It was one of the longest State of the Nation Address (SONA) of a president. It may be considered as the longest and so far the most comprehensive, but not necessarily a report that reflected the real state of the nation.
Let’s take for instance the poverty situation. PNoy did not report much about it but he marveled on all sorts of intervention that his administration has undertaken to address poverty like the expanded Pantawid Pamilya Program and the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth.
The data from the National Statistics Coordinating Board for 2012 reveal otherwise. It showed that there has been no significant decline in the poverty ratio since 2006 despite claims of moderate to high growth rates during these years? We are only staring at the increasing figures in the last three SONA’s but the figures were short of translating growth into improved quality of life.
On the contrary, people’s lives are characterized by the hard times. Again, data from NSCB revealed that in 2009, 26-percent were poor and 10-percent experienced hunger among our people.
PNoy failed to mention that the much praised about GDP growth is only an equivalent to the 76-percent income growth of 40 richest families in the country for 2011. The combined wealth of these 40 families is a “meager” US$57-billion. The amount is shamefully more than the current annual budget of the government.
It was also prominent in the SONA that “inclusive growth” strategy eased out the significant role that Overseas Filipino Workers play in the economy. No mention of any issues that were related to the controversial (or should we say, immoral and illegal) handling of OFW’s in the hands of PNoy’s top diplomatic officials in the Middle East. PNoy did not scold the members of the diplomatic corps who were engaged in sex slavery and trafficking.
In short, PNoy consider them as “hindi pa makapal ang mukha at hindi pa kailangan mag resign.” Illegal gambling and illegal drugs were dealt with by PNoy in total silence and isolation.
The advocates for transparency and accountability in governance have all the reason to be disgusted at PNoy after he junked altogether the issue of the Freedom of Information Bill. No mention was made about the FOI as a necessary legislation in ensuring transparency in the government. PNoy will just fight corruption head-on without the FOI.
PNoy, however, was upbeat when he discussed intervention to address growing unemployment. His solution is, of course, more BPO’s (business processing Outsourcing). More call centers will mean more contractual zombie workers in the days ahead.
Philippine unemployment has dipped from 37.84 million in April 2012 to 37.82 million in April 2013. On the other hand, unemployment rate has risen from 6.9 percent in April 2012 to 7.5 percent in 2013.
On the issue of power generation and electricity supply, PNoy discussed with confidence the Mindanao power crisis as if it is the first time that our government confronted a crisis in the power sector. The response that PNoy will take is expectedly more baseload plants which are all fossil fuel as a better choice of his administration. Why not when PNoy has a good set of advisers in his cabinet like former energy secretary Rene Almendras and the current secretary Jericho Petilla.
Both of these energy secretaries are known backers of private sector-led power industry. The SONA of PNoy illustrates that the direction that his administration will take in the reminder of his six-year term will be led by fossil fuel-based plants for baseload requirement. It is expected that renewable energy will take the backseat and more climate causing coal plants will dominate power generation in the next three years.
The fourth SONA of PNoy is his own state of the nation and not a collective state of our nation for it did not capture nor reflective of the real state that characterized the lives of our people under PNoy’s leadership.