Beyond the Numbers

On the afternoon of July 22nd, the whole country watched as President Benigno Aquino III gave his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA). The usual statistical and financial reports about the changes in the different sectors, as well as his accomplishments, were tackled for the most part of the SONA. Of course, there was also the ever-present round of applause from the people gathered in Batasan.

The numbers he provided backed his assertion that the Philippines experienced progress since 2010, when he had first been inaugurated as President. More than 8,000 cities had been reached by electricity, and the budget for the sectors, such as education and agriculture, increased by about 40 million. His own project, called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, aided more than 4 million families. Other improvements in the different locations in the country had also been discussed.

They all seemed credible enough, since they were proclaimed by a notable authority. This authority, being the President himself, as well as other people in the government who were insiders to these projects.

But then, a bigger question remains unanswered: Is this seeming progress reported in the SONA felt in the majority of the masses, or is this just another illusion presented by P-Noy just to stop his critics from hurling negative comments at him?

No one can really say. Maybe, in his three years as being President, he did evoke change in this country. He might have raised our country’s economic status by a few percentage, and took the Philippines one step away from where it was three years ago.

But then, maybe not. Maybe P-Noy, like all the others before him, hid the grim state of the country behind words carefully tailored to give the Filipinos illusion of a better Philippines.

In the end, these numbers that told of the progress of the Aquino administration are just numbers—nothing more, nothing less. How we interpret these is a different story altogether.

(edited September 25, 2016)

 -Fatima Blaise M. Cruz

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