THE first State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III has drawn mixed reactions, mostly optimistic, from leaders of the province of Negros Occidental, particularly the governor.

Aquino has initially laid down the ills of the past administration of now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He started from the budget deficit and went on to simple management aspects.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

He assured Filipinos that these problems will not slow him down because he has feasible plans and solutions in bringing the Philippines to the state that it deserves to be.

Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra expects that the reforms should start from President Aquino himself, his Cabinet members, and to the local government officials down to the barangay level.

There should be a check and monitoring on the use of public funds, the bishop said, as he underscored the need for a less extravagant lifestyle and prudent public spending by government officials.

"It's good that the President informed us of the real state of our country," Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said.

He enjoined all Negrenses to cooperate with the new administration by observing belt-tightening measures so that "we can help save the government."

Marañon hailed Aquino's plans of enjoining public and private partnerships in government projects because it coincides with the governor's plan about the properties of the Provincial Government.

The governor also urged local officials in the province to implement only priority projects "so that we can easily recover under the leadership of President Aquino."

Negros Occidental fourth district Representative Jeffrey P. Ferrer commented, "The Sona was focused more on how to solve the present financial situation of our country. The solutions presented by His Excellency are quite viable in terms of subjects and the time frames within which to execute the same."

Patrick Lacson, the Provincial Board member representing the third district of the province,said: "I'm satisfied with P.Noy's Sona because he did not promise the moon and the stars. He only assured the Filipino people that they are in good and honest hands. I felt his frustration with the previous administration and also his sincerity to serve us."

Games and Amusement Board (GAB) Commissioner Juan Ramon "Munjo" Guanzon said that he believes Aquino. "What he said can be done. He's a politician who does not allow his words to become void. I sincerely believe that he will do what he said in his Sona."

Mellie Kilayko, a prominent "yellow army volunteer" in the province, posted in her Facebook account that "This is a time of sacrifice. - PNoy in his Sona."

She continued, "Since we (the people) are his boss, we should sacrifice as well. Let's think of what we can do to provide education (and) more job opportunities for our fellow Filipinos.....even if it means sacrifice."

Central Negros Electric Cooperative president Ed Gasambelo said, "God bless President Noy. I hope this will be the start of a new era of equal opportunities and a better standard of living for all."

Former LTO-NCR director Ricardo Tan hopes that Aquino can find all the solutions that he needs so that he can bring things back in the right direction. With his high popularity and trust ratings, Tan believes that Aquino can make things happen.

Bacolod Councilor Caesar Distrito added, "It was a comprehensive but simple speech as it tackled almost all areas. It was also full of hope and it was inspiring, as he focused on anti-corruption and 'red tape slashing' legislative proposals."

However, Aquino's Sona was reminiscent of Erap's rhetoric and "full of soundbytes" speech which was only good for media consumption, Distrito stated.

According to Distrito, President Aquino gave so much attention to attacking GMA which made him look like a vindictive president.

"I was hoping that he, instead, (should have) dedicated his speech to other topics that can unite, rather than divide, this nation," he concluded. (Carla N. Canet and Teresa Ellera Dulla)