In the State of the Nation Address of President Noynoy Aquino last week what i liked most about his speech is the way he addressed the Filipino people. He addressed the people as his ‘bosses’, and in all humility he regarded all his achievements for the past year as the achievements of the country, his and the Filipino People’s achievements. He always use ‘nagawa natin’ at ‘atin’ throughout his speech. This shows how he sees his position not just as a powerful position, but a privilege to represent the country and serve the people.
This mind set gives me hope, that he would serve better than the previous officials who have been drowned in the corrupt system. I liked best the way he presented his SONA as ‘makamasa’. He used Filipino, but in the best way possible. He opted not to use english like how the previous president Arroyo did. But i liked it because by doing so, he was able to capture the attention of everyone, not just those who are educated.
He was able to get the attention of even the poorest of the poor because the language he used did not hinder them from understanding; but at the same time because of his correct manner of speaking, his educated way of addressing, and his strategy of using facts and figures in his speech, he was also able to capture the eyes and ears of the middle and upper class. My friends and i are actually living statements. I find this year’s SONA more effective and striking than the previous year’s.
It actually got my attention and made me believe that there’s hope for this country, hope for progress, and hope that corruption will be erradicated in the system. The main problem in this country is not the resources, nor the skills of the people, but that of corruption. And the president was right in addressing this issue and attacking all the problems right through the roots. Throughout his SONA, he constantly uses ‘wang-wang’ and stresses his struggles to fight against it. He is brave and direct in addressing corruption.
He was specific in his examples and i think this is a good way of waking up the officials who are abusive of their power. His example about the abuse in traffic by the officials, inclucing their ‘padrino and alipores’ was a simple way of showing how much he hates corruption even in its simplest form. He was right in saying the officials ‘imbis na maglingkod, ay naghahari’, because it is a reality in our country. Those who run for office mostly are interested in the power, not in what they can do for the country. They are more focused on their personal benefits rather than the common good.
If we want a better society, this mentality should change. Next to attacking ‘wang-wang’, the thing i liked best about his achievements was the housing for the police and the military. He was right in saying that it’s really difficult to say no to ‘pagdedelihensiya’ when your family is struggling for money. We all know that the police and military don’t really earn much, and in our Filipino culture of having lots of children, and making wives just as housewives, it surely won’t be enough to support the whole family. Providing housing for them will give them no excuse to resolve to corruption.
It’s similary to the case of the criminals who resolve to stealing because of extreme hunger. If only they are provided with food or a sustainable job as a source of income, then i’m sure that most of them will not even consider stealing as an option. A large percentage really just steal because of necessity. The 23 Billion lower interest rate is also impressive, because second to corruption, the greatest problem we probably have is national debt. Every year, instead of rising up from it, ‘lalo lang tayong nababaon’.
We have been stuck in the quicksand of our debts, because each year just increases our debts exponentially. This 23 Billion pesos saved from the interest can go a long way in terms of helping our country address its more urgent needs. This, the president says, is due to the upgrade in ratings we received in the stocks exchange. This is impressive, like he says, since the other nation’s ratings are either going down or maintaining its level after the financial crisis. Another accomplishment is the planning of the new powerplant in the luzon grid, expected to materialize by 2014.
This will have us have a cheaper source of energy in the country. Because of modernization and industrialization, every single one of us needs electricity as much as we need water and food, and therefore, having a cheaper source would uplift everyone in the country. This is also true with the monorail system that’s planned to be built in our country. With the continuously rising price of gas and transportation cost, a monorail system will not only help the Filipinos maximize their money, but also help the environment as well, due to less polution by cars.
The 0-based budgeting is also one way of addressing the problem of corruption. As the president addressed those who are still planning to steal from the goverment, “huwag ka ng magtangka”. I think this SONA is more of a wake up call to those abusive officials, that it’s already time to stop. For the first time, i’m actually very hopeful for the future of this country under the presidency of Mr. Aquino. I think that he can really make a difference in decreasing, if not totally eliminating corruption in the system. We need someone like him, who is brave enough to confront the infected system.
His strategy of addressing corruption in a personal way, as a personal battle against it, really gives light and hope, despite the severity of corruption in our country. Aside from the officials’ corruptions, another thing he addressed is tax evation. He was right in saying that now that corruption is already being fought, there is no reason not to pay the right taxes anymore. It has been a common excuse of many that it is just justifiable to evade task simply because the money will just go to the pockets of corrupt officials.
But then i think that if the people can really see progress in the country, then less people will be tempted to evade tax. Right now, tax evation is very rampant and out in the open in our country. Imagine, professionals and self employed people only pay an average of 5,783 pesos per year. This is a really small figure compared to their expected salary, which is surely a lot greater than the 8,500php they claim. “naman” as our president had said. It’s all too much, too obvious, and i think that after this SONA, people would first think twice before doing something corrupt.
Another noteable achievement of the president for the past year is the decline in the imported rice from 1. 3M metric tons to only 660 metric tons this year. This, he said, was due to the useage of a better type of rice grain and good irrigation system that has increased the rice productivity by 15. 6%. A long time ago, the philippines was the rice bowl in Asia, we were the one exporting rice and providing for our neighboring countries, what happened since that time? It’s not that we don’t have the capability and resources, as the past has proven, but it’s because of our system and our means.
And by attacking that, we have proven to improve rice productivity, which is a major improvement considering rice is the staple food of the Filipino people. His strong will to fight for what is due the Filipinos was shown in how he address the issue of Spratlys. He was confident in saying that even if we do not want a fight, if we are provoked, then we have no choice but to fight back, because ‘hindi tayo paaapi’ according to him. It brings us hope knowing that we have an able leader who is willful enough to fight for the rights of our country, because if not, then how can we entrust the welfare of all the citizens in this country then?
He even cited the story about Filipinos ingenuity about using painted coconuts against canon balls, giving credit to the capability of the Filipinos in fighting. But then compared to China, can we really win? I believe that moderation is necessary in addressing this issue because the world knows that compared with China, we are really nothing, we can never win a war with them if it comes to that, even if we purchase a new war ship or new helicopters. I agree with Mr.
Barretto when he said that this issue should be addressed diplomatically and peacefully, and that we should not enrage china because it is surely a decision we will come to regret in the future, because China is a rising power and we need her for our economic progress. The president also has mentioned the decreased cases of car napping in the last 6 months from 1010 cases to 460+ cases this year. He said that he is just unfortunate that the headlines are all about the car napping incidents and not the statistics on how much it has declined compared with the past year.
I actually was greatly affected by this because recently i’ve been hearing lots of stories about the car napping incidents, especially in Quezon City. And i’ve had thoughts that the Philippines is more and more becoming a dangerous place to live, what with the many crimes happening here and there. What i failed to realize was that maybe it is indeed improving, like how the president claims it has, that maybe the cases of corruption, human trafficking, and other issues have improved significantly. This i think is a good sign, although we aim for the total eradication of these crimes, we all know that this is not possible all at once.
And i think that the first step is to first decrease it significantly, and that’s what we have now. Another pressing concern in our country is unemployment. Lots of Filipinos are either unemployed or underemployed, based on studies made. And i liked the stragegy being employed by the president about matching job availability with education. Although in the idealistic world, each one should study his or her interest and land a job that he or she would enjoy doing, this is not always achievable, because of financial concerns. Also, we all know that most work not for the job but for the salary it can provide.
It’s a reverse process where the people just learn to appreciate their work afterwards. Because of this fact, it is a better strategy to match the demand of jobs to the direction of education. This will ensure the employment of the graduates, and will surely uplift poverty in our country. As the president has mentioned, unemployment rate was down to 7. 2% from 8% last year. This strategy is a good way of addressing job mismatch, and the issue of underemployment. Also, he mentioned about the 1. 3Million people that were provided with livelihood for the past year.
As the president had said “walang tatangkilik sa Pilipino kung isang kahit isang tuka lamang sila”. And this is really true. How can we expect the Filipinos not to give in to brain drain, if it’s their survival that is at stake? How can we expect the Filipinos to think about the common good, and what’s best for the economy, if he and his family is not able to eat three times a day? The root cause of all these problems is poverty, and attacking poverty in our country will surely solve lots of problems. The synchronizing of the ARMM election to the national election is also one of the best achievements he has.
This is i think one of the response to the Maguindanao Masacre during the time of President Aroyo. He was right in saying that this election being separate from the national election poses more opportunities for corruption, as was proven by history. As he had revealed, 80% fo reimbursements from ARMM was from cash advances that are not properly accounted for. It always happens that the people in power use their position just to remain in power and acquire wealth for himself. They do not anymore serve the people, but rather just use the resources as campaign again for the next election.
And issues about vote buying, ‘dagdag bawas’, and other cheating in elections has been happening in ARMM for the past years, and nobody was addressing this problem, until now. Towards the end of his speech, he mentioned that people say that he’s taking corruption too personally, and he said it’s really true because fighting corruption is personal to him, and so is doing what’s right. And i admire him for that. He is probably the first president to ever directly address corruption, and the first one who is brave enough to actually expose the corrupt system of our goverment.
As an examply he even cited the spendings of pagcor of 1 Billion pesos just for coffee. And it’s true how funny everything is. He said that even at 100php per cup, it would mean that they had consumed 10Million cups of coffee. This is a good example of how shameless the officials have been the past years, just because no one is brave enough to confront them and expose them. But then now, with the president’s strong campaign against corruption, surely, it will make these corrupt officials think twice.
Completely eradicating corruption is not that easy, and i don’t expect it to be achieved in a year or even during the term of President Aquino, but then these efforts of the president will go a long way, because atleast, corruption will not be as much and as shameless as before. Appointing Conchita Morales, former associate chief justice, and instructing her to file charges against the corrupt officials is one step in eliminating the parasites in office who have been continuously stealing money from the people for the past years.
As the president closed his speech, he said, ‘itigil na ang utak alimango’. And this is exactly what each of us should do. We should not just pull each other down, but rather help each other for the good of our country as a whole. We cannot expect just the leaders to do their part, we should do our part too. As head of our country, he can indeed do a lot in addressing corruption and other pressing issues, but then he can only do so much, all the officials can only do so much.
What we need to do is unite as a nation, both the officials and the common citizens, towards the direction of economic advancement. We have all the resources we need, we have all the skills and the people, and now we have an able leader to lead us, the only thing we need now is the right attitude towards change. This SONA has indeed given me hope, that maybe, our country is not hopeless afterall, that maybe, just maybe, with this strong leader, we can do away with our crab mentality and fight corruption,and beginning there, move forward towards the right direction.