P-Noy's first SONA

Category: By DuNi

The Filipinos had mixed reactions last Monday when they heard President Noynoy Aquino’s first public address after his Inauguration.  What was reported to be a surprise turned out to be, a real surprise, from the customary public speech that was the barometer for all heads of state, or republic, in this matter.

P-Noy’s first State Of the Nation Address, personally, is tolerable.  After all, that is why it is called STATE of the NATION, not some chimera of hope and promise of fulfillment as a response to a concerning issue coming from a letter full of grievances from the underprivileged Filipinos.

P-Noy positively identified the problems that the entire Filipino faced coming from a 9-year administration presided over false conditions of economic development, governance, and political stability.  This time the problems that beset the entire Filipino was not written on a piece of paper and sent as a miraculous “paper boat”.  The problem is the government itself, and this time, there is actually no paper to hold as evidence from all those problems created by P-Noy’s predecessor.

Sometimes, in solving a problem, one must properly identify the problem first.  P-Noy’s SONA is the first that I know of that made an admission that there were traces of mis-governance, although in a very low-security risk of manner by keeping the names of the involved confidential.  P-Noy may have omitted names, but he certainly did enumerate some of the reasons why there was a low perception of public trust in the previous government.  He certainly did not have a definite plan to correct those problems, but he at least did not make empty promises.  There was no concrete development plan for the country in his SONA since he probably believes that finding a solution to all the problems he inherited would have his hands full.

So what if his SONA lacks substance?  It is outright better than the entire fictional novel blurted over the past nine years, which when compiled, could perhaps rival the Harry Potter or Twilight series in terms of fantastical embellishments.

I too, was disappointed with the over-all content of his first SONA but I admire his ingenuity for eliminating the Filipino people’s extremely high dependence for the government to do all the work.  Less promises, less expectations.  Therefore, there would be minimal disappointments on the point in time when the entire country will judge P-Noy on his failures and achievements.   

It’s about time that the people should not rely too much on the government to work for them.  That’s what the previous administration did.  Now, who’s got the majority of the pie’s share – the taxpayers’ money?  One province received 105 million calamity budget allocations for 3 million worth of damage from a typhoon that did not directly hit it, while the other province which was hardest hit was allocated 5 million for 6 million worth of estimated damages.  

Perhaps P-Noy knows that putting concrete proposals at this moment might not be a good idea.  After all, those problems he enumerated might just be the tip of the iceberg.  He never mentioned any 6-year economic agenda or something like a Millennium Development Plan or a 2015 goal.  At least he was honest enough not to reach for the moon, the stars, and the sky. Perhaps he wants us to think that before we can fly, we need to fix our wings.

Milli Vanilli says Blame it on the rain

Category: By DuNi

As of the moment, typhoon Basyang (international name Conson) had already left the country after “storming” into Luzon.  And as expected, it brought devastation from some of the areas that it has passed over.  The second typhoon to hit the country and certainly an addition to the list of disasters experienced this year, the typhoon was again another reminder for us about the cruelty of nature if we disregard the signs our only planet has been giving us, after years of exploiting and abusing its resources.

The aftermath of typhoon Basyang left us blaming – again for the hundredth time – our weather bureau for what we have perceived as their mistake in predicting the weather accurately.  The funny thing is, we all know how hard it is to predict weather correctly, and yet we cannot forget the mistakes made by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) – our one and only weather bureau.  Worst of all, we don’t listen to weather precautions or reminders given to us whenever each of these typhoons approaches.  Look at Ondoy last year, we treated it as a regular occurrence and yet it left us frail and suffering from its wrath up to this day.  Basyang tells us to take her seriously, but we just don’t care.

And after the rain (and the strong winds for this matter), we put our blame and pointed our finger quickly at our old, reliable but hateful weather bureau.  It came even to the point that the newly-proclaimed president became upset at the inability of PAGASA to give accurate predictions.  The outburst would have been justified if only the weather bureau has overflowing budget at their disposal and state of the art equipments.  I am not even sure if they have upgraded the operating system that they use to relay and store data into a user-friendly interface.

As I see it, we don’t really need to blame the weather bureau that has been using equipments older than the date of birth indicated in our birth certificate.  We had a president who spent nine years building roads and infrastructures but neglected to maintain and upgrade equipments who’s just a little bit younger than most PAGASA employees.  And this is what they call the road(s) to progress - the vision blurred by the heavy downpour of corrupt practices prevalent in most of their government transactions.  They’d rather build roads and bridges to nowhere than upgrading one necessary and fully functioning agency that informs and alerts the citizens from any possible catastrophe, whether natural or man-made.

It is always easy to blame PAGASA.  We blame them for the heavy rains when we expect the sun to shine brightly on us.  We blame them for the floods but we throw our garbage in the streets.  We blame them for the landslide but we are the ones cutting down trees from the mountains.  We blame them whenever we get surprised at the sudden change of direction that our typhoons had made while ravaging our country.  We blame them when we suspend classes for students on a sunny day.  We blame PAGASA for ignoring their warning to us to prepare for the worst even with their limited resources.

Basyang and other upcoming storms are not just reminding us to brace ourselves for Mother Nature’s wrath.  The devastation also wants to remind us to be on alert, for ourselves at most.  We don’t have to rely so much on a weather bureau that is undermanned and left to age - from its equipment down to its personnel.  All we have to do is to rely on ourselves to survive such disasters, and with the hope that the wind will blow the bad weather away… from us.