SONA 2013
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Highlights of President Aquino’s 4th State of the Nation Address

President Aquino delivers his SONA at the 16th congress in Batasan Pambansa, Quezon City.. Photo by Edwin Bacasmas/INQUIRER

MANILA, Philippines—Key strategies and principles:

*  Maximize opportunities for all, especially for those most in need.

*  “We are not content to wait for the trickle-down effect; we cannot leave their fate (receiving the benefits of progress) to chance.”

*  Inclusive growth drives every initiative, action and decision of government. Widespread opportunity is the key to comprehensive and sustained progress (e.g. TESDA scholarship, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and quality education)

* “Kayo ang aking lakas (You are my strength).”

Examples of those who contribute to nation-building:

*  Niño Aguirre, and police officers Edlyn Arbo, PO3 Felipe Moncatar and Dondon Sultan, and disaster relief workers and volunteers


*  Scholars of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Labor and Employment: Of the 503,521 people who graduated from their programs, six out of 10 have found jobs; and 70.9 percent of the graduates found employment in Tesda’s Information Technology-Business Processing Operations program, up from 28.5 percent from 2006 to 2008.

Social Welfare:

*  Almost 4 million household-beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer program

*  Families with children up to 18 years old will be included in the program

*  Calls for reforms in the Social Security Service (SSS) pension scheme to address shortage of funds

*  PhilHealth coverage jumped from 62 percent of Filipinos in 2010 to 81 percent

*  Expanded Z benefit package to cover other conditions and diseases

*  Allotted P33 billion for the modernization of 4,518 hospitals, rural health units and health stations in the country


*  Erased backlogs in chairs, in textbooks, and about to address shortage in classrooms.

Agriculture/fish industry:

*  Agricultural sector grew 3.3 percent, triple that of 2012

*  Rice self-sufficiency on-target. The maximum to be imported would be the minimum access volume of 350,000 metric tons, including the 187,000 metric tons of buffer stock

*  Tap the potentials of coconut industry by intercropping; 434 sites targeted in 2013 for coconut intercropping

*  Cites the cold storage facility in Bataraza, Palawan province

*  Ongoing construction of ports, roads and other infrastructure to benefit the fishing industry

Agrarian reform:

*  The Department of Agrarian Reform has completed the list of beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita; turnover of lots will start in September.

*  All notices of coverage under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program will have been served by 2014.


Disaster preparedness:

*  Multi-hazard mapping complete for 28 most vulnerable sites; Greater Metro Manila area to be completed in 2014

*  525 automated water-level monitoring stations and rain gauges set up under Project NOAH

*  Cooperating with LGUs to relocate informal settlers

*  Allocation of P6.2 billion to address flooding in Metro Manila (Construction of the Blumentritt Interceptor Catchment area)

*  9,377 houses for “Sendong” victims; 4,374 additional houses underway

*  53,106 houses for “Pablo” victims; 17,609 additional houses underway

*  19,400 families to be relocated from Metro Manila waterways

*  Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to file cases against owners of structures who have closed or obstructed waterways

Benefits of men in uniform

*  21,800 housing projects for policemen completed in 2012; this year’s target of 31,200 houses to be completed next month

*  Calls on the Government Service Insurance System to assist in addressing the pension and benefits problems of police and soldiers

Peace and order situation:

*  Distribution of firearms and weapons to meet the goal of one pistol-to-one police ratio

*  491,929 licenses verified under Oplan Katok

*  Private armies down by 63 percent; election-related violence down to 77 cases

*  Peaceful elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

*  Accountability for the deaths of Ozamiz Gang members

*  Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the issue of wealth sharing between the Philippine government and a Bangsamoro autonomous entity

*  Reiterated the government’s commitment to uphold agreement.


*  The Department of Science and Technology to assist in purchase of big ticket items

Legislative agenda:

*  Amend Cabotage Law

* Enact Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Bill

* Focus on Land Administration Reform Bill

* Review of PD 1638 and RA 8551 to ensure pensions of PNP and AFP personnel are timely and balanced

* Passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law before end of 2014

* Review of Marcos-issued decrees PD No. 1113 and PD No. 1894

* Review of Civil Service Code and PD No. 1

*  P2.268-trillion national budget


*  Ternate-Nasugbu Road

*  Aluling Bridge in Ilocos Sur

*  Laguindingan Airport

*  Inauguration of the Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory to support the semi-conductor industry

*  Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II to benefit 24,000 farmers

*  PPP airports: Laguindingan; Tacloban; Bicol International; New Bohol; Mactan; Puerto Princesa

*  NAIA rehabilitation underway

*  Integrated Transport System Terminals in Parañaque, Muntinlupa, Quezon City

*  NLEx-SLEx Connector Road project

Cabinet men praised:

Secretaries Armin Luistro (Department of Education), Rogelio Singson (Department of Public Works and Highways), Albert del Rosario (Department of Foreign Affairs) and the late Secretary Jesse Robredo (Department of Interior and Local Governments). (Also thanked soon-to-retire Presidential Security Group head, Gen. Ramon Mateo Dizon.)


*  Earned titles such as Best Tourist Destination, Most Romantic Destination, Best Diving Site, Palawan as Best Island in various travel magazines

*  4.3 million tourists in 2012; targets 56.1 million domestic travel in 2016

*  Tourism brought in 3.8 million jobs in 2012

*  Lifting of Philippine Airlines ban from flying to Europe

Turnaround stories of government-owned and -controlled corporations:

*  Local Water Utilities Administration’s P870 million in  net profit in 2012

*  Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System posted P2 billion in profit in 2012 from a P34-million net loss in 2010

Good governance and government savings:

*  P18.4-billion savings by the Department of Public Works and Highways

*  P2.9-billion savings in textbook purchase

Good governance and justice:

*  Former leadership of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) now being held accountable for overpriced purchases during the term of Augusto Syjuco Jr.

*  Indicted former officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) who are accused of embezzling P26.7 million to produce a movie and spending P186 million to finance a party-list group

*  Former leaders of the Philippine National Police (PNP) being made to answer allegations regarding P131.6 million wasted on defective rubber boats and P105 million spent on anomalous purchase of secondhand helicopters

Agencies slammed:

*  Bureau of Immigration for the escape of brothers Joel and Mario Reyes (suspects in the murder of broadcaster Gerry Ortega) and Korean fugitive Park Sungjun

*  National Irrigation Administration for their “make-do” culture

*  Bureau of Customs, for permitting smuggling of goods—Compiled by Inquirer Research

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Tags: Benigno Aquino III , News , Philippine president , Politics , SONA 2013 , SONA highlights , State of the Nation Address

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