His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
For the launch of Google Philippines
[Delivered by Undersecretary of Communications Manuel L. Quezon III at the Blue Leaf Events Pavilion, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, on January 23, 2013]
I am honored to speak on behalf of the President today. Allow me to share with you his message for this occasion:
In 1998, two doctorate students from Stanford—Larry Page and Sergey Brin-—founded a company that endeavored to make information free and useful for everyone. Their vision: to unite a vast, diverse world through sharing information. Since then, Google has led a worldwide campaign for efficient access to data, bridging peoples and nations, and forwarding transparency and dialogue.
From providing up-to-date maps, among other applications that enhance productivity, to partnering with governments like ours in promoting a global culture of openness and positive engagement, and even to issuing flood alerts and building a platform for rescue efforts, your company is not only integrating peoples; you are helping to build a safer world for all of us. This, without doubt, is an aspiration we share.
I have always believed that openness and responsiveness are key to cultivating a productive relationship between the government and the people. In September 2011, at Google New York, I outlined the steps my administration had been taking to advance open governance.
Through our “Pera ng Bayan” website, we have empowered our citizenry to report cases of corruption and to examine government contracts that are up for bidding. Our different government agencies, through the help of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, are setting up their respective social network accounts to engage and better serve the public. In the previous year, for instance, the PCDSPO, the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, and our Department of Public Works and Highways launched the “lubak2normal” initiative on Twitter, the objective of which is to find and fix potholes and deteriorations in our national roads with the help of the public. And I can personally attest that many of our countrymen responded to this campaign with much enthusiasm.
Our administration is fully cognizant of the potential of the Internet. It makes our work efficient. Our task involves reaching out to our citizenry, listening to them, and, ultimately, developing strategies that address their concerns. We are a country of over 7,000 islands, and, indeed, the Internet has allowed us to better close the gap with our people. This is the very idea behind the Official Gazette (www.gov.ph), our Republic’s online portal. When in the past, our countrymen were left to wonder about the workings of government, now, through this website, our people are provided reliable information about our platform and achievements. The PCDSPO also posts facts and briefers about Malacañan Palace and the presidency on Tumblr and Facebook, just as Radio Television Malacañang does the same on their Youtube site —and I invite each one of you to like our Facebook account, and to visit tumblr.malacanang.gov.ph and, of course, to go to Google+ and find the Official Gazette PH page.
From building the necessary social media infrastructure, to creating a single government portal, to eliminating corruption, we are instilling credibility in our system and empowering our people to be agents of change. In November 2011, during the World View interview series sponsored by Google and YouTube, I expressed that we need to harness the new technologies that are available to us for the benefit and safety of our countrymen. By working with enterprises like Google, we intend to show the world that, private and public sectors, that they can bring about meaningful reform in society. We are not playing around; all our efforts redound to an informed nation, an elevated public discourse, and a people better focused on nation building.
Today’s occasion serves as another landmark in your company’s history, and the Filipino people are happy and grateful to be part of it. Your launch comes at a time when our nation is on the rise; and setting up shop here is a vote of confidence. Your belief in our country inspires us to continue the fight against corruption, and to embed transparency in our political and social systems. With your help, I truly believe that we can do this. Congratulations. Thank you and good day.