While I was preparing for my own midterm exams that week, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III or PNoy as most of us Filipinos like to call him also had his own midterms to worry about. The midterms I am referring to none other than this year’s State Of The Nation Address. This year’s SONA was different in a way as it marked the halfway point of his six year term as president.
In his longest SONA to date, PNoy gave us listeners a recap of the administration’s achievements in the past year. He mentioned achievements such as the increase in the number of TESDA graduates, an increase in the number of Philhealth enrolees, provision of over 9000 homes to typhoon victims, an increase in the amount of both international and domestic tourists and many others that spanned different sectors from transportation, agriculture, private public partnership projects, etc.
He also talked about his future projects and plans which included an increase of 0.6% in the contribution rate to the SSS and an increase in the fares of the MRT/LRT. The mentioning of these plans took me by surprise. I was surprised not by the idea of an increase as I understand that these increase are necessary to sustain the SSS’s fund and help improve the MRT/LRT system, I was surprised by the fact that he decided to include it in his SONA, the time when almost all ears are listening to him including those of the masses and militant groups who will obviously not approve of this plan.
This fearlessness did not end there though. If there was one thing that stuck with me in the SONA, it was his message to corrupt officials – “Saan po kayo kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha?”. We all know that PNoy has been campaigning for a “daang matuwid” since the beginning of the 2010 elections and I think this calling out of corrupt officials so publicly is a step towards achieving this goal. This pamamahiya, as some people would describe it, is proof that he knows who these corrupt officials are. If only PNoy can truly get them to revert their ways or at least get them to step down.
So, how did PNoy do in his “midterms”?
I’d say he didn’t exactly pass with flying colors . While the SONA covered numerous issues, it still lacked those that people were waiting to hear about such as those issues concerning the OFWs, SUCs, ties with China, growing unemployment, etc. On the other end, the administration still got some things done as mentioned in the SONA. Another thing I applaud PNoy for is that he always made it a point to remind us, the Filipino people, that we are a part of this supposed change. That in our own small ways we can contribute to what this country can become and for that, he most definitely did not fail.
-Alyssa Bianca L. Santos