An Assessment of President Benigno Aquino’s 2nd State of the Nation Address
What is a SONA?
According to the Official Gazette, the SONA is a yearly tradition wherein the President reports on the status of the country, and may also propose to Congress, before which the address is delivered, certain proposals for legislation that are believed to be necessary.” Aquino’s SONA on Monday was the 72nd in history, and the 25th of the Fifth Republic. “The SONA as an annual practice began during the Commonwealth of the Philippines. The 1935 Constitution, as amended, states in Article VII, Section 5 that “[t]he President shall from time to time give to the Congress information on the state of the Nation, and recommend to its consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Thus, the annual address to the legislature became known as the State of the Nation Address,” the Official Gazette said. Validation of Alleged Achievements and Future Direction
“I stood before you during my inauguration and promised: we would do away with the use of the wang-wang. This one gesture has become the symbol of change, not just in our streets, but even in our collective attitude.” “Over the years, the wang-wang had come to symbolize abuse of authority. It was routinely used by public officials to violate traffic laws, inconveniencing ordinary motorists—as if only the time of the powerful few, and no one else’s, mattered. Instead of behaving like public servants, they acted like kings. This privilege was extended to their cronies and patrons, who moved along the streets as if they were aristocracy, indifferent to those who were forced to give way and were left behind. Abusing privilege despite promising to serve—this is the wang-wang mindset; this is the mindset of entitlement.” 2. FEWER HUNGRY PINOYS
“We have fought against the wang-wang, and our efforts have yielded results. Just this year, the number of Filipinos who experienced hunger has come down. Self-rated hunger has gone down from 20.5% in March to 15.1% this June—equivalent to a million Filipino families who used to go hungry, but who now say they eat properly every day.” 3. BETTER ECONOMY
“As for business, who would have thought that the stock market would reach seven record highs in the past year? At one time, we thought that for the PSE Index to reach 4,000 points would be, at best, a fluke. We now routinely exceed this threshold.” 4. CHEAPER ENERGY SOURCE
” Just last Friday, a new contract was signed for a power plant to be constructed in the Luzon grid, so that by 2014, our country will have a cheaper, more reliable source of energy.” 5. ZERO-BASED BUDGETING
“To end the wang-wang culture in government, we employed zero-based budgeting to review programs. For this year and the last, zero-based budgeting has allowed us to end many wasteful programs.” 6. TAXES GO TO WHERE THEY SHOULD
“Today we can see that our taxes are going where they should, and therefore there is no reason not to pay the proper taxes. I say to you: it’s not just the government, but our fellow citizens, who are cheated out of the benefits that these taxes would have provided.” 7. A “MORE HONEST” DPWH
“We are eliminating the patronage politics that had been prevalent in DPWH, and replacing it with a culture in which merit prevails. All projects must have work programs; we will require those involved in projects to submit well thought out plans for consideration, so that each project complements the other. We have also instituted an honest and transparent bidding process to provide equal opportunity to interested contractors.” 8. NO MORE OVER-IMPORTATION OF RICE
“How many years have we been over-importing rice? Many Filipinos thought that there was nothing we could do about it.” “We envision two things: first, an end to over-importation that only serves to benefit the selfish few. Second: we want rice self-sufficiency—that the rice served on every Filipino’s dinner table is...
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