Press Release
July 26, 2006

Kiko: On the State of the Nation Address

We hope that the fighting speech will be followed through with fighting action from all public servants. We welcome the plans for job creation, food security, and self reliance proposed in the SONA. However, we should be cognizant of the true state of the nation and the state of economic growth experienced by certain urban areas. Plans for mega regions, as highlighted by yesterdays state of the nation address will only serve to widen the gap between the urban and rural areas and especially the rich and the poor. Although hearing the grand plans for increased infrastructure was heartening, the people at the grassroots level have yet to experience a true and significant trickle down effect of the reported economic growth. The purchasing power of majority of our people continues to decline. Solutions to the rising costs of purchasing fuel, of purchasing food, medicines, and of sending our children to school, were the answers we wanted to hear. We need to look at offsetting the rising cost of survival in this day and age. I remain concerned about the quality of life of millions of Filipinos. This is where the SONA was wanting.

We had wanted to hear solutions to the deplorable state of our countrys education. The inability of our students at the primary level to even comprehend basic Math, Science and English will only contribute to our comparative disadvantage. Creating a Cyber Corridor for example, can only work under the premise, that there is a significant number of skilled and technically proficient labor force in these areas. Spending for infrastructure, devolving functions, creating super regions, although important and positive, somewhat ignores the very serious problems of our society.

There remains a crisis in governance. Government transactions still lack transparency and accountability. The problems of insurgency have also significantly curbed development in the countryside. This can only be deterred if we first address the root causes of social injustice, poverty and inequality. Our Consolidated Public Debt is now in the trillions, and although the administration has made significant inroads in structural reform and reducing the deficit through improved revenue collection, PGMA should have outlined how the nation will pay for such infrastructure projects and what legislative measures should be passed for the country to attain such goals.

I maintain that the Senate will continue to be a check and balance in the administrations attempt to realize the aspirations she outlined in yesterdays SONA.

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