Opening Message for Araw ng Siquijor

Maayong adlaw sa inyong tanan, labina sa atong mga opisyales sa Probinsya sa Siquijor sina Governor Jecoy Villa, Vice-Governor Mimi Quezon, mga Board Members og sa mga opisyales sa unom nga munisipyo sa Siquijor. Mangayo lang kog pasaylo kay wala ko nitunga sa pinakaimportante nga adlaw sa atong probinsya. Hinaot sa sunod nga selebrasyon, mutunga ko kay lami kaayo ang humba nato.

While I may not be able to be with you in person, it is still an honor to give the opening message for the celebration of Siquijor Day. I was told that the theme is “Ang Pagbag-o Alang sa Kalamboan” or Change for the sake of progress. Indeed change is upon us. We have a new President, many newly elected officials in both national and local government. As a neophyte lawmaker, I feel this sense of change and hope. I also hope that this feeling of change is shared by all Siquijodnons.

However, I feel that change for the sake of change or progress for the sake of progress is missing. Without the important value of people’s empowerment and citizen’s engagement, any change and progress will not be for the betterment of Siquijor. So, yes we should have change not just for the sake of progress but also for the improvement of the lives of all Siquijodnons.

Our province is a small province sandwiched between the bigger provinces of Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental. Our population is small and the development and opportunities few compared to theirs. However, we possess that I think bigger provinces often lose: the value of bayanihan or teamwork. As elected leaders, we take our marching orders from the people of Siquijor. The people must always serve as our inspiration and as our strongest resource. Siquijor can grow and prosper only if we work together as a community and ensure no one is left behind.

It is my hope that our community work hand in hand with our local leaders to chart a better future for Siquijor. The elections are over. It is time to roll our sleeves and work. I am confident that with the leadership of our governor, vice governor, our board members and all our mayors, vice mayors, councillors and barangay officials, even those who were on the other side of the political fence, we bring genuine progress for Siquijor. When it comes to Siquijor, there should be no partisan divide. Siquijor is our party.

That is the change that we strive to achieve every single day: to have provincial and local government work hand in hand with our people. Of course, that cannot be achieved overnight. Trust in government is hard to build but it is built with openness and citizen’s engagement.

I hope you have a successful Siquijor Day celebration. Once again, thank you to our government officials and thank you to the people of Siquijor.

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