PNoy’s 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) makes you go ‘hmmm…’

SONA2013There is simply no other show in the Philippines like the occasion of the State of the Nation Address (SONA), especially when it involves President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino, his family, and his minions. Some star-struck Filipinos even liken the spectacle to the internationally-renowned Academy of Motion Pictures awards night or the Oscars because public servants who attend it wear the best glittering gowns and barong tagalogs taxpayers could buy. And their observation could be right. A lot of the public servants could win the best acting category for “Pretending to care for the welfare of the country and its people”.

If they actually did care, these public servants wouldn’t dare display such callous extravagance on the day the head of state is scheduled to give a report on his “efforts” to uplift the lives of the poor. SONA is also that once-a-year event when Filipinos with huge egos and exaggerated sense of self-importance gather together in one venue to see and be seen and more importantly, to be a willing audience to a one-man performance act.

Just like any blockbuster film, President BS Aquino’s fourth SONA was big on special effects but thin on substance. He dazzled the audience with too much information, complete with testimonials that weren’t really important to the bottom line, which is job creation. He stuck to the tried and tested formula – human drama that appeals to the gullible crowd. It seemed to work because they missed the irony in his claim that the government has expanded its assistance program Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino from 700,000 to 4 million households in the three years of his administration. No one noticed the fact that the increase in the number of Filipinos relying on government assistance means the number of poor people has increased as well. The statistics show that it is up by roughly 800,000.

President BS Aquino’s goal shouldn’t even be to increase the number of enrolments in the PPP. Instead, he should see to it that the program would eventually result in the increase in the number of Filipinos who become self-reliant. The initiative should adopt a procedure that is similar to the first in, first out concept. Meaning, if one family has been receiving benefits for a certain period of time, there should be a point when they graduate from the program and not be forever included in it. That way, the funds allocated for the program don’t have to be too exorbitant. Any welfare assistance program should include measures to show that it is actually achieving its poverty alleviation objective. One way to ensure that it is working is to place effective checks-and-balances that would discourage people from cheating the system.

After the SONA, comes the fact checking. This should have been done before the SONA but hey, this is the Philippines where the majority doesn’t really care. For some reason, whoever is helping the President gather data always gets something wrong. The Philippine Medical Association reportedly doubts the accuracy of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) claim that 81 percent of Filipinos had so far been enrolled in the government’s universal healthcare program. To quote:

PMA president Dr. Leo Olarte said state health insurance had long been having difficulties with its information and communication technology (ICT) system to come up with a scientific count.

“If we assume that the total population of the Philippines is 100 million, then 81 percent of Filipinos who are supposedly enrolled in PhilHealth numbers to around 81 million,” Olarte said. “If we follow this kind of logic, a total of eight out of 10 hospital admissions across the country should be PhilHealth cases.”

But reports from various hospitals nationwide did not support this claim, said the head of PMA, an umbrella organization of medical doctors in the country.

“We are just curious and very interested to see the scientific basis of this particular PhilHealth declaration mainly because of some conflicting claims in the past,” Olarte said, pointing to the 2008 National Demographic Health Survey showing that only 38 percent of respondents were aware of at least one household member enrolled in PhilHealth.

Those who saw the BS in PNoy's SONA just make fun of it.
Those who saw the BS in PNoy’s SONA just make fun of it.
Unfortunately, once the audience have been bombarded by data, they lose interest in checking its accuracy. It doesn’t matter if BS Aquino gets the figures wrong; he probably knows that the people wouldn’t care anyway.

An Aquino speech wouldn’t be complete without his signature theatrics. As usual, he dared to lambast and shame a few government agencies whose members he referred to as “makakapal ang mukha” (thick-faced) in front of a large audience. These agencies were Bureau of Immigration, National Irrigation Administration and Bureau of Customs with the latter receiving the full brunt of his tirade in the last half his 102-minute speech.

While it’s true that these agencies needed to improve their performance, BS Aquino’s sincerity in fixing the problem is highly questionable. Why did he feel the need to show his dissatisfaction with these agencies during his SONA? He inadvertently proved that he is not on top of the situation. Why didn’t he just fire the incompetent government employees? Or, the more decent thing for him to have done was sat down with the head of the agencies involved and speak to them about the need to shape up or ship out. He could have done this in a more private setting months ago.

Oh, that’s right: The President was busy campaigning for his party mates in the first half of the year, which could explain why he is not on top of the situation.

A lot of people were amazed at how BS Aquino could scold these agencies one day and then reject the resignation of the personnel in charge the next day. He was very inconsistent. At least three Customs officials have been compelled to file their resignation after being shamed in the SONA. Customs chief Ruffy Biazon, Deputy Commissioner Danny Lim and Juan Lorenzo Tañada were all willing to give up their posts but they were all told to stay put. It’s simply one of those things that make you go “hmmm…”

Both Ruffy Biazon and former rebel soldier, Danny Lim could not contain their frustration at their current posts. Both reportedly admitted that it is very difficult to institute reforms with Lim claiming that there are too many “powerful forces” that meddle in the Bureau of Custom’s affairs. Unfortunately, the former brigadier general who was instrumental to a number of failed coup d’etat against Former President Gloria Arroyo was not brave enough to name names.

Back when he was still a rebel soldier, he probably thought it was too easy to institute reforms in government. Now that he is part of the system, Danny Lim realizes that it is not that easy after all. He should also realize that it was naïve of him to blame everything on GMA and attempt to force her removal from office twice, once in 2003 and then again 2007. If he thinks that President BS Aquino has nothing to do with the corrupt activities in various agencies such as the Bureau of Customs, then it follows that GMA could not have had anything to do with the corruption in various agencies during her term as well. But we all know that it is unlikely he will see it that way. Some people simply want to blame everything on GMA.

Speaking of rebels, the number of activists expressing their grievances against the Aquino government seems to be growing. It’s not even limited to the ones in the country. It was reported that Filipinos from across the United States staged protest actions during BS Aquino’s SONA. Filipino-Americans protested simultaneously in front of the Philippine consulate offices because of the rampant injustice still happening in the Philippines.

We’re just criticizing, exposing the deceit of President Aquino’s state of the union address. We can see injustices still happening in the Philippines, poverty, corruption and the false promises of hope,” said Joshua Jimenez of Bayan-USA.

They said that despite the president touting high remittances and improved economies, and recent economic visits by Philippine officials to the US, majority Filipinos remain in poverty.

“One of the things we’re opposing is the labor export program of President Aquino where he systematically exports Filipino people and uses them and their labor, remittances to hold up the economy,” added Terry Cervas of women’s rights group Gabriella, “while they export Filipino people they don’t do anything to protect their rights.”

Indeed, BS Aquino’s SONA did not even give a special mention to the country’s breadwinners – the overseas foreign workers (OFWs). They left their families behind to seek employment overseas earning minimum wages but when some of them get in trouble, they claim that the Philippine government hardly gives them assistance. The OFWs have made BS Aquino’s job so easy. Their remittances have kept the country’s economy stay afloat and have been the reason for its resilience despite the economic crisis in other parts of the world. It wasn’t really BS Aquino’s hard work after all.

Forced to endure hunger and fatigue to guard against agitated protesters.
Forced to endure hunger and fatigue to guard against agitated protesters.
Locally, what started out as a “peaceful” demonstration outside the Batasan complex where SONA was being held quickly turned violent. What emerged was a picture of hopelessness and frustration towards the current government. One riot police officer became the symbol of frustration on social networking sites. Policeman Joselito Sevilla had an emotional breakdown after being berated by a very passionate activist from the Netherlands. Sevilla claimed that he broke down because he was already very tired and hungry. They haven’t rested since being deployed to guard the complex for two days straight and then violence erupted. The poor thing. He may have to change careers eventually because such an incident could have devastating consequences to a man’s wellbeing.

That is the reality that BS Aquino refuses to accept. He even claims that “it is wonderful to be a Filipino in these times.” Such sweet words that is music to his supporters’ ears. But for a lot of Filipinos, it is wonderful to be in another place, far away from the dysfunction and mediocrity at this time.

[Image of minions and Crying Cop courtesy and Yahoo! News respectively.]


Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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80 Comments on "PNoy’s 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) makes you go ‘hmmm…’"

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Nandito na naman ang maingay na kambing na ito e. Umiiyak ka na naman ano? Umuwi ka na lang sa nanay mong madrama. Usapang matanda ito’t bawal ang mga batang katulad mo.

nenita bearneza

Conditional cash transfer is NOT a dole out.benefeciaries are bound to these requirements: certification from health centers,schools,fds or family dev sessions and some other seminars.they do not received these cash by just sitting alone.why are so many people out there criticizing these deprived brothers of ours? Maybe diversion of attention should be on these matter….PDAF…..NAPOLES….flashy gowns n jewelries during sona…


As usual . The recipe of the trolls . Ignore the incompetence of the bald, ignorant, goofy one. Just bring up Gloria. A route your hero did not even go down this time. Troll harder Ricky.

Each expose – whether political corruption, contract irregularities, or extrajudicial killings – is increasingly shown to have a direct link to malacanan and nobody now believes in the anti-corruption stance of pnoy aquino. Inquiries – which never amount to anything – and admonishments – which never result in senior sackings – are all for show, and more will be revealed to highlight pnoy as a hypocrite and traitor of the first order. Ochoa has always been corrupt and about time his murky role and deceit was made public. No different is the belmontes who also play a pivitol role. Add… Read more »
Edith Gerona

bida kapamilya, yang US dinner, NBN ZTE, Fertilizer scam, mga alleged corruption nong panahon ni GMA, hanggang ngayon, after 3 years ng Aquino administration, after Aquino hold power over congress, supreme court, ombudsman, sandiganbayan, comelec, in short, the whole government machineries, hindi pa rin napapatunayan ang lahat ng mga bintang na yan ke GMA. wala naman akong problema kung hindi mo pa rin nakikita ang totoong nangyayari sa ating bansa. karapatan mong magpakatanga. huwag ka na lang mandamay pa, please.


Laganap ang korupsyon noong panahon ni GMA (US dinner, NBN ZTE, Fertilizer scam) at dahil don naka hospital arrest siya ngayon.

LOL, being arrested is different from being declared guilty by the court. GMA is just tagged as a suspect of the said scams.

Rogelio Lim

Bakit sa SONA at sa diyaryo niya binabatikos at hinihiya ang mga government agencies katulad ng Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration at National Irrigation Administration na ang mga pinuno nito ay hinirang niya? Maaari naman niya gawin ito sa cabinet meeting. Dahil bukod sa hindi siya tumatawag ng regular na cabinet meeting ay nagpapasikat at nagkukunwari siya na may ginagawa para sa bayan. Wala talagang nalalaman ang presidente ito kung paano magpatakbo ng gobyerno.

‘ the politicians in the philippines are childish, superficial, narcissistic, indolent, and display no sense of gravitas or even any genuine interest in, or basic knowledge of, the fundamental issues which afflict the country, and consequently lack any coherent plans or solutions, and instead involve themselves in detail, intrigue, power plays and irrelevancies as a strategy to avoid tackling the big issues, and many are simply nowhere to be seen or heard until the election fiesta rolls around. Their lack of education and track record in a real job emphasises that politics is simply easy money for the lazy and… Read more »

So great article! 🙂 The sona was really crappy.


“In the Philippines, man’s capacity to seize failure from the jaws of opportunity is writ large.”
Joe studwell – economist /financial times
march 2013

the CORRUPTION plaguing the country has been an ‘institutionalized’ part of the entire ‘system’ for over 50 years. There is not a single politician who is not part of the mess created long before many readers here were even in diapers. to think GMA was not corrupt, or her successor or any of GMA’s predecessors were not CORRUPT is to be VERY naïve. it is the same shit, replayed over and over again to the point of being BEYOND predictable. A ‘scam’ is ‘un-covered’ by someone who did not get enough of the pie(?), HEADLINES are made,(LAUGHABLE!)blue-ribbon panels(headed by the… Read more »

Big bonuses and perks for mwss and gocc execs are back.
Another pledge in an earlier SONA goes the way of the crooked path of hypocrite aquino.
Interesting that mwss headed by major pnoy contributor and friend of ballsy aquino cruz. All crooked paths end up at the same cesspit.

bida kapamilya

How about you Ilda? What are your awards and achievements so that I could be convinced by your whining to our government?


Maria raissa and her lesbian lovers/partners are well suited to the fringes. I know that mainstream and serious media turned their back on her for her deceit and dramas and lack of ethics. Her true colours are now showing but a pariah in decent media circles.

this is clearly a fool who does not even read the news or know tge story. idiot

Butthurt Philippines

“it is wonderful to be a Filipino in these times.” Youbetcha! Especially if you’re part of the oligarchy.


Between taking it up the ar$e whenever obama asks aquino to bend over, and being pi$$ed upon by the chinese and taiwanese at every opportunity, pnoy is reverting to form as a subservient gimp who is scared of his own shadow, and has simply graduated from hiding behind womens skirts to hiding under the desk, exactly as his mother cory aquino did, and selling out the philippines exactly as his traitor grandfather aquino did.
What is it about the aquinos that breed cowardice, deceit, and treachery.


So absentee congressman manny pacquaio said today that he will run for president in the future!
( i suspect vp in 2016 and presidency in 2022 is the plan)
The absurdity is only exceeded by the fact that he could actually win,
That sums up the future chances of the philippines. On the canvas – down and out.
His mafia friends will be rubbing their hands in anticipation.
Corruption is here to stay whether binay, estrada, revilla or any other of the motley crew of criminals.


“Or, the more decent thing for him to have done was sat down with the head of the agencies involved and speak to them about the need to shape up or ship out. He could have done this in a more private setting months ago.”
Well, we all know that this is one president who is noted for his coarseness and arrogance, as if being so will make him look macho.

Serrated Strikes

Whaa, so many rage wars o.o, you guys should stick to the subject lol.
and stop it with the insulting it only becomes worse and worse.