To Bishop Reuben Abante, my ninong. Maupo po kayo. To our DDGs—DDG Kaloy Quita, DDG Perez and DDG Doy Bringas—ang aking mga partners. Hindi ko sasabihin na mga kuya or tatay baka mahalata ho masyado. Sa aking mga directors, Director Alice, Director Jed and sa punong abala Director Rabin, congratulations, palakpakan niyo naman po sila.  

Congratulations po sa bawat isa sa atin, in starting your career here in ARTA. In such a challenging time and a challenging office through a challenging circumstance. You have decided to join not only an organization of the government but to join ARTA. Lagi ko hong sinasabi na hindi lang tayo gobyerno, ARTA tayo. When we talk about ARTA it is about time, kanina sinabi po ni DDG Nes, na we will be together as one government, streamlining, automating and everything. You talk about one very important commodity that many of us normally take for granted and that is time. Mayaman, mahirap may posisyon, walang posisyon, may direksiyon, may plano o wala each and everyone of us has this very important commodity of time.  

Time is not only gold but time is time. It is important and when it is over, it is over. When we talk about time, which we want to guard and safeguard for the people, we talk about the letter T which could actually represent the word TODAY. Sa bawat isa po satin tandaan po natin and tanging oras lang na mayroon tayo ay ang ngayon. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift, kaya nga sinabi nila it is called the present. Kung ano ang ginagawa natin ngayon ay ang magtutukoy sa atin kung ano tayo bukas. Hindi na mahalalaga ang kahapon dahil wala na tayong magagawa. Pero kung paano natin aayusin ang ngayon yun ho ang magdadala sa atin kung saan tayo bukas. Wag nyong pansinin ang pangungutya. Wag niyong pansinin ang kritisismo. Wag niyong pansinin ang mga pagkakamali niyo lamang kahapon dahil wala na ‘yun. Wag mong pansinin ang pananakot bukas dahil wala yan. Pero kung ano mayroon tayo ngayon, posisyon mo, oras mo, lakas mo, kabataan mo, talino mo. We have it today. We use it with all our might. One big mistake that many young people does is we often too calculate the trajectory of our careers, only to find out that tomorrow never come. What we need to do is to spend all that we have, all the strength that we have, all the aspirations, the ideologies, do it now! Wag mong ipagpabukas ang pwede mong gawin ngayon. Madali hong sabihin, madali hong baliwalain yan if we are the one’s who are being weighted upon, but if you are in the receiving end of this people who doesn’t care about your time, it kills you. And I would implore and ask each and every one of us, let us be compassionate! Let us act with urgency dahil ang mga tao namamatay sa labas and we can do something about it. I know we only have one chance. One chance to do it! Gawin niyo lahat. ‘Wag kayong matatakot. ‘Wag kayong mag-alala kung ano ang sasabihin nila dahil pag dating ho ng panahon titingnan niyo ang ngayon at sasabihin ninyo, “I never pulled back my punches, I gave everything that I can because I do not know if tomorrow will come.” 

The next thing I would want you to know about time is the letter “I”. Time is irreversible. Pag dumaan na yan, dumaan na yan! Wag mong sabihin na oh, gawin mo to ha, titingnan natin, susubukan natin. Pero once na nagawa mo na, once damage has been done, it has been done. It’s like words, once you have released those words, you cannot take it back. You cannot undo the damage. But once time has left you, it’s there! Kayo ho grabe ang problema ng red tape. Kasi hindi ho natin nakikita “o nakuha mo naman ang permit mo eh, nakuha mo naman diba? eh ano pa ang problema mo?” Ang problema ko e inubos mo oras ko. Ang problema ko hindi ko na maibabalik ang panahon na nawala. Time is irreversible and once it has gone by, you cannot put it back. Tandaan ho natin ‘yan. Ang oras na ito mamaya tapos na ang 12:10 na oras ngayon ay di na maibabalik kaya gamitin natin. Itong sinasabi ko hindi mo na maibabalik. Mare-record ninyo but once it’s there, it’s there. Mahalin natin ang mga pamilya natin. Paglinkuran natin ang ating bayan.  

When you talk about time you know kung tayo ay eternal beings if you believe that time is portion of eternity that is separated for a specific purpose. Binigyan ka lang ng kapirasong oras, kapag ikaw ay namatay (1981- 2000 something) mayroon hong dash doon, ‘yun lang ang oras mo. And you must spend it well and understand “bakit ko ginagawa ‘to? ‘Yung mga bagay na ‘to?” Bakit ka pumasok sa gobyerno? kasi mas mataas ang sahod? Kasi sa private sector maliit ang sahod, ngayon mas malaki na. That is the poor way of living your life because if you chase something after something other than just you know trying to get by, to accumulate wealth, hindi para sa inyo ang government service. Pero kung gusto mo mag add ng meaning at value sa mga tao nasa tamang lugar ka. Bakit ka naririto? Pag-isipan niyo ‘yan kasi pag lumipas po yan, mission accomplished ka na! It’s quite sorely for me to be inducting and leading the oath taking of the people who actually would outlive my term here in ARTA. I am thinking, hindi natin alam eh, so who knows? So kayo ho ang magpapatuloy, di ba? Kaya wag ho ang attitude natin na, “Yaan na sila DDG tutal mawawala naman yang mga yan. Tayo mananatili tayo dito.” Pwede ninyo gawin ‘yun pero wala ka na pinagkaiba sa mga tao sa labas. And that would be the day that you would tell yourself bakit nga ba ako nasa ARTA? Find your meaning 

And lastly when we talk about time, we put everything in the deeper scope of eternal perspective. Pagkatapos nito what does all these matter? Ano ang may greater impact sa darating na mga henerasyon. You know, maybe 20 years ago when I was soul searching, tinitinganan ko kung ano pa ang gagawin ko sa buhay ko. Tutoloy ba ako sa pagmemedisina ko, kung ako po ay magmiministro bilang isang pastor, ako po ba ay maglo-law school? And it was led to a verse named after me. The Book of Jeremiah says I appointed you to be the prophet of the nations to build, to pull down and to destroy and to build and to plant. Sabi ko grabe yung panawagan dun sa tao na yun. And I realize now looking back perhaps God has a plan for my life now. We are plucking down systems. We are pulling down strong holds—systemic problems that have been there. And we are trying to put systems to somehow at least magawa natin yung pwede natin magawa so that other people could build on it. So that you could carry on kung ano ang gingawa natin dito and somehow pagtapos na ang oras mo dito you would look back and sabihin mo sana ginawa ko yung enough para may nagbago sa bayan ko.  

And my challenge for each and everyone of us is to think like a grandfather, or a great great grandfather. Paano mo iisipin one hundred years from now, titingnan mo yung iyong mga anak ano ang sasabihin nila tungkol sa akin. Now some of you might not care much of what I am saying but if there would only be one, two or three, who would be willing to seek and to go with the same spirit with the same intensity that we are now trying to have, I’ve done my job! Kasi sa totoo, kayo ang magpapatuloy dito. Let it sink in! Kayo ang ARTA! Kami  ay political appointees kami. Kayo ang nandiyan. Ano ang gagawin ninyo pagwala na kami? Sunod kayo doon sa bagong leaders.  

I would just want to end with this one: unless the Lord build the house sabi the builders, or unless the Lord watches over the city, we are the watchers of the city. Ang sabi natin, mali ka ayusin mo yan.  Ilabas mo yang permit. Wag mo akong bigyan ng dahilan. Di ba ganyan tayo eh. Si DG makikita mo, bumabanat ako doon dahil inisip mo yung mga naipit eh. Hindi ko naman iniisip e na si ARTA dapat diyan. Hindi, kasi dapat iniisip mo hindi nila kilala ang ARTA, or hindi nila alam ang ginagawa natin, sino makikinig satin? At sasabihin nila sino yan? Pero pag alam nila kung ano tayo, or kung ano ginagawa natin, pumapasok palang tayo sa pintuan inaayos na nila. Kita ninyo? Because everything there is a purpose, so we are the watchers. Tinitinggan natin dapat maayos at dapat efficient yan. I-streamline mo yan. Wag kang manghihingi ng pera. Kung gusto mo yumaman, magnegosyo ka, tulungan ka namin. If you really want to do things better, we will help you. If you want to do harm to the people by making them, go through this useless bureaucracy then you have a problem with us. That is how we do things right now. Maybe you have a different approach but that is who we are. Now my question is if we are the watchers, who will watch the watchers? Kung ikaw yung pulis, sino mag pupulis sa pulis? We need to have an eternal compass in our hearts, in our mind, and incorruptibility in your hearts and your minds that encompasses civil service rules that goes beyond the requirements of the law. You need to have an unshakable spirit that would refuse and would say no when all your colleagues would say, “hindi pwede yan naku pabayaan mo na ‘yan.” Where people would tell you na “naku hayaan mo na ‘yan diyan. You have to push on. You have to push through because one day when everything is done you would simply say, I did my part, I never held back my punches. And I want you to understand na maari ang iyong posisyon ay sa tingin mo maliit, malaki, pero tandaan mo, ARTA ka. Dapat alam mo ‘yan, dapat kaya mong magsumbong, kaya mong manita kung kinakailangan at nakikinig ka sa tao. Wag kang pabaya sa trabaho mo. Hindi po tayo ideal, yung opisina po natin kulang pa gamit natin pero make do of what you have. Do not give excuses. I will not take it. Do not give excuses to yourself because time is a commodity that each one of us were being given as a given.  Today is irreversible. Give meaning to it. Look at it in generations to come with eternal perspective and the watchers are being watched by the biggest watcher of all, and at the end of the day we will give our audit report sa Kanya. And when all of these are over you would say, thank you Lord you have given me the opportunity to be in government and to be of value to my generation.  

Maraming Salamat and Congratulations!

18 MAY 2021