The recent SONA is, as any SONA is supposed to be, full of hope and optimism for the future. Rightfully so, PNoy administration’s achievements are laudable, even impressive. President Aquino presented his achievements in every domain with pride, outlined the remaining problems in each domain, and gave concrete steps being undertaken by the government in order to ensure that he would not pass on the problem to the next administration. I commend how the president acknowledged the shortcomings of his administration (the past president seem to be ignorant about her failures).
Unlike some people in the media, I liked the way PNoy managed to berate specific people and agencies in public. We shouldn’t try to sugar-coat what is happening in these agencies. These agencies are wasting public funds; worse, they are even stealing public funds. Why shouldn’t that be a source of shame? If being shamed to the entire populace wouldn’t wake up the agency heads from their ignorance, I don’t know what will.
I believe PNoy has been fair and just in this. MWSS, the agency he berated so much during his first SONAs was given due credit for the turnaround they have managed to do. This GOCC, reporting net losses before the administration, is now actively remitting millions back to the national treasury.
Aside from berating agencies, the President also hinted his desire not let major problems of the country from being inherited by whoever takes the reins in the next presidential elections. Of course, most of the countries’ problems are problems we’ve inherited for decades (hello metro manila flooding, private armies in Midanao, etc) and I do not expect those to be solved within a six year margin, but the assurance that we are at least heading in that direction is more or less a reason to be optimistic about the future. One of many perfect example is metro manila traffic. A solution has been already proposed by President Marcos in the martial-law era, but three decades after, these plans still remain in paper. I do not need the SONA to at least acquaint myself that we are heading towards reduced Metro Manila traffic. The roads along congressional avenue and the huge flyover cutting through commonwealth are clear signs that the country is making progress.
On the other hand, robust economic growth powered by increased government spending on infrastructure spending doesn’t seem to get Mang Juan anywhere near satisfying his hunger. Poverty incidence remains high in the Philippines. President Aquino, despite highlighting his administration’s efforts to alleviating poverty, doesn’t seem to point out directly that 7.8% growth doesn’t really translate into better living standards for the poor. President Aquino may be making speedy progress in crucial aspects of the economy, but in doing so, might further widen the income equality between the poor and the rich, the uneducated and the educated.
It is hard to come up with a statistic saying how much of the growth really translates to better living standards for the poor, but I hope this growth, despite being mainly gains of the rich, will fuel what would become the poor’s locomotive away from poverty, towards the right direction.
Raphael Justin A. Jambalos – 2012-26860