When I accepted the banner of our party in this election, i also accepted wholeheartedly- without res-ervation- the political reform program for which we stand.
We started out from many parties, many groups, many persuasions. But a common dream-a common hope, a shared vision- has brought us together. One from many, we are a single constituency of conscience.
For much too long have the traditional politicians had their will of us. For much too long have they ruled us – in their own interest, but not in ours. It is time we empowered our people to speak out- and to act- in their own behalf.
The alternative to political patronage
This is the alternative we offer to the politics of patronage: A new politics: A different politics- founded on the principle that our country can attain social stability and economic development only after ordinary Filipinos have taken control of every aspect of their lives- their livelihood, their politics and their culture.
Our adversaries ridicule us as amateurs and do-gooders. Yes, we are amateur politicians. We are in politics to raise its standards- not to make our fortunes in it. And we glory in being called dogooders- by do-nothings.
But that fault is ours: Long before today, we should all have realized that politics is too serious a business to leave to the professional politicians.
We can no longer still our civic consciences- we can no longer cultivate our gardens- in utter disregard of a country in turmoil. We cannot continue being spectators to the meaningless alternation of political power in our political system. No matter what the odds, we must take part in our country’s civic life. If things are to be set right, it can only be through our own engagement in politics.
At EDSA in February 1986 we had a historic chance to make a new beginning. That chance- when ordinary Filipi-nos took their destiny in their hands- has all but vanished.
Over the last six years we have seen our politics relapse into the traditional quarrels for factional supremacy and personal gain. Now, on the eve of a Presidential election, we Fili-pinos stand at a fork in the road.
We can carry on yesterday’s agenda and yesterday’s failure. Or we can start out fresh- renewed in purpose-to build a better tomorrow.
We have made manifest our choice. And it is to accept that we will realize our dreams and win our hopes only if we ourselves pursue them.
Our crusade: a set of challenges
At EDSA six years ago we stood together to reclaim our civil liberties. Once again, we stand together- in a crusade to make politics serve the nation; and oue economy to satisfy the needs of the many, before it caters to the greed of the few.
Our crusade is not a set of promises. It is rather a set of challenges. It sums up not just what we hope to offer oue people. It embodies what we intend to ask of them. Our crusade calls to Filipi-nos pride, to Filipino purpose, to Filipino love of country.
To those who would join us, we can hold out only the promise of effort instead ease. We shall gather under our ?ag all those of our countrymen wholove this country- and who despair for it.
We offer our hands to those who hope next May’s elections will mean something more than just another victory for same old faces- and the same grasping hands.
We seek solidarity with all those who believe these elections should mean the vic-torynot of families, factions or parties, but of our nation.
Until we empower our naty-ion to heal itself, it is empty rhetoric to talk of peace prosperity and progress. These can be won only by leaders who can truly lead, by citizens who truly care, and by policies and programs that truly work.
This is the message we shall carry throughout this archipelago.
We offer government that works- a Presidency that will brook neither corruption nor incompetence in of?ce – and an Administration that will compel all its instruments to serve the public purpose.
A movement for authentic change
The government that governs least may be the ideal in the mature democracies. Under our harsh circumstances, the state must be interventionist and strong-minded- but without monopolizing social and political power and while allowing the freedom of autonomous groups in society. And we insist that the State intervene only on the side of equality- to level the playing ?eld of individual enterprise; to smooth the ragged adges of unrestrained capitalism; to prevent exploitation of the weak; and to bridge the gap between rich and poor. we offer a movement for authentic transformation of national society- a movement daring enough to do what must be done to break the poverty and underdevelopment that holds us down. Our highest priority shall be to raise the material conditions of life of the masses of our people so that the poorest of our poor can live in human dignity. To this effort I shall commit all my energies and all my heart. i ask the same of you.
By Fidel V. Ramos