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State of the Nation Address of His Excellency Raphael Anthony DL. Torres President of the Philippines To the Congress of the Philippines (Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City, on January 12, 2013) Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Speaker of the House Feliciano Belmonte,Vice President Jejomar Binay, Justices of the Supreme Court, distinguished members of the diplomatic corps, honorable members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate, our leaders in the local government, members of our Cabinet, officers of the military and polic, my fellow public servants, and of course, to all the Filipinos now watching here and all over the world, a good day to all! We all know all the hardships that our country faced during the past year. Earthquakes, fires, landslides, deadly typhoons like Pablo and even deadlier rains such as Habagat. But despite all of this, the Philippines, is still a nation to be reckoned with. Ranking 17 th in the world as the most giving, we the Filipino people truly are one of the most selfless and loving people in the world, which only shows that even if we get hit by all these calamities several times and even do it all over again, we can still manage to stand up, help others and smile. That's why this year, we are ready to face whatever calamity may struck us, be it natural or man-made. This new year is not just a new start for all of us. It is also a reminder, not to look back in the past, the problems put on our shoulders by the past, and forget it and just instead, focus on the present and look forward to the future. If we are ready to face the natural and man-made calamities this year, then we are ready to face the face of the brand new Philippines! First, natural calamities are acts of God, to which we can do nothing about. But what we can do is be prepared, especially now that we are experiencing the adverse effects of climate change.That's why, this year the national budget has increased its allocation to disaster preparedness and risk reduction programs, for the release of calamity funds, relief goods, disaster kits, weather instruments, and educational materials. Also, due to rising sea levels, Metro Manila and other low-lying areas all over the country experience flood, but thanks to the new infrastructure projects in partnership with Japan, dams and floodways are now underway. Other big infrastructure projects include the extension of LRT 1 from Tarlac to Batangas and the extension of the Philippine National Railway from Ilocos Norte down to Sorsogon. Railways and transit lines are also being developed in the metro cities of Visayas and Mindanao. Cleanup of rivers and esteros that lead to the sea are now also being closely monitored and the implementation of the regulated plastic ban is now underway. Forests and national parks are now also being rebuilt and reforested and all these mining activities are now put to a stop. Thanks to DepEd, CHEd, DENR, MMDA, NDRRMC, DPWH, LGUs, DOH, DSWD, The Philippine Red Cross, NGOs and the media, we are now not just equipped materially and physically, but most importantly, mentally and emotionally in facing these natural and man-made calamities. But what is more harmful to man than his own. That's why this year, we will not just be ready for natural calamitites, but more importantly, man-made calamities. One man-made calamity we will try to face this year is the perennial problem of firecrackers and stray bullets. Just as the first days of the new year rolled in, victims of firecrackers and stray bullets were also rolled in into hospitals. Not to count out the efforts of the Department of Health under Secretary Enrique Ona and Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag who managed to minimize the number of victims last year, this year, we will be aiming for a national policy on partial if not total, firecracker and gun ban. Just like in Davao City, if they can, the whole Philippines can! What a way to...
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