Politics Watch in the Philippines: The 3rd SONA of P-NOY (President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III)
"Kapayapaan at katahimikan po ang pundasyon ng kaunlaran. Habang nagpapatuloy ang barilan, patuloy din ang pagkakagapos natin sa kahirapan." President Benigno Aquino III, during his first State of the Nation Address in 2010. Aquino has made pursuing peace a pillar of his administration, with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process saying a peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front could happen this year. "Tungkulin po ng bawat Pilipino na tutukan ang mga pinunong tayo rin naman ang nagluklok sa puwesto. Humakbang mula sa pakikialam tungo sa pakikilahok. Dahil ang nakikialam, walang-hanggan ang reklamo. Ang nakikilahok, nakikibahagi sa solusyon," he also said in 2010.
I just got this caption from Yahoo! News written by Jonathan de Santos.
The photo taken during his first SONA, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III was full of hope in order to promote peace as the foundation of progress.
According to P-noy, "It is the duty of every Filipino to be vigilant with their leaders they've put in position. Start it as being concern and participate. Because those who are keep on criticizing, they have never-ending complaints. Those who are participating in the government's programs, they share with the proper solutions on the perennial problems of the country."
Achievements of P-noy administration in just two years
The 3rd episode of P-noy's SONA on the unified 15th Congress yesterday (July 23, 2012) offered high hopes to the majority of the Filipinos, amid the usual rants and chants of militant groups outside the Batasan Complex in Quezon City (now, injuring some of the media men as they clashed with police and military augmentation forces).
I didn't personally watched the live coverage of the president's speech, due to some errand that I have to accomplish during his afternoon's monologue.
In fact, I had to ride via LRT (Light Rail Transit) in order to avoid the usual traffic but unfortunately, three trains were derailed due to some oxygen problem. Fellow passengers were ushered outside the train as some interpreted it (including me) as a form of sabotage. We were pacified by a lady employee of LRT-Libertad (in Pasay) as she explained the trouble that happened for more than 15 minutes.
That episode caused delay on my trip and I wasn't able to watch the President's speech live. Good thing, a cellular phone with radio application of the employee of a friend at Intramuros gave me some details on how far the present administration fared during the first two years of President P-noy's term.
Aside from his proud declaration of positive feedback from different sectors in the society, one critic have high hopes that before his term expires on 2016, the Philippines will be considered as one of the fast emerging economy in Southeast Asia, another rising tiger or perhaps eagle in the region.
Here's the list of the achievements (according to what I've heard from his speech on the radio) of the present administration for the past two years.
- Economic growth - I didn't get the exact figure for the national growth in terms of manpower, product exports and taxation and other factors affecting this sector. But, for ordinary Juan de la Cruzes (John Crosses -term for ordinary Filipinos), this news needs no further details. It uplifts their spirit and renew their trust to the present governance or administration.
- Trust of businessmen - These owners of big firms and businesses in the country are able to contribute hugely on local domestic growth. Their trust on the government paved the way for more jobs in the local scene.
- PhilHealth membership to grassroot level - Marginal families or those belonging to poverty line are now able to avail of the benefits this health care provider are offering with the government paying for most of their medication. The DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) through its community monitoring effort is/was able to allocate such benefits to families who are the true candidates of this benefit. I can assure you that this is one of the positive change in the government to help the poor because I was one of the enumerators (or surveyors in the community or barangay) that helped identified the recipients in our barrio.
- Additional Budget on Education - adequate classroom and textbooks for students, starting from pre-school until high school, being p[art of the K-to-12 (K12) program of DepEd (Department of Education). The additional budget, hopefully, will be able to build and provide new classrooms to students. Even the college state universities have additional budget already.
- Sustenance in Agriculture - I don't know if you'll agree with this, but the Department of Agriculture (DA) implemented vigorously the target programs of the agency in order to help farmers earn more income for the past two years. The president quipped that importation of rice will not be a priority (or it can be done next year) as the local farmers are able to sustain the needs of the people, amid the natural calamities that pause great danger and losses the whole year round.
- Additional Roads - Farm-to-market roads, additional highways, bridges and more are the priorities of this government. Roads in our country are considered to be one of the most dangerous roads around the world, as many road accidents are being blottered and announced in the news everyday. In behalf of the many Filipinos, my plea to government contractors and bidders is to avoid doing some messy (ampaw) projects that will result in mishaps on the succeeding years.
- Fight against Graft and Corruption - The most controversial episode in P-noy's administration is the Chief Justice Renato Corona's impeachment. In his speech, President Aquino said, "Ang magpatawad ay maaari, ngunit ang makalimot ay hindi. Kung ang nagkasala ay 'di mananagot, gagantihan mo ng kahirapan ang mamamayan!" (We forgive, but we never forget. If a violator will never be punished, you will repay difficulties to people.)
P-Noy's State of the Nation Address (SONA), 23 July 2012 c/o edp20111
I categorized the following to such title because the continuing campaign and implementation of the programs have never meet a standoff on issues, like:
- Territorial disputes at West Philippine Sea - My fellow seafarer, have been joking awhile ago, that we should live at Panatag Island in Palawan (in order to earn money and free land and house, too!), one of the islands being claimed by China. This includes Scarborough Shoal and Spratlys. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Nations) have yet to decide on the claims that should be awarded to the Philippines, since it is still inside the territorial waters of our country. President Aquino said that," if one of your neighbors claim your land that it's his, how will you react with this kind of bullying?" (or something to this effect in Filipino language). The open question has yet to be answered by Chinese government as their fishermen and warships are pestering Filipinos with this illegal claim.
- Crime Rate Reduction - The statistics are not stated in the SONA of the President. People are not satisfied with the way he presented the report that crimes are diminishing in the city where extra-judicial killings, among others are increasing.
- Responsible Parenthood - Issues on family planning is being spearheaded by this administration. The bill that will make it possible is still under scrutiny in the congress. Let's hope that all sectors, including the Church will agree with the contents of the bill.
- Fight against illegal loggers and miners - What else is new with these issues, where connivance of some employees of DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) are apparent. President Aquino assured the people that violators will continue to pay for their crimes committed with Mother Nature.
- CARP Land Distribution - Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program will be one of the administration's banner program, as they will continue to distribute lands to farmers and landless tenants. This is the most-sought-after change in the government, if President Aquino will be true to his promise.
- Senior Citizen Benefits - The elders should be given freebies and all discounts since they worked hard in order for this country to survive. They can be your parents who worked as OFWs, or held important positions in the government. My mother (my only surviving parent) is the leader of the Senior Citizen organization in our barangay. She is very vigilant when it comes to the benefits being offered to the seniors, including discounts on medicine, fares at public transport, free movie watching, food discount and all.
- Bonus to employees - The President already ordered all business owners to give what is due to employees. Aside from thirteenth month pay, they should also be giving some sugar-coated gifts to their workers. After all they're the ones making them richer and richer as businesses prosper. I know one chain of business firm only accepting casual employees in order to evade giving such benefits. They re-hire their old employees again, once they incurred or served a 6-month contract. I think, contractualization only makes it difficult for Filipino workers to cope up with the price hikes in basic and major commodities.
- Excise taxes on cigarettes -The sin taxes will be added to the fund of health care services and fund on anti-laundering program plus the programs on mining.
No praises for OFWs? Maybe ghost writers of Malacañan were so busy with other issues that they momentarily forget the contribution of these 'new heroes' of the country.
No mention on Charter Change? I've heard House Speaker Sonny Belmonte mentioned the resolution allowing foreign investors to own land properties in the country. The reasons that will be discussed for the approval of the bill is that the 'Filipino First Policy' was never attained. Ow, come on! This should be tackled by different sectors. We are a very small country. If foreign businessmen will be allowed to own land and properties here in the country, what will be left to the masses? Therefore, the 15th Congress will be forced to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
Filipinos are the bosses of P-noy, or so he said two years ago. Let's see if he's still true with his promises.
I think, his wishlist is not too good to be true when his term end in 2016.
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