Monday, October 20, 2014

Drilon urges: Renewed zeal for public service on Senate’s 98th Anniversary

MANILA-In celebrating the Senate’s 98th Anniversary, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today recalled the challenges that gripped the upper chamber throughout the previous year, and urged Senate employees to do their best in helping the institution regain public trust and credibility.

Drilon spoke before Senate employees in a ceremony held at the Senate on Monday morning, as part of the month-long celebration of the Senate of its 98th year of existence. The first iteration of the Philippine Senate was convened under the Philippine Legislature in 1916, during the American occupation.

In his address, Drilon recognized that the current senators of the 16th Congress were hit by “one of the fiercest political storms in recent history.”

“The First Regular Session of the 16th Congress was personally, the most difficult period of my public career. We were badly bruised from the constant public beatings because of the PDAF scandal,” Drilon said.  

“Our institution did not break or implode as some cynics predicted. It emerged from the crisis with a stronger resolve to give the best service possible to the nation and the Filipino people. We seized and turned it into an opportunity for introspection and reforms that would lead us to a higher level of public service,” he proudly told Senate employees.  

Drilon however assured Senate workers that the public is beginning to acknowledge the Senate’s efforts, noting the most recent SWS survey where the upper chamber has the greatest overall performance rating improvement – 18 points – higher than all of the other government institutions covered by the survey.

“We need to grab this opportunity and show to our people that indeed, the Senate is worthy of their trust,” the Senate leader then said.   

 He stressed the Senate’s vow to guard and perform its constitutional mandate and powers with renewed zeal in its 98th anniversary: “The Senate has shown and will continue to show to our people that their Senate listens and responds to their pressing concerns and constantly feels their pulse.”  

For the employees of the Senate, Drilon said that the institution “expects nothing from you but hard work, unwavering dedication and relentless pursuit of excellence.”

Harkening back to the Senate’s illustrious history, Drilon underscored that now is a good time for everyone to “reflect on the importance of this institution of democracy, as well as the legacy of former legislators and national leaders who taught us priceless lessons in public policy making and nation building.”

From its roots in the American period to its current iteration established under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the Senate has been composed of the some of the most celebrated figures in Philippine history, including ten of the nation’s fifteen presidents, along with other noted statesmen and leaders of Philippine political thought, such as Benigno S. Aquino Sr., Claro M. Recto, and Jose W. Diokno.  

“I encourage you to honor the sterling qualities, monumental work, courage and integrity of the men and women who have once walked through the Senate’s august halls. They have always inspired us to put forth effective, coherent, relevant and timely laws,” Drilon said.

In the same ceremony, Drilon also took the time to thank Senate workers who were noted for their outstanding performance, and for their long years of service in the legislative branch.  

Quoting the late South African democracy idol Nelson Mandela, Drilon told the exemplary Senate employees that, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference that we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the live that we lead.”

"I encourage you all to remain tireless in rendering excellent service, the kind of service the Senate is known for throughout the years,” he then concluded.

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