Students all over the country may be required to submit their reaction paper about President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's State of the Nation Address (SONA) which he delivered yesterday at the House of Representatives. Here is a sample one that you can use as guide in constructing your requirements in your school.
Related: P-Noy's SONA 2014 full transcript
At 4:03 p.m. on July 28, President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the House of Representatives in Batasan Complex in Quezon City. With around 85 applauses and cheers, the speech lasted for an hour and a half - as he delivered his report to his "bosses."
"Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan." That's what PNoy quoted at the start of his speech, recounting the problems of the weak Philippine economy at the start of his term. He recalled the past when the Philippines was still considered as the "sick man of Asia." He narrated how the country challenged these mishaps and fought corruption and hardships into the transformation of the national government.
He tackled how he started travelling into the "tuwid na daan." He said his work is not easy, but he is motivated in serving the Filipino people and putting the government to where it should be placed.
The president defended his stance on the Disbursment Acceleration Program (DAP). He showed projects out of DAP came from the national government's savings.
Noynoy said around P1.6 billion fund was given to Training-for-Work Scholarship Program of TESDA. A total of 223,615 beneficiaries have graduated with an equivalent of 146,731 graduates currently working. He also boasted about the Conditional Cash Tranfer (CCT) Program, also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps. The high investment grade status from Moody's, Fitch, and SandP are his indications that the economy is improving.
More national roads are built because of the increased budget in infrastructure. He cited a P28-billion savings from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which showed a cut in the opportunities for corruption.
The wrath of the earthquake which rocked Cebu and Bohol, and the devastation of typhoon Yolanda severely affected many provinces, but he said the government allocated funds for rehabilitation efforts, also citing the international relief provided by several countries. Noynoy said that after these calamities that took the lives of many of our fellow Filipinos, power restoration and repair of roads and highways were immediately done. He said a total of 221,897 received jobs after typhoon Yolanda.
He also discussed the purchase of new aircraft, helicopters, assault rifles and radar system for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). This is part of the government's AFP modernization program. He also cited about the achievement of the 1:1 (1 is to 1) police to pistol ratio. The Philippine National Police's (PNP) "Oplan: Lambat" and "Oplan: Katok" fought crimes and arrested perpetrators behind high-profile killings.
He also said collections at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) increased due to reforms. BOC is one of the most-corrupt government arms before the reform.
The signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro is a historical event - a peace agreement which created the "Bangsamoro," replacing the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which he recalled in the past as a "failed experiment."
With his achievements, Noynoy also cited his promises, which are:
- Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike bidding by the end of 2014
- Opening of alternative roads in EDSA
- Opening of the Busuanga airport
- Looking for solutions in the looming power shortage
- Importing more rice to bring down prices in local market
- Distribution of modern farming equipment (ongoing)
- P2.606 trillion national budget for 2015
As in his past SONAs, Noynoy was welcomed with thousand of protesters along Commonwealth Avenue. They said Aquino is the "pork barrel" king because of the DAP, which the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional in some parts.
His biggest challenges
Pork barrel scam
While I was watching the president's SONA, one thing I didn't hear about was his stand on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). The PDAF, popularly called as the "pork barrel," is a discretionary fund available to members of the Congress designed to allow legislators to fund small-scale infrastructure or community projects which fell outside the scope of the national infrastructure program. Misuse of the PDAF became a huge political scandal, which led to the imprisonment of Janet Lim-Napoles, the mastermind of the scam, and senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile. But no one has been convicted, so far.
Maybe the president and his cabinet is still hounded by the pork barrel scam. The scandal is so big and is said to reach the doors of the Palace. Three cabinet members have been linked to the scam - Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, and TESDA chief Joel Villanueva. So far, no ally has been indicted before the Sandiganbayan.
Aside from the PDAF scam, Noynoy counterly is facing impeachment complaints due to the DAP controversy. Another impeachment complaint has also been filed against the President for the equally controversial Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that the government signed with the United States.
Also, the territorial disputes of the Philippines against China have not been resolved. This questions the capability of the country on facing a challenge if ever worse things happen - how the AFP is made to face this? Are the talks we are pursuing worth China's "giving way?"
While Noynoy said his efforts to address joblessness in the country is a continued process, millions are still mired in poverty. The increased growth in economy has not yet affected the micro-economy, or the smaller scales or units, which include the poverty-stricken sector of the country.
This seems to be a problem for ages, but traffic, especially in Metro Manila is really disturbing. The government costs billions of pesos a year, and this affects millions of commuters. The heavy traffic is caused by bad roads that need to be fixed and water lines that need to be reconstructed, but mostly, because of undisciplined public utility drivers who stop their vehicles in the middle of the road to board passengers. The traffic in Metro Manila works like a loop, starting with traffic, ending with more traffic.
While Noynoy said the government fought crimes, still, the year was faced with a number of crimes which reportedly gone up.
While the president failed to address some issues surrounding his government, still, he has satisfactorily fulfilled the needs of the country. As he ends his term in 2016, I hope he finds a way to address these issues and bring more progress to the nation. I felt his sincerity as he delivered his speech, which I think is a proof that he is doing his best to lift our nation's situation. Truly, the country is faced with massive problems which rooted from the past administration, but with the reforms on hand and the continued efforts of the "tuwid na daan," I can see Noynoy has not done so little for us to see the bigger benefit of his works.