Philippine President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino delivered his sixth State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 29, 2015 at the Batasang Pambansa in front of joint session of the Upper and Lower House of the country’s Legislative Branch of Government. Some students will surely give their reaction paper with the Pres. SONA as part of their assignment. The State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino started at around 4:00 PM (PST) and concluded after two hours and 15 minutes. The SONA 2015 is one of the highly anticipated date of the administration, as the head of state reports his accomplishments and plans for the country. During the entire SONA, the President received a total of .. rounds of applause. President Aquino started his Sixth SONA by issuing an apology that the traditional processional walks was not made because Main Topics for Discussion:
Blaming the Previous Administration:
President Aquino once again blamed the previous administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo mentioning the problems he inherited during his earlier days as President such as the NBN ZTE Deal, Hello Garci controversy, questionable bank accounts of Jose Pidal, Maguindanao Massacre, MWSS Bonuses and the NFA anomalies.
Highlighting the Achievement of His Cabinet Members:
The President applauded the members of his Cabinet for an excellent jobs as members of his Daang Matuwid program. He showcased the achievements of his administration in transportation and communications, tax/revenue, labor and wages, international relations, education, budget and finance, peace, social welfare, justice, calamity and disaster preparedness, national security, economy, infrastructure, governance and reform. Pres. Aquino lauded Commissioner Kim Henares for her tax reforms mentioning the 380 cases filed against tax evaders. The collections of the BIR also went up to P1.3 trillion and this year 2015, the BIR collection went up to P1.5 trillion.
Manufacturing & Unemployment:
Pres. Aquino stated that there’s a 3% average growth in the manufacturing sector from 2001-2009 but under his administration from 2010 to 2014, the manufacturing sector grew by 8%. The unemployment rate of the Philippines also dropped to 6.8% last year and considered as the lowest ever recorded in a decade.
4Ps and the Education Sector:
Pres. Aquino highlighted the ‘Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’ or 4Ps which now have 4.4 million beneficiaries from 786,523 in 2010. In 2008, there were 2.9 million out of school youth in the country. In 2013, only 1.2 million out of school youth remained. On education sector, PNoy said that Alternative Learning System helped to ensure that even indigenous peoples and street children are not left behind. The requirements for the K to 12 programs – backlogs of 66,800 classrooms, 145,827 teachers, 73.9 million textbooks already provided. For TESDA program of the government, studies show that 71.9% [of TESDA graduates] found employment right away, compared to the 28.5% recorded before.
Health and Social Welfare:
Around 89.4 million Filipinos are already member of the Philhealth program of the national government and beginning in 2014, the poorest 40 percent of the population were treated in public hospitals for free. In social welfare, PNoy said that in the Sitio Electrification program, 25,257 sitios out of 32,441 were served.
Aviation & Transportation Sector:
In aviation, ICAO lifted the safety concerns it imposed to the Philippines in 2013. The EU Air Safety Committee lifted the travel ban in all local carriers. For the unresolved problem on Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Aquino said plans of purchasing of new MRT train coaches.
Armed Forces of the Philippines:
In the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization, the government has plan to buy 2 more C-130. There will be additional 6 landing craft utilities and 3 C-295 medium lift transport. President Aquino mentioned the PNP’s project such as their Capability Enhancement Program of which 2,523 patrol jeeps and 577 utility vehicles were purchased.
Important Bills and Legislations:
Pres. PNoy wish to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law and his interest on the controversial Anti-Dynasty Law which received the loudest applause from SONA expectators. When he mentioned his interest on Anti-Dynasty Law, it received the loudest applause from SONA expectators. “Panahon na para ipasa ang isang Anti-Dynasty Law.” PNoy also thanked Congress and Senate for other bills and acts such as Philippine Competition Law, Sin Tax Reform Act and Responsible Parenthood Act. The president also thanked officials of the government for their contributions, sacrifice and wellspring of inspiration to the nation.
He lauded Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas for his contributions to Daang Matuwid. Pres. Aquino ended his speech with the following statement “Simula pa lang ito. [Palakpakan] Nasa unang yugto pa lang tayo ng dakilang kuwento ng sambayanang Pilipino. Sa gabay ng Panginoong Maykapal, at sa patuloy nating pagtahak sa Daang Matuwid, lalo pang tatayog ang mga pangarap na maaabot natin. Lalo pang lalawak ang kaunlarang tinatamasa natin. Nasasainyo pong mga kamay ang direksiyon natin. Magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat po.”
Reactions to President Aquino’s SONA:
President Aquino missed so many important topics during his last and final SONA, the entire SONA centered on his administration’s accomplishment and giving credits to his partners on his “Daang Matuwid.” Some of the important issues that the President failed to mention during his sixth SONA are the following, the controversial PDAF issue, the Mamasapano Massacre, the expansion of Chinese territories in the West Philippine Sea and the Freedom of Information Bill to name a few.