“Uluk ho Imi, Fakar Ran ba Ukun An. Fila Fali ho Imi, Hisik Kosar ba Moris Di’ak”
“Together with you in the past, our blood intertwined towards our independence.
Again with you today, together we toil towards a better future”
I, Taur Matan Ruak, come before you today as a presidential candidate for the period of 2012-2017
I do not have any university degree. My way of studying is by observing and listening to others. I was a soldier and rose up through the ranks to become a general, and the struggle for the national liberation was my only military academy.
But I had a dream, which guided me throughout my life: I dreamed of Timor Leste as a prosperous country, and a peaceful nation where every citizen has a space to participate
Instead of presenting a political manifesto, I would like to present to you my vision for the future of Timor Leste based on a number of political principles and civic values that I consider necessary in order to attain the dream for which we mobilized our-selves to achieve for over two decades.
My VISION is simple but ambitious:
TOGETHER FOR A STRONG, PROSPEROUS AND SECURE TIMOR LESTE
What motivated and mobilized us during the struggle for liberation was our belief that it was the citizens who legitimized the struggle for the motherland and our state. A state in which the citizens are active and responsible, and where there is a good governance to bring us to the development of our country and which creates a condition of possibility towards prosperity and well being of ALL Timorese.
Throughout the struggle, Timorese people demonstrated a great level of mobilization and participation of a true citizenry. This was done without a State and freedom.
Today, we are free and we have built a state but, if we look around, I neither see nor feel the involvement of the general populace in national projects, in actions, and in overseeing the management in the configuration of a shared future.
We have concluded the first decade of the restoration of our independence. We centered all our efforts in the state building, in building state institutions and in training technical staff. We have, however, largely failed to encourage a greater participation and responsibility of our citizens.
The overall passivity of our population while experiencing daily hardships and while witnessing that important decisions regarding their lives are taken without listening to their voices, must be transformed into Action and full participation in the decision making process.
The voice of the people must be heard not only at the time of election. Without their participation and active engagement in the building of their own future, we will neither achieve a true development, wherein the citizens are fully engaged and responsive, nor a country which belongs to the people.
In analyzing the current situation in our own country today, what do we see? We witness a low level of income, a fragile web of productive sectors, a high level of external dependency, a debilitating infrastructure, an unequal territorial development, a lack of well being of the population, a feeble state and administrative structures and a significant technical and scientific underdevelopment.
Today, I come before you, national and international news media, invited guests and friends and supporters, to present my Vision – What do I want for our country?
What are the general guidelines we needed to abide by in order to develop our country, and why do I choose them.
And what are my priorities and how do I want to achieve them?
I consider five areas to be the center of all our attention in the next five years:
1 – To maintain national independence – This can be done through building a viable, coherent and sustainable economic system, and through strengthening national identity.
2 – To Guarantee National Integrity and Sovereignty – Through, inter alia, improving our defense and security systems, awareness building to the citizens, and through a concerted diplomatic action;
3 – To build and develop a coherent and sustainable economic system – Above all, strengthening human resources; reducing dependency on the petroleum sector; reducing foreign dependency; strengthening the private sector
4 – To maintain unity, national cohesion and democratic society – Through respecting the citizens’ fundamental rights, satisfying their basic and general needs and through strengthening tolerance;
5 – Regional and International Integration – Through increasing Timor Leste’s participation in the organizations in which Timor Leste is presently a member namely, the UN and the CPLP (Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries) , maintaining efforts to join ASEAN and strengthening relations with all the member states. Also, to strengthen relations with other countries in the region, to implement conventions, treaties and agreements to which Timor Leste is a signatory and to closely cooperate with the rest of the organs of sovereignty in the signing of pacts and accords.
If we were to analyze and diagnose the current state of our nation, everything appears to be a priority. Nevertheless, I have five important sectors, five important guidelines, as the base of my presidency. I have also defined ten priorities for the mandate.
These priorities were chosen because I believe that without finding a solution to these problems, development of our country will continue to be at risk. Peace and security will continue to be at risk and all of you, my fellow citizens, will continue to be marginalized in the process of building OUR nation’s future.
Please allow me to refer to some points that I consider important from each of the priorities:
1 – Veterans and Former Combatants – In order to ensure that there is opportunity for their insertion into the society and in the development process, it is pivotal to address their problems. They face issues with the lack of clarification regarding their rights. Hence it is important to alter existing legislations and to create a more rigorous database. More attention should be given to issues related to the remains of those who died in the struggle and in the organization of ceremonies to honor them; recollecting scattered documents with a view to prepare a History of these men and women to keep their memory and experience alive; ensuring their insertion into society and the development process through a plan which includes areas such as education (fundraising for scholarships and monthly subscription), economy, agriculture and health (access to specific services)
2 – Youth – National development would become reality only if our youth began to get truly involved in the process of securing their future. As such, the followings are five issues I consider essentials in ensuring that young citizens of today will become responsible adult citizens tomorrow: technical-professional training; national service; obligatory military service; integration into the job market; civic and patriotic training;
3 – Elderly, widows and orphans – A society that does not take care of those most vulnerable , does not deserve to be respected. Our elderly citizens, widows and our orphans deserve a specialized social security system which guarantees a dignified existence.
4 – Organization of the state – It is urgent to implement decentralization of the state (which presently does not reach the population) and to create an apparatus strictly based on merit and competence.
5 – Good Governance - To create a preventive mechanism against corruption; to investigate any ostentatious sign of wealth; equitable distribution of wealth; effective management of public goods; a revision to the law regarding lifetime pensions.
6 – Education - Educational system focusing on the needs of the country’s development process (technical and professional training, and university level education); equal distribution in the distribution of scholarships; training of primary school teachers; improving the quality of teaching; training of the mid and senior level management to compete in the domestic and regional markets;
7 – Development of the productive sectors - Training of human resources; rational and sustainable use of natural resources; ending dependency on the petroleum sector; a strong national private sector; reducing foreign dependency; development of productive sectors (primary, secondary and tertiary); mechanisms for a sustainable commercialization; employment creation;
8 – Physical development/ Infrastructure and Territorial Planning – Control over the quality of projects and supervision of their implementation; establishing development poles; basic sanitation; planned and sustainable urbanization
9 – Land and Property / Justice – Legislation; review transactions during the occupation.
10 – Gender – Equal opportunity based on merit and competency.
Drawn before us a path of immense work but I am convinced that with good coordination and respect of other organs of sovereignty, we will be able to respond to the great issues faced by Timor Leste. Solving the issues will definitely remove Timor Leste from international lists of poor countries, fragile states and all other negative adjectives.
My visits throughout the country from October 2011 to February 2012, allowed me to say today that our people are tired of negativism. They see me a force for inspiration for a new Timor Leste because I know that it is possible to look for the future, to work for a positive future of hope and change.
Timor-Leste has ALL the conditions necessary to become a Strong, Prosperous and Secure Country.
The principles and values of my candidature are that of our people: Honesty, Integrity, Participation, Citizenship and Responsibility
With all of you, citizens of Timor Leste, I am confident that:
Together, we will have a Strong, Prosperous and Secure Timor Leste
Díli, February 29, 2012