13 AUGUST 2010 •
G r a n d s t a n d o n J u l y 3 1
P h o t o c o u r t e s y o f B u l l i t M a r q u e z / A P P h o t o
Thousands o people rom dierent sectors rallied at thePeople’s SONA to raise the issues that should be addressed by PresidentAquino in his SONA on July 26.
Photo courtesy of Joanna Udarbe
“Aquino’s SONA Evades RPPressing Issues,” Says SR, FR
DEONAH ABIGAIL LUGO MIOLE
espite positive feedbacks raked by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s irst State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26, the University of the Philippines (UP) Student and Faculty Regents –alongside progressive groups and students – expressed dissatisfaction over the recent SONA, saying that Aquino fell short in addressing the country’s pressing issues.
Remnants of the ArroyoRegime
Aquino started his speech byreiterating his former campaignslogan concept, “
” and further explaining itspremises. He also said that thetrue state of the nation has beenkept secret from the people.For the most part of his speech,Aquino addressed the problemshis administration inherited fromthe Arroyo administration. Healso mentioned the discoveredanomalies from Arroyo’s term.Aquino exposed the irregularitiesin the budget of the government,such as the 196.7 billion peso
deicit, the remaining 6% or 100
billion pesos left from the 1.54
trillion peso budget for 2010, andthe already–spent 70% or 1.4
billion pesos of the 2 billion pesocalamity fund.His SONA, which lasted for
almost 40 minutes, also included
the controversies involving theMetropolitan Waterworks and
Sewerage System (MWSS) oficials,
National Power Corporation(NAPOCOR) debt, Mass RailTransit (MRT) purchase, NationalFood Authority (NFA) debt, andunplanned infrastructure projectsof the Department of Public Worksand Highways (DPWH).Aquino articulated that the
MWSS oficials had been giving
themselves ‘rewards,’ despite thefact that the pension for retiredemployees has not yet been fullypaid and people had been puttingup with water scarcity.
Recalling that the said oficials
were midnight appointees fromthe previous administration,Aquino said, “
Kung mayroon pasilang kahit kaunting hiya nanatitira – sana kusa na lang silangmagbitiw sa puwesto
.”Aquino also mentioned in hisspeech the road works andinfrastructures controversiesof the DPWH. He said, that the
DPWH proposed 240 priority
safety projects which would havebeen funded by the Motor VehiclesUsers Charge with 425 millionpesos.Only 28 projects, however, havebeen covered by the fund, despite
having the fund increased to 480
million pesos. Further, the saidprojects were not included in theoriginal plan.“
Tapos na po ang panahon para dito. Sa administrasyon ponatin, walang kota-kota, walangtongpats, ang pera ng taumbayanay gagastusin para sa taumbayanlamang.
” Aquino remarked.Aquino included the NAPOCORdebt in his address. He disclosedthat the government had beenpaying the corporation’s debt
since 2004, since it persuaded
NAPOCOR to sell power at very
low costs in early 2000s.
He said, “
Kung naging matino ang pag-utang, sana’y nadagdaganang ating kasiguruhan sa supply ng kuryente. Pero ang desisyonay ibinatay sa maling pulitika,at hindi sa pangangailangan ngtaumbayan. Ang taumbayan,matapos pinagsakripisyo ay lalo pang pinahirapan.
”Aquino revealed that the LandBank and Development of the Bank of the Philippines, were ordered tobuy the MRT .Furthermore, Aquino discussedthe controversial funds of theNFA. He also discussed that theagency had imported too muchrice annually which they have kept for years until the rice becomesrotten.
Solutions to the Problems of the State
To make amends in the government,Aquino disclosed the immediatesteps his administration wouldtake to ‘build a better nation’.In his speech, he tackled the issueon tax evasion, declaring that every
week, there shall be cases iled
against tax evaders and smugglers.
Aquino also announced that 50%
of the extralegal killing incidentssince his inauguration have beenresolved.Aquino pronounced in his address,that in the coming days after hisSONA, an executive order shall
be signed to formally inalize
the Truth Commission, to beheaded by former Chief JusticeHilario Davide. The commission
Activists Killed UnderNew Administration
ALYSSA NICOLE CACHO GRATIL
erely days after President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino’s inauguration as the 15th president of theRepublic of the Philippines, unidentiied hit men gunned down four activists in four different incidents – rendering extra judicial killings the highlight of his initial weeks in ofice.
“Firsts” Under the Aquino Administration
Fernando Baldomero, a 61-year-old second-term councilor, BayanMuna coordinator for Aklan, and
a Makabayan coalition oficial, was
shot to death in front of his housein Kalibo, early morning, July 5.Following suit after four dayswere Pascual Guevarra, a 78-year-old leader of the Alyansa ngmga Magbubukid na Nagkakaisa
3100 (Almana 3100), and Mark
Francisco, a 27-year-old teacherin Masbate and member of theAlliance of Concerned TeachersPartylist. Last and most recently,Josephine Estacio, a 46-year-oldco-member of Francisco was shot dead in Balanga City, Bataan, July12.The number of victims iscontinuously swelling, with an
additional ive attested media
killings prior to Baldomero,Guevarra, Francisco and Estacio.Among the victims were RadyoNatin commentator Jose Daguioand public school teacher Edgar
Administration in a State of Refute
Above all the claims of extrajudicialkillings, the administration stillinsists that the military hasnothing to do with the deaths of the activists. Militant legislators,on support, agreed that Aquinois no different from Arroyo about this matter.Recently interviewed by thePhilippine Online Chronicles,Malacanang insisted that theydo not have a policy regardingthe extrajudicial killings, andeven vowed to address the issuesboldly. In this regard, Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Limaeven issued a memorandum,creating a super body composedof the Philippine National Police,the Department of Justice, theCommission on Human Rightsand the Armed Forces of thePhilippines (AFP) that will
speciically attend to the killings,
and will proactively go beyond thecollation of data and supervisionof investigation.
Bayan Muna President SaturOcampo and party-list Rep.Teddy Casiño strongly rebukedthe murders of activists. Otheradvocates demanded strict analysis on the possible meddlingof military and military-backeddeath squads.
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shall investigate further on theanomalies from the previousadministration and punish the
Moreover, Aquino brought up thePublic-Private Partnerships (PPP)in his SONA. With the PPP, thegovernment shall partner up withone or more private institutions
to inancially support the needs of
the country.Aquino said, “
Ang sagot naman sakakulangan natin sa pondo ay mgamakabago at malikhaing paraan para tugunan ang mga pagkatagal-tagal nang problema.
”According to him, once theimplementation of the PPP
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