A calm but obviously emotional President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday vowed to keep his promises amid a barrage of criticisms being hurled against his administration in his last remaining years in office.
In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), Aquino initially made a litany of his government’s “achievements” then shifted to a more direct and emotion-charged defense of his programs, which elicited applause from equally teary-eyed members of the Cabinet and other government officials.
“We will continue to prove that the Filipino is worth dying for. The Filipino is worth living for. And, if I may add, the Filipino is worth fighting for,” Aquino, with his voice cracking, said.
He became more emotional when he narrated how he survived an ambush in 1987, saying he is now enjoying his “second life”.
“If my second life ends, can I say is it okay? I can tell you, eye to eye, after all we’ve been through, I am contented,” the President said.
He added that his contentment rests on the fact that his programs will be continued after he had “gone.”
Aquino also scored the “orchestra of negativism” that has been hounding him amid the reforms the government has been instituting.
“They sow suspicion. They are desperate,” he stressed, adding the “noisy few” will not stop attacking him even after he had left Malacanang. He said these critics have “closed minds” and live in their “own world and reality.”
“Why are they so mad? Look at their motivation. For those who profited from their position, if we can reform the system, they will lose the opportunity to exploit. It’s only natural for them to oppose us. And those who have no other intention but to bring down government, they can only grow in number if many are suffering and lost trust in the system,” he said.
Apparently alluding to Leftist militants, Aquino said the number of “recruits” are dwindling because the system is being rectified and poverty is addressed.
“It is also natural that they oppose us. The noisiest critics are those who are against transformation, because they exploited and gained from the old system,” Aquino pointed out.
He blasted his administration’s critics for misleading the people into believing that the government’s programs are no different from those of the past administrations.
“They will do everything to prevent us from reaching the other shore. They will say; It’s just the same, there is no change there. They will tie us at port, bore holes into our boat [and]conspire so that we may go astray,” Aquino said.
“My bosses, they are opposed to you,” he stressed. JOEL M. SY EGCO