Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

Secretary Ramon Lopez, Mayor Jaime Villanueva, my good friend DTI Regional Director Joy Blanco, DTI Provincial Director Leah Pagao, esteemed guests, Dios marhay na aldaw saindo gabos.

I truly regret not being able to personally attend this morning’s inauguration of the 3rd One Town One Product (OTOP) Philippines Hub here at the Philippine Ceramics Arts and Crafts (Philceramics).

As Director Joy can attest, I have long been not only a staunch supporter and advocate of Philceramics; I am also an avid fan of its products that are beautiful even as they are functional.

In fact, it was the partnership between my office and DTI Region V that the communal workspace of Philceramics was created, artisans received training in production and design, necessary equipment and machinery acquired, and the products were promoted to a wider market.

Delivering the Contra-SONA of the authentic opposition is not only fulfilling a continuing tradition. It is an enduring commitment to articulate differing views and assessments of the true state of the nation, devoid of pomp, propaganda, theatrics and hyperbole.

It is demystifying the aura of presidential pronouncements.

It is an incisive reaction to what the President said and failed to say in his SONA.

It is making democracy work by giving the public an alternative perspective and genuine choice.

It is telling the people the truth even if it hurts.

There is a story my late wife, Ma. Cielo Burce-Lagman, always told our children when they were small:

When she was a young girl growing up in Tabaco, which was then a sleepy town, there was virtually nothing to read besides the limited number of books in school. Having a real thirst for knowledge, Cielo would always be found in her aunt’s stall in the Tabaco Public Market where they had komiks and serialized novels for rent.

Keeping those in authority accountable and giving people the power to make informed decisions based on trustworthy news reports are two of the most crucial roles that journalists play.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) helps fulfill this dual role by training student journalists to be independent, ethical, and fearless even as it inculcates in them the importance of a free press in preserving genuine democracy because it guarantees that citizens are informed, government remains transparent, and a forum for the open exchange of ideas is created.

February 6, 2019, Sulo Riviera Hotel, Quezon City


Good morning and warm welcome to Makatao’s Kapihan on Defending Human Rights. This is the maiden Kapihan of continuing periodic relevant forums.

I am happy to see all of you this morning, but I must admit that as I stand here before you may kirot sa puso ko. Ang dahilan: sa araw na ito, labing walong taon na ang nakaraan, ang aming pamilya ay binalot ng dalamhati at poot.