In a span of 102 minutes, President Noynoy Aquino delivered his annual State of the Nation Address, a report of the updates and current standing of the Philippines in terms of economy, health, agriculture and many more. This year’s SONA composed mainly of his achievements expressed through statistics and anecdotes, along with some goals of particular sectors for the next year.
One can admit that the developments of the country within the past year are seemingly noteworthy, of course, compared to the last few years. Some of these include the growth of agricultural sector, especially the rice and coconut plantation, enhancement of PhilHealth services, progression of the ARMM elections, increase in disaster preparedness measures, and continuous development of tourism.
Perhaps the most emphasized point that Aquino stated is the 7.8% GDP growth rate of the country on the first quarter of this year. Such status can be considered impressive, compared with our ASEAN neighbors, but much still has to be questioned regarding the nationwide effect of this economic growth. Do Filipino families in the low-income level feel less poor now? Or has this growth only affected those families with high income? Because along with this notable GDP growth rate is the increasing unemployment rate that the President unfortunately forgot to include.
Aside from the growing unemployment rate, the Freedom of Information bill, a bill that PNoy has promised to prioritize when he was running for president, was not included in the SONA. Even the pork barrel scam went unacknowledged. It seemed that the tiny, good details in the country had to be stated while the huge, alarming issues were not.
Overall, President Aquino’s fourth SONA was good yet lacking. Good because for the first time, in his three years as the president, the Philippines is conspicuously gearing towards a better country. His efforts are slowly becoming more effective. Yet his primary intent as a president – to remove corruption – is still being criticized, what with the exclusion (in the SONA) of the FOI bill and the pork barrel scam that clearly contradicts his main goal.
Although I may not be completely convinced that Aquino’s current achievements suffice for a “daang matuwid”, we share the same sentiment with regards to inclusive growth. I agree that it is one of the efficient means to our country’s development. It is not enough that the government performs its duties accordingly; each and every one of us should also do our part and serve the nation with a common goal – a greater Philippines.