By KC Santos
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Days before President Benigno Aquino III delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), everyday Filipinos air their grievances, expectations and hopes on the status of his leadership and plans for the country.
President Aquino’s SONA last year included his 10-year plan for basic education, a national housing plan for five million poor Filipino families, peace efforts, strengthening the government’s Witness Protection Program and a “Whistleblowers Bill”, among many others.
Another major point he made was the “problems” left by the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
For most Filipinos, President Aquino’s forthcoming speech on Monday will determine whether his promises and obligations have been delivered.
Fe Busmiol, a housewife from Malabon, says she believes that President Aquino is going in the right direction in terms of abolishing corruption and that people need to give him more time.
“Alam ko hindi pa sapat kasi unang taon niya palang niya. Tama na tinatanggal niya yung mga kurapt, para umasenso naman tayo kasi sobrang hirap natin sa Pilipinas (I know he hasn’t done much since its only been a year since he took his post. He is right in removing all the corrupt officials as this could lead to further developments especially for a developing country,)” Busmiol says.
Busmiol adds that President Aquino should address the constantly increasing prices of basic goods and commodities for the benefit of the poor.
Bridgette Lopez, a private company employee, says she is not pro-administration but she believes President Aquino has been doing something significant that Filipinos should not take for granted.
“Meron na siyang nagawa for the past year. Sana lang ipagpatuloy niya yung pagiging active at responsable. At sana lahat ng agenda niya para sa mga Pilipino matupad niya at hindi na maulit yung mga katiwalian noon sa pamamalakad niya ngayon (He has done something for the past year. I just hope he remains active and responsible so that none of the corruption of the previous administration will be dragged in his agenda for reform),” Lopez says.
An expectant mother, Lopez’s only request is that for the President to prioritize the wage increase of minimum wage earners and give more jobs for Filipinos so they need not leave the country and their families.
Virginia Bongalosa, also a private company employee, expresses dismay over President Aquino’s current leadership. She says the leader needs to act on his promise of a straight path toward total reform.
“Yung mga proyekto ng dating administrasyon yun pa'rin ang sinusundan, yung mga tao nila nandun padin. Mas lamang ang patayan, maraming unemployed at dapat hindi na nag aabroad ang mga tao dahil sa dami ng pangit na nangyayari sa mga empleyado lalo na sa mga ina, na kung mayroong trabaho ditto ay di na kailangan umalis na bansa para maasikaso ang kanilang mga anak (He is only continuing the system of the previous administration. The level of violence and the number of unemployed is the same. He must provide more jobs especially for OFW mothers who need grave help so that they need not leave their families to earn a living abroad),” Bongalosa says.
Bongalosa adds that the President should choose more leaders who really sympathize with and reaches out to the poor.
Florante Entieza, a clerk, says he is seeing results in President Aquino’s leadership in terms of addressing housing for the poor and keeping peace among Filipinos.
“Sumasamo po ako sa ating mga mamamayan na huwag sana husgahan ang ating pangulo. Iisang taon palang naman at siya naman ay nagtatrabaho para sa ating bayan (My plead to my fellowmen is that they given our President more time to prove that he is doing something for the country. Let’s not judge him right away),” Entienza says.
Primo Ochia, a street vendor orginally from Tacloban, Leyte, says he was not fortunate enough to be given quality education as a child. He says he hopes President Aquino will report on what his administration plans to do to address universal education for Filipinos.
Balloon vendor Renato Ofiaza says he recognizes President Aquino’s efforts in disaster contingency and his determination to claim the disputed Spratlys.
“Kahit isang taon pa lamang po siya sa pwesto,marami po siyang nakahanda ngayon para mapaunlad ang buhay natin (Even if he has been in his post for only a year, he has plans on what the Filipinos need to progress),” he says.
For someone who has sold balloons along Timog Avenue for years to feed his family, Ofiaza says he has never lost hope that someday, he will land a better paying job.
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