SONA 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

It isn’t every day do we hear the President of the Philippines’ achievements be laid in front of us. But it isn’t also every day do we learn of his pro-poor programs, if there’s any, and how much of these developments are actually felt by most of us.

This year, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III delivered his fifth (5th) State of the Nation Address (SONA). His speech includes this rundown:
  • Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was able to help more than 200,000 students through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.
  • With PhP12.3 billion, the Expanded Conditional Cash Transfer Program was able to begin June this year.
  • Poverty rate of the Philippines down to 24.9% since 2013.
  • Debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio also decreased.
  • Philippines is more open to business since it attained investment grade status in 2013.
  • The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has increased 42% since 2010.
  • The Philippines achieved a better aviation industry within a year through the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
  • There has been fewer strikes in cumulative years; the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has given more job opportunities.
  • Budget on infrastructure projects doubled since 2011 including the biggest Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project: Laguna Expressway.
  • The different airports, alternatives of EDSA, like the Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines, are about to begin its building.
  • The construction of the Clark Green City, which was said to be larger than Bonifacio Global City (BGC), will soon begin.
  • The Bureau of Customs (BOC) increased its funds to 22%.
  • Crime rates, specifically murder and homicide cases, went down from 31 to 22, which is a 29% drop rate.

He also mentioned about the fast recovery of Bohol earthquake and Yolanda victims through the bunk houses built for them and the relief goods sent to them. He even praised certain local government units (LGUs) for their rehabilitation and recovery programs for the people. Additionally, he said that around PhP2.0 trillion is expected for the 2015 National Budget.

I honestly wanted to hear more of the DAP and Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) issues, but memorizing a more-than-an-hour-long speech and serving millions of people is absolutely not a piece of cake. So I just keep my fingers crossed on Aquino being innocent about the unconstitutional use of DAP funds.

In all fairness, I think the Philippines has made a one percent-like progress. Slow progress is till progress though.