PNoy’s SONA

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


LIKE stirring a hornet’s nest, President Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday aroused varied reactions from his concerned Filipino constituency.

Even before PNoy delivered his speech, it was said that “several cause-oriented groups” held protest rallies in the city. Around 200 “protesters” marched from the Fuente Osmeña circle to Colon St., causing the police to go on full alert.

This is the first time in recent years, if my memory has not failed me, that a pre-SONA protest against an incumbent president was staged. Usually, the people’s reactions were expressed after the SONA was delivered, and made for or against the speech’s contents.

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I cannot recall if there had ever been a pre-SONA protest voiced before. There were, but against performance and successes claimed.

The protest rally, however, was considered peaceful. Rally leaders said they were just showing their support for the move to impeach the President.

But here lies the clear dividing line between those for or against the President.

Those who believe that the President has violated the Constitution want him to be taken out of the presidency. But there are also those who believe he has done something good for us.

During his SONA before the nation’s lawmakers at the House of Representative in Quezon City last Monday afternoon, he said that he has reduced the incidence of poverty in the country by about 3 percent between the years 2012 and 2013, or from 27.9 percent to 24.9 percent.

Thus, according to records from the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), about 2.5 million poor Filipinos were alleviated.

This successful reduction in the incidence of poverty, the President claims, is the result of his Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCT), otherwise known in the vernacular as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) which, to date, Aquino is said to have poured P12.3 billion for 2014 alone. Whether this is politically true or not, is probably where the protesters anchored their cause.

At any rate, Cebuanos have a reason to rejoice from the presidential SONA just the same with the President’s approval of the multi-billion-peso rehabilitation program for Central Visayas.

At least some mayors in northern Cebu are overjoyed by the P12 billion released for Cebu, which is part of the overall P96 billion for the provinces of the whole Central Visayas. This means that the rehab funds are forthcoming.

In this sense, the SONA pinpoints the collective benefits the country received from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that has caused so much political raucous in the nation lately. But what is important is that the country has somehow benefited conomically.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2014.

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