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Politics Watch in the Philippines - The Fourth SONA (State-of-the-Nation Address) of P-Noy
The Mid-Term Report of the present administration, under the leadership of President Benigno simeon C Aquino III last July 22, 2013, drew mixed reactions from his fellow politicians, political analysts, the common tao (or the masses) and the activists.
Foreign dignitaries and the international media were also present, as they were valuable witnesses on the positive transformation of the transparent governance of P-Noy (shortened President Noynoy).
A week before and during the SONA, political activists and rallyists paraded and shouted their anti-government sentiments questioning the accomplishments of the present administration.
When the 16th Congress opened prior the SONA and P-Noy started delivering his 55-pages speech (uttered for one hour and forty minutes), the deployed police personnel outside the Batasan Complex hampered the drive of the mob to penetrate and disturb the special session inside the edifice.
Noted by social media users were: the burned P-Noy’s effigy and the crying policeman, arrested rallyists and wounded ones between the two groups.
President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III
The President's Report
(Author's Note/Disclaimer:More statistics have been presented, although I missed some of it to record on my doodle notes. I recorded the introductory part of the speech and jotted the rest of the report, since my camera’s memory card cannot record the entire period from the live coverage of ABS-CBN Channel 2.But I didn't include it here. Instead, I link several videos of the speech from reliable sources via YouTube.)
“Kung tama pa ang aking ginagawa, lalo pang dadami ang aking magiging kasangga.”(P-Noy)
“If what I’m doing is still right, then, I’ll still draw more allies or supporters.”
One of the quotable quotes that P-noy has inserted in his speech in Tagalog (Filipino language) served as appetizer of his hour-long speech which consisted of his administration’s accomplishments and future plans on his last three years as head of the state.
Earlier accomplishments, according to President P-Noy, include:
- the electrification of more than 8,000 sites or barangays;
- more than 8,000 families of illegal settlers in Metro Manila were relocated of the government housing projects
- and about 40 billion pesos were allocated for the sectors of education, health and social services.
- SINTAX reform law for liquors and cigarettes
- Responsible Parenthood Law (RH Bill)
Social services, like the much-criticized 4 Ps (Pantawid-Pangkabuhayan para sa Pamilyang Pilipino), shorted as 2 Ps (Pantawid-Pangkabuhayan) (poverty alleviation measure of the government) is now expanded to families with kids up to 18 years old, who can’t afford to send their sons or daughters in college.
While P-noy narrated his earlier accomplishments, he remembered and praised an elderly, named Niño Aguirre, unable to walk normally, who painstakingly climbed the 4th floor of the voting precinct last national and local elections in order to practice his basic right on suffrage. In other words, he further said that more and more people are convinced that his governance is at the right direction.
He urged everyone to be part of the problem by suggesting solutions, directly to government agencies or by being active in social media.
Accomplishments and More
- TESDA-DOLE Scholars – 6 out of 10 graduates were able to land jobs in their fields of specialization.
- Department of Agriculture (DA) reports of reaching a sufficient buffer (3.3 % increase)of locally produced rice this year. Therefore, the country will only import minimum access volume of 350 thousand metric tons of rice from neighboring agricultural countries, like Vietnam and Thailand. Coconut industry is now subjected to intercropping (coffee, banana and cacao) as 7% intercropping measures were already launched for the past three years (5, 500 hectares were already utilized with additional 400 sites this year).
- Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) – Cold storage facilities are being constructed for the benefits of local fisher folks. The one cited is at Bataraza, Palawan. Construction of piers, roads and bridges are also highlighted to augment the speedy transportation of fresh catch and for the convenience of local and international businessmen.
- Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) – As member of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan, P-Noy happily announced that DAR already completed the list of beneficiaries last February 2013 and the giving of land titles will be on September this year.
- Department of Health (DOH) – Expanded benefits on PhilHealth are now available (including breast and prostate cancer, most common among mature Filipinos nowadays). 62% PhilHealth enrollees are noted. 81 % of informal settlers and native tribes or aborigines (the Aetas and more) are next online to be oriented with the said benefits. More rural health units are being constructed in order to cater to the needs of Filipino families at the far-flung barangays.
- Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Geo-hazard mapping and Project NOAH are now being implemented in order to prevent the effects of flashfloods in the cities and lowland areas of the country. 18 major river basins are being re-inspected for further rehabilitation and upcoming projects. New gadgets will be procured are already at hand, like the tsunami alert system and Doppler radar. More than 6 billion pesos are allotted for flood-control projects in Metro Manila, which is now being started at the 3.3 kilometer canal in Blumentritt.
- Social Security System (SSS) – A proposal to amend the SSS pension scheme will be the priority of the P-Noy admin this year. A 0.6 % increase on the contribution was presented by the president in order to fill-in the 11.1 trillion pesos-liability of SSS due to exhaustion of pension fund.
- Department of National Defense (DND) – President P-Noy said that 250 thousand police and military personnel are not enough to provide security among 95 million Filipinos. He urged the Congress to review Presidential Decree 1638 and Republic Act 8851 in order to enhance the benefits of enlisted policemen and soldiers. Due to the OPLAN KATOK, unlicensed pistols were recovered and owners underwent license renewal for their private pistols. More than hundred (112) private armed groups (PAG) were reduced to 41. Lanao del Sur, branded as hotspot for failure of elections for the past years is now free from the hassles brought about the local insurgents. Stories of heroism were included (withPO3 Edlyn Arbo, PO3 Felipe Morcatar and PO2 Dondon Sultan). The government also reached an agreement with BangsaMoro (MILF) last October 2012. An election is in the offing on 2016, recognizing the new local government unit of BangsaMoro in Mindanao.
- Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – 44 % of exports last year is credited to semi-conductor industry of the country. The DOST is now on the go for the construction of Advanced Device & Material testing Laboratory (ADMATEL) in order to inspect electronic products right here in the country.
- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – The Ternate-Nasugbu Road is a 6-kilometer connecting road between Cavite and Batangas is now being constructed for a free traffic drive to Manila. Aluling Bridge in Ilocos Sur is already built and Laguindingan Airport in Ilocos is now realized after long years of just being drawn on the table. Public-Private Partnership Projects (PPP) cater on eco-tourism multi-purpose projects, airport rehab (in Tacloban, Bicol, Bohol, Mactan & Puerto Princesa), Daang Hari-SLEX Link Road
- Department of Tourism (DOT) – brought 3.8million jobs in 2011. Tourism supports food, souvenirs and other services. A target of 56.1 million tourism is expected to visit the country for the next three years.
PTV SONA 2013: President Aquino's 4th State of the Nation Address (FULL VIDEO) - July 22, 2013 c/o PTV PH
Of Praises and Accolade
- In Tourism, Best Tourist Destination 2012 (Oriental Morning Post); Most Romantic Destination (Shanghai Morning Post);Scuba Diving Destination, Best Island – Palawan (Travel & Leisure)
- World Economic Forum (WEF) – investment grade status @ 2 credit ratings; 6.8 % GDP (Gross Domestic Products) growth of 2012; 7.8 % of 2013 (1st quarter)-highest recorded GDP on East and Southeast Asia
- Disaster Relief workers and volunteers from private sectors are commended by P-Noy for their exemplary service during floods, typhoons and other disasters
- Testimonials of 4Ps beneficiaries
- Cabinet members , especially DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) Secretary Alberto del Rosario, risking his life to evacuate OFWs (2,000 documented Filipinos) trapped in the turmoil in Libya
- JMR's Legacy – Deposed DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, former mayor of Naga City, Bicol on good governance and housekeeping (transparencies in public administration)
Failures, Conflicts, Future Projects
- Department of Telecommunications (DOTC) – Telepono sa Barangay didn’t pushed through, since there are 100 million legal cellular phones being used in the country. Barangay officials were given cell phones as early as 2004, but VHF radios are still used in the far-flung barangays. DOTC had an allocated budget of 5 billion pesos which can be used in other projects.
- Department of Energy (DOE) – Decades of neglect made a huge issue on the brownouts in Mindanao. Eight hours of daily brownout for the past months will be lessened by procuring generator sets in barangays or of personal use while the government constructs new power plants using natural resources, such as water, sun or wind energies (renewable energies that require ample baseload plans). A new power plant in Redondo, Zambales is an additional hope to lessen brownouts in Northern Luzon.
- Philippine Aviation Authority (PAA) hopes to continue the construction of NAIA 3. The President said that the arbitration process is now going on. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) approved of the flight of our flag carrier in Europe due to the significant safety crew services of the
- Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH) – Road projects are now at full blast, even on rainy season. Bidding process will not require letter of intent (LOI) to bidders, anymore. Therefore, each project will draw more bidders and will not delay the processes. Integrated Transport System (ITS) is now being implemented in Parañaque and soon to follow in Quezon City and Muntinlupa. Two connector roads of North and South Luzon Expressways are now constructed. PD 113 and PD 1894 should be reviewed by the Congress as 30 years had passed and the majority of Marcos road projects are still a dream.
- Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) has increased dividends of 1 billion pesos this year. Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) has increased net profits rather than net loss.
- Department of National Defense (DND) – The acquisition of expensive but already used helicopters and fighter jets are not the priority of P-noy’s administration. Instead, his cabinet members and secretaries are working on the realization of minimum but credible defense posture that can earn respect to countries who are bullying us in our territorial waters, especially at West Philippine Sea, wherein Chinese military vessels are still visible and its government claims that area.
- National Irrigation Administration (NIA) – Irrigation projects will continue to be implemented in Mindanao, 40 % of it this year.
- Bureau of Customs (BoC) - The rampant illegal drugs, illegal arms and untaxed products are being blamed to the lax service of the department. (While the President lambasted its main officials, BOC Chief Ruffy Biazon and Vice Chair Danny Lim immediately submitted their resignation, but P-Noy declined their requests.
- Civil Service Commission (CSC) – Abusive employees of this agency is now on hot water, as the president warned them of being fired. P-Noy said to review PD 1 or the civil service code mechanism on being an honest public servant.
- TESDA – Mr. Syjuco’s case on the school’s highly priced equipment
- PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) anomalies are now being investigated by the respective agencies of the government.
- DSWD, DPWH & NHA - Emphasis on Philippine Constitution - Article 2. Section 5 (General Welfare Clause) regarding informal settlers to have decent homes, jobs and education
- PNR-LRT Rehabilitation Projects and additional fare
- Philippine Navy badly needs modern equipment and assistance of welfare of its personnel
- Cabotage Law, Fiscal Incentives Rationalist Bill, Land Administration Reform Bill
- Prioritize Development Assistance Fund like the MRT Assistance Fund
- Continue to probe unsolved cases, Cadavero- Osamis Gang slay,
Quotable Quotes of P-Noy and other personnel
- “Tulong muna bago hatak.” Help first before towing.(PNP Assistance)
- “Ang trabaho namin ay tumulong sa mamamayan.”Our job is to help the people.(PO2 Dondon Sultan)
- “Walang ibang sasaklolo sa Pilipino kundi kapwa mga Pilipino.” There will be no assistance that will be extended to Filipinos but still, from Filipinos.(P-noy on Libyan insurgency)
- “Hindi ko maiwasang sisihin ang sarili ko.” I can’t help but to blame myself.(P-noy on Robredo’s death)
- “Hindi nag-iisa ang pagbabago. “Change is not alone.(Pnoy on Robredo’s legacy)
- “Tutungo tayo kung saan tayo itatama ng katotohanan.” We’ll lead you to where the truth will correct us.
- “Napakasarap maging Pilipino sa panahong ito.” It’s overwhelming to be Filipino in this age (P-noy)
- “SONA po ninyo ito.” It’s your SONA (P-noy).
The Great BIG PIE on 2014
2014 Proposed National Budget of 2.268 trillion pesos was submitted at the Congress last July 23, 2013, after the delivery of Pnoy.
Garnering the largest slices of the budget:
- DepEd – P369.9 Billion
- DPWH – P213.5 B
- DILG - P135.4 B
- DND - P123.1 B
- DOH - P87.1 B
- DA - P80.7 B
Note: What I translated is not necessarily my opinion. I just translated and taken the gist of President’s Report.
P-Noy's concluding questions and statement
Paano na sa 2016? (It’s too early to campaign, one critic said. Overheard was Representative Bongbong Marcos, reacting to one part of SONA reliving his father’s unfinished projects)
Tapos na ba ang TUWID na DAAN? (Wangwang or padrino system is slowly diminishing, as 70 % approval ratings from different national and international surveys graded the present administration headed by P-Noy)
Sick man of Asia no more. Nasa investment grade na tayo.
Sona po ninyo ito.