President Benigno Aquino III emphasized the improvements his administration had delivered in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) held on July 23.
Quoting various international publications, he opened his speech by saying that the Philippines is no longer the lethargic economy it used to be. "What was once the sick man of Asia now brims with vitality," he was quoted as saying in a Philippine Daily Inquirer article. "Once, we were the debtors; now, we are the creditors, clearly no laughing matter. Until recently, we had to beg for investments; now, investors flock to us." The President also quoted a statement from Ruchir Sharma, head of Emerging Market Equities and Global Macro of Morgan Stanley, who said, "The Philippines is no longer a joke."
He then recounted his administration’s victories in different sectors, starting with healthcare. He said that the number of citizens who are enrolled in PhilHealth had increased from 62 percent to 85 percent, enabling the poorest households to avail of free healthcare services through their PhilHealth membership.
P-Noy had also reported marked improvements in the education sector, saying that his administration is answering the needs of the basic education level by eradicating the massive backlog of needed books, classrooms, and chairs all over the country. He added that the government is planning on increasing the proposed budget for State Universitites and Colleges (SUCs) by 43.61 percent for next year so that, if granted, SUCs will be given P37.13 billion. He also mentioned responsible parenthood as a possible answer to student population. While there was no explicit mention of the RH Bill in his speech, some have interpreted the term, "responsible parenthood," as a euphemism for the controversial bill. ABS-CBN broadcaster Lynda Jumilla-Abalos tweeted that the term is "Malacañang's preferred term for RH Bill."
P-Noy brought his speech--the longest recorded SONA in history (at almost one and a half hours) to a close by saying that the key to our economy's improvement is prudent spending. "A resilient and dynamic economy resting on the foundations of good governance is the best defense against global uncertainty," he said. "We achieved all these things even as countries around the world were surmounting their own challenges."
(Photo courtesy of PEP.ph)