Pollution state in Metro? Aquino consults the stars | Inquirer News

Pollution state in Metro? Aquino consults the stars

MANILA, Philippines—Don’t be surprised if you see President Benigno Aquino III gazing at the sky and wondering if the stars would be out tonight.

He just would love to see a star-filled heaven.

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Discarding a prepared speech for delivery before students and the academe at St. Paul University in Manila Monday, Mr. Aquino spoke about how pollution had darkened the city skies and how the situation had improved somewhat because there were days now when he could see stars gleaming at night.

“More or less, you look at the sky and you see the stars. In Manila, you look often at the sky and you can no longer see them,” the President said in Filipino.

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“(Environment) Secretary (Ramon) Paje said the pollution index has improved—nothing dramatic but, to be honest, there are days already that there are stars I managed to see. So we’re improving somewhat (kahit papaano),” he said.

Blaming smoke-belchers

Speaking at the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines national leaders’ conference, Mr. Aquino expressed strong concern about the pollution levels around Metro Manila, saying 80 percent of the pollution in the metropolis came from road traffic.

He said smoke-belching had become a serious matter and deplored that many motorists drove around without concern for others.

Mr. Aquino spoke extemporaneously, eliciting laughter from his audience when he said: “I did not like the speech prepared for me.”

He also said he thought the audience should hear a speech from him that was “substantial and heartfelt” since it was a long time ago that a President had spoken at St. Paul. He said this was when “my parents were not even married.”

At a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Mr. Aquino tended to go extemporaneous “depending on the mood of the audience and if he felt that the speech was inappropriate (to the venue).”

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“He’s not unhappy with the speech writers. In fact, we were just meeting a while ago on the speeches that he expects to come up with and he was giving his views,” Lacierda said.

Explaining how presidential speeches are written, Lacierda said the President calls in his speech writers and gives them his ideas, after which the speech is drafted and goes to him for approval.

He said there were even times when Mr. Aquino would ask for revisions of a prepared speech on his way to a forum.

No hurt feelings

“The President is his own speech writer. At the very end, it’s really him that finalizes his speech. … So it really depends on his views if the speech before him is appropriate for the venue,” Lacierda said.

He also said the speech writers respect the President’s decision if he decides not to use the prepared speech.

But he stressed that Mr. Aquino most of the time tended to use the prepared speeches.

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TAGS: Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Environmental Issues, Pollution control, Road Transport
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