Unless President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd just wanted to gain public sympathy to improve his sagging public support, then his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday sounded like it would be his last. Toward the end of his speech, PNoy uttered words that, as some columnists have commented, “sounded like a valedictory” even if it was only his penultimate SONA with the last one left for 2015.
The column of Mr. Ramon “Mon” Tulfo in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last Thursday. 30 July 2014, entitled “The President’s Ominous Sona,” shared his perception and insights on the subject. Mr. Tulfo observed that President Aquino “diverted from his prepared speech and did some ad lib.” The veteran journalist printed “notable excerpts in the Sona which the President delivered extemporaneously” in his article.
Mr. Tulfo asked if “there was something that PNoy wanted to tell the Filipino people, but could not say it straight?” Is the Chief Executive sick of a serious illness? It was observed that the President’s speech was interrupted many times to what was described as “intense coughing.” Or “is his (PNoy’s) life in danger?” – in spite of the protection of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), the Inquirer columnist asked.
The conclusion of Mon Tulfo is that the “president probably did not mean to imply that his life was in danger or he was suffering from a serious ailment.” However, he believes that PNoy “probably had a premonition of … what will happen.” According to my friend Mon who believes in these things, “many persons predicted their end days before it happened with words that they did not put meaning into.”
The late father of PNoy, Senator Benigno “Ninoy”Aquino, Jr, “predicted his fate” when he said the immortal words that “The Filipino is worth dying for.” So perhaps PNoy is safe because what he said in his Sona was, “The Filipino is worth living and fighting for.” In spite of my harsh criticisms against the Aquino Administration, I hope and pray that no harm ever happens to the incumbent president.
The impending power crisis in 2015-2016
What President B. S. Aquino 3rd glaringly did not touch on in his Sona is the imminent Power Crisis in Luzon by 2015. The Inquirer reported last Wednesday, 30 July 2014, of a “400 MW Supply Shortage Seen in 2015.” The “deep concern” came from the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) that expects a “reserve deficiency in the Luzon grid next year in the range of 300 to 400 MW (megawatts) …”
As the ECCP pointed out, 300 to 400 MW is the “size of a regular power plant” that cannot be bought “off the shelf.” The usual construction period for such power plant is a “minimum of three years.” However, in the Philippines, it “will take more than five years for the power plant to get ready for hook-up to the grid with all the (required) 162 environmental and other clearances.”
The Meralco PowerGen Corporation had wanted to build its 600 MW power plant in Subic through its Redondo Peninsula Energy way back in 2010. However, several groups opposed the coal-fired power plant. It did not push through due to a lack of government support even if no less than Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla had said that the Subic power plant was needed to avert the tightness in supply reserve in Luzon by the year 2016.
Now, the power crisis in Luzon is upon us even a year earlier in 2015. The Aquino administration could have done its job with the private sector building new power plants in 2011 that should be operational by today in 2014. Even if they started construction in 2012, it could be operational in time to meet the projected deficiency by 2015. However, President Aquino and his Energy Secretary have done nothing in the past two years.
I wonder if incompetence is just a coincidence or can be genetic? In the early 1990s, then President Corazon C. Aquino in her last two years in office left behind the power crisis in Luzon for President Fidel V. Ramos to inherit. More than two decades later, her only son President B. S. Aquino 3rd would also leave the same legacy of a power crisis in Luzon in his last years in office (2015-2016). Amazing legacy of mother and son!
DPWH 12,000 kms of roads and C6
I am 100% sure that the report of PNoy in his SONA that the DPWH has built 12,000 kms of roads in the past four years is not true. InfraWatch, where I am the Executive-Director, will challenge both President Aquino and DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to do an actual audit of these alleged 12,000 kms of national highways.
The Diversion or Bypass Road in Lucban, Quezon has not been completed until today after four years. The road project started during the last years of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Imagine DPWH cannot even complete a 4-5 km road in 4 years, but now claims that it has finished 12,000 kms of national roads in the Philippines.
Even Circumferential Road 6 (C6) passing through Taguig and Pasig in Metro Manila and Taytay, Rizal is in serious bad shape. InfraWatch wrote to DPWH Secretary Singson about it more than two years ago in 2012, but they have done nothing. And if DPWH claims that they fixed the road in 2012 or 2013, then it just shows that what they did was substandard work that did not last.
My family and I passed C6 last July 28, the day of the Sona. It is in worse shape than when we last passed there two weeks earlier and in June last month. Last Monday, the traffic in C6 was awful especially the southbound traffic due to the deteriorating depressions on this national highway. They are not just holes or ruts. They are like moon craters ignored by DPWH. Daan na Matuwid? This is the real state of the nation!