The truth about the second SONA of Noynoy Aquino delivered on July 25, 2011

People in general and Filipinos in particular love hearing the good news, and President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) loves giving it. On his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered to Congress on the 25th of July this year, he continued the tradition he started since being sworn into office a year ago of assuring everyone everything is going great – everything is going great because he is in charge. PNoy obviously wants to remain popular with the rest of the Filipino public.

But they say that the best way to squash peoples’ spirits is to bring their hopes up high in the beginning and then leave them hanging in the end. I say PNoy is doing a good job at this. In the eyes of his supporters, he cannot be faulted for all the problems in the country especially since he speaks of others who “abuse authority” as if he does not personally know some of them. And never mind that he has been in public office before, first, as a congressman and then a senator during which he gained a reputation for underachieving in both positions. Such was his reputation because a lot of people thought that he could have used both positions to introduce legislation that would have laid the foundation for his presidency today — like doing away with the wang-wang, a gesture that to him can symbolise change, “not just in our streets, but even in our collective attitude.”

President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) really wants to be known as the “wang-wang” President. The term wang-wang was all over his much anticipated second SONA. It seems that he is sticking with the label. He wants to symbolise his term using the wang-wang. Never mind that the majority of Filipinos who do not own cars most likely do not get his use of the metaphor. Even if he was speaking literally, both the people who have cars and those who do not have cars do not even feel the difference in the way traffic flows on the streets. Some say that the absence of the wang-wang has not stopped the “powerful few” from using motorcades to muscle their way through other motorists stewing in Manila’s heavy traffic. Sadly, the wang-wang might just come to symbolise a perverse ingenuity — how some of the public officials in the land still find a way to “to violate traffic laws” or the Law in general.

But had he done his duties diligently in Congress and the Senate when he had the chance, he could have contributed more to changing the mindset of entitlement or the “wang-wang” mindset as he figuratively refers to the abuse of power by some public officials in Philippine society. Both his previous positions offered him more than enough opportunity to influence his peers and the general public to stop the “powerful few” from acting like “kings”.

If we are to read between the lines of his recent speeches it would seem that the past administration, according to PNoy, did nothing but cheat, lie, steal and deceive people while he maintained an impeccable image as public servant. According to many analysts, however, former President Gloria Arroyo laid the groundwork for the stable economy PNoy is enjoying now, one which enabled us to survive the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Most Filipinos would easily believe PNoy’s holier-than-thou image, which he exuded upon coming out from under the shadow of his late mother, former President Cory Aquino after her death. There is no need to remind the Filipino people that it was during Cory’s term when “patronage politics” was prevalent. But it is worth reminding people of the TIME magazine article that describes Cory’s “tumultous” years. Here’s an excerpt:

[…] But in the tumultuous four years since Aquino became President, charges of incompetence and graft have increasingly tainted her own government. When rebellious soldiers launched the seventh abortive coup against Aquino on Dec. 1, their most pointed complaints focused on the administration’s failure to deliver basic services and on allegations of corruption among the President’s wealthy and influential relatives.

The charges, magnified by the Manila rumor mill, have inflicted serious political damage. While the President herself is considered incorruptible, critics accuse her of turning a blind eye to family and friends who are said to be enriching themselves at the public’s expense.

[…] A frequent target of reports is Aquino’s brother Jose (“Peping”) Cojuangco Jr., a wealthy and powerful congressman. Shortly after Aquino took office, newspaper stories charged that Cojuangco had helped some of his cronies gain control of a lucrative cargo-handling business; he is also suspected of using family ties to get jobs for friends in Manila casinos. Cojuangco has denied any wrongdoing, and neither he nor any other member of the Aquino clan has been charged with a crime.

It is evident that PNoy’s being in the same position as his late mother, makes it difficult if not impossible for him to effect his crusade of eliminating patronage politics. Although it seems like he will do all he can to prevent others from practicing patronage politics by using a selective approach to dealing with his Kamag-anak, kaibigan at kaklase or KKK as some people call it. His supporters probably prefer a limited few taking advantage of their position, rather than the “collective”.

He bragged about the country’s credit grading being upgraded by Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch, and Japan Credit Ratings Agency while conveniently ignoring this upgrade was also based on both the outgoing administration’s “prudent use of funds and creative financial management” in their last years in office. After all, with the credit rating update given just recently and PNoy having only been in office in less than a year when it was given, there couldn’t have been enough time for his administration to show evidence of “prudent use of funds and creative financial management”.

And of course we can give PNoy credit for his anti- corruption platform, which undoubtedly increased the agency’s confidence, although, it remains to be seen if a platform on corruption will be enough to turn our economy around.

Even two economists, namely TV personality Winnie Monsod and Ibon Foundation chief researcher, Sonny Africa said that that PNoy took some figures “out of context”. Here’s what they had to say:

The IBON research head said Aquino failed to mention that the jobs created “were more than offset” by a growing labor force of 1.2 million people and an 829,000-increase in underemployment, which he said indicates an increase in the number of low-quality work opportunities.

Africa also downplayed the Philippines’ supposed gains in the stock market as well as the ratings upgrades given by the international agencies Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, Fitch, and the Japan Credit Ratings Agency.

Wala namang direktang kaugnayan ‘yon sa issue ng mga karaniwang mamamayan – trabaho, pagkain,” Africa said.

Monsod also said Aquino’s saying that he will not increase taxes “has no economic basis” and is “populist.” She pointed out how the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have not even met the revenue targets set by the government.

In January, the Finance Department said the BIR collected only P822.39 billion in 2010, lower than its revised goal of P860 billion. The BOC generated only P259 billion in 2010, lower than its revenue target of P280.7 billion, the department’s records also showed.

It is understandable that PNoy and his staff would use exaggeration for their supposed “gains” after a year of muddling along. They probably did not expect economists to see through it. Sonny Africa also insinuated that PNoy even took credit for the good weather and expansion of rice lands, which was conducive to rice production and the farmers’ hard work for the improvement in this year’s yield.

When PNoy spoke about the increase in jobs in the domestic market, he stressed that there are less Filipinos leaving for work overseas. He did not give figures to prove this claim though. If we are going to base this on a hunch like he did, the long queues at the POEA office should tell us that there are more and more people seeking jobs abroad. Researcher Sonny Africa further highlighted how PNoy’s claim was “offset by a growing labor force of 1.2 million people and an 829,000-increase in underemployment, which he said indicates an increase in the number of low-quality work opportunities.”

PNoy’s staff have a funny way of analysing figures, indeed. According to presidential spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, “all these figures are verifiable.” Yes, of course. The figures may have been accurate but the interpretation was inaccurate. Perhaps PNoy and his communication team should stick to writing poetry and rhymes for their wang-wang and leave analysing statistics to math experts.

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57 Comments on “The truth about the second SONA of Noynoy Aquino delivered on July 25, 2011”

      1. I think it was an attempt to turn a negative into a positive. Used more for entertainment value. 4 more years, Ilda. Keep on writing.

    1. Sorry, but I think you missed the point, which is: Yes, Ms Arroyo is “allegedly” corrupt but she didn’t just “cheat, lie, steal and deceive people” the whole time she was in Malacanang. PNoy is even benefiting from some of her work now, which he has yet to acknowledge. He needs to get real.

      His SONA even managed to anger OFWs for its insensitive remarks: OFWS offended by SONA

      1. I didn’t miss the point. My question is rather like a Rorschach Ink Blot Test. No matter the answer, it is meaningful. Or the non-answer. That is revealing, too.

        1. You say that you didn’t miss the point but you still asked a pointless question. We both know that there’s usually more than two candidates during a presidential election. Why should I have to choose between those two?

          During the campaign last year, I made such an effort to emphasise that voters should look to others in choosing but the media and Aquino supporters in particular, rounded it up between Noynoy and Villar – “good” vs “evil” according to them. Sadly, a lot of people fell for it.

          Your gender bias is showing again, Joe. Don’t forget that Benign0 and Benk wrote their critique of the SONA before me. I noticed that you somehow manage to stay nice in their comment section…hmmm.

          Well, you can forget about any more ad hominem s because like I said before, I will just delete them.

      2. It wasn’t a pointless question. Well, to me it wasn’t. To you it was, but you really not interested in what those who disagree with you think, which is the distinction between you and Benigno and BenK. They listen better. That has little to do with gender. It has to do with who is more widely separated from the Filipino tradition of “one way or the highway”.

        An objective person would be able to assess the strengths of Arroyo and Aquino and, for the simple sake of debate, not win/lose, cite one or the other as better for the Philippines. Arroyo perhaps because of her economic prowess and desire (like Estrada) to make her mark on the Philippines. Arroyo for his fundamental intent of changing a culture from corrupt to non-corrupt. A Filipino of the old school would have a hard time making a choice, for that would box him (or her) in, and perhaps cause loss of face considering that either Arroyo or Aquino can be condemned as well as praised.

        I had rather guessed that you would not give me an answer.

        My own is Aquino, any day, any night, any year. What he calls the culture of entitlement indeed needs to be changed.

        1. Of course it is so easy to deny it. I expected that you would. But it was worth emphasising because you keep insisting that I like putting PNoy in a box. It’s amazing why you keep singling me out though. I’m not the only person who criticise him. Benign0 does. Benk does. An increasing number of the journalists from the mainstream media are heavily criticising him nowadays.

          Unfortunately for me, Joe America likes putting me in a box. I can’t blame him. A lot of people assume I’m an easy target because of my gender.

          I don’t care if you choose Aquino. It’s not like you haven’t told us. Your choice actually says a lot about you.

          Let me repeat this:

          During the campaign last year, I made such an effort to emphasise that voters should look to others in choosing but the media and Aquino supporters in particular, rounded it up between Noynoy and Villar – “good” vs “evil” according to them. Sadly, a lot of people fell for it. Are you one of them, Joe?

      3. Villar and Estrada scared me because of the risk of being more of the same, Ego and self-dealing. I started leaning toward Teodora until the Ondoy fiasco, and I decided he needed to mature a little. I slipped to Gordon until he said the solution in Southwest Mindanao is to make it a tourist attraction, and spent every other week weeping about this or that. I ended up behind Aquino because I felt I could trust him, and he understood that corruption is the fundamental blockage to a modern, productive Philippines.

        To you, it may be “falling for it”. To me, it was making a choice.

        There are no Jesus candidates, ever, in any democracy, anywhere. We all, individually, make the best choice we can giving all the information that is available to us, or that we are interested enough to explore. Because I come down on things differently than you do does not mean I should not be respected.

        It is easy to criticize, and insult, and manipulate words. It is hard to deal straight. BenK is an honorable man. I argue with him from time to time, but he has never impugned my honesty or integrity. Nor has Benigno, and I give him credit for compiling a list of positive things that President Aquino has done. Two so far. It’s a start. It would be a shame for such a great mind to be limited by agenda instead of solution.

        1. The problem with you Joe is that you can’t take it as well as you give it. Oh yeah, you love comparing people; as if one should behave or write exactly the same way as the other. I’ve got news for you: I’m a different person.

          Here’s another thing I’ve already mentioned before: I criticize PNoy in an article but you somehow turn the discussion about you. Now you are talking about “respect”. Excuse me, but who is being disrespectful here? You are just a guest in this blogsite and a lucky one at that for being allowed to make nasty comments one after the other.

          Besides, this is the Internet. It is supposed to be the great equalizer. Our gender, age and social status should not matter but only our opinions should. You can’t accuse me of not respecting you because I know nothing about you.

          Why don’t we cut the cr@p and just discuss the real “issue”, ok? I don’t think that is too much to ask. So far, you have not addressed any of the points from the article. You just keep typing your ad hominems.

          I don’t have an agenda other than to enlighten myself and communicate my views.

        1. Perhaps, Joe, let go of your fixation on Noynoy the person, step back, and regard him as a function. Then evaluate this function on the key parameters that describe the value of this function – specifications, effectiveness, and consistency.

          Aren’t those the primary bases for acquiring or employing something for a purpose? Like say buying a car?

          Perhaps you are too emotionally invested in Noynoy the person rather than logically critical of Noynoy the function. And that too is what is hindering you from engaging in a discussion about the man that is more mature and detached.

          A lot of people purposely buy lemons because of nostalgic reasons or for some other reason based on emotion. But the most practical folk buy cars to get from A to B (and THEN they buy the lemon, when they can afford to indulge). Filipinos, sad to say, cannot afford to indulge in anything, and yet that is exactly what they did when they elected the most unqualified man among the choices at the time.

          You have to decide which one of the two you are, Joe, with regard to this whole ‘debate’ about the Presidency.

          (By the way, I thought the above was brilliant. So I immortalised it in a blog post here.) 🙂

      4. Benigno, I am not by any stretch invested emotionally in President Aquino. I am invested emotionally in values that favor supporting the presidential OFFICE by not undermining its current occupant, thereby making his job more difficult. I only appear tied to an emotional agenda to support him because I can’t stand an agenda to deride him, and so speak up from time to time to balance the beam. I think criticism that points to a better way to do things is good. But criticism that rehashes the reason he won the election, or hauls out his lineage without looking at what he is doing whilst IN THE OFFICE, or calls the people who elected or support him morons, is easy, simplistic and reminds me too much of the deceits and sound bites that have taken over US politics. I am emotionally invested AGAINST what is happening in the US right now. Populist rhetoric has supplanted dignity, diplomacy and wisdom.

        1. In order to appear less emotionally invested in PNoy, you just need to write more comments addressing the issues raised in the article and write less ad hominems.

          If you can do it with Benk and Benign0, I’m sure you can do it with me.

        2. I personally don’t see anything wrong with mentioning the reason why PNoy won the election or highlighting his lineage. And I don’t recall calling his supporters “morons”.

          Even Benk agrees with me. Here’s what he had to say about PNoy in his article I Don’t Like President Aquino:

          “Noynoy Aquino is, at least from what it looks like to this outsider, the badly-drawn portrait of everything that is fundamentally wrong with Filipino culture. He is truly the son of his calculating, opportunistic father and image-conscious, vindictive mother – Noynoy Aquino IS the Philippines, and his parents would have been very proud.”

          It’s funny how you didn’t refer to Benk as deceptive or accuse him of having “an agenda to deride” PNoy.

    2. This false dichotomy between Aquino and Arroyo has been a common fallacy popularized by yellow supporters.

      It’s as if, not being gaga over Aquino automatically makes one an Arroyo supporter.

      Hitler did something similar by blaming everything on the Jews, demonizing them, and then providing, as the ONLY solution, the NAZI ideology and world order. Likewise, Aquino’s solution to rid gov’t of corruption is to populate all gov’t positions with ONLY Aquino supporters–making his political allies appear to be the ONLY “good guys” (assuming they are even “good”, which is quite a stretch in itself) in gov’t. This is a distortedly false and dangerously narrow-minded depiction of our actual political choices.

      1. It is simply an intellectual exercise to sort out strengths and weaknesses of two people, and identify if people can step to the bar and argue rationally, or fall back into hidden agendas and manipulations.

      2. Jeeze JoeAm…Asking Ilda to make a choice between Aquino and Arroyo is like asking a deeply pious nun to choose between Lucifer and Beelzebub. (Small wonder you can’t advance into a more productive discussion with her…lol)

        If you had truly followed her articles and paid real attention to her main points, instead of either glossing over them or coloring them with speculations on whatever her underlying intentions are for making such assertions, you would have realized she has less regard for the particular politician(s) involved and more on the CRITERIA on which pinoys base their choices or decisions, political or otherwise.

        1. The Aquino PR machine’s job was a walk in the park during the campaign because even so-called “intellectuals” were easily mislead into thinking that it was “good” vs “evil” and not “competent’ vs “incompetent”.

      3. Asia West. I appreciate the perspective, and the humor. Ask me if I would vote in some future US election for Palin or Pelosi and I’d run screaming off the cliffs of Pinatubo and into the boiling acid water.

        1. See, you do get my response. Your question was indeed, pointless and have nothing to do with the so-called “Rorschach Ink Blot Test”.

      4. Good God, woman. By what arrogance do you pretend to know what is meaningful to me?

        Now if you had said “Excuse me, Joe, but I don’t get the point of the question.” Fine you are taking responsibility for not understanding. But like the consummate old-school Filipino that you are, you lay the blame on me.

        The point was to see if you could address a simple question without going personal or manipulative. And you could not.

        It was the opposite of pointless. It was revealing.

        And if you would stop harping on the matter you would sooner get JoeAm as subject of discussion ended.

        1. And yet your response to AsiaWest was: “Ask me if I would vote in some future US election for Palin or Pelosi and I’d run screaming off the cliffs of Pinatubo and into the boiling acid water.”

          Why can’t the same response apply to your question?

        2. You are falling into this habit again of “attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering the argument.” The words “arrogance” and “manipulative” were quite unnecessary. One can be forgiven for thinking that you are becoming judgemental. At least when I mentioned the word “pointless” I was referring to your question and not to your existence.

          Manipulation can only work with small minds. I am confident that the other readers here are smart enough to spot a flawed argument when they see one.

    3. It’s also not too different from Dubya’s “you’re either with us or against us” cheerleading, and even like the way some of our own activists package and encapsulate an advocacy under some sort of “brand” or catchphrase and then proceed to turn the whole exercise into a them-against-us campaign and the whole point of it all lost and abstracted into that brand or catchphrase (kind of like how buying a pair of jeans has been turned into buying into a “lifestyle” by the brand marketers).

      Such is the human condition. It takes a special breed of people to see past those smoke and mirrors, and an even more special breed to articulate the steps to do just that.

  1. “What are we in power for?…a cry from the Hacienda Luisita Mafia…if you have nothing to present as accomplishment; you dazzle people with figures and Statistics…Most of the Filipinos are of Wowoowee mentality. They cannot understand it…
    Just look at your monthly paycheck;how far it gets, as you spend it on your basic necessities…This is the True State of the Nation…And you cannot argue with it…Look at the people who are Squatters, living along the Rivers and Garbage Dumps…This is the True State of the Nation…Look at his Hacienda Luisita Tenants…how they live and subsist…This is the True State of the Nation…You don’t have to tell me in a prepared speech…Just open your eyes and look…

    1. “Kamag-anak, kaibigan at kaklase or KKK”

      It should be KKK+K.

      You forgot the “Katsismisan”. I could only surmise that he’s getting his information from “tsismis”.

      And he’s selling the same- “tsismis”. Just comprehend the contents of his rhetoric. Unfortunately, yan ang gusto ng constituents nya.

      1. I am not surprise. According to the result of a research by onepoll.com, men gossip more than women. 😉

        And with Noynoy having access to Kris’ friend Boy Abunda, it becomes more likely that tackling poverty will not be a priority in Malacanang if he wins.

        I wrote about this in my previous article: The official profile of Noynoy

  2. sadly, 60%+ who still approve of him (if crony-owned surveys are to be believed) will NEVER even read this. the “ah basta!” logic they used during campaign is still pretty much the answer the yellows use to end debates.

    hays… *cough cough* ‘sensya na po.

  3. who cares
    for 500 pesos i can buy a girl
    5000 a councillor
    and 20000 a mayor
    if thats how you do business then ok
    i just adjust my prices accordingly
    and live well in a civilised society
    and laugh at your stupidity
    and we have toilets and dont need
    to piss in the street

  4. Nice article as always! Out of all the GRP writers, I find your articles always written with heart and soul… so cheesy but I like articles that poke not only my brain but also my heart…

      1. @ Ilda,
        Continue doing what you’re doing, informing people the truth! I am very impressed of your spiritual courage. You are a brave filipina.

        1. Ann Marie.

          Your comment is quite refreshing. As you can see, there are some who can’t get past the notion that those who criticise our public officials are just being negative. I am glad you appreciate what I am doing.

          Thank you

  5. Every SONA is like that ( talking about the present, past and even the future ), “SIMPLENG MAMAMAYAN” wont ever see the changes because there is none. the only thing i see increas are the prices of goods in the market.

    For me this is the real SONA:

    Poor people are poorer.
    Politicos are richer.
    Businessman are richer.
    Oil price and other goods increased.
    Tuition Fee increased.
    Transportation fee increased.
    Utility fee increased.
    Salary didn’t increase ah sorry i think it did by 20P

  6. All of you are real FILIPINOS…
    You just look at things that doesn’t satisfy your needs… Give Noynoy justice for all your criticisms, *WE CANNOT HAVE A PERFECT PRESIDENT* period. He is just focusing on other ideas rather than your ideas which he left out. I’m not that good in these conversations because I’m just a teenager, but I can understand that everything needs time. Do you really think that he can accomplish everything in just one term??! I don’t think so. The problem is people like you prefer instant rather than time consuming…

    Thank you and be guided by good principles and cowardly acts. If you criticize him, *RUN FOR THE NEXT ELECTION*.

    1. Not really, it attributes more on PINOYS than Filipinos. The real Filipinos are those who see the bigger picture and come up with real solutions and not clinging to the dysfunctional culture.

      But you’re missing the point: It’s been 3 years and Noynoy is still on his blunders and blame games. Heck, even former president Arroyo is much better since she accomplished much than PNoy. No president is perfect, yes. But I prefer people who DO more than don’t. Don’t you know that most of GRP are criticizing PNoy for his INCOMPETENCE?

      Your last statement speaks up more of COWARDICE than you could ever imagine. It seems that you refuse to learn a lot in order to improve our country. If I were you, then you better shut the fck up, dahil WALA KANG ALAM.

    2. @Anonymous

      You read the wrong SONA. We are on the THIRD now. Here’s the analysis of the latest one:

      President Noynoy Aquino’s 2012 SONA still blames GMA and takes credit for her work

      Here’s some excerpts:

      BS Aquino does not fail to mention how GMA’s nine years were “wasted years”, never mind that as previously mentioned, leaked reports courtesy of Wikileaks confirmed that world leaders in China and the U.S. say GMA was perceived to be a good leader because she was someone who was in control of the situation in the country. To wit:

      Online whistle-blower WikiLeaks leaked the diplomatic cable “Progress in the Philippines, but More Needed” detailing discussions on Southeast Asia between Eric John, then US deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP), and two senior Chinese diplomats. The leaked cable was dated March 5, 2007.

      Hu Zhengyue, then China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general for Asian Affairs, discussed with John his country’s efforts in dealing with the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations.

      “Beijing sees President Gloria Arroyo as a good leader because she has shown that she is in control.”
      DAS John agreed President Arroyo has stabilized Philippine leadership and enacted strong fiscal and economic policy, but stressed that Beijing and Washington must encourage Manila to continue working hard to promote transparency and good governance, according to the leaked diplomatic cable.

      Before he even stepped into office, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) registered a growth of 7.3% for the first quarter following frontloaded tax payments and an average inflation rate of 4.3%. Let us give credit where credit is due — to the whole lot of factors including president Arroyos policies, global economic recovery, increased remittances and increased consumer spending.”

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