At exactly 4:03 pm of June 22, 2013, the 15th president of the Philippines, Benigno “Pnoy” Aquino III delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address. Inside the walls of the Batasan Pambansa Complex, the voice of our president boomed, adorned with plenty rounds of applause, as he stated the successes and accomplishments he and his administration have done. In the longest SONA he has ever delivered, the president Aquino stated numerous programs that have yielded good results for our nation. Some of which were the 7.8 % GDP growth rate in 2013’s first quarter, improvement in education, in health care and many economic achievements.

Despite all these, as usual, not everyone could be pleased. The number of applauses given to our president could only be matched by the outstanding number of people who remain indifferent or even against Pnoy. Some argue that Pnoy sugarcoated his SONA with all the achievements, to make up for all the omissions or failures he has committed. Some even say that the achievements of President Pnoy’s Administration couldn’t be felt by the laymen.  Some challenge for example, that the growth in GDP, in reality remains as just a numerical statistic, unfelt by the Filipinos. Hence, the growth in GDP is just an instrument of comforting us, along with all the other achievements. In some way, these may be true, but aren’t SONA’s supposed to be encouraging after all? Wouldn’t a greater number of Filipinos be angry if Pnoy made his speech more focused on the negatives instead of the positives? I know that no SONA is complete without critics and their scrutinizing eyes. I also admit that I am not always completely aware of political on-goings and things that circulate in the news scene, but I do love my country and I’m a concerned citizen of our nation.

Though I am not completely all cheers for President Benigno III, for like others, I felt his SONA was lacking (such as more content on education etc.) and I also don’t think all his projects are perfect, in fact some are far from it, I believe that a little bit of optimism goes a long way. Given the fact that being a president, and moreover, handling the Philippines, in essence, is quite a difficult task (adding the fact that most Filipinos tend to be pasaway), I think that our President is doing a good job. Zooming in into his achievements, we see for example that more than 4 million students who couldn’t afford to go to school before are now enjoying education, unemployment rate has gone down, private armies have been reduced, corruption has been targeted, etc. Who are we to say that these couldn’t be felt by the Filipinos?  To some extent, yes, there are many other poor people who have been unaffected by our nation’s said progress, but this goes back to the need for optimism, hope and cooperation. Think about it, with continuous growth and development, in the long run, our country might rise out of poverty. Of course this can’t be possible without every citizen’s and the government’s cooperation.  After all, we shouldn’t just keep on relying on the government. Citizens and the government should have a mutual relationship for a country to bloom.

In conclusion, I personally liked his eloquently delivered speech. Though there is always room for improvement, I believe that our attitude plays a big part. We may choose to keep on criticizing, as if we know how to run a country, or we can be optimistic about our country. In my humble opinion, we must know the right times to praise or to condemn. Pnoy ended with the words “Pilipino ako. At talagang napakasarap maging Pilipino sa panahong ito”. As Filipinos, we should actively and constructively be supportive of our Philippines.

-Carlo Fernandez BS Economics 2012-35645


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