President Benigno Aquino 3rd was criticized for parroting his father, Benigno Aquino Jr., in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, when he said that the Filipino is worth dying for.
Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said Aquino should not have used the words of his father as he pointed out that the famous statement was valid during the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos, not at this time because the President “is no martyr.”
“That was very valid during the era of [former President Ferdinand]Marcos, the tyrant and [Sen. Benigno] Aquino [Jr], the martyr. Today, Aquino is no martyr,” Arguelles added.
The prelate admitted that he considered the President’s parents as real heroes. “But the longer the son stays in power, the less the luster of the parents becomes,” he said.
“More and more corruption and disappointments seem to originate from the failed presidency of the mother,” Arguelles added, referring to late former President Corzaon Aquino.
In his SONA, the President should have presented more results than promises, according to Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad.
He noted that more Filipinos are in “agony” waiting for delivery of Aquino’s promises in his previous SONAs. Jumoad, however, applauded Aquino on his plans for calamity victims.
“He has plans for the victims of the Zamboanga siege, earthquake victims of Bohol, Yolanda victims of Leyte, Samar and Northern Cebu. But we need results, not just plans,” the bishop said.
Aquino said by August, residents affected by the clashes in Zamboanga late last year will be transferred to their permanent shelters.
The President, however, failed to mention his plans for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda who are still living in tent cities in Tacloban City, Leyte’s capital. Jumoad said Aquino should not have painted his critics as enemies of the people.
“His warning to critics as enemies of progress is unhealthy in a democracy. That’s his problem: When he attacks, it is okay, but if he is criticized, he calls his critics enemies of progress,” the bishop added.
No mention of typhoon victims
A consortium of international aid agencies that has been working to realize inclusive, community-based disaster risk reduction (ICBDRR) in the aftermath of Yolanda said they were disappointed that Aquino did not mention his plans for the typhoon victims in his SONA.
“Nine months since the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall hit the country, thousands are still living in tents in coastal areas. When Glenda hit the Visayas two weeks ago, more than 7,000 people in Yolanda-affected areas sought cover anew.
Back in April 2014, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said only 53 out of 643 or 8 per cent of evacuation centers can be used in Eastern Samar.
These communities are being exposed to tremendous risk and uncertainty. They urgently need to know when permanent relocation will move forward, what other settlement options they have and what the implications will be for their livelihoods. They must be consulted in ongoing and meaningful ways to ensure any settlement measures represent truly durable solutions,” the group Typhoon Haiyan Response, Oxfam in the Philippines said.
Haiyan is the international codename of Yolanda. The group noted that the fifth SONA would have been an opportunity “for the President to update the nation on its plans for recovery.”
“With a clear trend of increasingly frequent and intense natural hazards, the government must lay out a strengthened commitment to enacting and implementing policies that increase our nation’s resilience to disasters. Renewed efforts and scaled-up resourcing are needed,” it said.