PNoy's promises in SONA 2010: What's the score?
With just days to go before President Benigno Aquino III delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), GMA News Online breaks down his first SONA and finds out which promises were kept, stalled, or broken.
1. Investigate irregularities in the calamity fund, MWSS, NAPOCOR, and NFA
THE PROMISE: "Narinig po ninyo kung paano nilustay ang kaban ng bayan. Ang malinaw po sa ngayon: ang anumang pagbabago ay magmumula sa pagsiguro natin na magwawakas na ang pagiging maluho at pagwawaldas."
STATUS: The National Food Authority (NFA) has formed an audit team to investigate how the agency buys and imports rice after Aquino revealed that the agency had accumulated a debt of P171.6 billion.
Congress has also initiated a series of inquiries into the previous administration's alleged misuse of the country's P2-billion calamity fund in 2010 and reports of hefty salaries and bonuses at the National Power Corp. and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS). As a result, Congress passed the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, which seeks to create a body that will govern government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and monitor their spending.
2. Run after smugglers and tax evaders
THE PROMISE: “Bawat linggo po ay may bago tayong kasong isasampa kontra sa mga smuggler at sa mga hindi nagbabayad ng tamang buwis."
STATUS: The Bureau of Internal Revenue, led by Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares, has filed 54 tax evasion cases against erring business and individuals as of July 7. Among the high-profile personalities slapped with tax evasion cases are Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, dismissed Local Waterworks and Utilities Administration chair Prospero Pichay Jr. and ex-military comptroller Jacinto Ligot. The Bureau of Customs has also charged various smugglers, with the latest case filed against chemical importer Cleveland Industries, Inc.
Customs chief Angelito Alvarez, however, was criticized for failing to lead a raid of big-time smugglers in Manila. His agency also failed to intercept the smuggling of supposed “hot cars" through Mindanao ports.
3. Punish perpetrators of extrajudicial killings
THE PROMISE: "Pananagutin natin ang mga mamamatay-tao."
STATUS: According to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, there are around 10 to 12 confirmed cases of extrajudicial killings in the country. She said five are undergoing trial, three cases have identified suspects, and others are still in the investigation phase. So far, no suspects have been punished.
4. Form the Truth Commission to go after corrupt officials
THE PROMISE: “Pananagutin din natin ang mga corrupt sa gobyerno. Nagsimula nang mabuo ang ating Truth Commission, sa pangunguna ni Chief Justice Hilario Davide. Hahanapin natin ang katotohanan sa mga nangyari diumanong katiwalian noong nakaraang siyam na taon."
STATUS: Aquino created the five-member Philippine Truth Commission through Executive Order No. 1. However, the Supreme Court declared the body unconstitutional for violating the equal protection clause, by singling out the Arroyo administration as the subject of its investigations.
A few months later, Aquino’s allies at the House of Representatives successfully impeached Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, who decided to resign instead of facing Senate trial. The move paved the way for Aquino to appoint a new Ombudsman, the country’s chief graft buster.
5. Forge public-private partnerships (PPP) to boost the economy
THE PROMISE: "Mula sa mga public-private partnerships na ito, lalago ang ating ekonomiya, at bawat Pilipino makikinabang. Napakaraming sektor na matutulungan nito."
STATUS: The PPP, billed as the Aquino administration’s centerpiece program, aims to tap private sector funds for 80 infrastructure projects worth P740 billion. PPP Center deputy executive director Cosette Canilao said the government plans to bid out 10 PPP projects this year and another 10 next year.
According to the Department of Finance, the government launched the first batch of PPP projects last March. Initial projects include the operation and maintenance (O&M) contract for MRT 3 and LRT 1; the P1.6-billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link Road Project; the P10.59-billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway Phase II Project; and the P21-billion North Luzon Expressway-SLEX Connector Project.
6. Build tourism and agricultural infrastructure
THE PROMISE: “Maipapatayo na po ang imprastrakturang kailangan natin parang palaguin ang turismo. Sa agrikultura, makapagpapatayo na tayo ng mga grains terminals, refrigeration facilities, maayos na road networks at post-harvest facilities."
STATUS: The Aquino administration has started various tourism infrastructure projects during its first year, most notably the expansion of the Caticlan airport leading to the country’s most popular tourist destination, Boracay. Similar airport development projects are being eyed for Bohol, Puerto Princesa, and Daraga. The number of inbound tourists went up during the first quarter of the year by 13 percent, despite a bungled attempt last year to change the country’s tourism campaign slogan to “Pilipinas Kay Ganda."
Agriculture grew by four percent during the first four months of 2011. Agricultural infrastructure projects are in various stages of completion all over the country, such as the building of a P1.5-million grains terminal in Zamboanga del Norte, post-harvest facilities in Samar, Bohol and Cavite, and the repair of road networks in mango-producing Guimaras.
7. Create Jobs
THE PROMISE: "Paalala lang po: una sa ating plataporma ang paglikha ng mga trabaho."
STATUS: A survey by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) indicated that joblessness among Filipinos at least 18 years old and above rose to 27.2 percent in March, when thousands of students graduated from college. The figure increased from 23.5 percent four months earlier. The survey also noted that the official unemployment figure of 7.4 percent as of January — equivalent to some 2.9 million Filipinos — was higher than the 7.1 percent recorded in October 2010. But the the government disputed the figure, saying the number of unemployed Filipinos went down from 8 percent to 7.2 percent in April, according to the April 2011 Labor Force Survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO).
8. Implement the K+12 education program
THE PROMISE: “Mapapalawak natin ang basic education cycle mula sa napakaikling sampung taon tungo sa global standard na labindalawang taon."
STATUS: Starting school year 2011-2012, the Department of Education (DepEd) began implementing the universal kindergarten program, which encourages kids 5 years and below to enroll in kindergarten classes in public schools. The DepEd continues to consult various stakeholders regarding its plan to add two more years to basic education in the country, while measures to enact the K+12 program are still in the legislative mill. Meanwhile, the country’s education system is still plagued by the lack of classrooms, books, and teachers. The DepEd has vowed to complete 1,054 classrooms worth P1 billion within the school year.
9. Fund the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program
THE PROMISE: "Pati ang conditional cash transfers, na magbabawas ng pabigat sa bulsa ng mga pamilya, madadagdagan na rin ng pondo."
STATUS: The CCT grants a monthly stipend of up to P1,400 to 2.3 million of the 4.6 million poorest families nationwide. It is part of Department of Social and Welfare Department's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Congress approved a P21-billion budget for the implementation of the CCT. Aquino said that two million of the poorest families in the country have so far benefited from the CCT since it was implemented this year. Social Welfare Sec. Dinky Soliman said 90 percent of families have complied with the conditions set by the cash grant and that most of them use the money to buy food, specifically rice.
The CCT program is being implemented in 17 regions, 79 provinces, 75 cities, and 915 municipalities in the Philippines. But Aquino said that by 2012, an additional 700,000 beneficiaries will be added to the existing 2 million members of the program. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, however, said they would need for more funds for the project. Soliman said P4.127 billion has been spent for the program as of May 31, 2011.
10. Pursue legislative agenda
THE PROMISE: "Kailangan po natin ng isang Anti-Trust Law na magbibigay-buhay sa mga prinsipyong ito. Ito ang magbibigay ng pagkakataon sa mga Small- at Medium-scale Enterprises na makilahok at tumulong sa paglago ng ating ekonomiya. Ipasa na po natin ang National Land Use Bill. Una rin pong naging batas ng Commonwealth ang National Defense Act, na ipinasa noon pang 1935. Kailangan nang palitan ito ng batas na tutugon sa pangangailangan ng pambansang seguridad sa kasalukuyan. Nakikiusap po akong isulong ang Whistleblower’s Bill upang patuloy nang iwaksi ang kultura ng takot at pananahimik. Kailangang repasuhin ang ating mga batas. Nanawagan po akong umpisahan na ang rekodipikasyon ng ating mga batas, upang siguruhing magkakatugma sila at hindi salu-salungat."
STATUS: In the both chambers of Congress, the Whistleblowers Act have yet to pass second reading while the Fiscal Responsibility Act, National Land Use Act, National Defense and Security Act, Competition Act (Anti-Trust) are all pending before their respective committees. On the other hand, the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act has been approved by both Houses at the committee level.
11. Initiate Peace Talks with the MILF and the NDF
THE PROMISE: “Tungkol sa sitwasyon sa Mindanao: Hindi po nagbabago ang ating pananaw. Mararating lamang ang kapayapaan at katahimikan kung mag-uusap ang lahat ng apektado."
STATUS: The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) met in Kuala Lumpur last month for the last round of peace negotiations. Formal talks with the Moro group will resume in August. Formal talks with the National Democratic Front meanwhile resumed in Norway last February, but negotiations were postponed last month after the NDF demanded the release of two political prisoners for the peace talks to continue.
— with reports from Haydeelyn Enriquez, Mary Grace Sodela and Juvylle Almazan, graphics by Analyn Perez/VS/YA, GMA News
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