MANILA, Philippines—All he wishes for is a little home for his family.
And whether or not his wish would come true is something that 56-year-old Eduardo Planes would like to hear from no less than President Benigno Aquino III when he delivers his 4th state of the nation address (SONA) this Monday.
“Sana maawa siya sa mga mahihirap (I hope he would take pity on the poor),” Planes said when asked what he would like to hear from the President’s SONA.
“Halimbawa kami,wala kaming tinitirhan, dito lang kami sa gilid. Kahit maliit lang na bakanteng lote, may matirhan lang kami. Kubo-kubo lang, ok na kami (Like us, we live in the streets. Even just a small piece of vacant lot will do. Even just a shanty would be okay with us),” he said.
Without government’s help, Planes knows it would be impossible to provide his family a decent home if he would only rely on a meager income as garbage collector.
He then hopes that the government could help make his dream come true before the President steps down in 2016.
“Ang hinahanap ko lang sa President, sa totoo, sa tanda ko ngayon, sana kahit konti lang, may sarili kaming matirhan kahit konti lang (All I ask from the President to be honest, at my age now, is to have our own place to live in, even just a small one),” said Planes.
Unlike Planes who earns money for his family, his friend and neighbor Raul dela Cruz does not own a house and has no job or any other source of income.
Dela Cruz, 47, said his family only survives because his wife works as a nanny.
Can this administration still change his fate is something that he wants to hear from the President.
“Yung pagbabago sa administrasyon niya. Iyong mga mahirap sana maraming trabaho. Kase kami, walang trabaho e (The reforms in his government. I hope there are more jobs for the poor because we have no job) ,” Dela Cruz said when asked what he expects from the President’s SONA.
These— the lack of job opportunities and housing for the poor— were some of the issues ordinary citizens interviewed by INQUIRER.net would like to hear from Aquino when he again delivers his report to the nation.
One wants to know how the Aquino government would lower the cost of basic commodities in the country, another wants to hear if the government would announce a bigger budget for education of less fortunate children, while others would just like to listen to the President’s promises.
But for 34-year-old architect Kenneth Thomas Loria, the most important thing is for Aquino to have an honest report of the real state of the nation.
“Iyong totoo. Iyong totoong report. Sabi tumataas daw yung economy. Tumataas ba talaga? (The truth. The real report. They say our economy has improved. Did it really improve?)” Loria said.
It was his wife, Daisy, a banker, who wishes to hear the President’s plan for the less fortunate children, who could not afford to go to school.
She said there should also be livelihood programs for informal settlers relocated by the government.
“Iyong sa mga squatters, binibigyan sila ng pabahay but then ang nagiging problem bumabalik sila sa dati nila kasi nga ang nagiging problema, walang sustenance ng kanilang livelihood so pag nilagay talaga sa isang lugar, dapat talaga may livelihood din (They give squatters new homes but the problem is they return because they have no livelihood there. So when you relocate them, you should also provide them a livelihood program),” she said.
And let us not forget the plight of overseas Filipino workers, especially those who have been abused by employers, so said 21-year- old Ronald Viray and 42-year-old tricycle driver Victor Romero.
“Maraming mga OFWs ang naha-harass sa ibang bansa. So kailangan niyang matugunan ng pansin yung mga tao na naghihirap doon na parang nilalapastangan sa ibang bansa ng mga amo nila (More OFWs have been harassed abroad so the President should pay attention to the people who are suffering there but are being abused by their employers),” said Viray , a second year student at the Asian Institute of Computers’ College.
“Iyong OFWs natin kawawa naman, ni re-rape. Sana yun matugunan ng pansin (Our poor OFWs are being raped there. I hope the government could address that),” Romero added.