Press Release
July 24, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara has expressed satisfaction over the 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III, saying "It was a comprehensive narration of the gains the country has attained in the past two years of his presidency, fully documented with facts and figures showing how the government has delivered benefits even to the vulnerable segments of our population.

"We have expanded the health coverage among our indigents--5.2 million of the poorest households by the President's account--while 3.1 million households have received financial assistance through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (PPPP) of the DSWD," explained Angara, who authored the law creating Philhealth.

"I am also pleased to know that the government aims to reduce the poverty incidence to 16.6 percent by 2016 which, if attained, will certainly be among the most dramatic transformations in the world. Then we would have truly realized our potential as Asia's newest tiger economy," he said.

More importantly, the veteran lawmaker said the Philippine government is winning back the confidence of the people and of international observers and investors.

This sentiment is reflected by the increasing number of foreign tourists to the country, from 1.8 million visitors in 2001 to 3.1 million in 2010. In the first half of this year, 2.1 million foreign travelers have flocked to the country, making the end-year goal of 4.6 million visitors highly attainable.

The former Senate President, however, emphasized that higher-order reforms beyond addressing fundamental shortages and inadequacies must still be made for the country to attain an ambitious growth rate target of 8.5 percent. "As we aim high, we ought to work doubly hard as well."

Meanwhile, when asked to react on the President's statement on territorial disputes over the Panatag Shoal and the Spratly Group of Islands, the current vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations explained that the President did well to speak prudently regarding the controversial issue.

"This is such a sensitive matter of foreign relations, so the President was understandably careful about speaking about our country's plan of action. What is important is that he said that we would continue to fight for it," said Angara.

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