“Sa matagal na panahon, naging simbolo ng pang-aabuso ang wang-wang…Ang panlalamang matapos mangakong maglingkod, yan ang utak wang-wang.” -President Benigno Aquino III, July 25, 2011
The State of the Nation Address has become a much anticipated event in any presidency.
It’s an avenue for the whole country’s citizens to be able to somewhat gauge the performance of the president after a year in office.
Let’s look at some points of the SONA:
The “Wang-Wang” and Oppression
The president opened up with his theme of the SONA, the “wang-wang” or sirens. In his first SONA, he stressed the need for government officials to refrain from using sirens to cut through traffic.
- It apparently sends a wrong message to the nation; instead of serving the people, they are taking advantage of their people-given right.
- PNoy used the sirens as a metaphor to a mentality of oppression, of elected officials seemingly showing the public that their time is more precious than the common Filipino people.
- PNoy cited another example of the “wang-wang mentality” in the government owned and controlled companies (GOCC): the Philippine National Construction Corporation. Aside from not giving decent service, they actually had millions in bonuses. And before stepping down from their posts, they even had the gall to double their bonuses early last year.
- Taxpayers in the private sector who seem to under declare their actual income were pointed out. A plead to pay their taxes right was made, saying that people should see now that the government allocates their taxes properly, and that it is their fellow Filipinos that they deprive by refusing to pay their taxes right.
“Tong-pats” and The DPWH
Aquino admits that corruption has not been completely eradicated despite his push for good, clean governance.
- He cited a project in a province in region 4B, where a project that was proposed to go as much as P300 million, but the district engineer could only approve P50 million.
- Several means were done to split the cost so that the request for budget would not reach the regional and central offices, but DPWH Secretary Babes Singson was able to stop the whole project. A step forward, because, the DPWH is no longer handled by a “padrino,” but rather a body that goes through the proper processes.
The Rice Incident
PNoy also touched on the subject of rice importations. He said that despite needing only about 1.3 metric tons of rice, the government decided to import 2.3 million tons. This resulted to the government spending for the storage of the unnecessary surplus.
- During the first year of his administration, they were able cut the importation by half. It was not brought about by luck that our rice fields are producing well, but rather because of proper handling, better irrigation, and good quality seeds for planting.
- His main goal is for the common Juan dela Cruz to be able to plant his seed, harvest, and sell the rice in his own country.
Education and Employment
Aquino cited in his speech that the unemployment rate decreased from 8% last April to 7.2% in April of this year. However, he did recognize that there are a number of jobs being taken by unqualified people.
- With this, the sectors of education are in discussion regarding the issue of job mismatches. Their goal would be to study the curriculum in order to help students to better determine the courses they want to take for the jobs they want to have.