NUP: A movement for national reconciliation and unity
(Speech of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. during the National Convention of the National Unity Party at Sofitel Hotel on September 26, 2012)
Officers and founding members of the National Unity Party, distinguished guests, my colleagues and friends, ladies and gentlemen:
On July 26, 2010, I was given a rare privilege to be voted overwhelmingly, by 227 House members, as Speaker in the House of Representatives.
The trust and confidence bestowed by my colleagues, many of whom are now here present, came at a time when the Filipino people have set high expectations in their government.
President Benigno S. Aquino III’s campaign of "matuwid na daan" became the standard for public service. We, at the House of Representatives, have set our own benchmark that raised our performance rating in public perception.
The record high of 55 percent approval rating and 42 percent net satisfaction rating for the House of Representatives could not have been achieved without the unity, cooperation and hard work of everyone who elected me Speaker. The House members of the National Unity Party, along with the other House coalition partners, have made a covenant placing national and public welfare over and above individual interest. And the Filipino people took notice.
That being said, let me take this opportunity to say that I am proud and deeply honored that today you have made me Chairman Emeritus of the National Unity Party, one of the most hardworking parties in the House coalition. Personally, I prefer the title of Honorary Chairman as I am still active in the political arena.
You have embarked on a new political journey and you could not have chosen a more appropriate name for the party.
NUP should not just be an acronym. It should be a movement for national unity and reconciliation based on justice.
NUP should take the lead in crafting a platform and agenda for national unity. It should take charge and draw a roadmap for the unification of the Filipino people on all fronts that will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the leftist rebellion and the secessionist movement in southern Philippines, as well as more success in the war against poverty.
I am counting on your experience and sagacity to craft laws and launch programs that will benefit not only your constituents but the entire country. I am confident that the NUP will continue to play a leading role in the national council of political parties.
The 2010 election was a watershed event in our political history. It was a sea-change in terms of our people's determination to break away from the politics of convenience and patronage. It was a mandate for meaningful changes and reforms.
Our country’s leaders are keenly aware of these challenges and the NUP founders, in joining the coalition in the House of Representatives, have shown true statesmanship and sincerity to cooperate with President Aquino’s administration in order to address these challenges.
I am glad that you are now joining the coalition being forged by President Aquino and the Liberal Party with other major political parties for the 2013 elections. The president and the other political parties will certainly accord you much respect and equal treatment, giving due regard to your rightful place in the electoral arena.
Noteworthy is the fact that most of you are undisputed stalwarts, highly-respected leaders in your respective constituencies. You are not only veteran politicians. You are icons in your region, province, district, city and municipality.
Many of us will soon troop to the COMELEC offices to file our certificates of candidacy.
The sobering reality is that our job contract is only valid for one thousand days after which our boss - the electorate, will decide through the ballot if we deserve to be rehired based on our scorecard of performance.
But a gathering like this is as much about plotting future victories as it is about celebrating past successes.
And you have chalked up enough triumphs to make you confident about winning the future.
By accomplishments, I am referring to what we have done together as members of the House of Representatives, whose prolific output of measures has set the benchmark of congressional productivity.
With your participation, we have approved 2,462 measures in the past 27 months, including three national budgets which were passed in record speed without sacrificing rigorous scrutiny.
If all of these have ended up as superior pieces of legislation that will make life better for our people, and the future brighter for our country, it is because you have enriched them with your inputs.
Many of you here are chairmen of House committees and I am thankful to each one of you for championing advocacies that resonate well with the people and for shepherding the bills that have become laws whose benefits they now enjoy.
If we were able to achieve all of these together, it is because ours has always been a partnership of equals. It is an alliance driven by mutual respect, common goals and shared work.
And I can say with certainty and gratitude, that in the congressional division of labor, the NUP has always done its assigned work and carried its allotted burden.
My friends and colleagues: the Aquino administration is sailing straight and on course. President Aquino is determined to root out graft and corruption and hasten economic progress and development.
Our majority coalition in the House, including prominent members of the NUP, are united with him in achieving this goal.
Let us continue to support him and be a party of unity, progress and stability.
Congratulations, thank you and good day.