In stark contrast to P Noy’s State of the Nations Address, VP Jojo Binay’s True State of the Nation Address was simply terrific.
To begin with, it was short, concise and straight to the point. It took no more than 50 minutes, which is the right length of a major speech. It was based on data and figures on the economy, and it thanked the proper individuals: those who sacrificed their lives for the nation, the SAF 44 and not just hair dressers and yayas — with no offense meant to the latter.
It was a speech that articulated the unspoken views of a clear majority of our people: that is, from the very beginning of his term, P Noy’s administration was both palpak and manhid. VP Binay rightfully focused on three of the people’s woes: MRT, Luneta, and Mamasapano.
I would be lying if I were to say that I take the MRT and LRT regularly. I don’t. But because I deliver regular lectures, too, at Fr. Rannie Aquino’s San Beda Graduate School of Law, I would always take the LRT2 from Katipunan and get off at Legarda. One time, I was very late for one such lecture that I opted to try the MRT line from SM North near UP to Caloocan and from there, the LRT to Manila. I was shocked! The LRT was jam-packed with people, the driver obviously callous and kept on stepping at the brakes making people fall forward and backwards. It was simply hell!
The only consolation for me was that I do not take the trains regularly, unlike the ordinary person.
Yesterday, after I guested at UNTV, I saw the line at SM North. It literally should be no less than 2 kilometers long snaking through a covered walkway that crossed EDSA. How can this administration promise the straight path when people are literally stuck in the MRT queue!
The fact that Binay emphasized this administration’s neglect of the MRT and LRT was to articulate the everyday curse experiences by the train-riding common tao against daang matuwid.
VP Binay then detailed the kapalpakan of Luneta, Tacloban, Zamboanga and Mamasapano. The Luneta hostage incident illustrated early on not only the incompetence of P Noy, but his callousness as well. It so happens that P Noy and I have the same favorite restaurant for siopao along Roxas Boulevard. The friendly waiters there confirmed that as the PNP proved incompetent in dealing with the lone hostage taker, PNoy, meanwhile, had a grand time consuming our favorite siopao.
Tacloban illustrated Mar Roxas’s penchant for prioritizing partisan politics over the need to provide humanitarian assistance to the devastated city of Tacloban. People will never forget the image and words of Roxas telling Mayor Alfred Romualdez that unless he signed a sheet of paper, Tacloban should not expect assistance form the national government simply because he was a Romualdez.
That was enough for me to forever dismiss Mar Roxas from all my lists. That incident resulted in our common conviction that we will have nothing to do with Mar since he failed to heed the dictates of humanity and pursued instead the dirty ends of partisan politics.
Anent Mamasapano, it should be clear to one and all that the SAF 44 were martyred because of PNoy’s insistence to have his trusted Alan Purisima lead an ill-planned police operation. It is also clear to one and all that PNoy allowed them to be martyred to please Ging Deles and their common friends at the MILF.
Binay also articulated what is on the mind of every Filipino on the BBL. He said that any peace agreement must conform with the Constitution, must be inclusive, and must not be rammed through Congress.
Perhaps the most noteworthy portion of the TSONA was the true state of the economy. According to Binay, economic indicators cited in the SONA were somehow deceiving because increases in economic indicators did not translate to better live for the poor. Citing the recent survey conducted by the SWS where five out of 10 Filipinos claimed to be in poverty, Binay concluded, “After five years, many are still poor”.
Binay also said that while country’s foreign direct investments (FDIs) exceeded P6 billion ($131.24 million) in 2014 this is still he lowest FDI among countries in Southeast Asia. He also decried: ““Kahit na totoong record-breaking ang foreign direct investments noong 2014, hindi rin naman ito nagresulta sa trabaho para sa nakararami,”
He said that 21 percent of the FDIs went to financial and insurance activities, which did not generate enough jobs.
But the real highlight of the speech was something that I did not expect. After castigating PNoy for thanking everyone but the martyrs of the SAF 44, Binay read individually the names of the fallen heroes. I would say that even for this alone, a recognition to the heroes made by the second highest official of the land, Binay’s TSONA would go down in history as one of the best public addresses in Philippine history.
I am happy too that some broadcast outfits carried the TSONA live. This allowed the people to make their own opinions free from the bias hurled against the speech by many commentators, disguised as journalists. As for the Malacanang reaction to the speech, Lacierda’s bad mouth was very scarce probably for the first time. This may be because it really is difficult to argue against the truth.
I do not know if the TSONA would be enough to restore VP Binay as the leading presidential candidates come September, when the pollsters go to the people anew. One thing is certain though: ordinary people who heard the TSONA can now find satisfaction in that Binay articulated their views. In a democracy, this is priceless.