SONA 2013: Did change happen?

When President Benigno Aquino III, or PNoy, ran for presidency, he was quite aware of the problems that he would have to face. Transforming society is what he has always wanted. And last July 22, he was able to tell us how much progress we’ve had, as far as transforming society is concerned, through his fourth State of the Nation Address.


PNoy delivered a 103-minute long SONA at the Batasang Pambansa, which mainly tackled the achievement of the government in his term. He proudly told us about the 7.8% GDP growth rate for the first quarter of 2013, which is the highest recorded GDP in East and Southeast Asia. He said forty billion pesos more are allocated for funding education, health, social services and others; all these because of the “right” and “more efficient” tax collection. He even allotted 6.2 billion pesos for flood prevention in Metro Manila. Also, several laws have been approved, such as Sin Tax Reform, RH, K-12 and 4Ps.


We’ve heard so many great things. In fact, among all the presidents after Ferdinand Marcos, PNoy “grew” the Philippine economy fastest. We have the fastest GDP growth rate in the region, a low budget deficit and more jobs. However, there are still some shortcomings. For example, Philippines still has the worst unemployment rate in Asia. Poverty rate is virtually the same, having decreased by only 0.7% since 2009.


But the big changes cannot happen overnight, not even in a year or two. Not everyone can feel that 7.8% increase in GDP growth rate, at least not yet. There may be more than 2 million new available jobs, but there are still 3 million people who are looking for employment.


We don’t need a president who can magically transform society in a blink of an eye. And no matter what we do, we would never be the perfect society because no such thing exists. What we need is someone who would start the change, the change that will continuously take place in the years to come.


PNoy said this himself, Once, I was told: ‘Noynoy, just begin the change.’ So we did, and we can all see how far we have come.“


He only has less than three years left in his term to lead us to his “daang matuwid.” All I can hope for is that what we are starting to experience now is the change that we all need, the change that will bring forth a better Philippines.


– Alessandra Gaborni


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