Aquino’s SONA: Lies, deceptions and silly boasts

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How can you respect a President who, in a speech that should discuss where we are as a nation, instead brags about his purported accomplishments by barraging us with claims which turn out to be downright false, deceptive, arguable as to its veracity, or puerile boasts?

Given this newspaper’s deadline for column submissions, what follows is a preliminary list of such atrocious claims made by President Aquino in his 1.7-hour State of the Nation Address the other day.

RICE IMPORTS. Aquino (translated from Pilipino) said in his SONA: “According to the NFA, in 2010, the country imported more than 2 million metric tons of rice. In 2011, this fell to 855,000 metric tons. In 2012: 500,000 metric tons. And now in 2013: the maximum we will import, including the private sector, will be the minimum access volume of 350,000 metric tons. “

Did Aquino think we forgot about the reports of massive rice smuggling that the National Food Authority obviously can’t report? What follows is the report from www.oryza.com, the recognized global grains industry news site, quoting separate reports of the US Department of Agriculture, which is known to rely for its data even on CIA intelligence:


“The USDA estimates that rice imports by the Philippines in MY2012?13 (May to April) are likely to reach around 1.5 million tons, while rice imports in 2013?14 are forecast at around 1.2 million tons. These figures are significantly higher than government figures of 500,000 tons of rice imports in 2012 and the targeted . . . rice imports in 2013.

The USDA says that the continued entry of undocumented rice (estimated at around 400,000 to 600,000 tons in MY 2012?13) into the country is a serious challenge to the Philippine rice industry. It says that smuggled rice into the country increased in 2012 and hurt the profits of local rice producers and traders.” (Emphasis mine.)

THE CONDITIONAL CASH TRANSFER PROGRAM. The rationale of the program—to prevent it from becoming merely a give-away—is that poor families receiving the funds are required to keep their children in school. Thus, the argument goes, the cycle of poverty will be broken as educated or merely literate workers have higher wages.

Aquino in effect claimed that the conditional cash transfer program is such a success in its major aim of getting children of poor people finish elementary that he would extend the program to include “families with children up to 18 years old …so that their children will be able to finish high school.”

However, a comprehensive assessment by the World Bank (“Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer Program Impact Evaluation 2012) released this year had the following main conclusion:

“The findings suggest that the program has not had a significant impact on increasing enrollment among older children aged 12-17 years old. . . . However, the program was unable to even improve enrollment of children 12- 14 years of age, who are currently covered under Pantawid Pamilya.”

Why would Aquino extend coverage to families with children up to 18 years old, when the program is failing in getting poor families’ children finish even elementary school, which is the minimum requirement for them to crawl out of the poverty quagmire?

COCONUT INDUSTRY. Aquino thought he had hit on a brilliant idea by claiming that if coconut farmers just intercrop their farms with coffee (or bananas and cacao), they will be rich, earning more than P150,000 a year. Wow!

But somebody should tell Aquino that’s been tried even before the last world war in almost all coconut-producing countries in the world.

The Philippine Coconut Authority during Marcos time (using the controversial coco levy) even made heroic efforts to introduce intercropping. Such programs were mostly failures, and proven to be unworkable, unless billions of pesos in funds support them. Small, poor coconut farmers (which dominate the industry) can’t afford the seedlings and fertilizers for the new crops, markets for the new crops (like cacao) are too far, and risks for incurring loans for these new ventures are too high. If they fail they’ll be losing their lands.

Aquino bragged: “We were able to use 5,500 hectares of land for intercropping in 90 different locations throughout the country.” Didn’t someone tell him that there are 3.9 million hectares of land planted to coconuts? Isn’t it so silly that Aquino thinks it is such a big accomplishment to report to the nation in his SONA that after three years he succeeded in introducing intercropping in 0.1 percent of the Philippine coconut hectarage?

A LIE SO HE COULD BOAST. Aquino said in his speech: “Let us take the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) as an example. In the thirteen years prior to our term, from 1996 to 2009, the dividends of the PRA amounted to a sum total of P676.8 million. Along the straight path: in 2012 alone, their dividends: P1 billion pesos. Is this not a complete transformation?”

Audited statements of the PRA show that its dividends from 2007 to 2009 amounted to P2.1 billion. If you include those for 2010, the total would be P2.6 billion. Aquino clearly lied on reporting the P678 million figures.

There’s more. PRA’s income for 2012 has grown allowing it to remit P1 billion to the National Treasury thanks to you commuters, at least those regularly commuting from Cavite and Manila, who pay about P64 to use the R-1 Extension of the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex), which opened in 2011. That stretch of Cavitex is owned and operated by the PEA Tollways Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of the PRA. And who shepherded this project, which involved massive funding from Malaysian companies? Presidents Ramos and Arroyo.

Aquino claims its P1 billion is due to the PRA’s “complete transformation” under his administration. Of course Aquino didn’t mention that PRA’s president and chief executive officer is Peter Anthony Abaya, who had been one of Arroyo’s technocrat from 2001 to 2008, first as energy undersecretary, with his last post being CEO of PNOC Alternative Fuels Corp. from which he resigned because of health reasons.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP. Aquino boasted:

“(We) are seeing the effects of the honest, transparent, and clear way we have been going about our PPP Projects . . . Apart from the Laguindingan airport, which is already being utilized, we are upgrading and modernizing the Tacloban Airport, the Bicol International Airport, the New Bohol Airport, and the Mactan Airport, all at the same time. The Daang Hari-NLEX link road is the fastest PPP project that has been awarded in any administration, with no shortcuts in the processes.”

The International Monetary Fund assessment of the PPP project, quoted from is Staff Report on its 2012 Article IV consultations:

“The current government initiated a series of PPP projects, but these have been implemented slowly, with contracts for only two projects (road network and classroom construction) awarded so far to the private sector. While the PPP pipeline includes 22 projects across various sectors, the total cost of all projects is still small (less than 2 percent of GDP). “

DPWH AS THE MODEL OF A GRAFT-FREE AGENCY. Aquino said:

“In the space of only three years, we have proven that agencies that were once cesspools of corruption can be transformed into examples of honest and efficient service. (Secretary Singson’s) kind of honest leadership has allowed the DPWH to save P18.4 billion, which has been allotted to other meaningful projects.”

Both Aquino and Singson have been repeating again and again that the DPWH has been saving billions of pesos by reducing graft in its projects. They have, however, not given any details how this has been accomplished, so that they might as well claim P100 billion and we have no way of verifying it.

One case where the project cost significantly went up is the Ternate-Nasugbu road. Ricardo Ramos, head of the NGO InfraWatch that is monitoring the government, reported that the signage for the early 2010 for that project showed that it costs P600 million.

Now the DPWH lists its cost in its reports at P820 million, Ramos said. Ramos, who has been in the construction industry, explained that a significant part of the corruption at the DPWH now involves contracts to repair roads that do not need to be repaired, but only to provide easy projects for DPWH officials’ favored contractors.

The modus operandi Singson would have told contractors: “Incur savings on this project so we’d appear good in media, and I’ll give you easy projects to capture these savings.”

Strangely, there have been no changes at all in the DPWH’s bureaucracy. Nor has there a single charge of graft filed in the Ombudsman under this administration for cases of corruption in the DPWH committed in the past or incumbent administrations. Are we to believe that personnel of the DPWH—in surveys always ranked in the top three most graft-ridden agencies in the past several administrations—have suddenly become saints?

What is also shameless for this president is to claim that infrastructure projects that were“ started 20 years ago” such as the Ternate-Nasugbu road and the Aluling bridge in Ilocos are being constructed only under his term.

As a former congressman and senator, Aquino knows full well the DPWH has master plans looking into decades in the future, renewed almost every year that includes just about any infrastructure project the country needs. These projects, however, actually get started only when Congress approves budgets for these, based on the assessment of their urgent needs.

Why the heck is Aquino so obsessed with TESDA, a minor agency whose main activity—running training programs for blue-collar work—doesn’t require much brains and leadership, just enough funds to pay for trainors?

If we can’t trust Aquino on information he claims in the most important speech he makes every year, why should we trust him at all?

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
www.rigobertotiglao.com and www.trigger.ph

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38 Comments

  1. albert brillantes on

    Kaya po tayo di umaasenso dahil sa naniniwala agad tayo sa mga balibalita na mga tao
    Ang mahalaga now eh magkaisa tayo lahat..tama o mali ang programa ni pinoy ay bigyan natin sya na pagkakataon.sa mga nakaraang administrasyun binaon lahat tayo sa utang so di madali para sa kanya , pagtapos na ang term nya doon tayo maghakahaka.at sa mga tao na nagkokomento na tax nya ginagamit sa tao ..tama yun dito sa amin sa sweden tax ng tao napupunta sa tao kaya nman dito free ang medical at pagaaral ng mga bata , at dito wala nagugutom dahil sa sestema sana ganun papunta ang ating bansa…salamat po.

  2. Kaya di tayo umaasinso kasi tayo tayo mismo mga pilipino nagtatalotalo sa isang haka haka lamang ng isang tao.

    ..tama or mali ang mga ginagawa ni pinoy just give him a chance at least he’s trying his best para kalabanin ang kurapsyun sa bansa natin..di madali , magantay na lang tayo pagtapos na ang tungkulin nya then doon tayo magbigay ng haka haka…salamat po.

  3. jose b. taganahan on

    Very well written, specially on the figures about rice imports. I also believed that the President lied on the rice importations of the country in 2012 and 2013 in both private and private sector, or at the very least they are only half truths. The exports of quality rice which have been going on even before Pnoy’s term as President is so miniscule compared to our rice imports and the only reason why it was mentioned in the SONA is the give the impression that we are already sufficient in rice which is a blatant lie. The 1.2 billion worth of seized smuggled rice in the port of Cebu clearly shows that we are not yet sufficient in rice.

    • He lied and added a lot of colorful statements to make his SONA such a FACADE to the extent average people wont be able to distinguish truth from lies. I can attest to that since a good friend of mine smuggles 5000 tons of rice twice a month and we are not counting the other big time smugglers.

  4. Congratulations, Manila Times, you’re gaining buzz for your bold opinion writers. Proof of this I think is that yellow diehards who foolishly want people to perceive PNOY as the country’s messiah have started to appear here to heckle Mr. Tiglao. However, instead of presenting facts, figures, data to rebut Mr. Tiglao, they resort to childish rants. Keep on working, Mr. Tiglao, you’re among the few who question the status quo by digging deep into facts and information. You’re educating the public so they can have better choices. That is democracy.

  5. Roman de Guzman on

    Tiglao, I would confront the palace or the president that he was deceitful, lying president, and a braggart. I don’t think you could do that. You are just plain coward. Are you bitter because you were not invited to the SONA? You are another pessimist with crab mentality who could not think positive about anyone.
    I do not believe nor enjoy your style of journalism. You should join the protesters because all of you are nothing but communist who would want to lead the country . I am sure you would welcome China to occupy the Philippines with the kind of mentality you have. You are full of air Tiglao!

  6. MR. TIGLAO GOOD TO BE A CRITICS OF THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT BUT THE TRUTH IS THESE GOVERNMENT IS MORE HONEST THAN THE PREVIOUS ONCE AND VERY COMMITTED TO ALLEVIATE THE POVERTY LEVEL FROM OUR POOREST SOCIETY. NO ZTE NBN, NO AGRI SCAM, HELICOPTER SCAM ETC. THAT YOU CAN REBUFF SO WHERES YOUR EVIDENCE THEN PROVE IT THANK YOU FOR REPORTING.

  7. Ang laguindingan airport ay hindi kay Noynoy natapos kundi nag-umpisa kay GMA at halos tapos na ng pumasok si Abnoy! This project too was not under PPP.

    • Engot.ibig sabihin dekada na ang lumipas di napatapos ang airport na yun.si pnoy lang ang nagpatapos.un ang ibig sabihin ng presiaente.at wala siyang claim na siya ang nag umpisa nun.sa susunod siguraduhin mong sapat ang info mo bago ka mag comment

  8. malaki laday on

    simula independence day ay pinamagigay lang ang tax namin sa mga tamad na walang ginawa kungdi magmanufacture lang ng bata pue sinongaling na panot.

  9. antoninus hernandez on

    Continue exposing the propaganda of Aquino through lies interwoven with more liesl He is the worst president since we were granted independence. The country would be better off without him. He should resign and do so now!

    • Worst president.wow.ayus ka rin ha.di mo ba nasabi yan dati kay pres.arroyo.pero obvious naman na pure hatred lang ang comment at walang alam

  10. Aries Ypertatos on

    Mr. Tiglao,

    I agree that one should not merely accept but rather, be discerning and critical about the information given to us by the government. Likewise, this also applies to the arguments given by the critics of the government.

    You quoted the comprehensive assessment by the World Bank (“Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer Program Impact Evaluation 2012) saying that one of it’s main conclusion is:

    “the program has not had a significant impact on increasing enrollment among older children aged 12-17 years old. . . . However, the program was unable to even improve enrollment of children 12- 14 years of age, who are currently covered under Pantawid Pamilya.”

    Sir, I am no expert on the matter but if you look at the original objectives of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps),

    “Elementary school gross enrollment rate for children 6 to 12 years to increase by 5% ”

    Later, 2012 objectives were expanded to include,

    “Children aged 6-14 must enroll in elementary or highschool”

    Furthermore, to reiterate the paragraph in the World Bank assessment where you lifted that findings above,

    “However, the findings suggest that the program has not had a significant impact on increasing enrollment among older children aged 12-17 years old. _The program was not explicitly designed to improve schooling of children above age 14, given that is the age limit for
    education grants. _ However, the program was unable to even improve enrollment of children 12-14 years of age, who are currently covered under Pantawid Pamilya. Thus, the program as currently designed is unable to keep older children in school. _This implies that program should consider expanding coverage to older children, and also reconsider the current five year limit of program eligibility, if long term human capital investments are to be sustained._”

    I am not a supporter of PNoy. But nonetheless, you’re claims are downright unfair. You were selective and you placed the data you got out of it’s context. I hope the next time you cite studies like this, take the effort to do a little background research on the topic. Thank you.

  11. I really feel there is something wrong with the figures and reports on the SONA the president gave. It is gut feel and i hope I am wrong but Mr. Tiglao has provided arguments that makes me think I am right.

  12. actually Pnoy just keep on justifying for his incompetence to lead our country…parang si erap…

  13. I think the points raised by Mr. Tiglao are, at the very least, worthy of our attention and cause for more discernment of what the president revealed in his most-recent SONA. We all know that there is always a tendency to brandish accomplishment to the hilt. The points raised herein are certainly sobering. Perhaps the mainstream Media can do a more in-depth fact-checking of the so-called achievements of the President and we’d all be more satisfied if our doubts about them are proven wrong. After all, we want a government that really works.

    • Well the fact is that the Mr. Tiglao is an arroyo man is privy to the projects of GMA. He knows that some of the policies that the aquino admin is touting in the SONA were already a brainchild of GMA yet they took it as their own and grabbed the credit.

      Of course if you were part of the group who were tasked to come up with the innovation and planning and someone else takes your credit how would you feel?

      The same thing with the other agricultural programs, how would some put blame or take credit for something that already happened for 20 years?

      Correlation does not imply causation.

    • You really think that ABSCBN, who are friends with cojuanco’s and Aquino’s, castigate their Dear Sweetheart Krissy’s Brother? Oh come on you are better than that.

  14. Thank you Mr. Tiglao for putting some context to what the president said.

    Many people in this country would rather believe in hearsay than cold hard facts backed up by evidence for the simple reason that hearsay is attention-catching and controversial. Cold hard facts is downright boring.

    And you only need to look at what many of your media colleagues write about and pass off as “news” seen through yellow colored glasses.

  15. Bunzai_kaliwete on

    Mr. tiglao..if you have sufficient evidence to support what your talking here. Show your source and authenticated documents and file a case against the president of the philippines. Di ung puro ka satsat…remember always the truth has prevail. unless nabayaran ka rin pra gumawa ng storya… magkano Mr. tiglao???

    • [deleted text] Mr. Tiglao has already put down the sources of his figures – i.e. Department of Agriculture, World Bank, comparative figures before and during BS Aquino’s administration – and you still think there’s no evidence? And all you can manage to say is “Nabayaran si Mr. Tiglago”? Iyang accusation mo ang walang proof! [deleted text]

    • Satsat? come on! Tell that to the president. Does he need to show evidence? The words that came out from PNOY’s SONA is EVIDENCE! Pfftt! Satsat? That’s what the president is good at! It sucks to know the facts than to believe in empty words, broken promises. Is it not obvious enough? Now, let me ask you , I don’t mind to be proven wrong, SHOW facts that shows otherwise! Than talking and complaining there!

  16. Jerry Ocampo on

    Mr. Tiglao: Please continue with what you and your brave staff have been doing: telling the TRUTH as it is, without embellishment and spin. In the arid desert ruled by the yellow media, we are being tyrannized by outright lies and deception. The country needs you.

  17. MOTHER OF ALL SONA
    The message to weigh in the mind of the morphine shock viewers from the fabled and everlasting SONA of Benigno Aquino III is plain and simple. It’s like he entered the house of Congress like a conquering hero (Gladiator) and describes all his accomplices I mean… accomplishment. But, where, and what does he accomplish to lift up the social illnesses of the grieving nation? Honestly… I don’t see any!

  18. malaki_lagay_ko_kanya on

    Mr.Tiglao,,,simula independence day, walang presidente na ganito kahusay mamalakad sa bansang pilipinas, ilan dekada na ba ang lumipas??? malaking tulong ang CCT sa totoong naghikahos! hindi mo kase naranasan kumalam sikmura mo mr.tiglao, de kurbata pa ang suot mo, ang argumento mo taliwas dahil ika’y literate nagtamasa din…tres años pa lamang ang administrasyon, para sa datos edad ng mga batang mag-aaral sinabi mo! ! ! Mas malaki po ang sahod sa ibang bansa sa mga TESDA grads… sa tingin mo tiglao,maganap ang pang unlad sa isang tulog lamang?? tandaan mo ito tiglao kaisa ako sa pagsulong na humikayat tumakbo muli sa halalan si President Noy,,,at magsulat ka ng magsulat tiglao sa bangungot mo.

    • Darewin Ocampo on

      Mahusay mamalakad?

      Sitahin nya Customs na sobrang corrupt pero ayaw nya papagresign chairman nito?

      Pinangako nung kampanya na isusulong ang FOI bill pero di nya magawang imark na urgent?

      Wala pa ding malinaw na economic plan halfway through his term?

      Nga pala, bakit dinadaan sa loterya pamamahagi nh Hacienda Luisita samantalang sabi sa SC ruling dapat itong ipamahagi ng buo at libre?

      Yung pagpapyansa nya sa mga allies nyang may kaso, mahusay din ba yun?

    • Would you rather see your kapwa Pinoy Risk their lives and go abroad para lang kumita ng pera? Tesda makes your kapwa pinoy get malaking sahod abroad and you are effing proud of it? Why don’t you dream that someday Noynoy would abolish her moms constitution and let Foreign Investors in to bring jobs your kapwa pinoy are dying for? Your president noynoy has done nothing but to brainwash people with his Dearly Sweet Talks. Time for you to ask. Open your Eyes and listen take time to read rather than watch ABSCBN’s Telanobela and Vice Ganda Shows. Take part because This is your NATION.

    • What? That same thing goes to the criticized previous admin! come on! Tell that to the president. SONAs are supposed to be showing the president’s accomplishments! Not about dissing someone in public which is unlawful, not about blaming others, not about covering one’s shortcomings, it’s not about bragging something that’s he have done nothing yet! It’s his”marketing strategy”. Like ads, in most cases, they misled. Just like what he’s doing. By so far he is the most unprofessional president ever. Immature if I may add. He keeps talking, lengthy talks BUT EMPTY ones. NOW, by all means show us a SOLID, AUTHENTICATED FACTS, that will show otherwise. I do not mind to be proven wrong. I am not blind to what’s happening around me, surveys are not proving a thing. Did he try going out in far flung places to check?? Pfft! Why bother. He have not discuss the matter about Hacienda Luisita, if he did care. They started it building lies. Only a sane mind with a sound psychological state will notice. Pity…

  19. why don’t you run for president since all you do is criticize the
    Aquino Administration. It seems nothing is right for you.

  20. Let us get rid and delete the useless yearly SONA! Such a waste of time money and effort of all of us. Regardless who is the President, the SONA is only used as a platform to brag, tell lies and give false hopes to the ordinary tax payers and citizens who continue to suffer from neglect from the government who is assumed to be responsible in elevating our poor, poor, lives. Mr. Aquino must be feeling very good about his speech, not knowing that his own speechwriter(s) are manufacturing this speech to make him look good. I am just wondering if he studied his speech beforehand and checked on the generalized data’s and details he was talking about.