Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella’s Message during the Flag Ceremony
Kalayaan Grounds, Malacañang
04 July 2016

Magandang umaga po sa lahat. Pagpaumanhin po niyo, medyo hirap po sa Tagalog. We’re just getting used to the whole thing. Thank you OP (Office of the President) Chorale.

In behalf of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, I extend to you his greetings and sentiment for this momentous occasion. Fellow Filipinos and partners in government, good morning.

We are here today because people who felt excluded believed the promise that we made, that they too could have a comfortable life — life unbounded, unburdened by corruption, a life unhampered by crime, a life unthreatened by illegal drugs, a life free to pursue their dreams of a better world. So let us not let them down.

We are here because people who have lost their faith in government are willing to trust in it again. They’re willing once more to trust their leaders, the judicial system, the public servants. Let us not disappoint them.

They’re willing to trust because we promised them two things: compassion, malasakit; and change, pagbabago. They want their leaders to care about them and they want the miserable conditions of their lives to change. So let us inspire them.

You and I, the leaders and public servants, are key to their prayers. But we need to remember that those who lead are servants first and those who serve lead best by their example.

Therefore, let us avoid the great temptation to assume that leadership is a personal right and license for personal gain. It is not. While it may have been destiny that placed us in position, only certain values will ensure that we are worthy of the call and will keep us there.

The first value is patriotism — the love of country over love of self. A true public servant hears a higher call. Second, sublimation — placing common good ahead of personal interest. And third, compassion — care and concern for the poor, the impoverished and the excluded.

What moves us, not just this week, but for the next six years, is our mission and purpose, which is to restore the trust and faith of the people in government, that they may fully embrace their citizenship and nationhood. What is a nation after all, but a common belief about ourselves that we all share. It is time that all of us become truly proud to be Filipino. And it is our mandate to ensure that the people have reason to do so.

Together, let us build a nation that is righteous, peaceful, and joyful. Let us trust God who placed us here to enable us to be worthwhile servants. So why are we here? In the President’s famous words: Because we are ready to begin the work right now. So let us do so. Let us begin the week and the next cycle of years with excitement in our hearts to do what we have been told to do.

Good morning. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas.