Aquino SONA statistics questioned

Some legislators have raised concerns on the accomplishments reported by President Benigno Aquino III during his State of the Nation Address on Monday, noting the need to "evaluate some of the statistics" cited.

"The SONA is the President's point of view so it was positive as expected," Bayan Muna Partylist Teodoro Casiño told reporters in an interview after Aquino's speech.

"Sa bawat magandang kwento ng ating pangulo, kaya nating tapatan yan ng mga lima o anim na malungkot na katotohan (Every good news the President reported can be matched by about five or six sad stories)," Casiño added.

He cited as an example Aquino's statement that the coverage of state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) rose over the past two years to 85%.

"Milyung-milyong Pilipino pa rin po ang hindi miyembro ng Philhealth," Casiño said.

Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. agreed, adding that the improved figures "may be due to changes in the methodology."

"We might have to look into the numbers reported by the President," he said.

Senator Edgardo Angara meanwhile warned the public that against taking the President's report "at face value," as he urged experts to review the data Aquino cited.

"But if you can't believe the President, who else can you believe?" he quipped.

Although welcoming some of Aquino's policy statements, the lawmakers found the SONA wanting on some "urgent issues."

Casiño was particularly disappointed at Aquino's failure to discuss high oil prices and how the government will support the oil industry.

Marcos, meanwhile, was concerned with high power prices, noting that this discourages investments in the country.

For his part, Angara lauded Aquino for vowing to address shortages in education but said he wanted the President to also address the "dwindling quality of education."

"But I guess that is the next step. After we address the shortages, we move on to the next level, which is to graduate more skilled workers," Angara said.

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