Thursday, November 27, 2008

45 Banasi Farmers March to Malacanang to Preserve their Rights to the Land

45 Farmers from the former 124 hectare-Fajardo Estate in Sitio Banasi, Pawili, Bula, Camarines Sur are marching to Malacanang to ask the President to reverse the decision of Executive Secretary Ermita to exempt the land from CARP coverage and order the cancellation of the title awarded to the farmers on the ground that the property is a pasture land. (More than 100 hectares were actually planted to sugarcane, rice, and corn when the field investigation was conducted by DAR and Land Bank. )

DAR awarded the title on March 1998, after more than five years of documentation and processing which started in 1993. The delay was caused by the landowners' resistance. Even when the farmers already had the title, it still took another three months before they could take physical possession of the land and cultivate it. The landowners posted armed security guards at the gate to prevent the farmers and DAR from entering the property. DAR had to seek the assistance of the PNP Provincial Command to be able to install the farmers, which was unsuccessful on the first attempt, but successful on the second attempt.

After installation, the landowners did not stop from their efforts to retain the property. Several cases were filed against the farmers and DAR officials. (I was the provincial agrarian reform officer then, and the landowners filed cases against me before the Ombudsman, Civil Service, DAR and Office of the President, and the Regional Trial Court). The administrative case took five years to resolve (1998-2003, and I was initially found guilty and dismissed from service - but I wasn't connected with the government by then, since I resigned in 2000. My motion for reconsideration was, however, granted.) The civil case took 7 years to resolve (1998-2005). I won the case with finality when the Court of Appeals dismissed the landowners' appeal. The Ombudsman and Civil Service cases were dismissed for lack of merit. Ejectment case was filed against the farmers.

But the worst development came last April when the Office of the President ruled in favor of the landowners in their petition for exemption. That's ten years from the time the land was awarded to the farmers. The affected farmers were not even impleaded in the case which was filed only against the DAR. Thus, they did not even have the chance to defend their position. It would be a grave injustice to the farmers if they would be driven out of the land already awarded to them.

We hope that just like in the case of the Sumilao farmers of Bukidnon, this will have a positive resolution.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008


For more accurate documentation, we should include the following names in the list of DPS Class 67 members, just as we have included others who did not actually graduate in DPS in 1967. They are:

A. (?) Azucena
Virginia Lamadrid (full-fledged DPS Class 67 member)
Nene Pabico
Susan Po

Other names appearing in these pictures are already included in the Roster but you may have forgotten their faces (just as I did), so I identified them here. The "D" in one of the names is Domingo Vedad or is it Vidad?


There are other names in the Roster whom I really do not recognize. Maybe they were your classmates in elementary. Among them are:

Dionisio Edora
Roberto Reyes (He's not the running priest I suppose)
Rolando Ruivivar
Marvin Serra
Rene Zantua

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bert's Day Celebration at the Red Crabs in Makati

Bert treated us to a hearty lunch yesterday, November 15 at the Red Crabs at the second level of Greenbelt 3 in Makati. Present were the celebrant's lovely wife, Marie, slightly thinner than usual (Bert fetched her from the US because instead of having a grand vacation, she seemed to be so stressed there, she got sick, o baka talagang di matagalang malayo sa kanyang mahal. Sweet!)

A pleasant surprise was the presence of the future Entrepreneur of the Year Awardee, ang lulubog-lilitaw, Fely Jacobs (watch out for his coconut sugar, “spicy” coco jam with pili, Fely's VCO, and pili nut candies). Also there were Baby B.T., Alot, and me.

Missed were Ate Marynat (who had a speaking engagement, naks! and teaching sked), Ebo (who's brother was also celebrating his birthday and they went out-of-town), Tess who was in Malolos, Lina (who later texted Alot that she thought the meeting was at 4 pm, oh well, nothing new!), Ed (who must be very busy he did not reply to Bert's and my text messages about the get-together), Rudy and Ineng who are abroad, and Rori who has lately been silent. We do hope Rori will soon be re-connected.

We really enjoyed the food and drinks (dyahe ako, mukhang naparami iyong San Mig) and each others’ company. We therefore, planned to hold a follow-up to this, a post Christmas celebration (between Christmas and New Year) of the Manila group and those who can make it from Daet. How about it, Maning? This time, we will not hold it in a restaurant but in some private place (how about Rudy and Ineng’s farm?) and we’ll be bringing our own specialties. It will be a pot luck galore with Alot’s laing (and kakanin?), Fely Jacob’s ginataang tilapia wrapped in Prospero’s pechay, Toti’s bicol express, Bert and Marie’s pata tim, Baby’s adobo (specially cooked by her maid). Wonder what Tess, Ate Marynat, Lina, Ed, Rori, Ebo, and Rudy and Ineng’s specialties are. Wow! Hope this will become a reality. It sure would be a fun event.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Financial Crisis and What 2009 Would Bring

By Aurelio Montinola III, BPI President

This is another article on the financial crisis shared to us by Ed.

The following was forwarded to me, and I assume that it is genuine. It may
be useful to readers in terms of planning their family and personal
finances for the coming year. Montinola expects two major difficulties:
first, as Chinese exports to America are affected, Philippine exports,
mainly oriented towards China, will be affected; second, layoffs of
Filipinos overseas will start having an impact on remittances and

Fellow Unibankers,

Attached please find a piece that I was supposed to write for an outside
publication - unfortunately, I cannot submit it as the ending is
perpetually changing.

What I thought to be a gathering storm to hit in the first quarter of 2009
has hit our beaches yesterday - the Philippine Stock Exchange had its
highest (12. 27 %) drop in history a single day, and the Peso Dollar
exchange rate is creeping back from around P 41: $ 1 to almost P 50 : $1.
Like other markets in the region, the PSEI has dropped 50% ytd, and people
are getting nervous.

It has now become a Fundamentals versus Emotion issue - Philippine economic
fundamentals relative to the world and even Asia are good, and the banking
system is stable, but Bloomberg 24×7 Television, local media reports, and
cocktail party talk make people fear the worst, and then expect the worst.

We know however from experience that Filipinos are resilient and have
survived the economic crises of the foreign debt moratorium in the 1980s
and the Asian Crisis in the 1990s.

BPI remains well capitalized, strong, and prudent - and both our customers
and the market analysts appreciate this. 2008 will show lower earnings than
our banner year in 2007, and we must now worry about what 2009 will bring.

As in the past, this negative cycle will eventually pass, but in the
meantime, we will have to prepare for the typhoon.

Let us all work together to take care of our customers, and in the process,
keep BPI strong and our employees safe and secure in their jobs.

All the best,
Gigi Montinola


On Sept 15 2008, the unthinkable happened. Lehman Brothers, a Triple A
credit rated, 4th largest, and 158 year old US investment bank, filed for
bankruptcy. Merrill Lynch was rescued and sold to Bank of America, and one
day later, AIG, the world's largest insurer, announced its effective
nationalization. This set off a chain of notorious "firsts" - a $ 700
billion bailout of the US banking system that almost did not pass, a
country (Iceland) almost going bankrupt, and the largest UK banks in

By the IMF meeting on Oct 13, two additional unthinkables were unfolding.
Global stock markets had fallen 20% in a week, the entire global banking
system had almost collapsed, and it took the collective resolve of 27
European governments and the US to institute forceful emergency
circuitbreaker measures to temporarily calm the world and prevent a
catastrophic breakdown of financial markets worldwide. However, in the most
free market oriented countries of the developed world, the US and the UK
had effectively partially nationalized the largest banks without a public

How did this happen, and what is the effect on the Philippines, and the
Pinoy citizen?

Act 1 - 2007 Housing Collapse

Home ownership ($ 20 trillion) and equities ownership ($ 20 trillion) are
central to the American middle class dream of becoming wealthy. Borrowing
money is equally ingrained - the US household debt today is larger than
what the US can produce through its GDP (Gross Domestic Product). America
became the world's largest consumer of cheap imported goods, and China
became the world's largest producer.

Through a confluence of events, a deadly cocktail was being concocted.

First was increased home ownership demand in a boom time. Next was easy
credit (1% US Fed Funds rate), and commercial banks relaxing credit
standards (zero down payment) to lend to subprime borrowers (with minimal
income) due to the belief that home prices would forever rise and therefore
this would protect the loan from default. Third were investment banks
securitizing or packaging a pool of these loans ("mortgage backed
securities" ) backed up by credit agencies rating the top slices as Triple
A credits. Finally, there were commercial banks and hedge funds with
sophisticated risk models who greedily bought into these instruments as a
means of increasing the yields on their books.

Initially, home prices soared 20% as the bubble grew with triple leverage
(housing loan, investment bank securitization, and hedge funds buying).
What was not apparent was that due to lax US regulations, investment banks
had leverage (debt to equity ) ratios of 35 to 1, and unregulated Hedge
funds had a 30:1 debt to equity ratio. Going up (2002 to 2007), everyone
made money.

Suddenly, in 2007, some subprime borrowers defaulted, homes were
foreclosed, and home prices fell. Countryside Financial, a US institution,
almost failed, while Northern Rock, a UK institution, failed due to bad
loans and falling house prices. The housing bubble had burst, and attention
shifted to major commercial and investment banks with exposure to the
housing sector.

Act 2 - 2008 Financial Markets Meltdown

First to go were the investment banks and AIG.

By regulatory fiat after the Great Depression, investment banks were
separated from commercial banks. By anti regulatory bias in the past
decade, Alan Greenspan, the US free market "maestro" of financial policy,
and the Federal Reserve Bank took away a 12:1 debt to equity regulatory
ceiling, and allowed investment banks to use "sophisticated" risk models to
justify 35:1 debt to equity levels and help sell billions of dollars of
CDOs ("collateralized debt obligations" ) that eventually peaked at $ 55
trillion, which is the size of the world's GDP! Worse, AIG sold $ 400
billion CDSs ("Credit Default Swaps") insuring against the default of
housing related securities.

The result should have been obvious. Normal leverage is 2:1 for a
manufacturing company, 3:1 for a trading company, and 12:1 for a commercial
bank. At 35:1, an investment bank happily made a 35% return on its capital
if its position income only rose 1%; however, if the position dropped 10%,
it would lose 350% of its position, and severely erode its capital.

Banks operate on liquidity (free flow of funds), solvency (amount of
capital to pay for obligations) , and Trust (market confidence in normally
operating institutions) .

Once the market saw the falling home prices deteriorating into potentially
illiquid asset prices, counterparties started holding back and stopped
dealing with suspect investment banks. Bear Stearns was rescued by JP
Morgan at fire sale prices. Lehman had $ 19 billion in cash the day it went
bankrupt; not enough counterparties could be found to deal with them.
Merill Lynch was rescued by Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley by
Mitsubishi UFJ. Even the proud and mighty Goldman Sachs announced it would
become a commercial bank with lower leverage.

Next to go were the global stock markets, which acted more in unison even
if the events were initially US based., In the Great Depression, 90% of the
stock market value was lost from 1929 - 1932. Today, $ 9 trillion and 40%
has been lost since the 2007 peak, and RBS, the largest UK bank, lost 40%
in a day! Bloomberg became the most watched 24×7 television show in the
world, and fear and panic begun to spread. Most felt "poorer".

Third to go were the commercial banks.

Regulators, analysts, and banks themselves started becoming suspicious that
other commercial banks held more "toxic" (illiquid or low priced) assets
that they admitted, and that potential solvency issues lurked if asset
positions in a suspect bank wiped out capital. Recent "Fair Value "
accounting practices amplified reporting earnings volatility, as once any
item (housing prices) dropped, the industry was compelled to "Mark to
Market" these items to the new low level. If Lehman could go, so could a
commercial bank.

Since 2007, banks have reported $ 633 billion in losses, but have raised
only $ 418 billion in new capital. If things got worse, who would they
raise additional capital from?

In simple terms, Trust, as expressed in interbank (banks lending to each
other) lending availability and price, is the Oxygen of the financial
system. When it slows to a crawl, the whole system is prone to massive
cardiac arrest. Most businesses and consumers operate on a certain assumed
debt level, and once this breaks down, prices rise astronomically if
funding disappears.

Suddenly, from easily accessible global financial markets fuelled by cheap
and available money worldwide, an "Ice Age" of banking started. Banks with
high loan to deposit ratios requiring them to borrow from the previously
free capital markets were hit badly. Neither a US $ 700 billion troubled
asset purchase program ("TARP"), or piecemeal European home country deposit
guarantees initially helped.

Washington Mutual was bought by JP Morgan, and Wachovia by Wells Fargo in
the US. The European solution was government based, as the UK, Dutch, and
French governments offered massive government capital to save and
strengthen household names like RBS and ING.

Effectively, 27 European governments voted together for 3 measures -
partially nationalizing large "significant" banks, partially guaranteeing
retail deposits, and guaranteeing interbank lending. The US followed by
offering funding and partial nationalization to 9 banks, and direct lending
to US corporations through the commercial paper market. The IMF put a brave
front announcing the measures, but many wondered why the IMF was not more
active in the process.

Act 3 - 2008 Countries in Crisis

Even countries started running into trouble - as of press date, Korea,
Pakistan, and Argentina were in various forms of funding problems, and the
latter two were rumored to have to go to the IMF. Iceland became the first
Western country in 40 years to seek IMF help.

Act 4 - 2009 Real Economy Recession

Clearly, the next wave would be a real economy US and European recession,
which would then overflow to the emerging market countries.

In the US, massive deleveraging has started, and unemployment has risen.
The consumer spends 75% of a $ 14 trillion economy, and financial sector
debt is 115 % of the GDP. Working capital bank lines are cut, while people
strive to pay back credit card debt. Businesses are closing, and consumer
related industries will suffer the most.

In Europe, the housing collapse in Spain and Ireland has spread to the
financial services layoffs in the UK to overall demand cut everywhere.

A year ago, Asia hoped to "decouple" from the US; today , this is fantasy.
Once the world's largest buyer (the US) stopped buying, the world's largest
producer (China) would have growth cutbacks, with corresponding effects on
the rest of Asia. GDP in the US and Europe could fall to zero or negative,
but in Asia it would be lower growth, but still positive.

The Philippines - A Gathering Storm

Fortunately, the Philippines is small, far away, and of less marketing
interest to sophisticated financiers. Also, its banking and insurance
industries are more heavily regulated. In addition, the painful 1997 Asian
crisis has left Filipino businessmen and bankers more cautious and more
resilient than their Western (former) idols.

Given this, the Philippines dodged the Housing Subprime bullet, and was
only minimally affected by the US investment bank and UK commercial bank

Philippine local currency banking operates normally, as Sept yoy lending
growth remains close to 20%, while the deposit market remains fairly

We will go through dollar funding strain just like all other emerging
market countries, but hopefully this storm will pass.

Banking is all about Growth and Earnings in good years, and about
Liquidity, Solvency, and Trust in bad years. While growth and earnings will
be significantly lower in 2008 and 2009, hopefully they will still be
positive. Liquidity and Solvency should be manageable for as long as
Filipinos continue to Trust the banking system to function normally.

However, we will be hit hard in 2009 - the first wave will probably be
trade related, as the US cuts back on imports from the Philippines and
China (which imports from the Philippines) .

The second wave could be more fearful - a significant drop in OFW
remittances as some lose their jobs or need more for their overseas needs.
Today, we contend that we are more insulated due to global OFW
diversification and higher level jobs, but in a global recession, we will
not be spared.

What to Do

Just as we prepare for a typhoon, we have to prepare for potentially rainy
days in 2009.

For businesses, your balance sheet will become critical. You must reduce
your debt to acceptable levels, and you must think through your business
model in a low growth economy. Fro example, can a 20% drop in revenue cover
your overhead? If not, some serious cost cutting is needed.

For consumers, it will be time to reduce unnecessary expenses (electricity
consumption, gasoline, impulse purchases) and to start saving even a small
portion of your monthly income. Capital preservation is critical, so think
through your KYC ("Know Your Counterparty" ), and your asset allocation. If
you can, keep 25% in cash or bank placements, and 75% in fixed income
instruments until you are brave enough to reenter the stock market.

If you want to spend anything, either ask yourself twice or postpone the
decision for a day - you will be surprised how many items will feel less
necessary or desirable the day after.

However, we Filipinos are resilient, and we will survive this crisis as we
survived the bank moratorium in the 80s and the Asian Crisis in the 90s.

Good luck to us all!

Bankers Association of the Philippines
Bank of the Philippine Islands
October 27, 2008

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Bert's Day

This comes a day earlier. Advance Happy Birthday Bert!

My apologies to those who are appearing in the picture without their permission.
My apologies too, to those who would have wanted to appear but do not. It's because I did not find any picture of you holding a bottle, a glass or a cup. That's the theme of the e-card, a toast to bert, our celebrant.

You see, this is a wholesome blog. Unlike the popular graffiti written in the walls of the urinals during our high school and college days which says, "the future of this country depends on what you are holding right now".... or something like that.

Joc-Joc lang. Happy Bert's Day!

Pahabol. No relation to the beer day.

Ang mahihirap, di makalabas ng ospital, naghahanap ng pambayad.
Si Joc-joc di makalabas ng ospital, naghahanap pa ng sakit.

sa huwebes na ang komedya
malamang hindi kakanta
kasi baka maging tradhedya
di papayag si glorietta.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Manny Pacquiao's Take

Another contribution from Ed. See how varied the subjects of his postings are: hindi lang pang-economics at politics, pang-Sports pa!

Manny Pacquiao’s Earnings Since June, 2001

$ 40,000 — Versus Lehlo Ledwaba (South Africa), June 21, 2001, Las Vegas, Nevada

$ 120,000 — Versus Agapito Sanchez (Dominican Republic), Nov. 11, 2001, San Francisco, California

P10 million — Versus Fabbrakob Rakkiatgym (Thailand), Oct. 26, 2002, Davao

P1 million — Versus Serikzhan Yeshmangbetov (Kazakhstan), March 15, 2003, Taguig

$ 70,000 — Versus Jorge Julio (Colombia), June 8, 2002, Memphis, Tennessee

$ 500,000 — Versus Marco Antonio Barrera (Mexico), Nov. 15, 2003, San Antonio, Texas

$ 750,000 — Versus Juan Manuel Marquez (Mexico), May 8, 2004 Las Vegas

P3 million — Versus Fahsan 3K Battery (Thailand), Dec. 11, 2004, Manila

$ 1.75 million — Versus Erik Morales (Mexico), March 19, 2005, Las Vegas

$ 750,000 — Versus Hector Velazquez (Mexico), Sept. 10, 2005, Los Angeles, California

$ 2 million — Versus Erik Morales, January 21, 2006, Las Vegas

$ 1 million — Versus Oscar Larios (Mexico), July 2, 2006, Quezon City

$ 2.25 million — Versus Erik Morales, Nov. 18, 2006, Las Vegas

$ 2 million — Versus Jorge Solis (Mexico), April 14, 2007, San Antonio

$ 3 million — Versus Marco Antonio Barrera, Oct. 6, 2007, Las Vegas

$ 3 million — Versus Juan Manuel Marquez, March 15, 2008, Las Vegas

$ 3 million — Versus David Diaz (US), June 28, 2008, Las Vegas

When Manny Pacquiao fights the legendary Oscar De La Hoya on December 6 in Las Vegas, the boxing icon will have surpassed a threshold that lives only in the dreams of nearly every Filipino: He becomes the first Filipino athlete to earn more than a billion pesos from his sport.

Other than perhaps the country's taipans and their heirs, no Filipino could possibly earn that much. Even more astonishing, Pacquiao earned it in so short a time – less than eight years.

From a paltry $ 40,000 purse in June 2001 when he made his American debut to the $ 3 million he earned in dismantling David Diaz, Pacquiao has amassed over $ 20,000,000 ($ 950 million at P45 to a dollar) in ring earnings.

Then add the $ 15 million that he is almost guaranteed to earn from the De La Hoya fight and his earnings will surpass the billion-peso threshold.

But hold on, this mind-boggling amount does not include his earnings from his commercial endorsements nearly all of them signed and sealed in strict confidence.

Among his biggest clients are Nike and San Miguel Corporation. He has also endorsed Motolite, No Fear, Alaxan, Philippine Airlines, Smart and Extreme Magic Sing, among others.

Figures earned from the television broadcast of his fights and other TV shows are also not included.

From these extras, add perhaps another P500 million. Needless to say, Pacquiao's income easily surpasses those of other Filipino professionals such as Efren 'Bata' Reyes, golfers Frankie MiƱoza, and Jennifer Rosales and top basketball players, most of whom haven't probably gotten past the P50 million mark.

Pacquiao's bank account is expected to enjoy another wild ride once the fight against De La Hoya is over.

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Happy Birthday Marybeth

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Friday, November 7, 2008

"Mount and Do", hard drink, anyone?

This is just for laughs contributed by Ed.

Pfizer Corp. announced today that Viagra will soon be available in liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to literally pour himself a stiff one. Obviously we can no longer call this a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to the names of 'cocktails', 'highballs' and just a good old-fashioned 'stiff drink'. & lt; /B> Pepsi will market the new concoction by the name of: MOUNT & DO.

Thought for the day: There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.

If you don't send this to five old friends right away there will be five fewer people laughing in the world.

Type your summary here

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This is Your Victory! - President-elect Barack Obama's Speech

Hello, Chicago.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Sen. McCain.

Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin for all that they've achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the new White House.

And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.

And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best -- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.

To my chief strategist David Axelrod who's been a partner with me every step of the way.

To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.

It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.

And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me.

You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education.

There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

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