Listening to The President’s SONA

Trying to catch the points in PGM-Arroyo’s SONA:

1. I didn’t become a president to be popular”

Let’s face it, politics is one big popularity contest.  Just like in high school, but more sinister and has, if not global, national effects and grave consequences.  Popularity gets you to that throne.  It’s not what you go after when you take your seat – unless, you want to stay longer.

2. “Better health care, more roads, education system”

Better health care system for whom?  For those with money who could pay off any medical expense?  Even those with insurance aren’t certain of their coverage.  I should know because I am paying for a health insurance who just told me awhile ago that if I get “positive” results in a certain test then I won’t be covered after that.  What the heck!  Then why did I bother getting an insurance when I won’t be covered for illness?

I saw this kid on the side of the road who was crying in pain because of severe toothache.  What health system is she talking about?  Her SONA stated something too general.  I want her to be specific to see if she really knows what is happening to the people she is supposed to serve.

What health insurance?  I have attended to a lady in the emergency room and found out that she walked all the way there because she can’t afford to hire a jeepney or a tricycle.  When I prescribed her the cheapest, but appropriate, medication I could think of, she asked if I had some free samples of the meds because she only had five pesos or $0.20 with her.  She don’t think it could buy her anything else.

More roads leading to where?  I think they have designated too much for roads and highways.  From what I heard, a certain flyover cost almost a billion pesos.  How corrupt can you get?  And how stupid can we be?

How did the education system changed besides the increased in tuition fees, lack of classrooms and teachers, uncompensated teachers, unavailability of pencils and papers?  Isn’t she watching any news lately?  Or was she playing blind and deaf monkey (apparently, not mute) all these years?  Has she seen children in school these days when at least 2 of them share one seat and one small table?  When I saw this on television, I can only ask myself, “How could they possibly learn in that situation?”  I do hope that parents give them reinforcements at home because they aren’t going to learn that much in school.

Has she seen teachers cry in class because of frustration about theirs and their students’ situation?  Madam president, weren’t you aware of all these?

3. “Kilalanin ang mga magsasaka bilang backbone ng bansa”

I do hope that we find a leader who see through this.  Our farmers are our ultimate workforce.  If we could all make use of our land, there would be so much produce.  We wouldn’t need any importation of agricultural products because first and foremost, we are an agricultural country.  Even in dire weather conditions, Filipinos are supposed to know how to deal with it since we all came from a family of farmers (Well, I suppose some came from somewhere else).

Why are the farmers still parading in the streets about land reform?  What has been done?  Again, the SONA failed to give any details hence, as a listener, I am doubtful of this “accomplishment” being boasted all throughout the country.

4. “Paid the political price to do the right thing”

Well, I do understand her place right now.  She is being “oppressed” by so many critics.  She now knows how people felt about her and her leadership.  Her popularity has suffered tremendously and I’m still surprised that 15% of the Filipinos trust her.

I truly hope that she is doing what is right and beneficial to the majority of the Filipinos.  I do hope that what she had stated in her SONA were all true and that we are all wrong with our accusations.  I would welcome any mistake pointed out to me regarding my president because I’m still hoping that she really did her job.  Never mind popularity.

5. “For standing up with me to do the right thing, thank you Congress”

Aha! That’s what we thought so too.

6. “We have built more and better infrastructure”

Again, the billion-peso contracts for infrastructure is a slap to the face of those who can’t even afford one decent meal in a day.  What does a slab of cement do to help this country?  Probably, it does help somehow, but then can our president focus on a more projects that are best suited to our needs?  The SONA failed to state in detail what these infrastructures were and why were they made better still, when the livelihood of people could just take about less than a billion peso.

7.  “Subic Tarlac expressway is an example of building better roads”

Have you noticed that it took a lot longer using this road and that it didn’t ease the traffic whatsoever in Concepcion?

8.  “We have built airports of international standards”

…Which was opened so many years after it was built.  The controversy surrounding the airport of international standards makes you wonder why is it complicated with so many scandals.

9.  “We are developing wealth through PPO and tourism”

I want to ask what PPO means 😀  Forgive my ignorance.  I cannot discuss what I don’t understand.

Oh I heard wrong.  She stated BPO, not PPO 🙂  Well, yeah.  College students are taking different courses to land in one and the same job – call center agents.

Tourism!  Yes, it is time that the world see how beautiful our country is.  But the world will also see how poorly we take care of our own treasures.  Tsk!  If Filipinos can squeeze out a lot of finances from a certain land, they wouldn’t stop until it has been destroyed.  I do hope that we could learn how to take care of our country’s treasures, not for the sake of tourism but for our own well-being.

10.  “Tourism doubled. It is now a 2B dollar industry”

Crossing my fingers that we do not equate prostitution with tourism.

11.  “Cash handouts produced the most effective immediate relief”

Was this the P500 bills given to every Filipino family?  Well, yes.  It could improve the economy since these families are now able to spend.  But for how long?  I’m sure we could stretch that P500 bill (or about $10) for a week for a family of 5 or 6 children.  This is not only immediate relief but also a very temporary one.  Does the government plan to hand out P500 weekly for hundreds of families?  Well, if our government could, then they should.  But more importantly, they need livelihood programs that could sustain them for a longer period of time.

12.  “Sa pamamahagi ng milyon milyong hectariyang lupa”

I don’t know how true this statement is.  Where did they get the millions of hectares of lands?  Were they able to pay off the Cojuancos or the Ayalas maybe.  Or maybe not.

I’ve seen so many empty lands all over luzon and they are privately owned by government officials themselves.  One is Villar. The Aranetas own a vast piece of land.  And it still remain theirs.  Really wondering where the hectares of land the president has given away? (Under the sea?)  To whom did she give them too?  Was it again for private ownership of monopolizing moguls?

13.  “Hinihiling ko sa congreso ang pagpapalawi ng CARP”

And may your wish come true, Madam President.

14. “165 Million Pesos for MicroFinance Loans”

A lot of people are not a fan of loans.  But if you are a good businessman, loans could help you out as a springboard for your own business.  I think this was a good move of the PGMA’s Administration.  They finally helped finance the striving entrepreneurs.  Hopefully, there is a fair interest.  And hopefully, those who acquired the loans were able to work around their loans.

15. “Nakinabang ang isang milyong pamilya sa pabahay”

Thank you madam president.  A roof over our heads is a great relief for anyone.  Hopefully, you could also provide for the 79 million others.  I know this is asking too much for a president with a short (even longer) term of 6 years.  Only a million people were provided for 6 years.  So it will take 474 years to provide for the rest of us.  All of us are dead by that time.  And our great, great grandchildren will probably take advantage of that roof.

O great leaders of this country, act fast!

16.  “Our highest rate of inflation is the lowest since 1966”

Well done, madam President.

17.  “We increased indigenous electricity”

Well, it has been my dream ever since I learned about solar energy, that we could put that solar equipment in our roof to gather solar energy for our home and boycott Meralco altogether.  Does anyone know how much it cost (including installation)?

18.  “There is decreased use of fossil fuels”

During a visit in Pangasinan, I had the chance to go from one part of the island to another part.  And I came across a barge of coal.  It was huge.  It was almost the size of Bldg B of Megamall or the size of a quarter of Mall of Asia (google it if you’re not familiar with these).  It was transporting coal dug up from the earth to the nearest electric-generating company (that I could see from where my boat was).  To think that we are consuming all of that coal on a daily basis is in itself alarming.  We are both destroying the air we breath and the land we are standing on.  How can man be so destructive?  So puny but so destructive.

So madam president, if you could instill this project to the next leader of this country, please do so.

19.  “Taxes should come from tobacco and alcohol, and not from books”

Is this really happening?  Well, then good for us bookish people and bad for those who are addicted to smoke and those who are drowning their lives with liver-failing, sleep-depriving, lipid-increasing, aging-accelerating alcohol drinks.

20. “We have provided 8M jobs”

And where are these jobs located madam president?  How safe and secure are these jobs?  How sufficient are the salaries these jobs have offered those who got them?  I’m not complaining.  Just asking.

21. “We have decreased the number of poor by 2M people”

And there are still 78 Million people who remain to be poor.  We can do so little at a time.  But hey, 2 million is a lot.

I may have gotten the statement wrong.  It says that they have decreased the number of poor by 2M, so let’s say there are 70million poor people initially, then there are only 68 Million others left.  So since I don’t have the real figures (and so does she), this statement still has no bearing on how the country is doing.

22.  “My term does not end until next year”

Good news for those who are trying to get your seat madam president.  At least now, you made it clear.  Although, I heard Altiveros of ANC awhile ago that the statement is still vague for him.

23.  “I will fight for the ordinary Filipino”

How far would you go Madam?  Is the First Gentleman considered THE ordinary Filipino?

24.  “We cannot be complacent”

We should not, I agree.  But you’re administration has been.

25.  “Thank God, we did not let our critics stop us”

Of course, madam.  Your administration has been self-absorb to notice.

Critics are not the destructive force in a well-planned projects.  They provide help when improvement is needed. To play deaf to the cries of your critics, mainly the Filipino people, is nothing but accomplishing things that serve your own interest and not theirs.

26.  “To the candidates for the next election, build a nation rather than tear down their opponents”

Oh, this is a good one.  There are on-going arguments left and right.  Arguments that are a waste of air-time.  Instead of focusing on the problems that is more relevant, they are focusing on their own vanity and pride.

27. “My critics called it dictatorship.  I call it determination”

Oh she almost won me over with this statement.

28.  “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas”

Amen to that!

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