Annually, the president of the country delivers the "State of the Nation," basically, a report that hopes to give the people a snapshot of what the incumbent government has accomplished for the time being.
Yesterday’s SONA of the fifteenth President of the Philippines, President Noynoy Aquino was packed with facts and figures, of anecdotes on the dreams of ordinary people, and of accomplishments that aim to draw applause from the constituents he considered as “his boss”.
Several points and issues were noted in the almost one-hour speech of the head of state addressed in Tagalog. He mentioned about the so-called “wang-wang” in the society, people who did nothing but to abuse the people which he said would never succeed. PNoy also highlighted that the Philippines will fight for her right on our claims on some islands in the Spratlys region. A bold but admirable claim for a country that seemed like an insect on the ground to be underfooted by the gargantuan China.
While a lot were speculating that PNoy would again slam his rivals and the previous administration for the country’s woes, yesterday, he did not. It is definitely a change from last year’s “Blame-it-all-to-Gloria” scheme. And yes, Gloria was not around together with his sons and son-in-law at the Batasang Pambansa, yesterday.
|Congresswoman Gloria Arroyo shouldn't have missed the SONA at the Batasang Pambansa for Noynoy didn't slam her for the second time.|
Another highlight is on the drop of the number of hungry Filipinos:
“Fewer Filipino families – about 9.8 million – consider themselves "mahirap" (poor) than in the last three months, according to a new survey by pollster Social Weather Stations.
In its poll conducted June 3 to 6, the SWS noted the poverty figure was a two-percent drop to 49 percent from 51 percent (about 10.4 million families) in March.
The SWS also noted a four-point decline in terms of being food-poor, to 36 percent (7.2 million families), from 40 percent (8.1 million) in March. “
The president boasted the rise in jobs, stocks, and the favorable interest of investors on the Philippine economy.
But upon deeper scrutiny, I believe the sole administration success yet is running after smugglers and tax evaders. The BIR, led by Commissioner Kim Henares, has filed 54 tax evasion cases against erring business and individuals as of July 7. Among these personalities slapped with tax evasion cases were Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, dismissed Local Waterworks and Utilities Administration chair Prospero Pichay Jr. and ex-military comptroller Jacinto Ligot. The Bureau of Customs has also charged various smugglers, with the latest case filed against chemical importer Cleveland Industries, Inc. This is ofcourse, despite the fact that Customs chief Angelito Alvarez, however, was criticized for failing to lead a raid of big-time smugglers in Manila. His agency also failed to intercept the smuggling of supposed “hot cars" through the Mindanao ports.
But on the downside of the speech, I have observed that PNoy did not mention the things that truly mattered to the ordinary people. There was no mention on new policies on the continued oil price hikes. No mention on employment opportunities, no government answer for the high price of commodities, and no significant improvement on the public education system. Just how can the government address these issues?
False data I believe was presented when the President mentioned that 100 families per month are alleviated from poverty because of the government’s “Pangtawid Kabuhayan” program. While its implementation was a success, I find this hard to believe for PhP 1,400 is not a decent amount to lift people’s lives up, to begin with. Noynoy Aquino said that jobs were created but according to the SWS Survey, joblessness among Filipinos at least 18 years old and above rose to 27.2% in March from 23.5% in December last year.
And how about the “new heroes” of the country celebrated for the millions of dollar remittances into the Philippines? The almost-one-hour speech did not mention on the issues of 11 million overseas Filipino workers. Especially on the latest issues on employment problems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.
Investigations on irregularities in the calamity fund, MWSS, NAPOCOR, and NFA are yet to be solved. Perpetrators of extrajudicial killings are yet to be punished. I am still waiting for the Truth Commission to go after the corrupt officials. There has yet to be the forging of public-private partnerships (PPP) to boost the economy. No mention on tourism and agricultural infrastructure.
Every year, we have listened to our heads of state recall where we've come from, tell where we are now, and muse about where we would be. They talk about how much they've made the Philippine economy grow, how many jobs they've generated, and how far they have gone to reduce poverty in the country. While the president’s statements against corrupt people proved to be “eargasmic”; the administration’s report failed to present a comprehensive national plan for social transformation. More bills have yet to be made; clearly, a lot has to be done.
In the country where issues like Jun-jun Binay and Kris Aquino’s intimate moment during the President’s speech makes noise more than the address, a lot still remain hungry and jobless and all these are mere rhetoric and have yet to be translated to actuality.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Screenshot from "The Word of the Lourd"
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