NorMin groups: Sona filled with empty talk

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Simeon Aquino III made his 5th State of the Nation Address (Sona) Monday afternoon, and civil society groups in the region called it “rhetorical” and “typical.”

Representatives from various sectors demanded Monday in a protest rally at Magsaysay Park to take a look at the real condition of his “boss” as Aquino failed to address issues that have plagued the country today.

Rochamae Bihag, CEGP Mindanao vice president, said what she has heard from the President were his usual achievements apt only to make himself “handsome” in the eyes of the Filipinos.


“The objective here is to expose the real state of the nation like the condition of farmers, students and laborers. Is there a reality of the agrarian reform, of sufficient wage, or of affordable education?” Bihag told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

She added: “We are not his boss. His true bosses are the business tycoons in the country, the landlords, and those who sit in power.”

In a statement of Bayan, it said there have been growing numbers of an average of four million jobless individuals every year; 59,000 families have been displaced of demolition under the Private-Public Partnership (PPP); and 5,000 individuals ever day joining millions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) abroad.

“As we can see it, Aquino gives total favor to international investors who he called will uplift the economic state of the country but at the same time forgets the other sectors. If there’s no balance in giving attention to the different sectors, no progress will be made,” said Nathaniel Saa, SCMP-Cagayan de Oro chair.


Aquino barely talked about the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam of senators and representatives in Congress and his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) wherein the President has an annual 2014 budget of P1.3 trillion.

Although declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, Aquino is insistent of the constitutionality of his DAP.

“We want the president to put a stop on this. His DAP is not for the poor. It does not make open opportunities for the jobseekers, nor for the workers, and most of all, subsidizing hospitals, schools, agriculture and other needs of his people,” the statement said.

More income

Aquino mentioned the increase of profit from the levied taxes from P1.03 trillion in 2012 to P1.5 trillion last year. But Bihag questioned why basic social services have not been felt by the Filipinos.

“In short, instead of us to become happy about this collection, we feel sad that it will become a new way of government officials for corruption,” Bihag added.

Aquino said there is a P7,155 budget in each scholar of the Technical Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) to sustain their training, but Bihag asked why there have been many scholars left struggling financially.

“These Tesda scholars are designed and trained to join the exodus of Filipinos going abroad. In a word, Aquino is pushing our trained citizens to go out of the country instead of helping the country to advance its economy,” said Wildon Barros, Kilusang Mayo Uno-Northern Mindanao (KMU-10) chairman.

Peace Process

While the spate of rebel and terrorist attacks in the Mindanao have been ongoing, the groups want to call for the resumption of peace talks to all revolutionary rebels.

“Good to know that the peace process between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) is in progress. However, what about the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)? The New People’s Army (NPA)?” Barros said.

Land reform

Meanwhile, farmers are also expecting that Aquino will mention them and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp).

However, they were disappointed with the president’s failure to give a clearer view on this.

“Naa man to [na-mention] pero walay klaro. Char char. Walay reporma. Wala pay saktong dapit ang atong mga mag-uuma,” Saa said.

“He mentioned the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Armm) but he never mentioned the Hacienda Luisita whose over 1,000 workers were not afforded with what’s due to them. Whereas, according to an Ibon Foundation research, the government has shelled out P400 million in partial payment to the Cojuangco family in line with the Hacienda Luisita compensation,” Barros said.


Senate Bill no. 1733 or the People’s Freedom of Information (FOI) has not been mentioned in his speech at all.

“Despite him snubbing this bill in his speech, we’d still like to push for its approval. What will happen if information will not be provided to us? We’ll remain in this kind of system? He’s promised this at the start of his term,” Saa said.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines wanted the FOI to be included in his SONA, but Aquino never mentioned about it.

Bihag and Barros both agreed that everything in Aquino’s speech is “a lie.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 29, 2014.

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