TANAUAN, Batangas City: President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday led the celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Apolinario Mabini but he ended up talking about the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
“Mabini embodies the intelligence of the Filipino people, an intelligence that he poured into forging the very principles and systems that shaped the being of this free nation,” Aquino said in his speech at the Apolinario Mabini Shrine in this city.
The President added that Mabini highlighted the importance of following a mandate as the foundation of governance, noting that the strength of the state emanates from the people.
He said Mabini spearheaded the conduct of the first local election in the country in August 1898 and led the formation of the country’s first legislature in Malolos, Bulacan, in 1898. This body elected Emilio Aguinaldo as president in January 1899 to replace the revolutionary government that declared Philippine independence in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898.
Mabini also instilled the concept of public service in the people’s consciousness, the President said.
“He believed: If power comes from the people, then it is only just that this power be used to uphold their interest and welfare,” he added.
Aquino said Mabini believed that public institutions were formed to serve the interests of the people, and as such, the government must not hold back in providing services to citizens.
“Before the Malolos Congress, Mabini made clear the need for the executive branch to act in a swift, responsive and sometimes bold manner, precisely because it is tasked with responding to the needs of the people in the soonest possible time,” he added.
Pointing out that Mabini had once called on the legislators to work with the executive branch of the government in fulfilling its mandate to the people, the President said that Mabini’s concept on governance is relevant to modern times, such as in the implementation of the DAP.
While the disbursement program was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the President said the people benefited from the program in many ways.
“As Mabini said, whatever power a leader possesses, he must always bear in mind that the people’s welfare is his paramount concern,” Aquino added.
“We are bound by one fate, by the same joys and sorrows, and by common aspirations and interests,” he said.