The House and the Senate will begin their separate morning sessions on Monday with prayers. Then, when they hold a joint session in the afternoon, they will hear the invocation by up to five religious leaders from different denominations before President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino 3rd delivers his State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA). Yes, we need that many prayers in the hope that miracles would finally happen after BS Aquino delivers his fourth SONA.
The accomplishment of even 50 percent of promises in the SONA would constitute a miracle to this Congress Insider who’s definitely “mababaw ang kaligayahan,” or easy to please. No such miracle has happened so far.
Quick, how many of the promises made by BS Aquino three years ago have been accomplished? I guess it takes more than a multitude of prayers to make our president do what he promised us.
Remember his promise three years ago to create more jobs in the country so that Filipinos need no longer go abroad to be employed? There is more unemployment under his watch. Oh yes, he did create jobs, for his friends and supporters when he fired almost all appointees of his predecessor to government-owned and controlled corporations.
He criticized the previous dependence on overseas Filipino workers for our economic growth. He’s right, we should no longer be sending workers abroad, especially to Taiwan and to war-torn countries. He could not do as he wanted, however, for he came to realize that without the OFWs, our economy would collapse. That’s why his administration is even trumpeting the increase in remittances by our OFWs, as if that’s a great accomplishment.
He anchored his administration’s programs on the promised war against corruption. He and his millions of supporters were saying that with a president who’s not corrupt, those below would be following his example.
They said that corruption was pervasive in the previous administration because the president herself was corrupt. So, why has corruption remained unabated under BS Aquino? Can his supporters say again that those in government have been following the example he has set?
I’m eagerly awaiting the action of both chambers on the reported corruption in the use of pork barrel, the internal revenue allotment, the importation of rice and others besetting the administration. But if the 15th Congress will act as the 14th did, then investigations will be protracted, even if the congressmen and senators already have prejudged the issues. Senators and congressmen would merely use the supposed inquiries in aid of legislation to have their faces shown and their voices heard on television. This holds true especially if the acolytes of Malacanang will do the inquiry.
There were the promises to make licensing of businesses easier, to facilitate dealings at the Bureau of Customs with fewer signatures, to harness the help of the private sector thru a partnership with the government, and to curb cartels and monopolies by pushing for an Anti-Trust Law. His targets were right on the button. Now, if only he had acted as he promised, we could say that all our prayers have been answered.
If BS Aquino could not accomplish what he promised three years ago, then what’s the need for him to deliver his fourth SONA? Oh yes, this is a requirement by the Constitution that he does not want to amend. The problem is many of the SONAs have not painted a true picture of the country. Rather, they presented pictures of a country as seen thru rose-colored blinders. Banish all thoughts that the SONA would lead us to the Promised Land. The Land of Promises is more like it.
A SONA should also highlight the legislative program of the administration. Sure, BS Aquino had mentioned what he wanted Congress to do but he had miserably failed to make a follow-through. He has been averse at convening the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council to map out a workable legislative program and identify the more urgent ones. Well, he did succeed in getting Congress to pass his “priorities” like the reproductive health bill, the hike in the sin tax and the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona. Should we should “hurray” for that?
Meanwhile, thousands of policemen will be deployed on the road leading to the Batasan to keep our very popular president from hearing the voices of the youth, laborers, the unemployed, the homeless, and other malcontents. Definitely, when he said that he would listen to his “boss,” he was not referring to his critics. I hope that criminals will not go on a binge on Monday while the President paints a rosy picture