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. 

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