A clear message. Period.

“Where’s the road map? Where is tuwid na daan going?” That’s the basic theme of criticism directed at President Aquino’s SONA.

The critics missed the message. More than that they miss Gloria Arroyo, she who always presented grandiose plans with roadmaps that led directly to her bank accounts – a broadband network for the entire country, a railroad from Clark to Manila, roro ports everywhere, fertilizers, health cards, privatization, and anything and everything she could lay her hands on, including leaflets from the PCSO, because, as Jimmy Breslin once said, “The number one rule of thieves is that nothing is too small to steal.”

It’s easy to deliver a SONA with a vision that comes with a blueprint. The world does not lack policy wonks. And President Aquino could have hired a whole school of them to come up with a speech that would give wonks an orgasm. But titillating wonks is not what he set out to do. He was more interested in talking directly to the nation. So he spoke to them in the national language, about things they care about.

(I’ve often wondered why other presidents mix Pilipino and English in their SONAs. Is it because some parts of their speech are only for the English speaking crowd? Or is it because they have not absorbed what they are talking about thus they are unable to express it in their native language?

In fairness to those past presidents maybe they had speechwriters who are idiots in the native language, intellectuals conversant in the language and culture of the colonists but who can’t ask in Pilipino directions to the nearest toilet. No wonder they are full of shit.)

At any rate, President Aquino spoke to the nation about the importance of qualitative change, that how without it we are not going to get anywhere. He reminded the nation of the destructive effects of a wang-wang mentality, how equal opportunity can only become a reality if there is a level playing field, where rules apply to all and players are fit to compete, and how you can have the best hardware in the world but if the software is bad the whole system will inevitably crash.

And so in his first year in office, President Aquino focused on field preparation. He prioritized cutting down waste due to sloppy work and theft, raising revenues through more efficient collection of duties and taxes, and ending the culture of impunity.

Jobs are a consequence of investments. And investments go to countries where there is rule of law because those countries are stable and efficient. Stable because injustice is an exception rather than the rule and efficient because the focus is on ensuring fair competition among fit competitors.

The vision of President Aquino is of a Filipino that can stand on his own. So he is laying the groundwork for an environment where every Filipino will have an even chance of making his dreams come true. That’s all a president is supposed to do.

Now, to those still unable to comprehend what the SONA was all about, I suggest they read the president’s budget message and comb through his budget. It’s the roadmap. I hope they can read maps.

Finally, when was the last time we had a president who was ready to submit his budget on the first working day of Congress? Not bad for someone without a clear vision of where he wants to take the country, right?

READ:

1. The 2011 State of the Nation Address Technical Report

2. President Aquino submits 2012 proposed P1.816-trillion results-focused budget to Congress

3. Proposed Budget (Highlights)

# # #

Photo credit: REY S. BANIQUET/ Malacanang Photo Bureau

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Uniffors.com. Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • Ken

    “matuwid na daan” papunta naman ito sa ewan, kaya wala rin. Ambabaw ng pag iisip ng presidente natin, tayo ang kawawa nito.

    • manuelbuencamino

      Basahin mo yun technical report at yun budget highlights para malaman mo kung saan papunta ang tuwid na daan.

    • manuelbuencamino

      Basahin mo yun technical report at yun budget highlights para malaman mo kung saan papunta ang tuwid na daan..

  • J_ag

    “We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.”

    ”They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.”

    ”Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.”FDR

    A clear example of the wang wang system in the country and he talks about the coffee in PAGCOR

    http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Costs-of-inaction&id=35448

  • GabbyD

    its clear that the coffee thing isnt clearly extravagant.

    in 2009–P162,917,571.58

    if this is for all the casinos, for 365 days. for 25000 people, it comes to 20 bucks per cup. not bad, esp if its figaro coffee (which retails for… 40?)

  • Thai Anton

    4 hours of speech and interrupted by coughing,that’s a lot of BULL.

    • UP nn Grad

      The cameras panning across the audience would have caught the BFF’s now importing Galils and P80 Hearstal Submachineguns– either for an army or ang target-target shooting para laging handa kapag tinawag.

  • UP nn Grad

    What’s the deal putting focus on the speechwriters, ManuB?

    • Bert

      “What’s the deal putting focus on the speechwriters, ManuB?”-UP n

      Ask Doy that, UP n. ManuelB is just making a rebuttal of Doy’s previous post.

    • Manuel Buencamino

      It was parenthetical, a passing thought, an aside, and not the focus of my post. It was one of three passing thoughts meant to add a little levity. That’s all.

  • Here is a more comprehensive response to your blog Buencamino, in light of your preference to hold my comments under moderation:

    http://getrealphilippines.blogspot.com/2011/07/fine-specimen-of-apologist-ranting-on.html

    😀

    • manuelbuencamino

      Benigno/Ben Kritz,

      I do not moderate comments, never did and never will. But I wish you would learn how to moderate your self-advertisement.

      • justwondering

        toinkz.. swak na swak! 😀

  • The president was trying to tell a story about his Righteous Path by claiming that his strict adherence to it has brought about significant positive developments in the economy. That as it turns out was falsely attributing certain positive developments to his actions and conveniently discarding information that disagreed with his assessment of the situation.

    In other words, he fell into the bad habit of governments of claiming credit for events that they barely influenced and blaming negative developments on forces beyond their control. Obviously, that fits under the label of “spin”. This tends to happen with every administration, not just that of PNoy.

    A truly credible SONA will acknowledge shortcomings as well as cite positive achievements and attribute certain events to the correct drivers of them. From that honest assessment, we would be able to see what further actions are needed. As it is, it sounds as though the government already seems to be taking correct action/is on the right path and all that is required is for the citizenry to appreciate them for it.

    • manuelbuencamino

      Doy,

      The 2011 State of the Nation Address Technical Report is where you can assess the president’s assessment.

      • UP nn grad

        There are published numbers, but the numbers do not show PresiNoy accelerating the spending to faster cut into the school-buildings and toilets-shortfall in public primary- and secondary education. Are there paragraphs I should pay attentiion to?

        Won’t K-12 result in more students in school (and therefore even making more acute the schoolbuildings and toilets shortfall)?

      • The Palace must be commended for releasing this technical report and for submitting its budget in a timely manner. But I notice in the technical report a deafening silence on the progress of the PPPs. For something so central to the economic blueprint or road map for development and attracting investment as proclaimed in the first SONA, I find this a bit disconcerting that not a word of it was spoken in this year’s SONA given its distinct centrality to PNoy’s strategic vision for countrywide employment.

        So if the PPPs have a long lead-time, then at least acknowledge that, and at least provide a back-up plan to pick up the slack while we are waiting for the pipeline to deliver these projects. To avoid the issue by saying graduates now have a choice of jobs or that 50,000 vacancies can’t be filled due to skills mismatch misses the point entirely given that we have over a quarter of a million being added to the unemployed every year.

        We can say that the president committed errors of commission by falsely attributing positive developments to his government, but he also commits errors of omission by failing to mention or provide some specifics on the progress of his central economic program for generating investment and employment. Again, kudos to them for trying to provide more detail, but perhaps something as central to their plan as the PPPs should have been given more attention.

        • GabbyD

          “and at least provide a back-up plan to pick up the slack while we are waiting for the pipeline to deliver these projects”

          what is your backup plan? what might be part of this plan?

          also, as to your point of acknowledging mistakes, i think thats ok, but i can understand how a president wont do it.

          1) u only have an hour or so.
          2) other people will chomp at the bit to point out mistakes

          so why spend precious time doing the critics job for them?

          but i agree that he should have spent time on his legislation for the future. i’m nervous about that.

          also, that coffee thing is suspicious. 1B in 10 years isnt necessarily a bad thing.

        • Reporting back to the nation on the progress of the PPPs would not have to be framed as a mistake or failure, especially given that progress has been made, but that future work is still needed. The only criticism that he would cop would be an overconfidence on the speed of delivery in his first year. That is a perfectly understandable human error.

          He could have counteracted any criticism from that by setting a more definite timeline of delivery and a request for Congress to pass revisions to the existing BOT law to provide an updated legal framework for PPPs. I mean the first step of selling reform, is selling the NEED for it.

          That means providing an honest assessment of where progress is lacking. Then you can say to Congress, “please act on XYZ bill so that we can speed up the PPPs.” At least then he would have allayed fears that the PPPs are stalling.

          As for a back-up plan, every manager worth his salt needs one. It would have been apparent several months ago that the delivery of PPPs would be delayed. Since then, one would expect a responsible government to come up with contingency measures. For example, whither the emergency employment programs PNoy spoke so fondly of during his first SONA?

        • manuelbuencamino

          Doy,

          Like you said, PPPs have a long lead time. So did you want the president to discuss negotiations in the SONA. I think your comments are on style rather than substance.

        • The people would want to know the true state of his plan for creating jobs. My comments were with regard to the factual basis of his claims and the need for an honest account of the previous year’s fulfillment of his last year’s program and policy pronouncements.

          • manuelbuencamino

            Doy,

            The SONA was honest and the technical report backs it up.

            Plus there is his new budget, one that was submitted on the first working day of Congress, the spending there will tell you where his priorities are.

            Now if you don’t agree with his priorities or his economic plans then that’s a difference of opinion on what constitutes a good economic development plan. Some like his plan and others don’t.

            It might also be good to know that the plans and priorities are not etched in stone. They will change as circumstances and needs warrant. The president heeds his boss, the Filipino people.

    • UP nn grad

      PresiNoynoy avoided a major embarassment and campaigned to omit the STATUS REPORT documents, namely Malacanang was 25% behind on classroom construction rehabilitation target and about 30% behind on school toilet rehabilitation target. Kinda stinks…. my opinion.

  • J_ag

    Pres. Noynoy “Wang Wang” is a product of the historical wang wang culture of this country. He belongs to the landed royal clans that have ruled this country for generations.

    Ferdinand and Imelda were the couple who tried to institutionalize and centralize the feudal system in this country.

    The Aquino/Cojuangco clan went back and decentralized the same system.

    You cannot change this wang wang culture by simply cleaning up the rules by which these families operate the economy.

    Each Presidential election is about which group or clan will get to enforce and change the rules of the game.

    It is about making sure these guys have the same opportunities with the majority shut out.

    Nothing will change in this country until this guy with the one to follow him points out to the small group of people that run and control this country that their time is up.

    Kingdoms turning into nation states go through a wrenching period of self adjustment.

    There are hardened constituencies that have to be destroyed and broken.

    Just look at the new poster boy for Christian Jihadism in Norway who expressed a view in Europe that is widespread due to the influx of Muslims and coloreds in their countries.

    Wang Wang is simply not a culture here but a deep seated religion based on entitlements that Is more Calvinist in perspective.

    Political power is simply not considered a privilege but a natural right.

    Watching and reading about all this exposes about the PCSO and the coffee procurement of PAGCOR that raises no outrage.

    Watching the Marcos’s, Estrada’s and GMA’s clan together with the landed clans of the past who gained and kept economic power through their hold of state power is sickening.

    My standard for a message for change is one that would be similar to FDR Jr. in his First and Second inaugural speech and his actions that followed.

    This guys is still an “ampaw”

  • Check out Ben Kritz’s excellent expert dissection of this “Technical Report” you speak of: http://grbusinessonline.com/wp/?p=276

    • Manuel Buencamino

      Benigno,

      You are Ben Kritz. Stop linking to yourself.

      • Hey MB, I’ll take you’re speculating that I am Ben Kritz as a compliment. But do keep on guessing. That’s what two-bit bloggers like you do best. 😀

      • No he’s not. I’m taller but he has more hair. I think perhaps you’re just made uneasy by the realization that more than one person who knows how to string several coherent sentences together doesn’t buy your whole “Don’t judge the SONA on what you heard, judge it on what I tell you it meant” schtick.

        • manuelbuencamino

          BeningnO/BenigK

          That’s not what your psychotherapist told me.

  • J_ag

    Pres. Noynoy “Wang Wang” is a product of the historical wang wang culture of this country. He belongs to the landed royal clans that have ruled this country for generations.

    Ferdinand and Imelda were the couple who tired to institutionalize and centralize the feudal system the feudal system in this country.

    The Aquino/Cojuangco clan went back and decentralized the same system.

    You cannot change this wang wang culture by simply cleaning up the rules by which these families operate the economy.

    Each Presidential election is about which group or clan will get to enforce and change the rules of the game.

    It is about making sure these guys have the same opportunities with the majority shut out.

    Nothing will change in this country until this guy who the one to follow him points out to the small group of people that run and control this country that their time is up.

    Kingdoms turning into nation states go through a wrenching period of self adjustment.

    There are hardened constituencies that have to be destroyed and broken.

    Just look at the new poster boy for Christian Jihadism in Norway who expressed a view in Europe that is widespread due to the influx of Muslims and coloreds in their countries.

    Wang Wang is simply not a culture here but a deep seated religion based on entitlements that Is more Calvinist in perspective.

    Political power is simply not considered a privilege but a natural right.

    Watching and reading about all this exposes about the PCSO and the coffee procurement of PAGCOR that raises no outrage.

    Watching the Marcos’s, Estrada’s and GMA’s clan together with the landed clans of the past who gained and kept economic power through their hold of state power is sickening.

    My standard for a message for change is one that would be similar to FDR Jr. in his First and Second inaugural speech and his actions that followed.

    This guys is still an “ampaw”

  • Right. And thanks for the easy links to the budget.

    • UP nn Grad

      Understandable that ManuB hates details and schedules—- ManuB is a novelist into sloganeering. But even PresiNoy knows that one size fits all is for amateurs, so PresiNoy went vague at his convenience but also chose the worthiness of specifics when it suited him.
      Evidence —- how he carefully and clearly describes the largesse he delivers to the AFP and PNP.

      • UP nn Grad

        Evidence 2 — while ManuB relates jobs only up to the slogan of “jobs… Rule of law”, PresiNoy values the particular detail of education and training. Again, the evidence of Presi Noynoy sophistication is in the SONA.

        • manuelbuencamino

          UPN,

          Pls. take my advice: “Now, to those still unable to comprehend what the SONA was all about, I suggest they read the president’s budget message and comb through his budget. It’s the roadmap. I hope they can read maps.”

          • Yeah, it’s a road that leads straight over a cliff, if the enormous increase in the zero-results CCT program (which I hear is riddled with corruption, e.g. employed people on eligible lists, etc.) is any indication. That’s not a program. That’s not a plan. That’s a band-aid solution, and not even a good one at that.

          • Manuel Buencamino

            Benigno,

            Get Real! Pa Ben Kritz-Ben Kritz ka pa diyan. I smell rotten tilapia!