“We have to fight for the changes we want to implement because in them lies the future of our children,” Bacolod Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia said during the 120 th Independence Day celebration at the Bacolod City Public Plaza yesterday.
“We must keep on changing for the better and eventually for the best. In fact, we do not stop changing for the best even if we have been declared as the ‘2017 Top Model City of the Philippines.’ The award, instead, has served as an impetus for us to do more, to excel in all fields of governance for our people,” Leonardia said.
“We are also into giving higher budget in education because we all believe that a strong and stable future for a country depends on that country’s investment in education,” he said.
Leonardia said this year’s celebration expounds on the theme “Ipinaglalabang Pagbabago - Alay sa Kinabukasan. Literally, in English it means “The change we fight for is our gift to the future.”
This is exactly what President Rodrigo Duterte aims at when, upon assumption to office, he right away implemented his campaign promise to change many of our ways of governance by correcting the wrong and eliminating those who are not needed or those that have become a menace to the rights of our people to live freely and peacefully, he said.
Leonardia said President Duterte’s war on drugs today is towards a drug-free society for our young tomorrow. Undaunted, he continues the fight and with high hopes, so let us look forward to a society where substance abuse, if not totally abolished, is reduced to the least, he said.
Corruption in government is one battle for change the president is also undertaking. Right now one can see how he dismisses government officials proven or still under investigation for graft, even if they are his appointees, supporter, or friends, Leonardia said.
“Our tandem with Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya establishes a “first’ in the political history of Bacolod where the mayor is in alliance with the congressman. With the valuable support and cooperation of Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and the majority of the Sangguniang Panlungsod members, things have changed for the better,” he said.
Mary Abigail Francisco, acting Government Service Insurance System vice president for Corporate Affairs, delivered the Independence Day message of GSIS president and CEO Jesus Clint Aranas who was not able to come due to prior commitments.
“History reminds us that the freedoms we enjoy today were purchased by those who were willing to pay the highest price that anyone has ever had to pay….the greatest tribute we can offer them is to dedicate ourselves to ensuring that the freedom they gave their lives to protect will be exercised to obtain – each and everyday – a life of dignity for our fellow Filipinos,” the message added.
Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya said free education for all levels will help address poverty in the country.
He said he was one of the authors of the Universal Access to Free Tertiary Education bill that was signed by Duterte last year. This year is the first year of its implementation where all state universities and colleges (SUC) will have free tuition and miscellaneous fees.
Gasataya said the Duterte administration is providing P1 billion for the construction of school buildings in Bacolod. “This shows that he believes that providing free education is the surest way for us to cut our bondage from poverty,” he said.
Councilor Ricardo Tan said he greets the Filipino people in celebration of the Philippine Independence. “Let the fires of our heroes always serve as an inspiration,” he said.
“We should always remember our national heroes who have fought for not only our independence but our dignity as a people, he said.
War veterans were honored during the 120 th Independence Day celebration with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, followed by a 21-gun salute at the Bacolod Plaza.*CGS
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