President Aquino’s lengthy SONA

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Philippine President Benigno Aquino III gave his longest SONA to date

As long as the problems faced by the Philippines?

The level of domestic curiosity and interest on this particular SONA of President Aquino was unprecedented. And it is not because of his increasing popularity, that is always a given if not constant. I think it has to do with the fact that this was his midpoint SONA – 3 years have passed and exactly 3 more years left – that Filipinos of all persuasions particularly glued in on this one, one which also turned out to be one of the longest SONAs ever delivered in Philippine history.

On a macro level, it says a lot. The length and details of this particular SONA convinces me that PNoy ( the local nickname for President Aquino) has actually grown into his job, both in terms of depth and breadth. Unlike his earlier SONA’s which were more “you are my boss” motherhood slogans, there was considerable specificity on this one. I get the feeling that we have a President who has got a very good feel, if not a “presidential groove”, of what his priorities are. It also tells me that the list of priorities for the Philippines is a very long one.

While he had his customary reminiscing and testimonial Filipino everyday heroes, on the whole he was very focused on his administration’s specific projects and goals, make no mistake. These are the ones I remember and found particularly noteworthy:

  • Expand the number of housing beneficiaries after having delivered close to 5,000 new  homes to the victims of ‘Sendong’
  • Expand the conditional cash transfer program and to include families with children up to 18 years old to ensure they finish High School
  • Reduce the need for rice imports, which has steadily declined from 2 million MT  to  500,000 MT during his term
  • Maximise farmer’s incomes through a massive intercropping program for the coconut farming sector which has some of the poorest farmers
  • Undertake more infrastructure projects such as modern ports, roads and cold storage facilities to boost the hard up fisheries sector
  • Further expand the coverage of Philhealth and continue to invest in public health
  • As much as P30 billion has been poured into 4,500 hospitals, rural health offices and barangay health stations
  • On the environment, finish hazard mapping of areas which flood including the construction of catch basins, one that is equivalent to 14 Olympic-sized swimming pools. How can I actually forget this one? I used to swim in college.
  • Complete the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, which to me is personally very big. This connector road will minimise the number of North to South vehicles that pass through EDSA. This should reduce the EDSA traffic significantly where my kids traverse daily to go to school.

Okay, now is about that point where I actually get fatigued and realise that I would have loved it more if that whole SONA was just delivered in English. I admit, call me unpatriotic but this is the part where I actually grew tired of all that deep Tagalog-Pilipino which is perfectly fine for a much shorter speech, but that is just my preference.

After all, the medium of instruction in the whole country is English and this is our basic competency against everyone else given globalisation and our rise as a BPO hub. Well, this is another debate altogether.

I guess it was typical of PNoy to humble himself and sound more accessible to the average Filipino. But then again, the average Filipino probably most likely speaks another dialect like Visayan, Ilocano or Bicolano on top of English. So why give it in Tagalog-Philipino?

It was politically correct?

How do you translate “modernisation” and “navy” to the vernacular? The answer – at the very least the corresponding Filipino word would have a multiplier of 4.75x more letters for every letter in the equivalent English word if not more. You are not convinced? Let me give one example – the Pilipino translation of the word “navy” is ” Hukbong Pangkaragatan”.

By now, I hope you somewhat understand why I felt I really didn’t have to listen to the whole speech. So, yes, I did what any unpatriotic Filipino did, halfway thru that SONA I changed into athletic clothes and hit the gym.

And why would I do that? My answers are simple.

Firstly, there is really no need to listen to the full speech as  major dailies, again in English, will reprint the text word for word. Secondly, which speaks volumes on how I truly feel about this sitting President, I plainly trust him. I suppose when you trust someone, he really doesn’t need to explain himself a lot.

 

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III gave his longest SONA to date

As long as the problems faced by the Philippines?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III gave his longest SONA to date

As long as the problems faced by the Philippines?

The level of domestic curiosity and interest on this particular SONA of President Aquino was unprecedented. And it is not because of his increasing popularity, that is always a given if not constant. I think it has to do with the fact that this was his midpoint SONA – 3 years have passed and exactly 3 more years left – that Filipinos of all persuasions particularly glued in on this one, one which also turned out to be one of the longest SONAs ever delivered in Philippine history.

On a macro level, it says a lot. The length and details of this particular SONA convinces me that PNoy ( the local nickname for President Aquino) has actually grown into his job, both in terms of depth and breadth. Unlike his earlier SONA’s which were more “you are my boss” motherhood slogans, there was considerable specificity on this one. I get the feeling that we have a President who has got a very good feel, if not a “presidential groove”, of what his priorities are. It also tells me that the list of priorities for the Philippines is a very long one.

While he had his customary reminiscing and testimonial Filipino everyday heroes, on the whole he was very focused on his administration’s specific projects and goals, make no mistake. These are the ones I remember and found particularly noteworthy:

  • Expand the number of housing beneficiaries after having delivered close to 5,000 new  homes to the victims of ‘Sendong’
  • Expand the conditional cash transfer program and to include families with children up to 18 years old to ensure they finish High School
  • Reduce the need for rice imports, which has steadily declined from 2 million MT  to  500,000 MT during his term
  • Maximise farmer’s incomes through a massive intercropping program for the coconut farming sector which has some of the poorest farmers
  • Undertake more infrastructure projects such as modern ports, roads and cold storage facilities to boost the hard up fisheries sector
  • Further expand the coverage of Philhealth and continue to invest in public health
  • As much as P30 billion has been poured into 4,500 hospitals, rural health offices and barangay health stations
  • On the environment, finish hazard mapping of areas which flood including the construction of catch basins, one that is equivalent to 14 Olympic-sized swimming pools. How can I actually forget this one? I used to swim in college.
  • Complete the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, which to me is personally very big. This connector road will minimise the number of North to South vehicles that pass through EDSA. This should reduce the EDSA traffic significantly where my kids traverse daily to go to school.

Okay, now is about that point where I actually get fatigued and realise that I would have loved it more if that whole SONA was just delivered in English. I admit, call me unpatriotic but this is the part where I actually grew tired of all that deep Tagalog-Pilipino which is perfectly fine for a much shorter speech, but that is just my preference.

After all, the medium of instruction in the whole country is English and this is our basic competency against everyone else given globalisation and our rise as a BPO hub. Well, this is another debate altogether.

I guess it was typical of PNoy to humble himself and sound more accessible to the average Filipino. But then again, the average Filipino probably most likely speaks another dialect like Visayan, Ilocano or Bicolano on top of English. So why give it in Tagalog-Philipino?

It was politically correct?

How do you translate “modernisation” and “navy” to the vernacular? The answer – at the very least the corresponding Filipino word would have a multiplier of 4.75x more letters for every letter in the equivalent English word if not more. You are not convinced? Let me give one example – the Pilipino translation of the word “navy” is ” Hukbong Pangkaragatan”.

By now, I hope you somewhat understand why I felt I really didn’t have to listen to the whole speech. So, yes, I did what any unpatriotic Filipino did, halfway thru that SONA I changed into athletic clothes and hit the gym.

And why would I do that? My answers are simple.

Firstly, there is really no need to listen to the full speech as  major dailies, again in English, will reprint the text word for word. Secondly, which speaks volumes on how I truly feel about this sitting President, I plainly trust him. I suppose when you trust someone, he really doesn’t need to explain himself a lot.

 

Do you like this post?
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