President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA 2012)

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President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III will be giving his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) soon. Like his first and second SONA, his speech will most likely be full of motherhood statements similar to all the previous speeches he had delivered since he announced his plans to run for the Presidency in 2009. You’d think that two years after winning the 2010 election, the tone of the President’s speech would change from empty slogans to something with substance, but no; it seems someone forgot to tell President BS Aquino that he doesn’t have to be on campaign mode anymore, specially since most members of the public already realized that he is incapable of fulfilling his promises anyway.

Instead of giving the Filipino people an accurate report of his administration’s achievements so far, we can expect the incumbent president to offer some “feel good” platitudes at the resumption of the joint session of Congress this month. His duty to deliver a SONA might be stipulated in the 1987 constitution; however, President BS Aquino’s predilection for indulging in triumphalist rhetoric is something the public will have to put up with for the next few years until he finally steps down. He probably thinks that the Filipino people are still good with him; well at least the recipients of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program — over 3 million of them — can be counted on to grin and bear with his mediocre performance until the funds for the program run out or until the program is put to an end, whichever comes first.

Of course BS Aquino will be boasting about his achievements in the fight against corruption particularly since he had succeeded in removing former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. Never mind that the conclusion of the five-month trial did NOT even prove that Corona was corrupt. But it did prove that majority of the members of Congress can be bullied by the executive branch into railroading an impeachment process. The impeachment of Corona will not even benefit the public in a positive way. It could have negative repercussions considering some of the “favorites” on the list of nominees to replace Corona include those who are perceived to be rabid BS Aquino supporters who are not even the most qualified for the job.

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If I were in the president’s shoes, I would be very careful in picking Corona’s replacement as Chief Justice. The last thing President BS Aquino needs is to make the mistake of choosing someone who is unpopular with his critics or someone who does not have the respect of the other members of the Supreme Court. After all, it is a documented fact that despite his tainted image with the public, Corona was actually well-respected by most members of the judiciary – from his fellow justices down to the court clerks. Most of them do not have anything bad to say about Corona. If they had, the media would have had a field day with it.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary, Leila de Lima who is vying for Corona’s vacated post reportedly does not feel she will be welcomed at the high court. Her decision to defy the Supreme Court late in 2011 has a lot to do with her unpopularity with the SC. And saying things like “I could lend the face to be the rallying leader (of the Judiciary)” can only annoy them even more. If someone like De Lima ever gets the job, the low morale at the judiciary will go even lower. A situation like that will not be good for the justice system in the country. As the saying goes, BS Aquino will have to live and die by his own sword when that happens.

Speaking of justice, I don’t know why De Lima has high hopes of getting a higher post when there has been no improvement in her own department in terms of prosecuting human rights violators in the country. New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that failure to arrest alleged human rights abusers “highlights broader problems that do rest with the administration.”

HRW deputy director for Asia division Elaine Pearson said most cases involving human rights violations failed to reach trial stage while the police fail to follow up and arrest suspects and the military continued to “obstruct” investigations into human rights cases involving members of the Armed Forces.

The HRW in a statement last Thursday said Aquino failed to prosecute a single case of extra-judicial killing and enforced disappearance in his two years in office.

“The government needs to move beyond simply identifying suspects and obtaining warrants to arrest the suspects, gathering evidence and providing protection to witnesses to allow them to come forward,” Pearson added.

In other words, BS Aquino’s preoccupation with his political enemies in the last two years made it possible for suspects in more heinous crimes to escape justice. The public doesn’t even hear the president talk about the Maguindanao massacre the way he used to talk about the details of Corona’s case during his trial — which is really interesting considering Corona wasn’t even accused of grave crimes like murder or plunder. Many Filipinos wish that he do more to bring justice to the massacre victims.

Perhaps when BS Aquino and his army of handlers come down from their ivory tower, they can give a better assessment of their so-called “achievements”. It’s highly unlikely to happen soon though since deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte strongly believes that the administration’s “biggest achievement so far, is the change in mindset of our people.” She thinks that “there is now a shift in attitude towards government as a partner and not as an oppressor.” She said it with so much conviction that the gullible lot of Filipinos will be likely to believe her. One wonders where she gets that impression. She could be getting feedback solely from the beneficiaries of the CCT program. But with crime rates and utility bills going up, those who are in the middle class could end up applying for the government hand out too.

It’s too bad the President’s speechwriters might have to cut out the part about his pledge to lend $1 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in his SONA. Most members of the public including “illiterate” public servants in Congress cried foul when they first heard that the Philippines, a Third World country, will provide loans to help “poor countries” and “distressed economies” in the Euro zone.

A lot of folk can’t understand the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) explanation because most Filipinos are too ignorant to comprehend the purpose of the dollar reserves. I would be very surprised if BS Aquino still includes this in his SONA because it would just highlight the fact that the BSP is now in a position to lend only because our country’s own loan with IMF was paid during former President Gloria Arroyo’s (GMA) term in 2006. Besides, militants who think that this pledge to the IMF is a good opportunity to make noise will not let this slip by. So I guess they can scrap boasting about this.

Even though BS Aquino’s pledge to the IMF is legal, it still leaves a bad taste in some peoples’ mouths because their excuse for lending is 1) just fulfilling the country’s requirement as a member of the IMF and 2) self-serving. It seems as long as overseas foreign workers (OFWs) can send money, the government doesn’t have to worry about creating jobs at home.

Yes, bailing out countries in Europe that are in financial crisis will also help Filipino OFWs in Europe keep their jobs as well; however, it is not sustainable because we are not in control of how these countries will spend the funds provided to them. If they do not spend it wisely, the OFWs can also end up unemployed and become our government’s problem.

This brings us to the bottom-line. Whatever achievements BS Aquino might enumerate during his SONA, we should all take note of how he is going to address the lack of jobs in the country. He might talk about how the Philippine economy had grown by a surprising 6.4% in the 1st quarter of 2012, but at the end of the day the effects of that haven’t translated to prosperity for the rest of the public because it is partly a result of increased government spending, which is again unsustainable. And as pointed out before, economic growth rates are usually offset by population growth rates.

At the rate the population is growing, the pressure is on to keep the economy growing. One way to keep the economy growing is to create more jobs for the people. This will move more people out of poverty. The government’s CCT program will not be enough to increase the number of people who can spend and stimulate the economy but providing permanent jobs can do that. It’s too bad that a few weeks before his SONA, Ford Philippines announced it would “shut down its vehicle assembly operations in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, by yearend due mainly to lack of a broad supply base and economies of scale. The closure will result in the loss of 250 jobs.” Now that’s 250 people who will not get the same benefits from any local employers.

Think tank Ibon Foundation Inc. claims that the Aquino government failed to create quality jobs for Filipinos and its efforts to lick poverty continued to be insufficient.

Ibon said the country continues to have a jobs crisis, which saw the total number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos has increased by 780,000 in the last two years to 11.7 million in April 2012 from 10.9 million in April 2010. As of April 2012, there were 4.4 million unemployed and 7.3 million underemployed Filipinos.

I wonder how the president will address that in his SONA? It might be too much to expect BS Aquino to address the real issues facing the country today but we can expect more “wang-wang” statements though.

52 Replies to “President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA 2012)”

  1. The saddest thing is, gullible-headed Filipinos (mostly the yellow zombies) will just believe what he said, commenting with common rhetorics such as, “bakit di na lang suportahan?”, “huwag lagi umasa sa gobyerno”, “masyadong negative”, “utak-talangka”, “ano na ba nagawa para sa bayan?”…Kakapagod na ang maging Filipino.

    1. Hi tonybac

      Speaking of people who say those things, there’s this thing going around on social networking sites that is designed to discourage people from complaining. The message is for people to shut up and to stop criticising the government. I forgot the exact words but a lot of people were liking it.

      Those who say things like that are encouraging apathy and indifference, which actually is the reason our public servants get away with mediocre performance.

      1. Right. Honestly, that is also a form of escapism and prefers to be blind and never look on the problems and how we can solve it.

        That can be considered as an act of cowardice if you ask me.

  2. Another incisive article, Ilda. Can’t help but draw parallelisms between BS Aquino and Obama. Running on a slogan of change that never happened. And after years in office, still blaming the nation’s ills on the previous administration.

      1. hi ilda! Pres BS Aquino is like a stewardess on a plane, she knows both wings have been burned but still says to her passengers to calm down. why stop others from complaining when we are all gonna suffer if this country meet its doom.

        1. sorry, i should have made another paragraph for the complaining part. complaining and the plane was a different story.
          Ilda said “Instead of giving the Filipino people an accurate report of his administration’s achievements so far, we can expect the incumbent president to offer some “feel good” platitudes at the resumption of the joint session of Congress this month”

          hi ilda! Pres BS Aquino is like a stewardess on a plane, she knows both wings have been burned but still says to her passengers to calm down.

          tonybac said “The saddest thing is, gullible-headed Filipinos (mostly the yellow zombies) will just believe what he said, commenting with common rhetorics such as, “bakit di na lang suportahan?”, “huwag lagi umasa sa gobyerno”, “masyadong negative”, “utak-talangka”, “ano na ba nagawa para sa bayan?”…Kakapagod na ang maging Filipino.”

          why stop others from complaining when we are all gonna suffer if this country meet its doom.

        2. @trish

          It is better for any administration to give a more realitistic picture of what lies ahead. That way, the people can also do something more pro-active about their life.

          I’m afraid BS Aquino will keep harping about the CCT program in his SONA and consider it as one of his “achievements”. That is false because 1) GMA also had the same program during her term and 2) That’s just plain and simple dole out. I wouldn’t call that an “achievement”.

        3. @Ilda:

          It can be realistic but still maintain some form of optimism and share some working plans in the end.

          I remember an Erap’s old speech that practically declared his administration as bankrupt coming in after Ramos. That was way too real.

        4. Intelligent people always complain yet they have a solution to offer. But unfortunately, there are people who don’t want to listen even there is impending danger or something bad will happen to them.

        5. Like a cruise ship package where your fellow n0ytard tourists chose an inexperienced captain to maneuver the ship, despite the objections of others tourists.

    1. But @sitting pretty, the similarity between BSA and Obama stops there because their smarts are oceans, if not a universe, apart. And the Phil and US scenarios are oh so different that the blame game is like comparing apples and balimbings.

  3. BSA III is just letting the witnesses of the Ampatuan massacre get picked off like flies. Asa ka pa na mabanggit nya yan.

    Much in the same manner, extrajudicial killings haven’t gone away.

    1. @brianitus

      He is good at ignoring calls to expedite the prosecution of perpetrators of more henious crimes like the Maguindanao massacre. If only he can somehow use his influence to speed things up. Unfortunately, he needs Unas to prosecute GMA.

      Expect more killings in the coming senatorial elections.

    2. That phenomena is a sad fact of life here . Life is cheap. That defines us more than American Idol or 12 rounds of boxing ever could. Yeah ! Proud to be pinoy !!!’

        1. That is probably common theme of all of us who contribute, Pinoy values are so out of whack . What they revel in and what they sweep under the rug. What they look for in leadership.

    3. I guess it’s a case of “It happened during Arroyo’s time, nothing to do with me”?

      Well, duh, this is one instance where BS Aquino will not be able to pass the blame to Arroyo, because the same deaths are still happening on his watch.

  4. It will be better for him to avow his imcompetence as a President of our country or acknowledge our taxes spent to bribed sanctimonious 20 and the 188 tongressmen in removing CJ Corona, or or acknowledge DOJ for a job well done to dishonor the decision of our Supreme Court.

  5. Ilda,

    Noynoy’s presidency is decidedly guided by a simple phrase:

    “Panem et circenses” – Bread and circuses

    From our experience we can say with conviction that every time BS Aquino opens his mouth to talk he follows a simple procedure:

    1) Blame Arroyo for all the bad things
    2) Take credit for all the good ones
    3) Emphasize anti-corruption
    4) Rinse, lather, repeat

    But of course, SONA probably means an entirely different thing to him. Supremacy of Noynoy Aquino.

    And as always, count on Pinoys to consistently put their trust on the wrong people. There are quite a few who insist they can trust him despite his stellar track record of disappointment.

    1. @FallenAngel

      It boggles the mind how he can take credit for all the good things while blaming on GMA for most of the negative things. His supporters are partly to blame when they defend him. They say “He’s only been in office for so many months, give him a break.” But then any positive feedback about the economy will be credited to him despite being in office only for a short period.

  6. Might as well transform the entire government into a monarchy with king BS stating his royal decree while his vassals follow along. Same difference.

  7. Ilda

    It’s PNoy’s altered “State of Mind”–rather than the “State of the Nation”–that the “Nation” is more interested in being truthfully informed about.

    Section 12, Article VII, in fact, is all about the President’s “State of Health”:

    “In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health …”

    I think the term “serious illness” of the President should be defined to include an altered “State of Mind” tantamount to “the inability to discharge the powers and duties of his office” that, in turn, requires “the public” to be informed of.”

    Article VII actually provides other courses of action to be undertaken.

    Meanwhile, please read: http://www.unexplainedstuff.com/Mysteries-of-the-Mind/Altered-States-of-Consciousness.html

    1. @Domingo

      He did suffer some physical trauma when he was wounded in a gunfight during a bloody coup d’etat in the 80s. I’m sure that kind of experience can give someone post traumatic stress disorder. That could explain some of his irrational behaviour.

      1. I remember that Carmen Pedrosa stated about PNoy’s mental illness during the 2010 elections yet they ignore it. I wonder why.

        1. Yeah, I don’t know why mainstream media didn’t even pick up that story. If it were one of their political enemies accused of mental illness, The Inquirer would have splashed it on their front page.

        2. @jaks: Hopeless for those who believe in what the Yellow Media says to them. That is also evident due to PNoy’s actions, including his dumb decisions and incompetence.

          To put it simply, that’s because what ABS-CBN and Inquirer, even Conrado de Quiros said it, it may be true. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Hopeless.

        3. i was just commenting on the idea that whatever carmen pedrosa says is gospel. why are you bein emotional? hehe

        4. @jaks: You’re the one here is emotional. 😛 BTW, would you just believe on what the Yellow Media says to you?

          The joke is for his on YOU then. 😀

          Requesting deletion….

  8. I will not speculate, on what Noynoy Aquino will tell us on the SONA. However, out of curiosity. I know, he will sell to us: an Illusion of Prosperity. Justice has been done by impeaching Justice Corona. And so forth…and so on.
    Most politicians always lie, to improve their positions, and to project good images to voters. We, the gullible voters, swallow the lies: hook, line and sinker. Not only once, but, many times…Can you see how these liars and deceivers are, elected and re-elected. Their wives, sons, daughters, relatives, “kabits”, etc…are also elected…

  9. huwag nilang ipagmalaki ang CCT dhil tinuruan lang nito ang mga nakatanggap nito na maging tamad at iasa sa gobyerno ang kanilang pangangailangan. may kilala akong nakatanggap ng CCT pero isinangla ang card upang mamakuha ng pang down payment sa motorbike… kaso ngayon nahatak na ang motorbike dahil hindi naman nahuhulugan ang monthly pero ang card nila ng CCT nakasangla pa at di pa natutubos.

    1. Oh dear…I’m sure there are more similar stories like that which remain untold. And it’s something we won’t hear during his SONA. I do hope that they can monitor how the cash is being spent. The recipients should be required to show their children’s report cards on a regular basis or something.

  10. I’ll betcha he’ll boast ousting Corona as his greatest achievement this year. As if it is an achievement at all.

    1. Ya know what’s funny? Saying that is like a warlord or a barbarian who is boasting of his victories.

      What’s so great about boasting about achievements of chasing political enemies?

      1. The President is there to govern and lead . The court system should be the one to put people away. That was more a circus/ tele novella than a trial.

      2. Assuming what I say is true that it’s the judiciary’s job to take care of things of that ilk. BS then has no business influencing or taking credit for that . He is a walking conflict of interest case.

  11. I would really hate to see him brag or take credit for the 6% growth of the country. It is not due to the government investments, its the OFWs remittances. I would like to see charter change to completely abolish the 60/40 restrictions on foreign investments so we create real jobs in the Philippines. Let’s bring back the OFWs home.

  12. Again, he’s blaming the previous administrations…and he’s still referencing the wang-wang… Also, the sound of applause from the audience seems forced…

  13. I’m quite elated and satisfied with Pnoy’s SONA. The sincerity and passion to help his countrymen is definitely visible. Guys stop whining about it. Kahit sino pa ang maging president, people will always complain anyway and I’m pretty sure all whiners who’ve posted above me will still complain whoever will be the next president. Why not nominate yourself as the next president and let’s see how you go?

    1. PURE TROLLING.

      I’m not complaining when Arroyo was in office. I’m complaining on Noynoy because of his incomptence, blunders, and blame games. Of course, it’s okay for since you’re also a sycophant like PNoy.

      And on your last question, I fully realize why there are many idiots here in this damn country. Funny, isn’t it?

    2. sincerity and passion? That guy was inactive before he became president and he has been inactive since being president. Even his most fervent supporters could not name one thing he has ever done pre election to make him worthy of being president.. You come in here and tell us he is sincere and passionate??? Sorry but none of us apologize for having standards when it comes to elected officials.

    3. Sincerity and passion? Let me know when he starts prosecuting the people close to him when they get caught violating the law because that’s when I’ll believe he is sincere and passionate about helping his countrymen.

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