Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Things we learned from President Aquino's final SONA

File Photo

July 27, 2015 - Philippine President Benigno Aquino III delivered his final State of the Nation Address to the public before his administration ends next year. In the midst of violent protests outside the palace and across the nation's capital, the President addressed what he had accomplished during his term since he took office five years ago. Here's what we learned from his final SONA:

- During his term, he placed several rightful people to the government-related positions they truly deserved, replacing the ones that committed wrongdoings in the past, and the people PNoy hired them had strong integrity to different sectors of the government.

- The GOCC dividend during his term was improved from 84.18 billion pesos to 131.86 billion pesos. The tax collection from the Bureau of Internal Revenue for this year is expected to reach 1.5 trillion, which is projected to be two trillion more than last year.

- During his term, the Philippines is ranked as the second fastest growing economy according to a Bloomberg article. The World Bank calls it "Asia's Rising Tiger", Moody's Analytics called it "Asia's Rising Star", and The New York Times called it "Asia's Bright Spot". The JCR's credit rating for the Philippines is BBB+. The Net Foreign Direct Investment of the Philippines saw a six-time increase last year, netting 6.20 billion US dollars. The domestic investments during Aquino's administration has been improved to 2.09 trillion pesos. Because of his reforms, the nation's economy sharply improved through the years.

- In terms of employment, the number of OFWs working in other nations was improved from 9.51 million to 9.07 million last year. A 4.4% improvement because some OFWs returned home and found decent jobs in the Philippines. The Philippines experienced much lesser labor strikes during his term, with only 15 labor strikes occurred That's the lowest ever recorded by the Department of Labor and Employment.

- Education, during his term, has been improved. In a 2013 survey according to a certain institution, there are 1.2 million out-of-school children reported, less than 2008's record of 2.9 million out-of-school youth. It's all because of the nation's Alternative Learning System, K-12 program, the Pangtawid Pamilya program, and other educational improvements in collaboration with the top government sectors. Thanks to these, the Philippines is expecting 4.7 million students enrolled, with 33,608 out of the 118,000 planned classrooms opened this year , 29,444 out of the 130,000 teachers hired this year, and 73.9 million textbooks delivered with another 88.7 million more this year.

- During his term, there are 7.8 million graduates from TESDA's training for work scholarship program and as of right now, 821,962 have finished and 71.9% of the graduates found themselves decent jobs.

- Onto the nation's healthcare, during his term, the number of Philhealth members has been improved from 47 million to 89.4 million beneficiaries.

- In Aquino's administration, 25,257 villages have been given electricity from October 2011 to June of this year, thanks to the nation's electrification program on rural areas.

- The nation's aviation industry has been improved during his administration, with numerous bans from other nations lifted, including European nations. As for maritime progress, the Philippines passed the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers as well. Despite the success in aviation and maritime industry in the Philippines, President Aquino still complains about the private companies running the MRT, and to deal with this, he passed to the government the regulations to the private companies running the MRT.

- The modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was tackled and thanks to the president, the nation's military morale has been improved thanks to the procurement of modern equipment that will keep them prepared for future conflicts as well as disaster relief operations.

- The president tackles on the improvement of the Philippine National Police thanks to the 1:1 pistol-to-police ratio policy as well as increased equipment, firearms, and transportation that will keep policemen well prepared for future conflicts against high-profile crimes. The government also provides 57,000 housing units for the qualified PNP personnel (with 81,000 planned before his term ends).

- The president also tackles the approval of several infrastructure projects as well as flood-control projects such as the Phase 2 of the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project, the Blumentritt Interceptor Catchment Area, the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike, and so on, He also tackles on the roadworks as well and he stated that the new roads he made during his administration is not made by majority but by the people's needs.

- The public-private partnerships was also tackled and during his administration, an SWS survey states that 8 out of 10 Filipinos believed that the Philippines will become competitive with the other developed countries. A Gallup survey also states that the Philippines, out of the 143 nations, is ranked first in Asia-Pacific and 2nd highest in the world in terms of job optimism. Car sales jumped to 27% increase last year.

- His relations with the Muslim Mindanao was tackled and he states that the Bangsamoro Basic Law, criticized by many, will remain as a top priority legislation in his final year of his administration.

- During the Aquino administration, the Philippines embraced new laws with thanks to the Congress such as the Philippine Competition Law, Act Allowing the Full Entry of Foreign Banks, Sin Tax Reform Act, Responsible Parenthood Act, and many others. He also states that now is the time to pass the Anti-Dynasty Act.

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