Blast from the past: Aquino’s SONAs


In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered on July 26, 2010, President Benigno Aquino 3rd harped on the victory of “Tuwid na Daan” after winning the presidential elections.

He presented to the public the extent of corruption in public service and the steps his administration was taking to solve them. It was in his first SONA that he denounced huge allowances being received by certain government owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) officials, particularly at the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.

“You have heard how the public coffers were squandered. This is what is clear to me now: change can only come from our determination to stamp out this extravagance and profligacy. That is why starting now: we will stop the wasteful use of government funds. We will eradicate projects that are wrong,” he said.

In his second SONA on July 25, 2011, Aquino introduced his anti-“wang-wang” policy to counter abuse and undue entitlements.

“Do you want the corrupt held accountable? So do I. Do you want to see the end of wang-wang, both on the streets and in the sense of entitlement that has led to the abuse that we have lived with for so long? So do I. Do you want to give everyone a fair chance to improve their lot in life? So do I,” he declared.

“We have fought against the wang-wang, and our efforts have yielded results. Just this year, the number of Filipinos who experienced hunger has come down. Self-rated hunger has gone down from 20.5% in March to 15.1% this June—equivalent to a million Filipino families who used to go hungry, but who now say they eat properly every day,” he further stressed.

On July 23, 2012, Aquino’s third SONA, the President spoke about his first two years in office within which he said he found out about more corrupt practices that began in the past.

“The specters of a lost decade haunted us from our first day in office,” he said.

Likewise, he spoke of “restoring” a government that is “truly on the side of the people.”

“It wasn’t too long ago when we began to dream again; when, united, we chose the straight and righteous path; when we began to cast aside the culture of wang-wang, not only in our streets, but in every sector of society. It has been two years since you said: We are tired of corruption and of poverty; it is time to restore a government that is truly on the side of the people,” he declared.

Aquino, meanwhile, delivered his fourth SONA on July 22, 2013 which centered on “transformation” and the challenges that he had to face as president.

“Almost four years have passed since I was approached by various camps to urge me to run for the presidency. They said: ‘We know that our country’s problems cannot be solved in the blink of an eye, in one year, or even within the six-year term of a President. But just begin, and we will be one with you in nurturing change’,” he said.

“Even then, I was aware of the significant problems that I would have to face. From being a candidate, to being President, or even after I step down from office, the difficulties I will have to face are no joke. Widespread transformation of society is my objective, and I am aware that there are many things and many people I would have to confront in order to achieve this,” he pointed out.

On July 28 last year, Aquino spoke about “looking back to the past, to get to where one wishes to go.” Joel Sy Egco

He also denounced “dirty politics” and the Filipino’s lost faith with each other as a result.

“When we came into office, we found a society that was like a derelict house in which we had no choice but to live. What was even worse: we had virtually no tools and materials with which to repair the damage. Over the past few years, with the help of every Filipino who cared for the well-being of his fellowmen, we have been acquiring the tools and materials we need. One of these tools is a budget focused solely on the needs of the citizenry—a budget we have passed on-time four years in a row. These tools include the laws that have accelerated the bringing of benefits to our bosses,” he pointed out.

It was in that SONA that he discussed about Super Typhoon Yolanda that struck the Visayas months before in November 2013.


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