The annual State of the Nation Address is just around the corner. Will Aquino’s speech this year be any different from his previous speeches? What are the likely accomplishments he hopes to announce on this important occasion.
Here are my guesses.
10. The 6.4% first quarter GDP growth – Aquino will say that this is proof that the country is poised for takeoff, that we’re reaping the benefits of the ‘daang matuwid’ etc. But he also did promise to bring about “inclusive growth” which sadly, the GDP growth rate does not reflect. During this period, it was the rich that got richer. Growth was focused mainly on business process outsourcing and manufacturing for exports but not so much agriculture. Only big business benefited from this so-called growth. Hunger and unemployment were still high during this period.
9. Stock market index at an all time high- He said this before in his previous SONA. Very obvious that the poor have nothing to gain from this.
8. Credit upgrade from Standard & Poor. – Like #9, the poor have nothing to gain from this since the credit upgrade only shows the country can borrow more because it can pay more (no thanks to revenue measures such as the VAT on oil and power).
7. Increased number of CCT beneficiaries – Having more CCT beneficiaries now doesn’t doesn’t exactly indicate a healthy economy. It just means that there are more poor people relying on government dole-outs because government and the domestic economy can’t create new jobs.
6. $1 billion loan to IMF – Aquino will probably praise the fact that the country is now a lender, no longer just a borrower. Imagine the Philippines doing its share to bail out Europe. While this may look good for the foreign business community, this has no impact on the poor and does not change our status as a country deep in debt.
5. Gross international reserves at an all time high- While true, this is largely because of the remittances/ forex coming from OFW’s. Noynoy can’t claim credit for that.
4. New Mining EO – It’s clear that only the mining firms were happy with this (no matter how hard PDI tries to make it look like anti-mining groups “cheered” this EO). Unlike previous items on this list, this one will surely have an impact on the poor. The measure will make lives more miserable for affected communities.
3. Plunder raps filed, finally, vs. GMA- After two years in office, the first plunder case vs. GMA has finally been filed in court. It would be good to see other cases filed soon, and not just during the period before the SONA. Still missing however are the cases involving gross human rights violations of GMA and her cohorts.
2. The Corona impeachment – Expect Aquino to thank Congress for he’s now on the verge of controlling all three branches of government.
1. The people now trust government – With so few accomplishments during the past two years, expect the President to fall back on the intangibles; “Pwede na uli mangarap”, “trust in government restored”, among other motherhood statements which again, have no impact on the poor.
See you in the streets on July 23.