THE 53-minute or so State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III last July 25 may have captured a considerable majority of the masses—for whom it was seemingly intended by the way it was projected over nationwide radio and TV, but less to those who appeared not so keen at the august halls of the House—yet sectoral groups were far from bolstered.
According to various statements gathered after the presidential address, the SONA did not lay the administration’s plans on peace process, environment, education, land reform and other more consequential concerns of the country. While it engaged on a myriad of details such as the invention of an anti-dengue device, it did not give any hint of a national roadmap to accomplish towards 2016, nay a vision where to lead the nation.
One heaved a sigh, though, when the pro-RH groups, the likes of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) and the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD), lambasted PNoy in separate statements for not mentioning the RH Bill in his address. But isn’t he the patron of anti-life advocates?
Former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno verbalized what many had in their minds: “He keeps going back to his anti-corruption agenda…he was talking of things he wants to do in a small way, like in graft and corruption. But where does he want to carry us from here until 2016?”
But the ones who cried foul were the OFWs who thought that they were hit by the SONA right from the guts. They reacted in pain to this SONA rhetoric: “Kung magkasakit ka at makita mo ang nars na nag-aruga sa iyo, sa halip na magserbisyo sa dahyuhan kapalit ng mas malaking suweldo, pakisabi rin po, ‘salamat po.’ The members of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE HK), issued a press statement on July 27 through its chairperson Dolores Balladares: “We detest the implication that OFWs chose to serve foreigners instead of their countrymen. We protest the underlying contempt of President Aquino towards migrants who had no choice but to work overseas, separated from our families and communities, because the past and the present administration failed miserably to provide jobs and livelihood and denied basic social services to the Filipino people.” God forbid that this hurt will not escalate into something worse. But this collateral damage is bound to happen when a SONA becomes rhetorical and exhortative instead of an honest-to-goodness reportage of what the situation of the country is.
But in fairness, while his first year in office has been heavily tarnished by the embarrassing handling of the Luneta hostage crises and his proclivity to cuddle his friends from glaring anomalies, President Aquino maybe commended, though arguably, for doing a house cleaning. In his first year in office he has revamped or abolished agencies, reviewed government contracts, held off the salaries and scandalous emoluments savored by officials of government owned and controlled corporations, and filed cases against alleged grafters. But again, house cleaning is barely enough in a country that has sunk so deep in a heap of garbage.