MANILA, July 26, 2011?President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III’s second State of the Nation Address drew mixed reactions from a wide array of concerned Filipinos and stakeholders—from being ‘laudable’ for its sincerity to ‘disappointing’ for its lack of concrete programs to address poverty.
While Employers Confederation of the Philippines’ President Edgardo B. Lacson said it was generally “laudable” for its simplicity, sincerity and clarity, Anakpawis Congressman Rafael Mariano noted that the 54-minute speech failed to define programs for the country’s farmers and workers.
Lacson said the speech could easily be understood and was clear of its two-fold agenda: its thrust on anti-corruption and anti-poverty measures.
Mariano said he and the peasants were waiting for Aquino’s statement on the much-awaited land distribution program for the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita and the other estates across the country.
“He failed to spell out clear-cut strategies that would bring the country to industrialization,” Mariano added as he called on President Aquino to bring (former President) Arroyo and (retired) General Palparan to jail for their crimes against the country and its people.
Mariano said there was not even a word on the ever-increasing gas prices and continuous demolition of squatter colonies across the country.
Meanwhile, Archbishop-Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz belittled President Aquino’s decision not to use the so-called “wang-wang”, saying it is “merely an excuse should he come late to his official functions as he is a late sleeper and late riser.”
He added if President Aquino’s claims of economic progress are true, this is simply because of the foreign currency remittances from millions of overseas Filipino workers.
The 76-year old prelate said there are still thousands of Filipinos who leave the country everyday seeking employment elsewhere despite the dangers to life and limb.
“Why should he focus on corruption alone when there’s graft which include looting, payola or bribery?” he asked. The prelate said he still has to see development plans for the country, its regions and provinces.
For his part, Bontoc-Lagawe Bishop Rodolfo Beltran said he liked the speech but somehow got bored listening to it.
The prelate said, coming from a poor ecclesial province, he expected something more from President Aquino.
“While he mentioned poverty in his second State of the Nation Address, he failed to clearly explain how he will resolve the problems associated with poverty,” he added.
According to him, President Aquino could do very well if his campaign against corruption is not centered on the previous administration but also on people closely associated with him.
“Mahirap kasi kung nakikita natin at hindi naman natin itinutuwid,” he further explained.
Asked how he felt of President Aquino’s acknowledgement of Cardinals Rosales and Vidal’s efforts to resolve existing conflicts between the Church and the government, Bishop Beltran said he’s happy the chief executive has recognized the church’s efforts of serving people in need.
But Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Fr. Francis Chua is convinced President Aquino is determined to build the country “based on good governance.”
“He touched on the positive action of the administration most specially on the social services and made it absolutely clear that his government is absolutely clean, transparent, free of corruption and anomalies,” he explained. (Melo M. Acuna)