Politics Watch: 2011 State-of-the-Nation Address of President Benigno C. Aquino III of the Philippines
It's been a rainy afternoon of July 25, 2011 (Monday). There's been a prior announcement of the incoming tropical storm Juaning. I was infront of my desktop computer as I overheard the lady anchor, Ms. Korina Sanchez, for the special coverage of the 2nd State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno C. Aquino III at ABS-CBN Channel 2.
Come 4 o'clock P.M., the Batasan Complex of Malakanyang Palace in Manila, Philippines were full of national and local legislators, foreign diplomats, international and local media, government staff and employees as they witnessed the 2nd offering of P-noy regarding his crusade for his "Daang Matuwid" or straight-path governance.
As the two houses (Congress and Senate) merged for the special occasion, ecumenical prayers delivered and national anthem have been sang and heard, two speakers (Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Congressman Sonny Belmonte) sounded their gavels giving a one-hour privilege speech of the present president of the country delivered his annual report.
Just near the Batasan complex, outside the street, the anti-SONA groups or militants burned a balut penoy (duck egg) effigy of P-noy denouncing the president for being numb regarding the issue of Hacienda Luisita and other issues that continue to besiege worker, farmers and the masses. Other marchers were also there to praise the present administration during P-noy's first year of manning the country.
I never changed the channel because I was also busy recording some video clips regarding P-noy's speech. From time to time, I had to jot notes in order to remember some salient points on his narratives in Filipino language.
Most of those who listened and heard his speech drew more positive than negative reactions. Some opined that an hour of speech can never specify all the achievements and plans of his cabinet.
Wangwang is the local word for big horn sound coming from passing cars on the highways or streets. Before, most of the politicians own a special honking sound in order to counter flow or overtake traffics due to appointments or just a power play from other commuters and drivers.
President Aquino emphasized a deeper meaning with this street lingo. When added with utak or brain, it became synonymous with crab mentality. He explained that his no wangwang policy, not only promoted reforms on the road but with the government as well.
Stopping the culture of negativism and mudslinging slowly but surely cleared doubts regarding the status of the present leadership in the government.
Year 2010-2011 Accomplishments of P-noy administration
Confidence, hope and realization of promises...these are the factors that P-noy's administration continue to accomplish.
The first of his six-year term saw the following development and notable changes both in business sector and people's initiatives, including actions in every government agency and local government units.
- Investment Upgrade - the first 4 months of P-noy's administration was able to save P23 billion pesos due to cost-cutting on payments lavishly given to board of directors and advisers of government-owned corporations and agencies. The move was able to encourage foreign investors to trust Philippine government on its fight against graft and corruption. The good business atmosphere was due to the continuous good ratings of his administration.
- Fight to Sovereignty - "What is to Philippines is to Philippines!" This is the gist on what President Aquino said about our claims on Spratlys. The issue on West Philippine Sea will be forwarded to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The controversial group of islands are located inside the 200 nautical miles in the area of responsibility of the archipelago, where countries like Vietnam, China and Taiwan are also claiming. In fact, China and Vietnam have already constructed structures on some of the islands.
- Human Trafficking/Carnapping - US Secretary Hillary Clinton officially removed Philippines from the watch-list of countries known for human trafficking. P-noy also visited members of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to support the campaign against undocumented Filipino workers who are usually transported to other countries without proper documentation. Meanwhile, carnapping is now being reduced due to the vigilant acion of law enforcers with the aid of modern gadget, like CCTV cameras. Compensation to whistle-blowers or witnesses are brave enough to participate in the pursuit of justice.
- Unemployment - Due to job mismatch, the rate of unemployment is a moving target of the government. The president reported that from 8 %, it lowered into 7.2% last April. He knew that fresh graduates are looking for jobs each year. That's what his administration is doing paving the way to almost 1 million opportunities or new jobs this year.
- Social Development - Family households belonging to the marginal line are able to avail the first batch of beneficiaries to 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program). 1.6 million recipients were able to receive initial stipend; part of 3 million family-beneficiaries. 4Ps benefited non-working mothers and their children to continue studying in school. Fathers are given jobs in the barrios to pay back for the help the government is extending through programs of DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development).
- Synchronization of Elections - Mindanao is known for the anomalies that happened during the 2004 presidential elections. P-noy emphasized on the synchronization of elections in 2013 in order to avoid further malady that besieged Mindanao, like the media killings andother innocent lives way back 2009.The disbursement of ghost budget, ghost bridge, ghost school and ghost teachers will be avoided.
- Benefits/Upgrade of Military & Police Forces - Housing projects and land entitlement for those who serve in military and police forces. P-noy happily spilled out that the National Housing Authority are already done with the first batch of housing plans for the first roster of beneficiaries among the law enforcers. Capability upgrade on military and police equipment are now on shipment, especially those who guard strategic places of Philippine shores.
- Taxation - Correct and true processes in paying taxes among professionals and businessmen have been stressed out by P-noy, especially those who are in private practices. He encourages them to submit proper tax declaration because the system is being cleaned or overhauled,
- Clean Bidding on Public Works - There used to be the so-called issuance of lump sum fund on ghost projects in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The president said that there will be transparent, public bidding, no hidden transactions and work program will be known to respective respondents and beneficiaries of government projects.
- Agriculture and Reforestation Campaign - Deficit on rice production is now being beaten by distribution of good rice seedlings and proper irrigation, aside from other root crops that are being supported by local government units (LGUs). Tree planting will not end on a massive reforestation but also guarding it from illegal loggers and slash-and-burn farmers. Residents will be given stipend by the government just to protect national parks and forest reserves of the country.
- Healthcare for the Poor - This is an on-going endeavor of both the national and local government units. Slowly but surely, proper medication with low percentage of hospital bills are now being implemented. With clean bill of health, President P-noy said that ordinary people can work for their families.
- Filipino Invention - With new inventions from Filipino scientists being tested and produced by other countries, P-noy commended this special group for their untiring quest for new technology and machines. Warning devices for erosion and flash floods: these can solve our annual problems during rainy seasons. The production of mono rail systemas a means of transport will benefit many pedestrians.
He also happily announced that after a day of his SONA, P-noy and his presidential staff will be able to present the Annual Budget for 2012 using the zero-based budgeting.
Other notable changes and campaigns will be for:
- compensation for martial law victims
- monthly wages of kasambahay or household help
- benefits of the soldiers
- scholarships for students
- women night workers
- child protection
- upgrade on the government's television and radio stations (PTV4 and Radyo ng Bayan)
- tax evaluation
- extra-judicial killings
2011 SONA of P-noy c/o MrMusicman1971
The second SONA of President Aquino taught me positive values in praising the government and it's personnel who untiringly contributed to the welfare of the masses.
P-noy encourages everyone to give credit where it is due. The usual criticism should not waver one's interest to be among those who support his advocacy on "Matuwid na Daan".
He frankly admitted that he'll be fighting for corruption at personal level.
"Ang mali, gaano man ito katagal ay mananatili pa ring mali." (Wrongdoings in the government will always be wrong in the face of the society).
Expect his administration to conduct a thorough investigation regarding:
- Election Fraud on national presidential elections of 2004, where it spawned too mych controversies pointing the fault to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration for manipulating the results of the elections.
- OWWA fund - I can personally vouch with regards to the veracity of this findings, because I was with the RPN TV-9 reporter where she heard me asking an OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) employee regarding the proceeds of the fund. It was used by PGMA (Gloria) during the campaign on her 2004 presidential bid.
- PAGCor Coffee shops - controversy about a lavish spending of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation about the much-hype coffee shops was also one of the highlights of P-noy's tirades to the former officials of the said government agency. (An update also involved overpriced energy drink. The wasted money on coffee and drinks should went to the sport stipend on international athletes that they should be helping.)
P.S. Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been admitted to the hospital for health check-up due to the pressures she's receiving for the past weeks, including plunder case and graft and corruption.
EPISODE3,SEGMENT3-"Say mo, Say Ko"-SONA NI PNOY c/o JK7162011
My former station manager and a fellow radio announcer during my radio days are now serving as anchors for a weekly TV show at the local cable channel.
Reactions regarding the SONA 2 of P-noy were compiled by Ms. Armi Asor and Mr. Jovan Galvo.
The audio that you'll be hearing are mixes of English & Filipino languages and a lot of our Bicol dialect (similar to Bahasa language of Indonesia).
The bottom line of the total reactions suggested that P-noy should have a concrete road map in order to have a clearer, straighter path for the next year.