Binay still mum on SONA

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Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday refused to make any comment on President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s 6th and final State of the Nation Address (SONA), saying he will respond “in due time.”

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“In due time [I will be delivering the true SONA]. Pakinggan niyo na lang ‘yung aking response in due time [Just wait and see for my response in due time],” the Vice President told reporters.

He did not want to give any hints on what he will be saying in his “true SONA” because there would be no “excitement” anymore.

Binay said he believes that there should be a true SONA.

“Meron dapat mga responses, ‘yung mga tanong ninyo ‘yun ang kasagutan [There should be responses. We should answer all your questions],” he said.

He added that he does not feel alluded to in some of the remarks made by the President in his speech, especially when questioned his alleged opponent’s ability to improve the lives of Filipinos.

‘Baseless’ data
A political scientist criticized the President’s speech, saying he failed to present the bigger picture in his valedictory.

Clarita Carlos, former president of the National Defense College of the Philippines and now a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, said Aquino should have backed his supposed accomplishments with solid numbers.

“He delivered a very lengthy speech but what we wanted to see was the basis of his speech. Where are the numbers? He just presented graphs and histograms but there are no numbers to explain what these are,” she noted in Filipino.

“I think you lose your audience after 30 minutes. That’s the definition of torture. Nakuha ko na ’yung tono [I got his drift] and I just got bored,” Carlos told Radyo Inquirer.

Advocates of overseas workers’ welfare also criticized the President for not acknowledging contributions of migrant workers in his SONA.

“He did not thank the people who contributed to the prospering of the economy,” Lito Soriano, president of LBS Recruitment Solutions, said.

“[Without the P6-trillion remittances of overseas Filipino workers, where would our economy be]?” Gemma Comiso of Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards said.

Susan Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Center, said the President failed to give context to the number of returning Filipino workers because of armed conflicts in the Middle East, where a big numbers of overseas workers are being deployed.

KAMPI president Luther Calderon also noted lack of housing policies for returning Filipino workers.

Groups in the agricultural sector expressed dismay over the exclusion of farmers in the President’s SONA.

Rosendo So, chairman of the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag), said there were no references to rice self-sufficiency, post-harvest and cold storage facilities, food security, agricultural modernization and anti-smuggling efforts.

He added that they were hoping Aquino would mention the wanton importation and the worsening smuggling of agricultural commodities that deprived the government of almost P9 billion in lost revenues last year.

Latest data culled by Sinag suggested that a total of P8.4 billion was lost last year to the smuggling of just six agricultural commodities.

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