President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City last July 22, 2013 for almost one hour and 45 minutes, probably the longest of all the four SONAs. Look how time flies so fast; I didn’t even realize that it is already his fourth SONA. Is the time really moving so fast or is it just because PNoy is invisible that I didn’t even notice his accomplishments for the country?
To take a closer look of what President Aquino wants us to know about his achievements for our country, here are some of the important highlights of his SONA:
- He cited the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and increase in number of TESDA graduates.
- Aquino mentioned DepEd secretary Armin Luistro, adding that classroom shortage will be addressed by the education department within the year.
- The President said rice self-sufficiency and coconut intercropping are among the administration’s targets.
- 9,377 housing units have been completed for victims of Typhoon Sendong while 26,050 houses were built for policemen and soldiers in the second phase of the housing project.
- He asked Congress to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law in 2014 which will pave way for a Bangsamoro Government by 2016.
- Aquino cited the approval of the Sin Tax Reform Law and “Responsible Parenthood Law” (RH Bill)
- He said government continues to take steps to address the power crisis in Mindanao. He wants that more power plants be built.
- Aquino reports a 21.4 increase in foreign tourist arrivals in 2012.
- Aquino reported a 7.8% GDP growth during the first quarter of 2013. He said it was the “highest recorded growth” in Southeast Asia.
- Aquino said P200 Billion were lost from government coffers due to corruption, based on figures released by the Department of Finance (DOF).
I was quite impressed with the statistics and figures that President Aquino showed to us and I am happy that during his presidency, the Philippines is experiencing a continuous economic growth. Basically, what he stated in his SONA was the accomplishments of his goals like employment, poverty, education, peace and order, infrastructure, good governance, etc. He also told us about what he wants for the Filipinos but he missed to say how and when he will fulfil those goals in the future. I was waiting for him to say something about the reduction of jobless people in the country, how he will address the poverty in the Philippines and how he will develop, modernize, and maximize the agricultural aspect of our country.
With this, many Filipinos still do not feel the economic growth that President Aquino keeps on telling us. According to Prof. Diokno, though the Philippines grew at 7.8% in the first quarter, still it remains to be the poorest among the “original” ASEAN-5 economies. We rank the highest in poverty incidence (we rank 83rd out of 262 countries). Among the ASEAN-5, the Philippines has the worst unemployment record and joblessness continue to worsen. When it comes to public infrastructure, we have the second poorest quality of overall infrastructure. Corruption has barely improved and according to statistics, the police, public officials and justices rank first, second, and third, respectively.
But after all this happenings in our country, I still believe that we should not blame President Aquino directly because we don’t even know how hard it is to lead a country. Perhaps he has been a good leader and he is doing his job but we should not forget that as Filipinos, we have also duties that are left undone. All we have to do is to participate and do our part for the Philippines to become the country that we want to be. It will really not work if we just keep on blaming the administration without looking at our own faults and shortcomings. We should not forget that we are all Filipinos and we’re all in this together.