“The President’s Report to the Nation”
Address of His Excellency Ferdinand E. Marcos
President of the Philippines
[Delivered at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila, on September 19, 1975]
Itinakda natin ang araw na ito para sa pagdiriwang, sa halip na Linggo, hindi dahil ibig nating mapaaga ang ikatlong anibersaryo ng proklamasyon ng Bagong Lipunan sa ating bayan, kundi dahil ibig nating maiharap sa ating sambayanan ang mahahalagang suliraning hindi na dapat pang ipaghintay sa ika-21 ng buwang ito.
Anibersaryo man o hindi ang araw na ito, oras na upang lingunin ng sambayanang Pilipino ang mga nakaraang taon, upang suriin at pakialaman ang tunay na katayuan ng ating bansa.
Makaraan pa ang dalawang araw, papasok na tayo sa ika-apat na taon ng Bagong Lipunan. Sa susunod na mga araw at buwan, matatayo tayong muli sa isang lalong maselan na pagsubok, at kakailanganin nating lahat ang sukdulang tibay at tatag ng loob, alang-alang sa ating Bagong Lipunan.
Ngunit bago tayo magtangka na akaying muli ang ating sambayanan sa mga susunod na yugto sa ating pakikihamok sa kapalaran, kailangang sagutin ang ilang katanungan.
- Natupad ba nating mga nasa pamahalaan ang ating panata, sa pamamagitan ng matapat na pagtataguyod sa mga tunay na adhikain ng ating mga mamamayan?
- Natumbasan ba ng ating pagpupunyagi ang kanilang pagpapakasakit, ng ating marubdob na pagtangkilik sa mga dakilang mithiin, ng walang puknat na paggawa, at tahasang pagtatamo, ang kanilang tiwala sa atin?
- Napagtibay ba natin ang karapatang magpatuloy sa paghingi sa kanila ng patuloy na tiwala sa atin, ibayo pang pagsisikap, at marahil higit pang pagpapakasakit?
Kung hindi natin masasagot ang mga katanungang ito nang buong katapatan, hindi tayo dapat mangahas na magpatuloy.
With or without the anniversary that we mark today, the time has come once more for the Filipino people to look across the years and assess the state of the nation.
Two days from today, we enter the fourth year of the New Society, our program of national transformation. This is bound to be a decisive phase of that program, one that will require the utmost resiliency and fortitude of both our government and our people.
But before we can even begin to think of leading our people into a new period of that struggle, we must answer some questions.
- Have we, in government, kept our covenant by serving faithfully the genuine hopes of our people?
- Have we matched their sacrifices with dedication, their expectations with competence and virtue, their trust with a zeal for high ideals, honest labor, and genuine achievement?
- Have we earned the right to continue to demand from them continued confidence and trust in us, harder work, and possibly more sacrifice?
Unless we can confidently answer these questions, we dare not proceed.
In less than four months, we shall pass into the second half of this turbulent decade, and already we know that this will be an even more critical period for the world at large.
This, too, will be crucial for us.
For, as with the other nations of the world, none of our problems are completely behind us. They have been transmuted, but not definitively solved, and they will continue to be with us, in various forms and degrees.
In three years, we have demonstrated a capacity for recovery and growth, but as in other countries the gains—however dramatic—have not brought us complete fulfillment.
We are no longer the paralyzed nation, of course, which we were at the start of our program in September 1972, but still, if we ask ourselves frankly, have we become the nation we wanted to be, after breaking with our past?
We know that our goals must extend beyond mere recovery, but we also know that crisis awaits each step we take.
The nature of the problems we face—whether they originate from within our society or from conditions abroad continues to challenge fundamental assumptions in politics, in the economy, and in society itself.
The world has not known so searching a challenge since the crisis years of the Depression and the Second World War. And no nations are so severely challenged as the nations of the Third World, which like us must take up the burden of modernization under conditions of tension and flux throughout the world.
In our own country, the accumulated experience of the past three years promises more challenges rather than relief. For once we set our program of reform in motion, there is no alternative but to prosecute it to its legitimate end. It would be dangerous for us to ride the crest of illusion or false hopes.
We are wont to hear that we, the Philippines, are a nation that has made a dramatic comeback from disaster, and begun a strong surge towards growth. Even the most critical foreign experts say so.
The national economy, for many years a deficit spender of resources, exhibits both vigor and resiliency in the face of crisis. Economic activity of all kinds is never more pronounced than at any other time in our history. International investors, and no less than the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, continue to manifest their faith in our economy.
There is order where there used to be none; anarchy is only a memory of the past; and growth and changes seem to be everywhere around us.
And when we look at the individual citizen, there is reason to feel that his rights and liberties are on the whole much better secured today than they were before the intervention of constitutional authoritarianism.
Let us look at the farmers: the emancipation of the Filipino farmer from economic and political bondage. This has been the all-consuming obsession of government since that fateful day of September 21, 1972, when it began the arduous task of bringing about lasting reforms in the society.
Comprising 70% of the population and more than half of the labor force, Filipino farmers have been, and will continue to be, the main beneficiaries of the major government programs launched over the first 1,000 days of the New Society.
For centuries, whether under the Spaniards or Americans, or the politicians and feudal tyrants of the old order, the Filipino farmer was a virtual slave, bereft of self-respect and dignity.
He was bound to the soil, tilling land that belonged to another man, taxed of both goods and money, deprived of an education, refused access to credit and exploited by unscrupulous moneylenders, manipulated by politicians and landlords, isolated from modern technology.
Today, however, the farmer has rediscovered himself and has attained for himself a new identity.
Where before he was an abject tenant, today he is a proud landowner.
Where before he had to beg his landlord or a usurer for a loan in order to plant and send his children to school or feed his family, today he has a far-flung system of rural credit eagerly providing his financing needs at low interest rates.
Where before prices for his produce used to plunge down at harvest time because of the unbridled forces of supply and demand under an unbridled free-enterprise system, today he has a well-funded program of price support that guarantees profitable farm gate prices for his major agricultural crops.
Where before he was left alone to contend with the high cost of production inputs, today he is insulated from the impact of escalating world prices through government subsidies of key production inputs, such as fertilizer and animal feeds.
Where before he used to rely solely on antiquated farming methods, today he can count on an army of over 6,000 farm management technicians and rural broadcasters who use every technique known to media for instruction and guidance on modem agricultural technology.
Where before he used to contend with market forces which sapped the profits from his produce, he can now depend on a nationwide network of “samahang nayon” that gives him greater bargaining power, and assures him of a fair price for his products.
Today, we find unprecedented prosperity in the rural areas, an obvious upsurge in the purchasing power of the Filipino farmer, and a general air of confidence and optimism in the countryside. Paradoxically, martial law, the instrument of the colonizer to preserve the status quo, has brought true freedom to the countryside for the first time in centuries.
In the first 1,000 days of the New Society, therefore, we have succeeded—through deliberate policy and action—in helping the Filipino farmer rediscover himself, attain a new dignity, and secure true freedom.
With respect to labor, the pace of employment opportunities has risen, generally speaking, in keeping with the growth in gross national product. Compared to the employment levels before martial law, new jobs have been created at an average of 5% annually.
In spite of a worldwide recession, we succeeded in cutting down unemployment to only 4.1% this year, the lowest in our postwar history. In other words, out of a labor force of 14 million, only 570,000 workers are now openly unemployed. This is significant since in the United States, 4% unemployment is considered normal.
At the same time, we have sought to safeguard the security—both internal and external—of our country. Internally, we had the leaders of the Leftist and Rightist rebellion that threatened the stability of our Republic, as well as the secessionist movement and the Moro National Liberation Front. Now, the open-handed and generous policy towards the rebels in Mindanao is beginning to bear fruit. And we see in the immediate future the termination of all hostilities—in Mindanao, in Central Luzon—all over the Philippines.
But the world continues to be faced with problems of security. After the Vietnam War, the Philippines has had to reassess its security arrangements with the United States. We are in the middle of negotiations, but we have adopted the policy of self-reliance. I have had to visit the People’s Republic of China to show to the whole world that our windows are open to those who would be friends with us and in so doing, we seek to secure our country from any untoward aggression from outside.
As we strive to bring the government closer to the people, we must take the parallel step of bringing the people closer to the government. The moratorium on elections in our political life—however infrequent a replacement so that the people may intervene successfully in national decision making. The people must never be made to accept that the government, no matter how wise and dedicated, is master of their destiny; rather, they must be continuously reinforced in their faith that they are the master of government.
At the start of our program of reform, we saw that if our political life was not to arrive at an impasse between an anarchic order and a despotic one, we had to create new mechanisms for the individual to make his voice heard on public issues.
And that mechanism must be politics at community level, where citizens can shape their lives and together act to move the town, the city, the province, and the nation to action.
This is the fundamental rationale and the reason behind the creation of the barangay. This is what will make it a viable and dynamic institution.
At the same time we have harnessed into this mechanism for political action, the young of the barangay. You saw marching here the Kabataang Barangay, along with the capitanes de barangay who are also here, who now participate actively in everything that has to do with the community action. They provide the means by which our people can directly and truly participate in decision making.
The reform of our political system is in essence a call to discipline and order. This was the theme with which we began the building of our New Society, and this is the theme that we must continue. Today we know the dangers of relaxing disciplinary controls, before reform has fully seeped into our social life.
The dangers of decay which we see in government are magnified in various ways in the other sectors of society.
Of course, we see it in the resurgence of petty crimes.
But it is the subtler assaults on public order and national discipline that must bear the greater weight of our concerns today. For these connote erosion in the program of reform, a softening of the will to change; and where these are seen conspicuously by the public, they contribute to the deterioration of morale and faith in social change.
With equal severity, people in private life must accept the burdens of the national transformation to which we have pledged ourselves. All must share with those in government and the masses the austerity demanded by the times.
Sadly, we note the dramatic gains of the past three years—with their attendant effects on the life in Metropolitan Manila and the bastions of industry in other urban centers. They have ironically intensified natural appetites for finery and show, for lavish parties, flashy cars, mansions, big homes, expensive travel, and other counterproductive activities that dissipate the ethic of work, sacrifice, and discipline that is the meaning of the New Society. Because Manila is the hub of economic and international life in the country, it is not difficult to see the simplest amenities of life among the rich increasingly feeding the bitterness, the frustration, and exploitation of the very poor.
This implies a special obligation on the rich to find purpose and vision in the use of wealth; on those who hold positions of power and authority to be austere in their lifestyle and to discriminate in the exercise of anything that might be construed as special privilege. Here, there is an hierarchical distribution of responsibility: Those who hold more either of wealth or of authority must bear more responsibility.
It bears repeating that we do not seek to liberate our society from the old exploiters only to deliver it to new exploiters. We do not seek to make this society strong to secure the posterity of only a small class therein.
Central to our economic policies is the sharing of the increments of growth. We cannot speak of growth unless we can distribute such growth to the people, and we cannot speak of growth unless we first manage an entire spectrum of issues and problems that bedevil the economies of the industrialized as well as the nonindustrialized world.
The experience of the past three years provides statistical evidence that our economy has fared creditably well. Whoever takes the measure of the level of economic effort, whether for, or against, or neutral to the New Society or constitutional authoritarianism, cannot fail to admit that government intervention is the most significant factor in the acceleration of economic activity and growth by the injection of rationalization into such economic activity.
Judged by any of the known indicators of economic growth, the conclusion points to a high level of performance of the national economy.
Gross national product averages 7%. In 1973, it was 6.3; in 1974, it shot up to 8-10%; in 1975, it registered a growth rate of 6%.
The figures for the year indicate the recovery phase of the economy from the recessionary pressures that persisted particularly during the first half of this fiscal year.
As of September this year, our international reserves stood at US$1.70 billion, compared to about $200 million to $300 million at the start of the New Society, manifesting the strength of the national economy in spite of the worldwide economic crisis.
But the external sector, however, was characterized by a drastic decline in the country’s balance of payments position from the FY 1974 surplus of $437 million to a deficit of $352 million at the end of FY 1975. Contributing mainly to decline was a shift from a merchandise trade surplus of $95 million to a deficit of $801 million in FY 1975.
Despite the drastic decline in the prices of the country’s major exports, receipts from merchandise trade grew by 11%. More significant increases were registered in nonmerchandise trade and transfer receipts of 26% and 12%, respectively. These movements, coupled with larger credit availments, halted the decline of the overall deficit position.
Export shipments amounted to $2,544 million, as against an import bill of $3,345 million that has consisted mostly of crude oil and durable equipment imports.
Despite the dampening of expectations in most sectors of the economy as a consequence of inflation and recession, investments remained on an uptrend in FY 1975.
Expenditures for gross domestic capital formation in real terms recorded a growth of 22.3% in comparison to the 7.9% growth level in FY 1974. In millions of pesos, this is domestic capital formation amounting to P10.336 billion.
Paid-in capital of newly registered corporations and partnerships expanded by about 30% to a level of P1,020 million at the end of the fiscal year, with the construction sector showing the biggest growth of 145%. Likewise, investments in BOI-registered firms grew by 34%, mainly as a result of the 192% increase in investments poured in by local businessmen.
From 1972 to the middle of this year, July, the Securities and Exchange Commission registered a total of 13,300 new corporations with a total paid-up capital of P2,014 billion.
But even foreign investments have grown at dramatic rates during the three-year period of martial law in the New Society. From January 1973 to the end of FY 1975, foreign investment now total P2.25 billion. From the total amount of investment applications for the first semester of 1975, the Board of Investments has approved foreign investments totaling P50 million.
Now, we come to the problem of inflation that confronts the whole world. Inflation, among all the economic indicators, has exerted the most pressure on the level of economic performance in this country and in all other countries of the world. But from the high 26% rise in consumer prices in FY 1974, the rate of inflation has come down possibly to 22%, although in July of this year, in one month alone, the inflation rate was supposedly only 4.2%.
The income of government has increased four times and our budget accordingly. Government receipts have expanded more rapidly than government expenditures, resulting in significant accumulations of budgetary surpluses. While other countries have suffered deficits since 1973, our country has always had a budgetary surplus, even as we increased government spending in essential services and economic activity. As of 1974, we had a budgetary surplus of P646 million.
Overall, economic performances during the third year of the program of the New Society has been creditable. However, we must acknowledge serious problems overshadowing our economic life. We cannot escape the feeling here of being perpetually engaged in a race with problems and crises, regardless of our response at any given period.
The constriction of trade markets is a sobering experience for our export-oriented economy. This is neither the time nor the place to look into the trade policies of the big countries. Adjustments will be needed in the entire economic program, but these will in no way divert the fundamental direction of the program.
We greet the prognosis of an economic turnaround with hope, but without illusions. Should the industrialized economies successfully weather the recession, our export position will surely improve. But the lasting solution to the worldwide economic crisis remains to be found perhaps in a new pattern of economic relations among the nations, and this is the difficult agenda before the nations today.
Now underneath these surface impressions of vitality and stability, there are profound problems that embattle our New Society. The general signs of national strength and progress somehow do not yet completely translate into realities sufficiently relevant to the ordinary individual. We must translate our growth into a state of high morale among people. Growth is rendered in statistics and changes in the landscape, changes in the cities, in the roads, in the infrastructures. But more than this, we need a new vigorous climate of confidence and hope, a passionate renewal of faith and devotion, which sustains armies and populations even in the midst of siege.
And while our policies decree sweeping changes in our institutions and programs, we have lagged behind in the fundamental change on which the New Society is truly to be forged. This is the change within us, in our hearts, in our minds, in our souls—the internal revolution, which our nation from the time of our forebears has passionately craved for.
Many have already strayed away from the struggle, and forgotten the revolution we have mounted, choosing to reap benefits they did not sow, and grow so bold as to assume that others will do their work for them.
Many have forgotten the demands that we placed on ourselves at the start of the program, preferring instead to seek the spoils of reform. And many still have added themselves to the problems, adding burdens to those that we assumed at the beginning of our reform.
Behind the facade of national unity and behind this front of popular enthusiasm for reform, I raise my voice in alarm today, for we are in fact a nation divided against itself—divided between urban and rural, rich and poor, majorities and minorities, privileged and underprivileged. Among some of the poor, there is still the nagging fear that they have, again, been left behind, and that we have liquidated an oligarchy only to set up a new oligarchy. The poor of our people accepted their new burdens without flinching, without crying out in pain, and without protest, but there is the feeling that all the sacrifice is not shared by all, that others are profiling from the situation at the expense of the people.
We face, therefore, a problem of morale among our people, a problem of faith in the program of social transformation.
Our people speak less of institutions, policies, and programs, for these have not failed them. Our institutions are vigorous, our policies and programs are successful. But the people speak of men in high places, and in power, men of affluence, men in government, men of wealth and position, who have failed popular expectations, who still seem to be fighting for those very same principles and causes which we are fighting against, and who mock the very foundations of our reform movement.
Yes, the people speak of men of the law—servants and enforcers of the law—using their respective positions or ranks to inflict upon society the very abuses they have been appointed to fight. They also speak of men who seem particularly privileged to reinterpret the most profound message of government; and rearrange even the priorities of its social commitments and programs, according to their personal convenience and predilections.
Against these enemies of the Republic, I now commit myself to do battle. And I ask our people to join me in this new war and this new revolution. Neither friendship nor enmity, fatigue nor pain, danger nor reward should stop us in the fulfillment of this mission.
The establishment of constitutional authoritarianism, which enabled this government to seize the reins of national directions, has resulted in the growth of bureaucracy as a massive machinery that affects every aspect of our national life. But along with this, there have also risen massive opportunities for graft, corruption, and the misuse of influence—opportunities which are now being exploited within the government service.
White the machinery of government has remodeled and redesigned its structure and operations to fit our development goals, the human factor of government has not kept pace with the reforms.
The massive cleanup of government offices that followed the proclamation of martial law has failed to keep the slate clean. Worse, there are new sores that are clearly emerging, inflicted by those who hold the wrong belief that the leadership is too preoccupied with other problems, that the people can be intimidated, or are too complacent, or that they can lake any liberties they please with our people, our Republic, and our reforms.
Clearly, we face here the danger that our New Society is giving birth to a new government elite, who resurrect in our midst the privileges we fought in the past, who employ the powers of high office for their personal enrichment, as well as of their business colleagues, relatives, and friends.
I have, as you all know, ordered a performance audit of all local officials, as a way of compelling the accountability of many insensitive officials in the local level. This audit is not confined to local officials. The national officeholders are not exempt. This has been my painful duty as the head of the government and of the state.
For the last three years I have been watching the conduct of officers and employees in the national as well as the local government. It is my duty as President of the Republic of the Philippines to reward what is proper, dedicated, and devoted service by a public servant, and by the same token, to punish for violation of the sacred trust of a public official.
Today, therefore, I hereby announce the beginning of a sweeping, complete, and exhaustive reorganization of the government. This means the elimination of those who have violated the trust we had reposed in them and the reward of those who have performed their task with exemplary and outstanding distinction, courage, and dedication.
Accordingly, as a first step to be followed later by a broader sweep in the lower ranks of the civil service and in other parts of the government including the military organization, a sweep which as of today includes a listing of 2,000 undesirables in the national government, I have decided to announce today the acceptance of the resignation of the following high-ranking officials in the government who have something to do with the procurement of government supplies and materials and the administration of valuable resources of the Republic of the Philippines.
I hereby accept the retirement of Acting Chairman Ismael Mathay Sr., and his three sons have requested that they resign simultaneously with their father.
There are numerous, perhaps by the hundreds of auditing personnel whose names I have listed down in the original text of this speech but which I don’t have the time to read before you, but they will be published in due time. They include inspectors of supplies and materials, auditors, regional auditors, supervising auditors, and various officers and employees from the highest to the lowest ranks of the auditing service of the government.
The conclusion is ineluctable that in a great number of cases, graft and corruption in the government has been possible only with the collusion, participation, if not at the instance of personnel of the Commission on Audit’s personnel. This is one of the offices in the government which have to be completely reorganized. I shall make the appointments in the immediate future.
I hereby accept the resignation of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Misael Vera, who has from Europe sent me a cable to the effect that his doctors have advised him that he immediately retire from active government service. His replacement is under consideration.
I hereby accept the resignation of the Commissioner of Customs, Rolando Geotina. There are 12 other high-ranking officers in the Bureau of Customs, whose names I need not read but which will be published in due time, whose resignations I have also accepted.
The resignation of Undersecretary Manuel Salientes of DND is hereby approved.
Charges have been aired against certain officials and men in charge of the procurement of arms and munitions for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
I consider this, if true, the highest form of treachery to the Republic and to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In view of this, I have directed the Secretary of National Defense to conduct an exhaustive and overall investigation and to punish all parties to the limit.
At the Secretary’s own request, in view of the conflict of interest which exists between that of his corporations which bear his name and that of the government, I hereby accept the resignation of Secretary of Public Works, Transportation, and Communications David Consunji. I shall announce his replacement as soon as possible.
Also at his own request, I hereby also accept the resignation of Bureau of Public Works Director Desiderio Anolin. I shall announce his replacement immediately.
I hereby accept the resignation of the whole Board of Transportation.
The Reorganization Commission’s plan to reorganize and rename the Land Transportation Commission to form a part of the Bureau of Land Transportation is hereby approved and implemented.
The resignation of Land Transportation Commissioner Romeo Edu is therefore hereby approved.
I hereby accept the resignation of Director PedroVillaseñor and his replacement by Ceferino Carreon, who is Chairman of the Radio Control Board.
Secretary of Public Highways Baltazar Aquino has submitted his resignation effective upon reaching the age of 65 in a few months. I hereby accept that resignation.
There are a number of names, including the highest-ranking officers of the DPH. Their resignations have also been accepted. Their names will be properly published.
I have already announced the designation of Secretary Jacobo Clave as acting chairman of the civil service. Today I formally accept the resignation of all the commissioners of the civil service.
The Secretary of General Services, Constancio Castaneda himself, has suggested the acceptance of the recommendation of the Reorganization Commission reorganizing and renaming the Department of General Services Administration and its being placed directly under the Office of the President. I accept this recommendation and I approve it. Henceforth the positions of secretary, undersecretary, and other positions in that department and all its bureaus are hereby abolished as of today.
Included in this is the acceptance of the resignation of the director of the Bureau of Buildings and Real Property Management, Celerino Sapitula, and his Assistant Director, Pastor Mesina. Also accepted are the resignations of the Director of the Bureau of Printing, Manuel L. Agustin, and his Assistant Director, Arsenio C. Maclan.
I hereby accept the resignation of Director Refuerzo, to be replaced by Dr. Manuel Escudero Jr., currently Dean of Veterinary Medicine, University of the Philippines.
I also accept the resignation of the following officials:
- Faustino Menzalvas, Assistant Director
- Severino Recto, Regional Director, Region VI
- Teofilo Batin, OIC, Region I
Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Forest Development
I hereby accept at his own instance the resignation of Acting Director Jose Viado and of Officer in Charge Nestor Capellan of Region I.
Board of Examiners
In view of the adverse reports pertaining to the members of the Board of Examiners, it becomes necessary to declare as of today all positions in the Boards of Examiners vacant. I shall make the appointments in due time.
Department of Trade
Securities and Exchange Commission
I hereby accept the resignation of Arcadio E. Yabyabin, the head of the office, SEC.
Also accepted are the resignations of two other officers: Executive Officer Luis Lara and Senior Executive Assistant Gregorio Catapang.
Before announcing the acceptance of resignations from members of this branch of government, I want to make an announcement pertaining to a reward to a deserving public servant. Today, I am honored and privileged to announce the elevation of the Solicitor General, Estelito Mendoza, to the rank of Cabinet member in view of his exemplary service to the Republic of the Philippines not only in the conduct of the legal defense of the Republic in our courts but also in legal conferences and forums outside the Philippines.
There are a number of judges whose resignations I have accepted.
I have separated from this listing—lest it be considered that they are included with the opprobrium and the charges that have been filed against those officials who have been voluntarily separated, some at their own instance—a list of those who, because of long service in the government, have persistently and continuously requested that they are permitted to retire.
First of all, before I announce these persons, I would like to say that they have continued to serve the government long after they reached the retirement age of 65. They have served with distinction the goals of reform and change of our New Society. The Republic of the Philippines, our people and I, myself, personally congratulate them for their unblemished record and I thank them warmly for their support of my leadership. But because of their insistence, I hereby accept their resignations.
I refer, first of all, to the retirement of the chairman of these ceremonies today, the Secretary of Education and Culture, Juan Manuel, who, as he himself put it, is already 70 years old and entitled to a little rest.
I also announce that under the same circumstances, a man who started out as Municipal Health Officer, many decades back and now attends to the health of our nation, seeks to retire and to allow younger men to take his place. He is no other than me Secretary of the Department of Health, Clemente Gatmaitan.
The third person to retire upon his insistence is not here for I sent him on a mission abroad, but before he left he agreed and we decided that I would be free to announce his retirement at any opportune time. I find this time opportune and I refer to the Commissioner of the Budget for many, many decades, Commissioner Faustino Sy-Changco.
This is just the beginning of the sweeping and continuous overhaul of the government machinery. For those against whom there are charges of dishonesty, corruption, and anomaly, let it be known that the acceptance of the resignations of such officers and employees does not exempt them from criminal prosecution, trial, and punishment if the evidence so warrants.
We are not limiting ourselves in this general cleanup to the ranks of the government. There are lawyers, accountants, doctors, and other professionals who, because of certain claims of blood kinship, affinity, personal closeness, friendship to, or business affiliation with supposedly high-ranking officials of the government, arrogantly utilize or wield influence not only in corrupting public officials or in coercing them but also in securing for themselves or their associates personal advantages denied to others, and in obtaining favors, privileges, and preferential treatment in derogation of fairness and justice.
All of them shall be purged from the ranks of those who would participate in the fruits of the New Society.
At the same time, I have ordered the Secretary of National Defense to arrest persons in the list of those against whom there is evidence of commission of crime. He shall be supported, of course, by the military organization.
Why have we done this at this time? This is a day of celebration. Why this attempt to clean up? Because I have warned, I have scolded, I have cajoled, I have reprimanded. We have given enough time to reform. But the contagion continues.
Now it is time to cut off the infected parts of the society from active public life before they endanger the entire body politic.
So let this be a new warning to friend and foe alike.
We will be generous and forgiving with respect to momentary lapses, for we are all human, provided there is a sincere desire to reform and to rectify error.
But when there is pernicious and malicious persistence in doing wrong, then I will risk the displeasure of friends and the enmity even of relatives and avowed principled men to impose severe and just punishment.
I have said that this new danger that confronts our Republic compels us now to do battle all over again with the same old courage, selflessness, and dedication that we can draw from our minds, our hearts, our souls.
I have asked our people to pledge here and now not to allow the gains of the New Society to be lost because of the weaknesses, the viciousness, and the evil intentions of those on whom we have reposed the public trust. These men who have committed the highest form of treachery against our country and would turn traitors to our principles must be punished and, I swear to you, will be punished.
But the battle which we now join is a continuing and arduous one. We will be confronted by the grave danger of complacency and reaction, the old habits that refuse to die, the claims of ancient legacy, the exacting demands of daily and routinary living and survival in a world crushed by crisis and emergency. But so long as we are united, we shall overcome all of these.
And today I come before you as the head of the political leadership of the Republic and pledge to you unswerving, unremitting, and uncompromising pursuit of our lofty goals. To this, we commit our very lives, our name, our possessions, and most valuable of all, our honor.