Ejercito delivers unofficial ‘Contra-Sona’

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Monday, August 11, 2014

SENATOR Joseph Victor Ejercito Estrada delivered Monday the so-called counter-State of the Nation Address (Sona) even without the blessing from senators in the minority bloc.

In his counter-Sona, Ejercito slammed the Aquino administration for failing to unite the Filipino people and for failing to stop the never ending political bickering and division.

Ejercito challenged the President Benigno Aquino III to push for a one flag and one nation and unity for the entire country.

In his privilege speech, the senator enumerated several services that the present government failed to deliver despite the promises of Aquino to give the Filipino people all the services that they deserve.

(Video by Al Padilla/Sunnex)

The senator said the whole country is divided and it is time for the Chief Executive to extend its hands to each and every Filipino regardless of one's political color.

"Ang ating pagkakahati-hati sa iba't-ibang kulay pampulitika ay hindi nakakatulong. Sa halip, ito ay nakakadagdag pa sa suliranin ng ating bansa. Habang nananatili ang pagtinging nakabatay sa kulay, baka wala talaga tayong patunguhan kung hindi ang patuloy na kahirapan, kaguluhan, at kawalan ng direksyon," Ejercito said.

Ejercito also mentioned issues concerning economic growth of the country where he cited the recent pronouncement of International Monetary Fund when it said that the gross domestic product slowed down to 6.2 and is expected to be in stagnant situation until 2016.

"Ginoong Pangulo, ang mababang kalidad at kakulangan ng imprastraktura sa bansa ang nagdudulot ng mabigat na daloy ng trapiko na isa rin sa mga dahilan ng mabagal na ekonomiya," he said.

"Ayon sa JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), tinatayang P2 billion kada araw ang nasasayang dahil sa usad ng trapiko sa ating bansa. Nakapagtataka tuloy kung talaga bang naabot ng pamahalaang Aquino ang 7.5 percent ng pagtaas sa GDP ngayong taon," he added.

He also cited the problems on poverty, unemployment reaching 7.25 percent and the unreasonable taxes being collected being imposed against legitimate businesses operating in the country.

"Malaking balakid din ang labis na pagbubuwis at sobrang paghihigpit sa kinakailangang dokumento, ang wala sa lugar na pag-usisa sa kakayanan ng foreign investors, at ang di-inaasahang pagpataw ng mga buwis," he said.

Ejercito said that these factors hamper the growth of business and foreign investors in the country, which Aquino must address.

The senator also noted that poverty is the real cause of rebellion happening in various parts of the country.

He said the present energy problem, the problem in agriculture, specifically rice and even vegetables and basic food necessities that has been affecting many Filipinos in their everyday living must be one big consideration that the Aquino government must be aware of.

The lack of power, Ejercito said is a big issue, which affects all citizens. He said Aquino did not give this enough attention during his Sona.

Ejercito said Energy Secretary Jericho Petillla's admission on power shortage is belated but it is a clear admission that power shortage is hitting the country, particularly in Mindanao.

Ejercito cited the Social Weather Station (SWS) survey, which said that 55 percent of Filipino families say they are poor, compared to 53 percent in March.

"Ganito rin ang lumabas sa Pulse Asia survey noong Disyembre 2013, na 55 percent ang nagsasabing mas malala ang buhay nila ngayon at 36 percent ang walang pagbabago. Limampung porsiyento ang nagdeklarang mas sumama ang kalagayan ng ekonomiya ng bansa," he said.

Rampant smuggling, Ejercito said is an open secret to everyone aside the left and right corruption happening in various government agencies. He cited P15 billion smuggled goods coming in and the government seemed to be helpless in curbing the smuggling problem.

The obligation to assure that there is peace and order of the government is a must, he said.

Ejercito hits street crime rates by saying that "nawala ang wangwang sa daan, ngunit naglipanan naman ang gagamboys, solvent boys at riding in tandem."

The non-combative contra-Sona of Ejercito maintained that it is high time that politicians consider the welfare of all Filipinos as one nation as he quoted detained Senator Juan Ponce Enrile to have one nation for Filipinos.

Meanwhile, his half-brother Senator Jose Jinggoy Estrada said the personal privilege speech of Ejercito is without the blessing of the opposition.

"I think he is doing it on his own without any authority coming from the minority bloc," Estrada said.

This was confirmed by Senator Vicente Sotto III who said that whatever has been said by Ejercito is not the position of the opposition in the Senate.

Estrada claimed that he along with Enrile and other members of the minority bloc did not provide any input on Ejercito's counter-Sona or the traditional response against the President's annual Sona.

Estrada is currently jailed at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Quezon City together with Senator Ramon Bong Revilla while Enrile is detained at the PNP General Hospital for plunder and graft charges over their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.

Ejercito and Estrada, both sons of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, have long been reported to have a sibling rivalry.

Their relationship has turned sour recently after Ejercito signed the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's report, recommending the filing of criminal charges against the three senators and several other personalities. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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