by Akiko John Domingo

BULACAN - Despite the fact that some of the portions of Aquino's SONA gained applauses and ovations from the people in and out of the Batasang Pambansa, the reality that a number of Filipinos who doesn’t admired the way the president's report is obvious.

               As natural pundits, Filipinos have their own perceptions regarding the latest State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III.

               By giving a rating from 1 (the lowest) to 10 (the highest) Bulakenyos expressed their contentment and the opposites to the much-criticized SONA.

                Karen S. Romantico, 20, a Journalism student of Bulacan State University said that, As a future media practitioner, inabangan ko talaga ang SONA. Pero na-disappoint ako sa hindi pagkabangit ng Freedom of Information Bill na mahalaga para sa lahat ng mga mediamen, it’s a seven for me.”

             The disgruntled ‘soon-to-be journalist’ also said that there were many other things that the president forgot to say. However, she gladly said that the president had only spoken of the truth, specifically on the GDP growth.

                Akihiro Domingo, 15, a Legal Management student of BulSU noted that the SONA of P-Noy is better than his past two SONAs, “The last SONA is better than his first two, but it needs a lot of improvement. Certainly on the ‘unsung’ parts, which people hope to be included in his latest speech, but its ok for me, and I’m giving him an eight.”

                 Andrew Reyes, 18, a call center agent, said that the president’s SONA, just like of the past, is merely a statement of ‘yabang’.

               “Bakit kailangan ng comparison kung talagang madami s’yang nagawang maganda. Hindi ba pwedeng mag-SONA si P-Noy ng wala man lang kahit isang paninisi?” pointing to the president’s ‘always’ chiding tone to the preceding administration. Andrew gave him a four.

              “Oo, tama s’ya sa mga sinabi n’yang mga paglago ng ekonomiya, but he always keeps on repeating Gloria Arroyo’s mistakes, alam na naman natin 'yon eh. Pero bakit kailangan pang ipagduldulan sa atin at sa nakaraang administrasyon,kaya para sa akin, lagapak siya at three lang ang bigay kong score sa kanya,” Angel Simon, a student said.

              An angry businessman, Rodolfo Sta. Ana, 53, expressed, “Ang tuwid na daan na pilit n’yang itinutuwid ay s’ya mismo ang nagpapaliko sa kanyang mga patutsada at parinig sa nakaraang pangulo. Eh, alam na n'yang mali, inuulit-ulit pa nya, tama na ang sisihan, bakit, wala bang naambag na maganda at kabutihan kahit papaano si GMA. Three lang ang score n’ya sa akin.”

                  Joj Ocampo, a nursing student at BulSu said, “Puro salita, walang gawa, ang dami pa ring walang trabaho. Bakit gano'n, kung totoong tumataas ang ating ekonomiya? Kaya naman para sa SONA n’ya six lang ang ibibigay ko.”

               Gerald Caparas, a sports enthusiast mentioned that he is very unhappy about the outcome of PNoy’s SONA. “Walang nabanggit na kahit isang sports-oriented na bagay, nakakalungkot.” 

                   Caparas also pointed out that the president seemingly does not acknowledge the efforts of our athletes who brought fame and glory to the country. “Si Manny Pacquaio lang ang narinig ko, at sa crime rate pa bumagsak, pero bibigyan ko s’ya ng eight.”

                  Corazon Domingo, 54, a housewife and a mother of three kids said, “Maayos naman at naintindihan ko ang SONA ni PNoy. Masaya ako sa mga balitang kanyang sinabi lalo na sa paglago ng ating ekonomiya, matagal din kasing walang bali-balita tungkol sa ating economy. Pero kahit na may kulang sa kanyang SONA ayos lang ‘yon, malay natin sa susunod na SONA ay masabi na n’ya lahat ng ating gustong marinig, kaya nine ang bigay ko sa kanyang score.”

           Summing their comments up, a mixture of disappointment and slim satisfaction is the major reaction of the interviewed residents in the province of Bulacan.


by Arriane Mae Tristan

Another overview of the Philippines has been laid out as President Aquino delivered his third State of the Nation’s Address, July 23 at the Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City.

                  PNoy’s SONA this year was entitled“Report Kay Boss” in which he tackled the growth in the Philippines’ status, his achievements and as well as his upcoming projects for the continuous progress of the nation under his administration. The president’s speech lasted for about an hour and a half.

               “Kung dati tayo ang nangungutang, ngayon, ‘di biro na tayo naman ang nagpapautang”, President Aquino proudly said as he pointed out the lifts in our Gross Domestic Product Rate in the 1st quarter of 2012. He pointed out that during his term, there have been a constant development in our economy.

                     For the health issues, PNoy mentioned about the instant decrease of dengue cases from the previous to present year. Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona were lauded for the success of mosquito traps or the Ovicidal Larvicidal Traps (OL-Traps) that helped in the reduction of number of country’s dengue cases.

               Moving on to public’s health assistance, Aquino cited that PHILHEALTH is there to the rescue. Aquino mentioned that there’s an expansion of health services for the patients of cancer and leukemia as he gladly announced that 85% of Filipinos are now members of PhilHealth. PNoy also wants to push the approval of the Sin Tax Bill which will impose higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol products before the end of the year.

            Still in his SONA, Aquino said that the “Responsible Parenthood” is the answer to the massive backlog in the education supplies like textbooks, and shortage of classrooms. Out of almost a hundred of acclamation, this statement of him concerning the RH Bill gained the longest round of applause coupled with a standing ovation.

                Afterwards, he uttered about our problems in education that he has fixed. Lacks of classrooms and chairs will no longer be a problem because two million chairs will be given away to public schools by 2012, and 66,000 classrooms nationwide will rise by 2013. Dept. of Education (DepED) will now provide one book per student, one is to one ratio. He said that DepED’s target education budget in 2013 will about to 292.7 billion, much higher than the 2010 budget of 177 billion. Also in 2013, 43.61% budget increase will be for state universities and colleges.

               Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Joel Villanueva was commended by the president for effective implementation of technical education scholarships. PNoy announced that TESDA reached 434, 676 scholars from July 2010-2012. Related to this was the fall of Philippines Unemployment Rate, from 8% to 6.9%. According to him, 3.1 million more jobs were provided for his Filipino people during his term.

                 About future infrastructures, PNoy discussed his plans that will serve as solutions for faster, better and hustle-free travels. The SLEX-NLEX connector to be completed by 2015, the upgrading of different landing places in the country and also the construction of Bohol airport in Panglao, Legaspi airport in Daraga, and Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental in 2016. Aquino once said that our tourists’ arrival continues to increase as he targets millions of tourists in the Philippines this year.

                 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program was tackled too. “Bago ako bumaba sa pwesto, naipamigay na dapat ang lahat ng lupaing sakop ng CARP,” Aquino stated, and 1,520 sitios have been provided with electricity within a short period of time.

                Country’s rice production continues to increase as well, and Pres. Aquino hopes that our country can export rice next year. Different programs of Dept. of Agriculture were mentioned including the Coco Oil and Coco Coir exportation.

                Nation’s crime volume was incessantly diminishing and 100% of the police population will finally have their own guns. 28 billion pesos were set for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization, hi-tech and better quality patrol and war ships, new helicopters, radio and communication equipment, frigates, light aircraft will be acquired soon.

               Videos of housing and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) beneficiaries were shown and the proclamation that there are no more ghosts’ voters in Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), peace process in Mindanao and the improvement of disaster preparedness in the country was the other topics tackled in the middle of his SONA.

            “Kayong mga isinusugal ang buhay ng kapwa Pilipino, maghanda na kayo,tapos na ang maliligayang araw niyo”, PNoy said to illegal loggers and miners. For this matter, Aquino requested the submission of mining law that will protect our environment.

                 Pointing out the island’s rivalry in West Philippine Sea, “Hindi naman po yata tamang ipamigay na lang natin sa iba ang sadyang sa atin talaga.” President Aquino assured that Philippines will protect and uphold its national sovereignty and territorial authority.

                 Over all, his SONA was all about the improvement and future of our country. “Walang imposible kung nakikita ng sambayanan na sila ang boss ng pamahalaan. Sa inyo nagmula ang pagbabago. Hindi ko ito SONA, SONA ito ng sambayanang Pilipino,” President Aquino said as he ended his 2012 State of the Nation Address. 


by Nico Villaceran

BULACAN - “All plastics and styrofoams are banned”, Provincial Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said in accordance with the strict implementation of the “No Plastic Ordinance” signed in Brgy. Saog, Marilao, July 19.

                    The Provincial Ordinance no. 2012-09 or "No Plastic Ordinance" is in line with the rehabilitation of one of the world’s top 30 dirtiest rivers Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando river system, based on New York’s site Blacksmith

                      For the commitment, pledge, and successful implementation of Provincial Ordinance no. 2012-09, the law was signed by Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, San Jose Del Monte City Mayor Reynaldo San Pedro, Obando City Mayor Orencio Gabriel, Marilao City Mayor Epifanio Guillermo, Meycauayan City Mayor Joan Alarilla, Sta. Maria Mayor Bartolome R. Ramos, together with Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, Atty. Henry Villarica, Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office (BENRO) Head Rustico De Belen, P/Sr. Supt. Fernando Mendez, Board Member Enry Santos, 56th IB Commander COL. Hilario Vicente Lagnada and Provincial Administrator Jim Valerio.

                      “We would like to see our river system to be as beautiful as it was 25 years ago. This is the proper time or else it will be too late. We need to provide leadership and the political will to do what is right,” Gov. Alvarado said.

                     Conforming to the Provincial Ordinance 2012-09’s, any person who would break the law and its rules will be penalized by paying 3,000 to 5,000 or six months to one year of imprisonment, depending on the court’s decision. If the person has no ability to pay, community service for three months will be the punishment. Business factories and manufacturers that would commit a violation will be at risk for sanctions and regulations, or for worst, their business permits must be surrendered.

             “Hindi po natin ipagbabawal ang pagtatrabaho at pagnenegosyo, subalit kailangan 'yong batas na maghuhubog at 'yong mga tamang pamamaraan na walang polusyon, 'yong hindi sumisira sa ating kalikasan,” Gov. Alvarado added.

                    The BENRO (Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office) and PNP Bulacan Provincial Police office are the Head Agencies in charge of forcing the laws to save MMORS.

                       In 2007, The City of Meycauayan and the town of Marilao in Bulacan province share a slot in the list of the world’s 30 most polluted places in the developing world drawn up by a private New York-based institute. In its report, “The World’s Worst Polluted Places” for 2007, the Blacksmith Institute said: “Industrial wastes are haphazardly dumped into the Meycauayan, Marilao and Obando River system, a source of drinking and agricultural water supplies for the 250,000 people living in and around the Meycauayan-Marilao area."

                    The MMORS is being polluted because domestic, industrial and commercial wastes including two kinds of metals, mercury and lead. The Provincial Governmentaims to produce 1.9 billion for the dredging and it will need sanitary landfills.

First Pace to save MMORS

                          More that 500 Bulakenyos joined the cleanup of MMORS led by Gov. Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado and Vice-Gov. Daniel Fernando, together with officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and several non-governmental organizations.

                              “This is the proper time; another time will be too late. We need to provide leadership and the political will to do what is right. Let us unite so that in the soonest possible time, we can swim in clean rivers again.” Gov. Alvarado said.

                                “This activity is part of our long-term solution to erase the bad image that is associated with our MMORS. We are serious in making our vision a realization. With the help of other government agencies and the citizens, I am positive that we can be successful in this project,” Gov. Alvarado added.

                           “Masaya kaming tumulong at makakaasa kayong mapapanatili namin ang pagbabantay at paglilinis ng kailugan na to,” Philippine Army 2nd Leut. Mary Ann Dulohan said.

                               “Para sa kalikasan naman natin 'to, trabaho natin ang pangalagaan ang kailugan”, PO1 Espiritu said.

                               According to the Governor, he suspects that few industrial and commercial wastes are from Metro Manila.

                           “MMDA Assistant General Manager Emerson Carlos promised to meet with the Mayors of Metro Manila for the inspection of the industrial firms that discharge their wastes into the river system and eventually end up in Bulacan,” Gov. Alvarado said.


by Reina Beatriz Peralta

Quezon City and Caloocan City - Comments of both contentment and disappointment arise after PNoy delivered his SONA entitled “Report Kay Boss”. 

             Even though others think of PNoy’s report as remarkable and comprehensive, negative criticisms still cropped up. Eight out of ten people residing in Quezon City and Caloocan City were satisfied with President Benigno Aquino III (PNoy) in his third State of the Nation Address at Batasang Pambansa Plenary Hall on July 23, 2012.  While the remaining two appeared to be disappointed and still not convinced about his report and actions.

                Most of them got interested with PNoy’s achievements and plans about education.  A Science high school teacher of St. Theresa School of Novaliches, Richard Peralta was happy about the increase on budget in education. He said, “Maganda. Maganda ang pag-iinvest sa edukasyon.  Hindi man ito makikita sa kasalukuyang panahon, kapag ang punla ay umusbong, kasabay nitong iaangat ang naghihirap na estado ng Pilipinas.” 

                 But he is not satisfied with PNoy’s overall performance base on his speech in his SONA.  “Hindi ko siya ire-rate from one to ten.  Ire-rate ko siya sa ganitong paraan: one meter per hour, mabagal.  Mabagal ang pag-usad ng Pilipinas.”

                 “'Yong pinakanagustuhan ko sa mga sinabi niya, 'yong tungkol sa pagtaas ng budget sa mga state universities kasi tiyak na tayo rin ang makikinabang doon.  Masaya.  Para gumanda naman 'yong facilities ng school.  Sana lang matupad para wala nang mag-ra-rally about budget cut.”  Dianne Elaine Aserit, third year BS Information Technology at Polytechnic University of the Philippines said. 

                 “Bibigyan ko siya ng 7 points, because nobody is perfect,"  she added.

                Soledad Peralta, Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer gave her reaction about the controversial Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which PNoy mentioned that before the end of his term, all the land under the CARP will be distributed.  She said,“Iwas pa rin siya sa isyu.  Parang ilang pa rin siya.  Sabi niya tatapusin niya ang isyu ng Agrarian Reform pero pa’no?” 

                  She also gave her reaction to the other points of PNoy in his SONA. “'Yong sa cash transfer, maigi yan tsaka 'yong sa health card, pero tingin ko dapat kailangan niyang mag-random evaluation para malaman niya kung sa mahihirap nga napupunta 'yon.  Nagtitipid siya, maging sa agency namin, nararamdaman ko 'yon.  'Yong natitipid niya ay mapupunta sa pambili ng upuan para sa mga schools.  Isa pa, siya lang ang presidente na nagsabing sa atin ang Spratlys.” 

                  Ms. Peralta gave PNoy’s SONA a passing grade.  “Good.  Sa gitna lang kasi ang iba sa mga sinabi niya kagaya nung sa DPWH, para lang siyang future scenario.  Para sa’kin mina-mind set niya lang yung DPWH dahil sila yung pinaka-corrupt.  Malinaw 'yong mga data at malinaw kung saan mapupunta yung mga pondo.”

                Project engineer of MHE Demag (P) Inc., Avel Pangilinan was not that in favor of what PNoy included in his SONA.  75% pabor.  May mga kailangan na dapat ayusin sa edukasyon para maka-recover sa back log.  Kailangan ding matutukan 'yong K + 12 program.  'Yong sa Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) dapat mapili ng mabuti 'yong beneficiaries at turuan maging self-sufficient later sa program.  'Yong territorial conflict sa Chinaok 'yong sinimulang diplomatic protest kaya lang sana makapag-warning tayo sa mga trespassers para alam nila na ipaglalaban natin ang bayan natin.”  Pangilinan said, rating PNoy six. 

               “Kailangan pa niyang tutukan ang mga actions na dapat gawin ng cabinet niya at mag-decide nang napapanahon sa mga decisions na kailangan siya," he added.

                Administrative Assistant of Barangay 172, Caloocan City, Felicidad De Villa expressed her feelings about the SONA.  “Ang ganda.  Sana nga may improvement ang Pilipinas.  Tumaas na lahat pero ang sweldo, ‘di tumataas.”  She said, pertaining to the progress of the Philippine economy.

              “Ang question, bakit magpapautang pa?  ‘Di na lang sa’tin ibigay,”  she added, as a rection with regards to the lending of money to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

            “Maganda yung report niya lalo na sa education.  Sa DSWD, hindi feel ng tao kasi marami pa rin ang nagugutom.” added De Villa.

                De Villa also commented on the way PNoy strictly implements his “Daang Matuwid”.  “Sana nga siya wala [issues about graft and corruption].  Ewan ko lang 'yong mga kasama niya.”

                PNoy indirectly mentioned the very controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill by rather saying Responsible Parenthood.  “Pabor siya sa RH Bill pero sana diniretso niya kasi over-populated na tayo.”  De Villa said.

                “Kung ‘di ka maco-confine, ‘di mo magagamit yung Philhealth.”  De Villa reacted about the No Billing Policy wherein the medication of philhealth card owner will be for free.

                In the end of his interview, De Villa rated PNoy six.  “Six kasi ‘di pa siya very good sa’kin.  Wala pa ‘kong nakikita sa kanya.”

                Medical practitioners Maria Christina Colaway (barangay 172 health center nutritionist), Charito Corpin (barangay 172 health center midwife) and Jayson Paz (barangay 172 health center nurse) did not watch the entire SONA but they still gave their reactions to the issues they were concerned particularly about the Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN-Heals) and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4 P’s).  RN-Heals is similar to Nurses Assigned in Rural Service (NARS), wherein the registered nurses are deployed to provinces and barrios where their services are much needed.  4 P’s is a conditional cash transfer program that provides incentives for poor families to invest in their future by ensuring that mothers and children can avail of healthcare and that children go to school. As such, it is a human development program that invests in the health and education of children.  At the same time, the cash grants alleviate current poverty by providing immediate relief from cash flow problems. Such extra cash received on a bimonthly basis is especially important for poor households that have irregular or seasonal income. 

                  “Ok naman kaya lang 'yong sa 4 P’s, medyo hindi," Corpin said.

               "’Di kasi lahat puwedeng mapasama sa 4 P’s, 'yong talagang wala lang fixed na income.  Nino-nominate yan.  Kaya lang 'yong iba nadadaan sa palakasan.  Kapag malakas ka sa barangay kahit ‘di ka naman mahirap, sa’yo napupunta yung slot.”  Colaway explained.

                  “Ang hirap kasi minsan sa tamad napupunta 'yong slot sa halip na sa mga talagang mahihirap.”  Paz added.

                   Corpin and Paz rated PNoy seven, while Colaway gave six.

                “Malaki yung naitulong sa’kin ng Philhealth sa pagpapa-opera ng anak ko pero nagdagdag pa rin kami ng 2,000 pesos.  Masaya dahil gagawin nang libre lahat.”  Vegetable vendor Leoclegao Medina said, rating the president 10.

                “Hindi ako naniniwala na maganda na 'yong ekonomiya natin ngayon pero nag-improve kung ikukumpara before.  Mikael Fidel Enriquez, a graduate of BS Psychology at San Beda College and currently taking up MA in Developmental Psychology said.

                      Talking about the budget increase in education, Enriquez said, “Dapat lang, lalo na ngayon na nagsimula na 'yong K-12.  Tsaka mas mabuti 'yong sa edukasyon siya mag-focus kesa sa RH Bill.”  

                              He gave the speech of the president 8 points. 


by Justine Marie Bernardo

The Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance: Pagpapanumbalik sA Dating kaaYusan ng kAliKasan known as PADYAK, held a mass and lecture program that made the Bulakenyos conscious about the condition of Sierra Madre, last June 30, at the ICSB grounds in Malolos.

                   The Sierra Madre Cross, which symbolizes the wakeup call for the people to help restore and preserve mountain range, was brought from a place to another. From Cagayan, where the cross was made, it was sent to Manila, Quezon, Marikina, Angat, and now, Malolos. The cross will be staying in the Malolos Cathedral for a few days and after, it will be sent off to Caloocan and Cubao.

                     Fr. Pete Montellana, the chief person of Sierra Madre Network Alliance, explained the history and importance of the said event. He said the group was formed last April 19, 2009 and it all started as an activity. But when the Typhoon Ondoy destructed and killed many Filipinos last 2009, the activity became a tradition.

                  The Sierra Madre Cross was made by the Ifugaos out of pieces of the woods that were illegally logged. They formed the cross which symbolizes the alarming situation of the mountains and forests we have now.

                 “Sinimulan namin ito dahil gusto naming ipaalam sa mga tao ang nangyayari. Kasi may mga tao ring natatakot dahil ayaw nilang ipaglaban ang kanilang karapatan na tumutol sa pagmimina."  Fr. Montellana added. He said that the project is non-government.

                   Ms. Tessie Calayag, 64 years old, a member of Dioceses of Environment and Ecological Program or DEEP, admitted that she never thought of be joining this project. But as days passed, she realized that everything was really in His lead.

                “Malaki ang pag-asa na maisalba ang Sierra Madre.”  Ms. Calayag added. She believes that the present generation will be the ones to save and continue their project.

                        For the past year, many Kawayan trees were planted in Marilao and Meycauayan and this year they planned to hold a Tree Planting Rite in Sierra Madre in September 26, 2012. Everyone is encouraged to join to the Planting Rite.

                       Marvin Santos, a volunteer cyclist, joined the procession because he also wanted to promote a healthy living and a good environment. He also added that he’s also willing to attend the tree planting on September 26. 


by Reina Beatriz Peralta

Aside from Filipino-American Friendship day, the province of Bulacan also celebrated and commemorated the 116th death anniversary of the province’s home-grown national hero, Marcelo H. del Pilar. To pay tribute to his heroic deeds, the Pambansang Komisyong Pangkasaysayan ng Pilipinas organized a lecture-forum about the theme “Kilusang Propaganda ni del Pilar: Ang Kabuluhan Nito sa Edukasyon ng Kasalukuyang Panahon”, last July 4, at the Marcelo H. del Pilar Shrine, Bulakan, Bulacan on July 4.

                         Plaridel is a well-known hero who fought for the freedom of our country through his writings. Jose Roy B. Reyes, President of Bulacan Press Club, said that today, our country needs journalists who are like del Pilar, fearless to expose anamolies happening in the government.

                        Aside from del Pilar’s longing for the country to be free from the Spaniards, he also valued education so much. Prof. Michael Charleston B. Chua from the Department of History of De La Salle University said that del Pilar raised fund for the youth to be educated. Dr. Agnes DR. Crisostomo, Editor of Bahay-Saliksikan ng Bulacan of Bulacan State University (BSU), told a "secret" that almost everybody is unaware of. Del Pilar has his own version of Jose Rizal’s “Liham sa Kadalagahan ng Malolos”. Del Pilar’s “Liham sa Kababaihan ng Bayan ng Bulacan” tells about the essence of education.

                            Together with Reyes, Chua and Crisostomo, the other best speakers from different professions chosen by the Pambansang Komisyong Pangkasaysayan ng Pilipinas to gave talk in the program were: Prof. Cerise C. Guerrero, Chairman of Youth Progressive Unity for Nationalist Orientation; the representative of WM Mario Rariza, Cuapang Lodge Blg. 295; Josefina B. Natividad, Tagamasid Pampurok of Department of Eduacation (DepEd)-Bulacan; and Dr. Remigio R. Musca, Superintendent, Meneses Campus of BSU.

                             The Journalism, Tourism and Education students from different universities in Bulacan were also present in that program to gain more knowledge about Plaridel.

                           As what Prof. Guerrero said: “Ang paglimot sa kanila (the national heroes) ay parang pagpatay na rin sa kanila sa pangalawang pagkakataon”.