DAVAO City Councilor Leah Librado said she expects genuine land reform, real food security, and sustainable jobs to be among the priorities of the President Benigno Aquino III's state address on Monday.
"Genuine land reform, sustainable foods and jobs, adequate social services, quality yet affordable health care, housing and education are the main challenges for the Aquino administration. I am hoping that these important matters will not just be rhetoric," she said.
Librado's office has been conducting a series of consultations in barangays in the city to gather insights and suggestions directly from the community on what people from the grassroots truly need.
"Ang sagad gyud nga mulo sa mga tawo hilabi na sa mga nanay mao ang kabahin sa paghatag og panginabuhian, serbisyo sa panglawas ug oportunidad nga makaeskwela ilang mga anak. Naa pud mga komunidada nga nagasagubang sa possibleng dislokasyon o demolisyon (The usual reply, especially among mothers, is with regards work and livelihood, health services and opportunities to send their children to school. There are also communities facing demolition)," Librado said.
"Thus, one big question for President Aquino to answer is how he intends to lead the country from this major crisis," Librado said in vernacular.
If the new administration wants to bring substantive change in the people's lives as what President Benigno Aquino III promised in his campaign last election, Librado pointed that genuine land reform is a focal issue.
Librado believes that land distribution is a key to begin the quest for national development saying genuine agrarian land reform is what the country needs that includes ending the land-grabbing and giving comprehensive support and protection for local farmers, peasants and natural resources.
She also added that relief and rehabilitation of calamity-affected areas should be among Aquino's top priority.
Addressing the issue of corruption is a must but it is not enough to solve the worsening poverty in the country, she said, because the annual budget allocation of the government in basic social services like health, education and employment is insufficient.
Librado cited that in previous administrations from Marcos to Arroyo, the government had been spending almost half of its national budget for the domestic and foreign debt servicing as mandated in the Presidential Decree (PD) 1177 or the Budget Reform Decree of 1977.
Librado said that this is one the longest defects of the budget policy of our government because PD 1177 orders the government to automatically appropriate hundreds of billions of the people's money for debt service.
"The main issue is the misappropriation of budget, corruption makes this worst," she stressed.
Librado also challenges the Aquino administration to junk the continuation of the Oplan Bantay Laya, the anti-insurgency campaign of the Arroyo government, which targets mainly civilians, perceived to be enemies of the state.
"Instead, the Aquino administration should pave the way for the peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF)," she said.
She said the Aquino administration should put a stop to the killings of militant organization members to prove that it is not like of the Marcos and Arroyo administrations.
Librado's father was a political detainee who was often harassed. Her sister, former councilor Angela Librado-Trinidad was also a constant target of harassment because she is associated with the militants; belonging to the Bayan Munta party. (PR)