DOT SPEECH 30 Jan 1999
Presenting Secretary Vicente Rivera
By Secretary Gemma Cruz Araneta
Department of Tourism
Centennial Time Capsule Ceremonies
Agrifina Circle, Rizal Park
30 January 1999
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I feel doubly proud to be here today for this historic event. First of all, I am proud to be associated with the unveiling and laying of the Centennial Time Capsule that memorializes our people’s celebration of the Centennial of the First Republic of the Philippines, inaugurated in Malolos, Bulacan, when the Philippine-American War was raging.
The second point of pride: I am privileged to introduce our guest of honor and speaker, Secretary Vicente Rivera of the Department of Transportation and Communications. He hardly needs an introduction, but even if no one here is unaware of who he is and of the important positions he has occupied in our government, I submit an introduction is still necessary, if only to remind Secretary Rivera that he is held in high esteem by his fellow Filipinos.
By the way, Secretary Rivera whizzed through the Commission on Appointments, unlike yours truly who was confirmed only a month ago.
Secretary Rivera is not the type who blows his own horn; he hardly issues press releases like so many public figures in out midst. He will never proclaim in public forums all that he has done to make our country a better place to live in. Most of us know him mainly from his work in government and politics which dates back to the time when he was with the Civil Aeronautics Administration. He was only 29, the youngest ever administrator. Then, he became a member of the House of Representatives, and was selected as the most outstanding by various civic groups and institutions. He was a key assistant of then Vice-President Joseph Estrada from 1992 to 1998, and was Secretary-General of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino, the party which carried our President to victory in the last elections.
What is not commonly known is his work as a professional pilot and aviation teacher for which he also received accolades. Secretary Rivera is, by far, the only member of the Cabinet who can fly a plane. This distinction alone is cause for hope that under him, the DOTC will finally resolve our many problems in aviation, which are obstacles for the tourism industry.
The Centennial Commission could not have chosen a better person to lay the Time Capsule. Secretary Rivera is a blue-blooded Bulakeno; in his hometown Quingua (now called Plaridel) , Lt. Col Pablo Tecson and his troops defended the First Philippine Republic against the invading forces of the United States of America commanded by Col. John Stotsenburg. The Philippine Revolutionary Army won that battle in April 1899.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our guest of honor, Secretary Vicente Rivera.