MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino shifts his administration’s focus from anti-corruption to “inclusive growth” in his State of the Nation Address.
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
“We cannot wait for progress to trickle down to the poor. We have to act.”
This is the promise President Benigno Aquino III makes in his 4th State of the Nation Address.
Aquino talks about his accomplishments from the past year, spanning health, education, infrastructure and more.
He says reforms will focus on the poor.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: Ang stratehiya: Sagarin ang oportunidad para sa lahat, lalo na para sa mga mas nangangailangan. Hindi natin pakay maghintay ng trickle down; hindi puwedeng baka sakali o tsamba lang silang daratnan ng biyaya ng kaunlaran. (The strategy: Maximize opportunities for all, especially for those most in need. We are not content to wait for the trickle-down effect; we cannot leave their fate—their receiving the benefits of progress—to chance.)
Among the success stories from the last year: the expansion of the government’s poverty alleviation program; books and chairs for schools; moving informal settlers from danger zones; the peace framework for the Bangsamoro; and the stellar 7.8% economic growth.
Aquino also mentions reproductive health, sin tax, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act and the K-12 law.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: Malawakang transpomasyon ng lipunan ang aking hangarin, at mulat akong marami akong kailangan banggain para matupad ito. Pero hindi po ako pinalaki ng aking mga magulang apra tumiklop lamang sa mga hamon. Hindi ko mahaharap ang aking sarili kung tinggihan ko ang pagkakataong bawasan ang pagdurudang hindi dapat dinaraanan ng Pilipino. (Widespread transformation of society is my objective, and I am aware that there are many things and many people I would have to confront in order to achieve this. But I was not raised by my parents to back down in the face of challenges. I would not be able to live with myself if I had refused the chance to alleviate the suffering the Filipino should not have to endure.)
But the “Daang Matuwid” of the last 3 years has given way to a new buzzword: “inclusive growth.”
NATASHYA GUTIERREZ, REPORTING: The President’s state of the nation address marks a shift in priorities. Aquino emphasizes inclusive growth, saying this will guide the government in all its decision in the next 3 years. But there were also touches of his anti-corruption campaign.
He doesn’t miss the chance to hit the inefficiency of government agencies on irrigation, immigration and customs.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: Saan po kayo kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha ang mga kawani sa ahensyang ito? Marami pong gabi at hindi ako makatulog [jumpcut] Hindi maaraing ganito ang kalakaran sa pamahalaan. Kung hindi mo magagawa o nagagawa ang iyong trabahao, hindi ka karapat-dapat na manatili sa pwesto. (Where do the secretaries of these agencies get the nerve? This caused me many sleepless nights. The government cannot be run like this. If you cannot or are not doing your job, you don’t deserve to stay in the position.)
The almost 2 hour speech is Aquino’s longest by far.
Sentimental and personal, he praises individual efforts of common individuals in helping lift the country.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: Sa bawat Pilipinong nagtititwala sa kapangyarihan ng maliliit na anyo ng kabutihan: Kayo nga po ang gumawa ng pagbabago. SONA po ninyo ito. (To each Filipino who trust in the power of small acts of kindness: you made the change. This is your SONA.)
With 3 more years left of his presidency, Aquino has promises to keep, and miles to go before he steps down.
He sets the bar high, knowing fully well, the second half will define his legacy.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila.