State of the Wang-Wang Address fails to
address peoples issues
Posted on 26 July 2011
July 26, 2011
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today said that the
President Benigno Aquino III’s second State of the Nation Address was
“underwhelming in its litany of so-called achievements, and disturbing in
its glaring omissions”. The group described the speech as more of a “state
of the wang-wang address than an honest appraisal of the problems
besetting the nation.”
Bayan said that the picture of the economy depicted by Aquino was very far
from the reality faced by ordinary Filipinos. “An increase in the stock
market index or an improvement in the credit ratings is not something that
translates to any benefits for the poor. These are indicators from the
point of view of big business and the banks, not from the people,” said
Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“The speech ended without any mention of how government will generate new
jobs, increase wages, create housing for the poor, implement land reform
or even assuage the impact of price increases. It is still the same
‘pantawid’ programs that will be implemented,” he added.
Bayan said that Aquino’s claim that Filipinos can now choose between
domestic and foreign jobs is “patently untrue”.
“Dati, nakapako sa pangingibang-bansa ang ambisyon ng mga Pilipino. Ngayon,
may pagpipilian na siyang trabaho, at hangga’t tinatapatan niya ng sipag
at determinasyon ang kanyang pangangarap, tiyak na maaabot niya ito,”
Aquino said in his SONA.
“His claim that Pinoys can now choose between jobs here or abroad because
of improved employment opportunities has no basis in fact. More than a
million Filipinos leave country each year to look for work abroad.
Overseas deployment of Filipino workers in 2010 reached 1.47 million,
still higher than the 2009 figure of 1.42 million,” Reyes said.
Citing the study of Ibon Databank and the Bureau of Agricultural
Statistics, Bayan said that the so-called increase in rice output cannot
be attributed to the national government since the gains were due mainly
to improved weather and an increase in the hectarage of land that was used
for rice farming.
False assertion of sovereignty
Bayan observed that Aquino seemed to talk tough when it came to the issue
of sovereignty, particularly the Spratlys dispute. However, the group said
that Aquino was silent on sovereignty issues in relation to the United
States, especially involving foreign troops.
“It seems the President can talk tough against China because he has the
backing of the US. However, we’ve yet to see Mr. Aquino stand up for
national sovereignty in relation to the Visiting Forces Agreement and the
permanent presence of US troops in our country. That’s a violation of our
sovereignty as well,” Reyes said.
The group also questioned the claim that the AFP will be modernized with
the addition of a new Hamilton Class Cutter from the US Navy. “The boat
Mr. Aquino was referring to is a Vietnam War-era boat commissioned in 1967
and decommissioned in March 2011 by the US Coast Guard,” Reyes said.
During his presidential campaign, Aquino promised a review of the VFA,
particularly provisions on custody of erring US troops. No review results
have been released.
Leave human rights to DOJ
While Aquino did certify as urgent the compensation bill for Marcos
victims, Bayan noted that he only had a passing mention of human rights
“The Commander-in-Chief of the AFP is leaving it to the Department of
Justice to solve the problems of extrajudicial killings. It means that the
president is not really interested to take on human rights issues such as
the enforced disappearances of Jonas Burgos, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen
Empeno, or the plight of the more than 300 political prisoners still
languishing in jail, or the rising numbers of victims of extrajudicial
killings under his watch,” Reyes said.
“It is irresponsible, insensitive and wrong to let these issues just fall
on the desk of DOJ Secretary de Lima, especially when the situation
demands a strong response from the president himself. It is clear Mr.
Aquino does not have a human rights platform, thus he is passing on the
problem to his subordinates,’ he added. ###
A Statement on the 1st Year of the Aquino
Fr. Wilfredo Dulay,MJ
- The Religious Discernment Group
Manila, 22 July 2011
1. We may not begrudge the Aquino administration of certain things.
Indeed, as Ramon del Rosario Jr., chairman of the Makati Business Club,
wrote: “Many of the urgent tasks that the new government had to
immediately address had to do with repairing the damage and unraveling the
entrenched anomalous systems that the highly corrupt Arroyo administration
had left behind.” It must also be said that there are some honest and
competent people appointed by the President to key government agencies. On
the other hand, we must note that there are as many, if not more, trapos
of various strains, whose reputations are less than pristine and obviously
representing vested and often competing interests not necessarily of
benefit to the country. Also notable is the increase in the government’s
gross international reserves from $48.7 billion in June 2010 to $68.8
billion as of May. There are still other encouraging macroeconomic
indicators. (see Ramon del Rosario Jr., “The Aquino Administration: a year
after” The Inquirer, 16 July 2011 p.A13)
2. All the same, whatever gains the Administration has made must lead to
the question: Who benefits from them? And why belabor an answer. Only a
fool or a liar would not know! There are more hungry people in the
Philippines than there were a year ago. There are more poor Filipinos
today than when the President assumed office. This is the reality
notwithstanding the government statistical manipulations. In the
Philippines the cliché that the rich gets richer and the poor poorer is
not a cliché. It is the alarming reality. (cf the CTUHR Report: Ang
Pagtatasa ng Unang Taon ni PNoy - “Kahit binago pa ng National Statistics
and Coordination Board ang poverty methodology, nanatili ang
nakakaaalarmang bilang ng mahihirap sa bansa. Dati-rati, maituturing na
mahirap ang isang Pilipino kung mayroon siyang P52 kada araw. Sa bagong
poverty methodology, ibinaba ito sa P46 kada araw. Ibig sabihin, kung
ikaw ay may P46 sa iyong bulsa sa bawat araw, hindi ka na matatawag na
mahirap. Hindi nakapagtataka kung gayon kung bakit bumaba ng 5.4 milyon
ang bilang ng mahirap sa bansa: mula sa dating 28.5 milyon, ngayon ay 23.1
milyon na lamang.”)
How long still will the basic sectors of our society have to wait? The
farmers and fishers are making do with less and less fish and rice? Bigger
numbers of urban and agricultural workers are getting death wages. The
mass of urban informal dwellers – formerly called squatters – expands by
3. “Moving on” does not mean forgetting the past, much less turning a
blind eye on the plunder and human rights violations committed by the
Arroyo regime. Anomalous contracts for infrastructure projects and big
industries, like mining, must be reviewed and voided if found wanting. The
wheels of justice have always been slow in this country but should not an
administration that campaigned and won on the slogan kung walang corrupt,
walang mahirap and ang daang matuwid be more relentless in the pursuit of
justice for the victims of civil and human rights violations? The list of
victims continues to grow. Their plaintive cry for justice ricochets from
4. Nobody as yet has described Noynoy Aquino as charismatic, thus, leading
many middle and upper class Filipinos to lower their bar of expectation.
But charismatic or not, he ran for and won the presidency. He is the
president of every living Filipino. He is, by virtue of the office he
sought, obliged to uplift the life of his people, especially the poor and
The challenge of Hacienda Luisita provides Benigno Aquino III the pass
from mediocrity to greatness. He must show in unequivocal terms that he is
first of all the President of the land, and not merely the political heir
of the Aquinos of Tarlac. It beckons him to inspire the Filipinos unto
nationhood by putting the people’s welfare first before family interest.
a call to all Filipinos, and their friends
Once again we are living in an in-between-times. We are called upon to see
beyond self-interest and the petty concerns of class representation. We
are called to reach beyond ideology, religion and tribalism because we
have seen what devastation they have brought us. We are called to become
truly a people. This is a moment in our history that tempts us to hope but
calls us to become critical as a people, intelligent for our own sake.
Hindi tusong tulad ng mga matsing kundi tunay na mapagkalinga at mulat sa
karapatan ng bawa’t isa.
We are called resist the marginalization of the majority, and when called
for, to defy a system that will stop us from the exercise of our right as
citizens of a free country.
We may not forget that defiance of what is wrong and evil is above all an
expression of hope for a better future, an expression of the belief that
together we can construct a more humane Philippine society built on the
foundations of universal peace and justice.
It is a given historical datum that in varying degrees and different ways,
the country and its people have suffered the plunder of its own
unscrupulous leaders since our declaration of freedom from colonial Spain.
Given our personal and national experience, ours stance today, and in the
foreseeable future, must be one of critical and intelligent support for
whatever will bring peace and prosperity to our people, for all their
longsuffering and patience, and unperturbed hope for a better tomorrow.
Fr. Wilfredo Dulay,MJ
- The Religious Discernment Group
Manila, 22 July 2011