Aquino’s speech shows ‘sincerity’

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


QUEZON CITY -- Lawmakers from Negros Occidental are one in saying that the fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III on Monday (July 28) showed sincerity and was full of emotions.

"It was an emotional Sona. He clearly showed sincerity in helping the country despite the difficulties that his administration is facing today. His sincerity is very hard to discount," said third district Representative Alfredo Benitez.

He added: "It was a big thing that he mentioned that that we move the 2015 budget in accordance with the decision of the Supreme Court."

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As he faces impeachment complaints and sliding popularity ratings, the President indeed turned emotional in his speech before members of Congress.

Aquino said he's already contented that if the time comes for him to go, there will be those who will continue the reforms he has made since he took power in 2010.

A teary-eyed Aquino said had he ran away from leading the country's transformation, it was as if he did not honor the memory of his parents, martyred former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. and the late President Corazon "Cory" Aquino.

He also gave a new twist to his father's famous line, saying the "Filipino is worth dying for, the Filipino is worth living for, and the Filipino is definitely worth fighting for."

Bacolod City lone district Representative Evelio Leonardia said the President delivered his address with a heart.

"It was a Sona that touched the hearts and minds of the Filipino people. I really appreciate it and I sympathize with the President. I am glad to hear such speech that came from the mind and spoken directly from the heart," Leonardia said.

Second district Representative Leo Rafael Cueva, who also signed the manifesto of support of Negros Occidental officials for the President, agreed with the observation that the President's speech comes from the heart.

Fourth district Representative Jeffrey Ferrer acknowledged the Aquino administration's programs and projects that benefited the Filipino people.

Abang Lingkod Representative Stephen Paduano said the President may have regained the sympathy of the Filipino people through his speech.

"It's from the heart though we expected that he would mention about some transformation on issues about DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program), PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund), and JDF Judiciary Development Fund)," Paduano said.
Senator Grace Poe, for her part, said she is glad the President was able to articulate the achievements of his administration in the past year.

"But when the President went off the script and spoke from the heart, I could feel his pain and frustrations. His good heart and best intentions are being met with controversy and discontent," she said, adding that Aquino is also telling Filipinos not to lose faith.

Opposition Senator Jose Victor "JV" Ejercito said though the President failed to mention a very important matter on the preparation of the country in the implementation of the Asian Free Trade Agreement, which is a few months from now.

"We should prepare especially our agriculture because 2015 in just around the corner. I am worried about our farmers. He should have mentioned our preparation especially for the sugar industry, rice and other agriculture products. We expect him to mention about possible subsidies for these industries," Ejercito said.

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said the President's fifth Sona was the best so far, as he clearly defined the direction of the economy in the next two years and reported the many unparalleled accomplishments of his administration.

Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said: "Negros can expect blessings from Malacañang after the President admitted to be a fan of the governor."

Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella pointed out: "We should be thankful that the President's Sona was not combative and did not dwell on finger pointing."

"The important judgment comes from the people, but for sure, the Sona sounded reconciliatory in nature and that's how it should be. I hope to see more in the last two years of his administration, that the gains really reach the grassroots," the mayor said.

Walkout

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna partylist Representative Neri Colmenares and his six colleagues in the Makabayan bloc, who are seeking the impeachment of Aquino, walked out of the session hall of the House of Representatives just before the President delivered his Sona on Monday.

Colmenares was with colleagues Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela, Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers, Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis, and Terry Ridon of Kabataan. They left after the national anthem and the "prayer of the nation."

The lawmaker from Bacolod said the President's speech did not present the real state of the nation. He said the President has openly and blatantly violated Congress in the passage of laws and budget.

"We deliberated on the budget for six months and he violated that," Colmenares said on the President's use of the DAP, which is the basis of their impeachment complaint.

He added that Aquino's speech was "an illusion and dissolution as the prices of commodities continue to increase, the corruption in government also continued, the unemployment turned worse, and he failed to explain the DAP."

President thanks Marañon for support

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said this year's Sona of President Aquino is the best by far, as he clearly defined the direction of the nation's economy in the remaining two years of his administration.

Marañon, whose support was acknowledged by the President in his speech, said that in behalf of his fellow Negrenses, he is thankful to Aquino for the programs and projects he has brought to the province.

"I am deeply humbled and surprised that the President has acknowledged my support to him and his administration," said the governor, who is not a member of the administration party. He ran under the local coalition United Negros Alliance in the May 2013 elections.

Toward the end of his speech, the President said: "Naging pribilehiyo ko rin ho makipagtrabaho at makipag-ugnayan sa isang Governor Alfredo Marañon ng Negros Occidental, hindi ko po kapartido pero sa palagay ko naman po kasama rin niya ako sa fans club sa tama niyang pamamalakad sa Negros."

On Monday, Marañon, along with Vice Governor Lacson and 11 board members and 21 mayors of Negros Occidental, came out with a manifesto of support for the President in two major national dailies.

"Let me reiterate by saying that our pursuit for good governance and genuine service to our people should not be deterred by political boundaries. That's the message that His Excellency wants to relay to the nation," the governor added. (NLG)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 29, 2014.

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