• How students saw Pnoy’s SONA

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    Students of the Manila Times College were asked to listen to and review President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s State of the Nation Address. The following are their thoughts on what was important in the President’s SONA:

    The NLEX(North Luzon Express Way)-SLEX(South Luzon Express Way) connector road project will now push through, President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd announced in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

    The connector road will make it possible to travel from SLEX to NLEX in 15 minutes, without having to pass through EDSA (Epifanio De los Santos Avenue). A common connection will bridge Balintawak to Buendia and Buendia to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines(PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Manila. Also, the Clark to Calamba route will only take an hour and 40 minutes with this project.

    The National Economic and Development Authority(NEDA) board approved the P25.256 billion project January this year. Target completion is by 2016.

    The connector road was first proposed during the Marcos regime but was never implemented allegedly because of crony capitalism.
    —Harmony Valdoz

    A crowd in Filipiniana’s and Barong Tagalog filled the Batasang Pambansa. Counted as the fourth SONA, Pres. Simeon Benigno Aquino 3rd again stood in the podium to report to his “bosses”.

    Aquino highlighted the K-to-12 program of the Department of Education. He even stressed the 62 percent of Filipino citizens who benefited from PhilHealth which rose dramatically to 81 percent. The remaining 19 percent of Filipinos are the informal settlers and unknown members.

    He also stated that last February, Hacienda Luisita’s beneficiaries were already known and individual land titles will be distributed by September.

    More places to light up, more children to be educated, more families to be sheltered and more Filipinos to be supported by the government, these are the presidents assurance for the next years to come.

    Geohazard Mapping of all danger hazard zones was also highlighted by Aquino.

    He also presented the 53,106 finished houses for Bagyong Pablo victims, 17,609 houses to be finished by the end of 2013 and 35,447 more by 2014.

    Aquino even assured the nation for security as he presented his plans on the Philippine National Police and Arm Forces of the Philippines.

    “Hindi endangered species ang mga tapat na pulis (honest and clean policemen are not yet endangered)”, Aquino said after praising three outstanding policemen and women on the field.

    The country’s tourism status was also proudly presented by the president. He stated that our country was not only named as the Most Romantic Destination and having the Brightest Spark to the tourist.

    We were also called the Rising Tiger which proves that the economy of our country is in good condition.

    Aquino is due to submit P2.268 Trillion budget to Congress tomorrow.

    “Kayo mismo ang huhubog, Kayo mismo ang magdidikta (all of you will be the one to form, all of you will be the one to dictate)” Aquino said to his bosses.
    —Jemaima Rae Porter

    The 2013 SONA of President Benigno Aquino 3rd was like any typical SONA, only here he reported more about the administrations achievements like solutions of the Philippines’ current problems, and passing of some laws.

    Aquino then talked about projects and, additional achievements of some government agencies. This includes the Private Public Partnership (PPP) project which contains Bicol International Airport, Laguindingan Airport, Tacloban Airport, New Bohol Airport, Mactan Airport, Puerto Prinsesa Airport, Daang hari-SLEX, Link road and the integrated transport system.

    Aquino also said in his SONA the road that will connect NLEX and SLEX. This will have a road connecting C3 Caloocan to P.U.P Sta. Mesa. A highlight of this SONA also includes Balintawak connecting to Buendia. Here NLEX was also said to be connected to SLEX and instead of two hours of travel it will be lessen to 15 minutes. From Calamba to Clark now will take one hour and 40 minutes instead of three to four hours.

    Aquino also said that since his administration took office, the Department of Public Works and Highways had saved P18.4 billion. He also cited the Tagumbao Bridge saying, “Tao na ang nagpapatupad nito.”

    During Aquino’s administration, the Philippines was also referred to by different nations as the Best Tourist destination of 2012, most romantic destination by The Shanghai Morning Post and Palawan’s Best Island by Travel + Leisure. Given this fact, foreign tourist arrivals rose by 21.4% resulting to the creation of 3.8 million jobs last 2011.

    “ Nung marso inalis po ng international civil aviation organization sa significant safety concerns na ipinataw sa pilipinas” Last March the International Civil Aviation Organization removed the significant safety concerns that was implemented on the Philippines. This was also the result of the old government’s system.

    Aquino also cited that during his administration the Philippines was titled the Rising tiger by the World Bank and as the Brightest Spark by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
    —John Joshua Vera Cruz

    During the two hours of his speech, President Aquino addressed many of the concerns that were brought up between his previous SONAs and his most recent one.

    Among his many projects that were addressed along with positive sounding-statistics were the growth in Tesda scholars, and the decrease of the alarming need of armchairs, textbooks and the like, which were initiated by Armin Luistro, DepEd secretary.

    Other projects such as intercropping by the Department of Agriculture, the multi-hazard mapping by the Department of Science and Technology and addressing of the Hacienda Luisita controversy by the Department of Agrarian Reform, were also mentioned.

    The President’s approach in this SONA was definitely a broad one, tackling many topics and being detail and statistic-heavy, showing the positivity within the improvement of his administration and their goals, the realism opposing them, and his desire to still finish those goals in spite of them. It can be said that he left no stone unturned in this year’s SONA.
    — Miguel Asistio

    President Simeon Benigno Aquino 3rd arrived at Sandiganbayan past 3pm.

    Of the 503,521 graduates from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) during his term, six of out of 10 found job and there has only 28.5% from 2006 to 2008 comparing to 70.9% presently working on Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO), electronics and education was covered on his introduction report.

    Aquino also computed the cost of jet fighters equivalent to how many families could be served.

    He also congratulated three police officers to their good performance doing right their job.
    —Lupo Quintos Jr.

    The Freedom of Information Bill (FOI) which is one of the anticipated bills many expected to be included in yesterday’s Fourth State of the Nation Address was again set aside.

    In the almost two hour speech of President Benigno Aquino, the FOI was not included in the bills he asked the 16th Congress to prioritize.

    Among the bills part of Aquino’s priority are Cabotage Bill, Fiscal Incentive Rationalization Bill,Land Administration Bill and the proposed P2.268 trillion national budget for 2014.

    What added to people’s expectation that the FOI will be included in this year’s SONA is
    Aquino’s statement, “Tinitimbang niyo (Congress) kung ano ang mas kapakinakinabang. (You (Congress) are weighing what is more beneficial).

    Some of the most highlighted topics in SONA 2014 are Private Partnership Program (PPP), Conditional Cash Transfer Program, and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of the country.

    It was also noticeable that the President had not mentioned the Reproductive Health Law, the dispute in the West Philippine Sea and the extrajudicial killings.
    —John Roy Abenaza

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