July 6, 2012
Pauline Gidget Estella
‘Same old, same old’ under the first two years of Aquino
If the Aquino administration would be honest enough to report the true state of the nation, then the president would say that there is no significant improvement under the first two years of his term.
“But admitting the truth is something that the Aquino administration is never fond of,” said Pauline Gidget Estella, national president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the widest and oldest alliance of student publications in the country. CEGP held a press conference about the youth’s expectations on the next SONA. Panelists include Marjohara Tucay, executive vice president of Kabataan Partylist, and Orly Marcellana, secretary general of peasant group KASAMA-Timog Katagalugan.
“His 2011 SONA was characterized by selectiveness in the presentation facts, distortion of the truth, and problematic – if not outrageous – claims. If Aquino chooses to conceal the dismal conditions in the country, then we should expect that the next SONA would be bursting with the same old platitudes,” said Estella.
“Most likely, Aquino would talk about the impeachment of former chief justice Renato Corona as an achievement within his ‘anti-wangwang’ crusade. But is he really sincere in holding Arroyo accountable? Corona’s impeachment should serve as a stepping stone, but as far as things go, no Gloria Arroyo will be convicted anytime soon,” said Estella, adding that the case filed against Arroyo was even dismissed.
“If we follow the trend from his last SONA, then most likely he would equate economic growth with increase in credit ratings and foreign investments and GDP growth. Such determiners do not really reflect the real state of the people. While Aquino is so proud to announce the 6.4 percent growth in GDP, people are finding it harder and harder to cope with the cost of living,” said Estella, adding that the unemployment rate and the number of migrant workers have reached a historical height under Aquino’s first two years.
“We should also expect that Aquino will staunchly defend the K+12 program, despite the problematic basis for its implementation and the clamor against the policy,” said Tucay. “The allocation for social services remains insufficient, and instead of investing in social services and addressing the causes of poverty, the administration insists on implementing band-aid solutions such as the Conditional Cash Transfer program,” he explained.
The state of human rights in the country, among others, is most alarming under the term of, ironically, the son of democracy icons. “Human rights violations continue unhampered under Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan. There’s nothing humanitarian under this new counter-insurgency program. In the communities of Quezon, eight military battalions have been deployed. Does Aquino even know, or does he even care, that the people in Quezon are suffering under numerous human rights violations in the hands of the military?” said Marcellana.###