“Inuulit ko: posible na ang dating imposible. Humaharap po ako sa inyo ngayon, at sinasabing: hindi ko SONA ito. Kayo ang gumawa nito. SONA ito ng sambayanang Pilipino”
For 1 and a half hours, President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered his 3rd State of the Nation Address. Speaking in front of the joint congress, Pres. Noynoy once again enumerated the gains of his administration and his future plans for the country.
Although I was a bit disappointed again with the inclusion of some blame game portion, this year’s SONA was really fruitful and inspiring. It’s delightful to know that the road to “daang matuwid” is now cemented and will now paved the way for the smooth travel to our country’s progress and development.
The SONA higlighted achievements in education, citing the resolution to the backlog problems in this sector. It was also nice to hear developments in the health care programs of the government. According to the data presented there are already 85% of the Filipinos who are now covered by Philhealth, a growth from the previous 62% coverage. Economy was also vibrant with the 6.4 GDP growth which is considered the highest among South East Asian nations and 2nd in Asia next to China. Stock market is also booming and several credit ratings agency upgrade our credit standings which is a good credential to attract foreign investors.
But of all the pronouncements made by the President, it was his endorsement of the Responsible Parenthood Bill or most commonly known as the RH Bill, that caught the most applause and cheers. For several decades this bill has been pending in both houses of congress and with this pronouncement by the President in his SONA, many of its advocates are seeing positive light that it will now be passed into a law.
Gains in tourism was also well received. With the birth of Its More Fun In the Philippines campaign, dramatic increase in tourist arrivals was achieved. The President also envisioned that in 2016 tourist arrivals will figure at 10 million. Agriculture was also one great achievement by this administration. From the previous 2M+ rice imports, it is now down to 500K and by next year he forecasted that we will be a rice sufficient country and will have the capability to get back as a rice exporting country. Infrastructure projects for the next year was also laid out with the creation of SLEX-NLEX connecting road. As promised this project will lessen the travel time from Subic-Calamba to 1 hour. That will be a great help for business, (and tourism also) because it will greatly lessen the travel time for goods and products to reach its market. LRT1 extension and constructions of several airports were also mentioned. The President also showed new equipments for the AFP as part of AFP modernization program and strengthening our defense capabilities especially now that we are in dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.
In line with that, the President is also commendable for his firm stand over our claim to the disputed Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal. He reiterated our sovereign rights over the the territories in the West Philippine Sea and said “Hindi naman po yata tamang ipamigay na lang natin sa iba ang sadyang atin talaga”. In that statement the President confirmed our stand over the disputed island.
Other matters that he reported in SONA were his call for the congress to amend the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the revision of the Mining Law which will increase the percentage of the government’s share in the revenues from mining, the passing of the sin tax law and the government’s achievement in the fight against corruption thru the successful impeachment trial of the former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Although this year’s SONA is very fruitful, there are still misses especially the non-inclusion of the FOI Bill in his priorities. The crime rates also which was reported seemed not telling the current state of crime incidents in the country because what they reported was the data of 2009 comparing to 2011 instead of 2011 comparing to 2012.
But moreover, this SONA is the best among the 3 SONA’s Pres. Noynoy have delivered. It has the vision, it has the road map and it is indeed inspiring to hear. But as he said, this current state of our nation is not made only by him and the government, but by us the people. We are all part of making this achievements and gains and as he said, we are the one who made the impossible possible. The change in our country was achieved because people supported it. And we should still continue to work for change and help the government to realize its vision for our country and for our people.
“Kayo po ang gumawa ng pagbabago” – President Benigno S. Aquino III (SONA 2012)