PRESIDENT Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) is full of positive details and generally good especially because it was delivered using the “language of the streets.” However, I am concerned about his silence on substantive
It disturbs me that except for highlighting the importance of the continuing fight against corruption, which is right, his speech is mostly about the reiteration of an old and failed economic model for development.
Nowhere in the 90-minute speech did the President mention anything about the lack of industrialization in our country which makes our nation dependent on others and the unequal distribution of wealth in society which prevents the overwhelming majority of us from enjoying the fruits of the high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate that his administration likes to boast.
Instead the President, as expected, blamed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her ilk for the ills of the country. I have no quarrel about the constant reminder of the failures of the past regime since we generally have short and very forgiving memories but I respectfully submit it is also time to move on and we take responsibility for our actions.
We cannot forever blame Pontius Pilate for Christ’s “continuing crucifixion” much like we cannot also forever hold responsible our American colonizers, the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos or GMA and her regime for our poverty today. We also have our part for what we are today.
President Aquino is still bent on continuing stop gap measures for our economic growth like sending Filipino workers abroad and the promotion of service oriented industries like tourism and the setting up of call centers instead of embarking on strategic and more permanent industrialization. I find it hard to believe that our economic managers who surely have been abroad in industrialized countries like the United States, Japan or China have missed the more permanent benefits of industrialization vis a vis our current
Also disconcerting is President Aquino’s silence about the Freedom of Information Act despite his loud calls for government transparency, the Reproductive Health Bill to slow down our exploding population and the rising criminality brought about by poverty.
Being a victim of repression himself, the President is also surpri-singly silent about the continuing human rights violations in the countryside by the military.
Brad Adams, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch, summed up President Aquino’s silence succinctly. “He missed an important opportunity during his State of the Nation Address to highlight or even mention his administration’s proclaimed policy to hold state security forces ac-countable for human rights abuses.”
Adams also said: “While President Aquino praised the military and the police and efforts to improve the country’s defense and law enforcement capabilities, he did not utter one word during his 90-minute speech about the many victims of abuses by these forces.”
Why the deafening silence Mr. President? Why?
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