First and foremost I would like to applaud PNoy for his use of our national language, Filipino although it would be better if he would also learn and use other dialects like Cebuano and others in his future SONA. Remember that our country is rich in dialects thus it is about time that our own president recognizes this. He had used Filipino in his entire speech which means that the State of the Nation Address is truly for the Filipino people and not just a means to impress foreigners or the learned.
President Aquino opened his SONA with the reminder of what he promised during his inauguration, which is the removal of the culture of corruption in the country. He referred to this as the "culture of the wang-wang." "Wang-wang" refers to the siren usually attached to vehicles of law enforcement but before he was elected it was also used abusively by government officials particularly the more influential ones.
He also mentioned the fact that the fight against corruption is indeed a personal battle for him because he is elected to protect not only the powerful but most specially the Filipino people as a whole.
"Some of my critics say that I take this campaign against corruption personally. It’s true: doing what’s right is personal. Making people accountable—whoever they may be—is personal. It should be personal for all of us, because we have all been victimized by corruption."
President Aquino also for the first time took recognition of Filipino invention and ingenuity. No other President before him had taken the time to really look at the capacity of Filipino inventors and how they can be of help to our country. The monorail system and many other simple, helpful and ingenious inventions could save the country millions if not billions of pesos. This would prevent great inventions like the water car, the fluorescent lamp, the moon rover and many others to be given rights to other countries.
PNoy's SONA also highlighted economic gains which had been reached during his first year in office. These gains includes the now reachable 4,000 points of the Philippine Stock Exchange and the better credit rating given to the Philippines by Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch, and Japan Credit Ratings Agency. A better credit rating as President Aquino puts it saves loan payments and in his first year alone more than 23 billion pesos had been saved.
If there was a theme for this administration it would be HONESTY. Yes, honesty which involved ridding out of graft and corruption in both the public and the private sector. Ensuring sustainability in every project of the government and seeing to it that projects will have a long term effect and not only be band-aid solutions. Most projects which had been ill-planned according to President Aquino had been discontinued like the dredging of the Laguna lake, and a food-for-scholarship program. These had no clear long term results the president said.
On the side of the private sector, Aquino sees the "wang-wang" attitude in those who said that they are self-employed but had not been paying taxes honestly. "We have around 1.7 million self-employed and professional taxpayers: lawyers, doctors, businessmen who paid a total of 9.8 billion pesos in 2010. This means that each of them paid only an average of 5,783 pesos in income tax—and if this is true, then they each must have earned only 8,500 pesos a month, which is below the minimum wage. I find this hard to believe," the President said
But... can we blame them? These people are adamant to pay taxes because their money would eventually be victims of graft and corruption. That is why it is great to hear the reassurance from President Aquino that taxes will be used properly.
President Aquino also has strong position regarding our island claims on the Spratlys located at the West Philippine Sea. To gear up our defenses, he said that we are now fully modernizing the armed forces and in fact a modern boat and various helicopters are already on the way.
PNoy's 2011 SONA talks about a better life and a government that will focus on the sectors which are really important to the Filipino people and these includes agriculture particularly food sustainability, better jobs and better salaries and wages both in the private and public sector, better housing for all and lots more. It gives hope to every Filipino that indeed a new age has come for this country.
President Benigno Aquino III's 2011 State of the Nation Adress or SONA 2011 will certainly lack many details because not everything can be covered in such a short time. I am personally sad that something about the peace process in Mindanao with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILD) and the CPP-NPA-NDF had not bee mentioned in his SONA. There was also no mention about the environment and how the great environment of this country can be protected from the butchers of nature.
The MILF had already submitted their proposal and the government is yet to submit theirs. We hope that there would be more concrete decisions on this subject rather than an exchange of ideas, thoughts and in the end blame.
This year alone tons of corals and species had been massacred in the waters of Mindanao. Mining operations had threaten our country and also the ancestral domain of indigenous people. Despite the passage of the Renewable Energy Bill the SONA still mentioned of an energy plan that is focused on coal and fossil fuels. Someone needs to advice the president that it is about time we really become green. I just hope that PNoy would consider the possibility of appointing Nicanor "Nick" Perlas as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
For his performance, I would give President Aquino a rating of 7/10. He had done a lot in too short a time and he had shown that with political will graft and corruption can be eradicated.
For us, let us be doers rather than complainers and let us do what in our power we can do to help our country.
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