CEBU Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said the first State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was "full of hope."

But the 79-year-old prelate said the speech was a general statement, noting there was no mention of the administration's stand on the reproductive health issue.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

"As usual, it (the speech) was full of hope because of what has been uttered by the President," he told reporters last night after blessing the new Cadet (Character Aptitude Development Enhancement Training) and 4Ps (Pulis, pari, parokya, presinto) office at the Police Regional Office 7 headquarters.

"We'll see. Whatever accomplishments he will have remain to be seen. We pray and we hope these (pledges) would be realized," he added.

Vidal was referring to Aquino's pledge to end "wasteful use of government funds" and to institute changes, including streamlining the issuance of permits.

Meanwhile, Capitol consultant Rory Jon Sepulveda said he shares the opinion of Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district) and Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south) that the Tagalog speech was difficult to understand.

Sepulveda admitted he watched the online video of the Sona over and over again so he could grasp Aquino’s message.

But he lauded the President for making the speech short, straight and simple.

“Wala’y daghang bulatik. He did not use a lot of rhetoric and symbolism. (It was) direct to the point,” Sepulveda said.

In a separate interview, Dilaab head steward Fr. Carmelo Diola said the Sona "was nothing really visionary."

"I would rather see results. What I expect from the new administration is that within the first 100 days, a sense of delicadeza will be returned to the government," he told Sun.Star Cebu.

"Sense of delicadeza is the opposite of what is meant by ‘what are we in power for?’" he added.

Dilaab Foundation Inc. is a church-based organization that supports advocacies against corruption and narco-politics.

Fr. Diola said the people should remain vigilant.

"We also call on civil society to accompany our leaders in their work," he said, adding that he hoped Aquino would be appointing the "right people in the right position."

Cardinal Vidal hopes Aquino will discuss the reproductive health issue later.

"He may prefer to discuss this later on. Let him do his work," the prelate said.

For a police official, the promise of improving the witness protection program is welcome news.

Supt. Pablo Labra II, deputy city director for operations, told reporters Aquino's plan to seek improvements in the witness protection program is sure to encourage more witnesses to come out.

During Monday's State of the Nation Address, Aquino said the witness protection program should be strengthened and urged the lawmakers to pass the whistleblower's protection bill.

The President noted from 2009 to the present, 95 percent of the cases were resolved with witnesses under the program.

Labra hopes the witness protection program will be extended, even after the termination of the case.

He also said the program should provide adequate shelter for the witness and their family.

“If we can improve the program in terms of protection and incentives, it will help us in our investigations,” Labra told reporters.

A person under the witness protection program is entitled to a monthly stipend but problems pertaining to shelter abound, he said.

He said the police end up having to look for secure areas for a witness to live in.

“Ang nahitabo karon kay maipon na hinuon sila sa mga opisina sa pulis,” Labra noted.

He added the privacy of the witness and his family is compromised.

He added that after the case has been resolved, whether the accused is acquitted or convicted, there should be a provision in the program that will allow the department to continuously monitor the movements of the witness to ensure his safety. (BAP/MEA/With RRF)