed
each other. Had we loved, we would have understood each otherĒ. My
favorite Philosopher, actually sheís not a philosopher, sheís a
singer. Sabi nga ni Barbara Streisand, and General Chan appreciates
this because he loves music. ďAs we live lives and recognize our
differences, we have to remember one thing, we are different yet we
are equals. There is that very, very important question that I want
to share with you today. Why do we wait for storms and catastrophes
to happen, to actually care for one another? Why do we have to wait
for bad things to actually express our love for one another? That is
one question Iíd like you to bring home. Bakit natin inaantay ang
mga bagyo, ang mga baha, ang mga sakuna, for us to realize that we
have to take care of one another? Because, you know what, if we
donít take care of one another, who will?
Lastly, an excellent
military is a reflection of an excellent citizenry. You do your
jobs, we do ours. You watch us, we watch you. Whether you like it or
not, whether I like it or not, it has been decreed by God that we
are brothers and we have no choice at this point for peace and
security to happen, but to love one another.
Mabuhay kayong lahat!