Thursday, July 21, 2011

SONA: one year of Aquino's lip service

“...tayo na sa isang matuwid na daan”

            This was the famous line of the newly elected President of the Republic of the Philippines Benigno Simeon Cojuanco Aquino III or Noynoy as known by many that gave people hope and courage to rise after the Arroyo regime threw the Filipino nation into dump. Just about after being hailed as the new leader, Noynoy’s promises were uttered one-by-one to the whole nation as strong point for the progress that the country ought to have and so, expectation arouse to each citizen of the Philippines. But after a year of presidency, did Aquino change the status of the nation? Or are all of these promises just lip service?

            Noynoy Aquino, aside from being the lone son of the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr., and the mother of democracy and late president Corazon Cojuanco Aquino, was elected to the House of Representatives from 1998 to 2004. As the leader of Tarlac back then, people’s trust was granted upon his leadership and gave him the opportunity to gain his power and authority as the new president of the Philippines. Despair in every citizen vanished and hope was distinguished again. A new face of administration came up to battle corruption, to have solutions to poverty, for efficient and quality services, and retribution for the former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who pushed aside citizens during her term.

            The first month after being hailed as the new leader, the promises were heard during his first State Of the Nation Address (SONA). All plans were agreeable upon the speech aside from the PPP or Private Public Partnership project that made people scratch their head. Indeed, the implication of this project is vague and one thing that many are sure of: it will be a gateway to privatize public services thus increasing fees and other expenses that will deteriorate Filipino lives contrary to what the people really need: economical services for all. The rationale behind this standpoint of Aquino is that it is more efficient if private sectors will control some of the public services of the government. This reason leads to annoy many people and make them think that this is not a good proposal. Since he was still in his first 2 months in the throne of power and authority, people were not still in agony that time until the next period came.

            It was in the month of August when the Hacienda Luisita Compromise Agreement was made. This declared that the workers of the Hacienda Luisita will be granted land title opposite to his promise to distribute land to each worker. Until now, families left behind by the people killed in Hacienda Luisita last 2004 are still in frown and shouting for justice they must prevail.

            One of the biggest and hottest issues that protesters resist is the budget cut among State Universities and Colleges in the Philippines and some health services in which in fact, should have the highest budget among public sectors as the United Nations recommend. Students urged for the rechanneling of the budget from militarization to education. In detail, the government has increased the budget of military sectors instead of increasing the budget of education. In the case of Polytechnic University of the Philippines which has the biggest number of students among the SUC’s in the Philippines, it is believed that the institution should have a budget of P1.99 billion to sustain quality education for its 65, 000 population. But the PUP has only P724 million budget for this year (no budget for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) that supposedly can help build more classrooms, laboratories and other infrastructures and services the PUP community should have. The students of PUP are all in fear that the tuition fees will increase in just one snap because of this struggle given by the government.

            “...imbes na budget ang dagdagan, taon at pasakit ang idinagdag ng rehimeng US-Aquino para sa mga estudyante.” – This is the point of view of the KABATAAN Partylist for the implementation of K+12 or the adding of two years and technical/vocational courses in education. What makes it worse is that, despite of low budget on education, the government was still able to aggravate the status of educational institutions in the Philippines by implementing the K+12. On a different perspective, the condition of educational institutions in the Philippines as of now is dreadful because of lack of budget and effective services. What more if 2 years will be added?

            The terrible status of the nation has extended vastly because of the small subsidy and wages given for Filipino workers despite of having high prices of commodities including oil and gasoline. Jeepney drivers are all upset and annoyed for the reason that Noynoy failed to provide them economical services. The LRT fare is in queue to mount up. The oil has already increased by Php11.00/L from the moment he sat in Malacaǹang as president. In the other limelight, Aquino promised to help informal settlers to transfer them to fine residences, but what happened is that the demolition rate in the country has increased profoundly and most of the victims are not in the proper relocation site.

               The progress of the nation that Aquino has promised is like a slug crawling slowly. Ineffective laws and irrelevant to what the Philippine essentially needs has done by the new leader in his first year of presidency. Aquino has undeniably made Filipinos disappointed since his supposed to be Filipino-friendly services was turned into lip service. Aquino has 5 more years to supply what the Filipino truly need but people are still in curiosity if he is really an answer to the disaster left by the past administrator.

"Libro hindi bala. Edukasyon hindi giyera." Education first before war as what the students are into. More economical services are needed by the nation but efficient and effective laws in priority lane are missing. What the nation demands for is a needed-most services and not lip service. 


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