P-Noy’s SONA praised, jeered
By Shiena M. Barrameda
NAGA CITY — While many praised the President for speaking the native tongue throughout his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, July 25, a good number of national and local leaders still believe that his administration remains wanting in terms of concrete long-term services for the people, especially the impoverished sector.
Militant groups in Bicol, particularly in the cities of Naga and Legazpi, braved the pelting rain brought about by tropical storm ‘Juaning’ to air their own version of the state of the nation which according to them did not speak well of the economy, and the promises that President Aquino made when he ran for office.
Karapatan-Bicol and Kabataan, and ordinary employees challenged P-Noy’s declaration of a decreasing percentage in the number of hungry Filipinos which, according to the President went down to 15.1% in June 2011 from 20.5% in March 2010.
His fellow Liberals
Mayor Antonio Chavez of San Jose, Camarines Sur, a known P-Noy ally because of his affiliation with the Liberal Party said that President Aquino’s most notable achievement during his first year in Malacañang is the reduction in the number of substandard public works projects, and probably the absence of ghost projects within his first year term of office, proving himself faithful to his vision of ‘Matuwid Na Daan’ under his term.
Naga City Vice-Mayor Gabriel Bordado, another Liberal Party member, stressed that P-Noy’s SONA was “generally OK.”
“P-Noy did the right thing when he underscored the upgrades made by Fitch and other international entities engaged in rating the economies of sovereign states. He should have provided, however, additional broad strokes to serve as guideposts or veritable roadmaps. I personally appreciate his concern for local governments,” Bordado said of P-Noy’s description of the Philippines’ triumph in the ranking of nations by such credible institutions such as Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch, and Japan Credit Ratings Agency.
Bordado had admitted in his previous assessments that the first few months of P-Noy’s administration have arguably not been too rosy for the President and his Cabinet.
He stressed that the government is still on the right track despite the travails and pitfalls the Aquino administration experienced.
Meanwhile, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe praised the President’s simple and clear speech.
“The SONA was concise and very definite as to what the President intends to do,” Batocabe said. “Above all else, his plan is to change the culture of corruption and inequity where the rich, powerful and well-connected can bend the law, justice and fair play to suit one’s interest. In other words, he wants a regime where the rule of law, fair play and equity reign supreme. These are, after all, the reasons why our people placed him there.”
Voices in the street
Jahn Cristopher Tapalla, 24, a mall employee and single father, admitted he was impressed by the President’s use of the national tongue.
But he was not convinced about the President’s declaration of progress taking place under his watch.
“They all shouted, ‘No. That’s not true! A lot of us are still hungry!’ I guess whatever he is doing is still not enough,” Tapalla said of the televised SONA on that day.
Dimple Viñas, a receptionist from Tinambac, Camarines Sur, commented on Facebook that Filipinos should try to understand P-Noy’s situation because he was elected into a position in a country with an almost irreparable political condition. She stressed that she was pleased with the developments she sees now, encouraging others to do their part in nation-building.
On the other hand, Congressman Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna voiced out that the President’s report is almost lacking in concrete long-term solutions and tangible progress.
Representing the view of the party-list, he said that the ‘Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’ which the President was waving in pride is nothing more than a temporary solution that would only leave the coffers of the Republic missing a lot of money which could have been used to finance basic services and create more jobs.
“What the common man needs are long-term solutions and not cash on hand to spend,” Casiño said.
Despite this, Casiño commended the President for his relentless effort in running after corrupt officials and taking the initiative of cleansing the government of corrupt practices.