SONA: Together for a Better Nation

The State of the Nation Address is an event wherein the leader of the country which in our case is the President, reports to the people the significant issues surrounding the government, its achievements and plans for improvements. It happens every year and it is our obligation as constituents to listen and pay with utmost attention what the President is going to report about the state of our country.

July 22, 2013, President Noynoy Aquino delivered his fourth SONA in the Plenary Hall of Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City. The SONA was lengthy, almost reaching two hours, his longest SONA to date. The entire speech brought about a sense of triumph and success. With the president’s incessant declaration of achievements and attainments, we somehow grasped the feeling that we belong to a nation worth bragging about. As the president himself said, “Ang sarap maging Pinoy ngayon.” Truly after a speech that’s nothing but praises and brags about what has been accomplished, that is what we should suppose.

Aside from all the promising assertion about how our 7.8% GDP is the fastest in East and Southeast Asia, how we are better prepared for disasters with the Project NOAH(putting up 525 automated water levels and rain gauges), how unemployment is reduced by some percentage and how the government established both education (better classrooms) and housing (government has built 21,800 houses for soldiers and police officers) programs, the president directly stressed that punishment will be meted out to police officials involved in crimes.

“…sisiguraduhin nating mananagot ang sinumang pulis na sangkot dito gaano man kataas ang ranggo. Kung sino man ang mga pasimuno dito; maghanda lang kayo. Malapit ko na kayong makilala.” These lines which are now becoming familiar coming from the president consisting of threats to even high-ranking officials meant to maybe impress the people. Like what he did with the wangwang issues during his inaugural speech. As the saying goes, no one is exempted from the law. Although now I still some government officials using wangwang, so let’s just hope that these latest threats against liable police officials would have better results. And these I would have to await for the next SONA.

 The president did not generalize that all our police officials are not worthy of our trust. “Buhay na buhay po ang aking pag-asa sa hanay ng kapulisan.” He honored three cops for their dedication and devotion to serve the nation. The president raised our hopes that we can still find good and clean cops within our country.

 Another point from the SONA worth mentioning is the increase in MRT and LRT fares. The government has been subsidizing a big amount of money to maintain and pay for the expenses of the said transportation systems. Considerable percent of the people’s taxes are allotted to cover the maintenance of LRT/MRT but this should instead be used for other projects to help those who are in great need i.e. those in the provinces because not everybody benefits from the low fare of the two transportation systems.

“Sona ninyo ito” strongly declared by President Noynoy. The SONA is for those who are finding solutions instead of complaining. It is for those paying attention to the issues instead of turning their backs. It is for those who want to make a change. Encouraging the Filipino nation to be involved is for me the highlight of his speech.

Yes SONA 2013 received numerous criticisms for not stating everything and for not what the people expected it to be. But I was contented with what our country has achieved over the past year. It may seem small for some but at least we are a step closer to becoming a better nation.

-Patricia Arianne T. Andres

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