Press Release
July 25, 2006


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called on the Arroyo administration to focus more on the "real issues" confronting the country, and to provide solutions to problems in education, health, and employment, the same issues facing our country every year.

"Our country faces the same basic problems every year the lack of classrooms and teachers, the unemployment and massive exodus of our skilled and talented workers abroad, and the never-ceasing ills of poverty", Angara said, "I hope that this time, the President can unite our divided country and seriously address these basic concerns which are the basic needs of the people, especially the poor in the countryside."

Angara called for more programs geared towards agricultural and social development such as the building of more classrooms, health centers, roads, infrastructure and agricultural facilities which can spur growth and opportunities for people in the countryside.

"Talking about her plans of building airports and Roro ports is always good, but what seems to be lacking in her SONA is an honest report of the real state of our country," said Angara.

Angara noted the underdeveloped educational system, saying that the total nationwide classroom shortage this year was pegged at 74,000 classrooms in an interim of single-shifting strategy. Apart from the immense shortage of physical facilities, particularly classrooms and textbooks, there is also a shortage and uneven distribution of teachers among schools, aggravated by the decline in teachers' competencies, as well as a lack of mastery of subjects.

Although the country's employment rate has improved due to the call center industry, Angara said that other industries like agriculture must be tapped to give employment to the poor which still have a rural face.

Angara also decried the insufficient health services, aggravated by the exodus of health workers, especially nurses, in the past four years.

"We must address the fact that everyday almost 2,800 Filipinos leave our country to seek greener pastures in other countries," Angara said.

"These are just examples. The real story is that we are still facing the same problems we did in the past years, and they could create ripple-like effects to further hamper the country's progress," Angara said.

"The president should know that the SONA is very important because it's her only opportunity to tackle the achieved goals, quantifiable objectives and targets as well as pertinent timelines," he continued.

In the wake of alarming problem in Lebanon, Angara also said that the Arroyo administration must provide clear-cut strategies to secure Filipinos in war-torn countries. He also said that the government must devise impeccable solutions to decrease oil hikes and to maintain prices of commodities.

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