The ‘Accidental President’ delivers his State of the Nation address

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Philippine President Benigno Aquino III delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address

Four days ago we published an article detailing what we thought Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (known as PNoy) should address in his State of the Nation address held today at 4.00pm.

By Oliver Ellerton

This address could possibly be his most important so far, after a term in which he has battled differing factions, from the powerful tobacco lobby to the Catholic church, it was important for him to consolidate his gains and plot a path for the future. Additionally, PNoy is required to step down come the next elections in 2016, and there is a strong chance many of his most cherished reforms – sin tax reforms and reproductive health bill both stand out – would be repealed, so he needs to create a sense of ownership among the people for the reforms he has already implemented. Lastly, he still has a long way to go. With crippling poverty, a lack of labour-intensive work, corruption and conflict among other problems facing the Philippines, PNoy has a long list of reforms and bills he needs to pass, each one their own battle against a different set of vested interests.

Jobs

One of the most pressing problems facing the Philippines and arguably the reason for much of the poverty and misery that is present today. PNoy touched upon the 85% employment rate of fresh electronic graduates and the fact that 6 out of 10 TESDA DOLE scholars are now employed. A welcome start no doubt but the lack of competitiveness and chronic shortage of jobs was not covered.

Disaster Relief and prevention

PNoy devoted a part of his speech to the tackling the various natural disasters and hazards that plague parts of the country. This included a multi-hazard mapping of 28 of the most hazardous locations and Project Noah which provides a number of flood monitoring systems and Tsunami warning devices. More anti-flooding measures were noted and re-housing projects (9,300 houses for the victim of Typhoon Sendong last year) – a nod to the PNoy government’s achievements.

Healthcare

The President noted that the amount of people enrolled in the PHilhealth program rose from 62% to 81% this year. The Z Benefit Package addressed free treatment to horrendous diseases and 4,518 medical facilities have been rehabilitated.

Security

Housing and welfare for the police and armed forces we mentioned as was his aim for 1:1 police to pistol ratio (491,929 gun licenses are undergoing scrutiny).  However, no new fighter jets for the armed forces I am afraid, far too expensive and PNoy wisely opted against. He also noted that the number of private armies had dramatically decreased, election related violence had dropped – noting the 2013 ARMM (Mindanao) election which was a success – and the notorious Ozamiz Gang were decapitated.

Agriculture

PNoy stated that agricultural production in Q1 had risen by 4.4%. 5,500 hectares would be used for intercropping and an extra 434 sites for Coconut planting. Cold storage facilities had been approved for the fisheries industry (in Bataraza, Palawan) and in February Hacienda Luicita has been distributed to farmers.

Infrastructure

The President called upon private companies to work with the public sector on PPP projects. He cited various airports as well as the MRT and LRT projects that could provide the perfect opportunity for this kind of partnership. Large infrastructure projects were covered including the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project that would both reduce flooding and provide power, new power generation projects in Mindanao, lastly he announced his support for renewable energy without giving any concrete promises or examples – something that did not go unnoticed on Twitter.

Tourism

Another of the governments priorities, the tourism sector was highlighted as one of the best performing with a 21.4% increase in visitor numbers (target for 2016 is 56.1million visitors) with an additional 3.8million jobs created. Of course the recent lifting of the travel ban to Europe by Philippine Airlines was also mentioned.

Although PNoy did laud the high GDP growth, and of course the SONA would not be complete without reference to the credit rating agencies, he also lambasted the continuing corruption that plagues his country and vowed to continue his crusade against the scourge.

He dedicated the end of his speech to the students, teachers and Filipinos who wanted for part in the political system – a reflection of his promise for a more inclusive economic growth perhaps.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address

Four days ago we published an article detailing what we thought Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (known as PNoy) should address in his State of the Nation address held today at 4.00pm.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address

Four days ago we published an article detailing what we thought Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (known as PNoy) should address in his State of the Nation address held today at 4.00pm.

By Oliver Ellerton

This address could possibly be his most important so far, after a term in which he has battled differing factions, from the powerful tobacco lobby to the Catholic church, it was important for him to consolidate his gains and plot a path for the future. Additionally, PNoy is required to step down come the next elections in 2016, and there is a strong chance many of his most cherished reforms – sin tax reforms and reproductive health bill both stand out – would be repealed, so he needs to create a sense of ownership among the people for the reforms he has already implemented. Lastly, he still has a long way to go. With crippling poverty, a lack of labour-intensive work, corruption and conflict among other problems facing the Philippines, PNoy has a long list of reforms and bills he needs to pass, each one their own battle against a different set of vested interests.

Jobs

One of the most pressing problems facing the Philippines and arguably the reason for much of the poverty and misery that is present today. PNoy touched upon the 85% employment rate of fresh electronic graduates and the fact that 6 out of 10 TESDA DOLE scholars are now employed. A welcome start no doubt but the lack of competitiveness and chronic shortage of jobs was not covered.

Disaster Relief and prevention

PNoy devoted a part of his speech to the tackling the various natural disasters and hazards that plague parts of the country. This included a multi-hazard mapping of 28 of the most hazardous locations and Project Noah which provides a number of flood monitoring systems and Tsunami warning devices. More anti-flooding measures were noted and re-housing projects (9,300 houses for the victim of Typhoon Sendong last year) – a nod to the PNoy government’s achievements.

Healthcare

The President noted that the amount of people enrolled in the PHilhealth program rose from 62% to 81% this year. The Z Benefit Package addressed free treatment to horrendous diseases and 4,518 medical facilities have been rehabilitated.

Security

Housing and welfare for the police and armed forces we mentioned as was his aim for 1:1 police to pistol ratio (491,929 gun licenses are undergoing scrutiny).  However, no new fighter jets for the armed forces I am afraid, far too expensive and PNoy wisely opted against. He also noted that the number of private armies had dramatically decreased, election related violence had dropped – noting the 2013 ARMM (Mindanao) election which was a success – and the notorious Ozamiz Gang were decapitated.

Agriculture

PNoy stated that agricultural production in Q1 had risen by 4.4%. 5,500 hectares would be used for intercropping and an extra 434 sites for Coconut planting. Cold storage facilities had been approved for the fisheries industry (in Bataraza, Palawan) and in February Hacienda Luicita has been distributed to farmers.

Infrastructure

The President called upon private companies to work with the public sector on PPP projects. He cited various airports as well as the MRT and LRT projects that could provide the perfect opportunity for this kind of partnership. Large infrastructure projects were covered including the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project that would both reduce flooding and provide power, new power generation projects in Mindanao, lastly he announced his support for renewable energy without giving any concrete promises or examples – something that did not go unnoticed on Twitter.

Tourism

Another of the governments priorities, the tourism sector was highlighted as one of the best performing with a 21.4% increase in visitor numbers (target for 2016 is 56.1million visitors) with an additional 3.8million jobs created. Of course the recent lifting of the travel ban to Europe by Philippine Airlines was also mentioned.

Although PNoy did laud the high GDP growth, and of course the SONA would not be complete without reference to the credit rating agencies, he also lambasted the continuing corruption that plagues his country and vowed to continue his crusade against the scourge.

He dedicated the end of his speech to the students, teachers and Filipinos who wanted for part in the political system – a reflection of his promise for a more inclusive economic growth perhaps.

Do you like this post?
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