President Aquino reports to the nation yesterday. VAL RODRIGUEZ

MANILA, July 24, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Aurea Calica - Three years ago he announced the end of the culture of wang-wang and corruption. Now, those who still don’t get the message will be held accountable, President Aquino warned yesterday.

“My patience has run out. You were given three years to demonstrate your readiness to change. Now, I shall pursue all of you and hold you accountable. No hard feelings,” the President said in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

In his speech – his longest SONA yet at one hour and 45 minutes – the President said recent anomalies uncovered, including an alleged case of extortion in the Metro Rail Transit 3 project and misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund – are being investigated.

He had the harshest words for the Bureau of Customs, but rejected the offer of resignation made shortly after the SONA by BOC chief Ruffy Biazon.

“Here we have the Bureau of Customs, whose personnel are trying to outdo each other’s incompetence. Instead of collecting the proper taxes and preventing contraband from entering the country, they are heedlessly permitting the smuggling of goods, and even drugs, arms, and other items of a similar nature into our territory,” Aquino said.

Surprisingly, Malacañang turned down BOC chief Ruffy Biazon’s offer to resign yesterday.

In a text message, Commissioner Biazon said, “I immediately offered my resignation after the speech. I wasn’t present in the hall during the SONA so I communicated by cellphone.”

To this President Aquino said, “Ruffy we both know the difficulties in the agency you are trying to reform. My confidence in you remains the same.” On the President’s statement, Biazon said: “I take it as meaning to stay on for the reforms.”

In his speech, the President sounded indignant. “If you cannot do your job, you do not deserve to remain in office,” Aquino said.

The President said the Department of Finance estimated that more than P200 billion in revenues had slipped through the country’s borders without going to public coffers.

“One can almost hear them say, ‘I don’t care if the weapons go to criminal elements; I don’t care how many lives are ruined by drugs; I don’t care if our fields remain barren forever; what matters is that I am rich… it’s every man for himself.’ Such practices have no place in government,” the President said.

Earlier, Bureau of Immigration chief Ricardo David Jr. resigned after news of his possible ouster came out.

Aquino recently fired NIA administrator Antonio Nangel days after giving the official a public dressing down.

Aquino issued his fighting statements after citing the gains of his administration at length, especially in its anti-corruption drive. But he said it was disheartening to realize that the corrupt have continued their ways.

“The moment we look away, someone is sure to be taken advantage of and victimized,” Aquino said.

The President said it was puzzling that former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother Mario – principal suspects in the killing of journalist Gerry Ortega – were able to leave the country despite his repeated admonition to the BI to improve its monitoring of people entering or leaving the country’s ports.

“How could the escape of the Korean Park Sungjun – as blatantly seen in CCTV footage – have taken place? He is wanted in (South) Korea, and their government asked for our assistance in securing his arrest. How can we face them now, when our own government employees are the ones who enabled his escape?” Aquino said.

The President also said the “make-do” culture at the NIA “also tested our patience.”

Instead of laying out plans for new irrigation systems after he scolded them during their anniversary celebration, NIA officials merely pushed through with the rehabilitation of existing irrigation, Aquino said,

He said he was disappointed to hear the NIA chief blame Typhoon Pablo for the agency’s failure to meet its targets. “This is the kind of leadership we no longer need in the bureaucracy,” he said.

“If you are a good, conscientious employee of the BI, NIA, Customs, or any other government agency, I hope that you do even more,” he said.

He said it’s part of a state worker’s job to prevent wrongdoing.

The President said it was time to rectify the way of thinking among government workers and called on Congress to examine the Civil Service Code and Presidential Decree 1 so that these could be revised at the earliest possible time.

“I support the development of mechanisms that will restore the integrity of public service; that will ensure that only honest, capable, and principled civil servants will be allowed to enter and remain in government service,” Aquino said.

The President said if Filipinos would like to make change permanent, they must cooperate and accept increases in Social Security System contributions, fares in train services and power rates in Mindanao.

He also disclosed the Department of Justice would file charges against establishments that blocked waterways and that informal settlers would be relocated to prevent flooding.

Aquino said the traffic situation was also being attended to, knowing that it was robbing the country of P2.4 billion a day.

Can’t telegraph moves

On insinuations that his administration is not acting promptly on reports of irregularities, Aquino said investigators cannot just let everyone know their every move.

He was referring to the PDAF scam, the alleged shakedown in the MRT 3 expansion, and the alleged summary killing of Ozamiz robbery gang leader Ricky Cadavero.

“Just because the critics are not aware of what we are doing, they assume that we are doing nothing about these issues,” he said.

“If government possesses no data and yet announces who it will investigate, does that not send a message to the suspects to just hide the evidence?”

He said his administration “will go where the truth takes us.”

The President said they were holding the former leadership of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, particularly its former director general Augusto Syjuco Jr., accountable for his part in the outrageous overpricing of purchases by the agency.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the filing of criminal charges against Syjuco and several officers of the agency over irregularities in various projects undertaken in 2007.

The President also said former officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. – who reportedly embezzled P26.7 million just to produce a movie – had also been indicted.

He said that by banning wang-wangs in the streets, his administration has spawned a culture of uprightness.

“The transformation of our society is not just evident in the economy or in statistics. Now, Filipinos know: Rich or poor, with or without political connections, when you do wrong, you will pay the consequences,” Aquino said.

“Now, justice is truly blind. We will not undermine the orders of our bosses to hold the corrupt accountable, and to right the wrongs of a system that has long beggared our country,” he said.

He also said a “kind of thinking we’ve had to eradicate from government” is the lack of logic or reason in approving projects.

He said eight combat utility helicopters were bought for what they claimed to be “the more efficient deployment of our soldiers.”

“The problem: The guns the helicopters were equipped with were mounted at the door; requiring their removal in order to enable people to pass. If you are a soldier entering the fray at the height of battle, what use is a machine gun that is set aside and unable to fire? Did no one think about this before the contracts were signed? Why was this even approved in the first place?” Aquino said.

“We have to be more discriminating buyers. We cannot rely on the sales talk of suppliers alone,” the President said.

He announced that the Department of Science and Technology has been tasked to assemble a body of experts who could critically assess suppliers’ pitches, especially on big-ticket items.

“Our operating principles: the right identification of the root of the problem; the careful study and deliberation, grounded on correct methodology, to arrive at the best solution,” Aquino said.

“If someone dumps trash into a river, confront them; if you see a building being built on a creek, report it to the correct authorities. We will only drown in our problems if we do nothing,” Aquino said.


In his address, the President also asked the people to reflect on what they have done for the country and on what they can do to help their countrymen.

He said there is always room for heroism and people need to make more sacrifices if they want lasting change.

“Is there any space left for doubt? Especially now that we are achieving things we never thought we could achieve; especially now that we have made progress – that our shared goals are within reach? My bosses: Is this really the time to have doubts?”

To those who believe in the strength of small acts of kindness, the President said “you made this transformation possible.”

In his speech, the President took the opportunity to praise ordinary people like Niño Aguirre who, though unable to walk, climbed all the way to his fourth-floor precinct so he could vote.

He also paid tribute to police officers who displayed extraordinary dedication to duty.

The President said PO3 Edlyn Arbo who, despite being off-duty and unarmed, bravely confronted a thief who tried to rob jeepney passengers.

He also commended PO3 Felipe Moncatar who received countless commendations for putting numerous high profile criminals in jail.

“You may have also heard about PO2 Dondon Sultan. A car broke down along Quezon Boulevard, and PO2 Sultan stopped and offered his assistance. He did not just change a tire, he also helped bring the car to a mechanic. As thanks for his service, PO2 Sultan was offered P1,000 – an offer he declined,” he said.

The President said he had asked Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to ensure that outstanding men in uniform are appropriately rewarded. –With Evelyn Macairan

Noy’s honor roll (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 23, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Several executive officials warranted special mention for exemplary performance in President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address yesterday.

In the honor roll were Secretaries Voltaire Gazmin of defense, Ramon Jimenez of tourism, Armin Luistro of education, Mario Montejo of science and technology, Virgilio de los Reyes of agrarian reform, Albert del Rosario of foreign affairs and Rogelio Singson of public works.

Also cited were Technical Education and Skills Development Authority head Joel Villanueva and Presidential Security Group chief Chito Dizon.

What PNoy failed to tackle in his SONA FROM ABS-CBN VIDEO


Pinuri ng ilang miyembro ng gabinete ang pagiging determinado ng Pangulo na panagutin ang mga tiwaling opisyal ng gobyerno. Pero sa kabila ng pagbibida sa mga nagawa ng kanyang administrasyon, may kulang umano sa naging SONA ni PNoy ayon sa isang eksperto. Magba-Bandila si Chiara Zambrano. Bandila, Hulyo 22, 2013, Lunes

TRANSLATION TO ENGLISH: Published on Jul 22, 2013

Praised by some members of the cabinet being determined by the President to bind the corrupt government officials. But despite the recital of the achievements of his administration, has allegedly been wanting Aquino's SONA as an expert. Magba-Flag Chiara Zambrano. Flag, 22 July 2013, Monday


Aquino gets high approval, trust ratings in surveys Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:16 am | Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Around seven in every 10 adult Filipinos approved of President Aquino’s performance last month, while more than three in every four trusted him, according to Pulse Asia.

The June 2013 Ulat ng Bayan survey also found that employment and inflation were the leading issues that Filipinos would like Aquino to discuss in his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona), with 73 percent saying they were aware of the President’s previous Sona.

“Between March and June 2013, the public assessment of President Aquino’s performance and trustworthiness remains generally unchanged,” Pulse Asia said in a statement released Monday.

Seventy-three percent said they approved of the President’s performance, while 7 percent said they disapproved and 19 percent were undecided.

The survey, conducted from June 20 to July 4, used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults. It had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

Another survey, this time by Social Weather Stations (SWS), found that public satisfaction with Aquino’s performance rose 5 points from a “very good” net score of 59 in March to a still “very good” net score of 64 in June.

64% satisfied respondents

The survey, conducted from June 28 to 30, showed Aquino’s net expectation score rose three points from a net score of 24 in March to 27 last month.

SWS asked 1,200 adult Filipinos nationwide if they were “satisfied, somewhat satisfied, undecided if satisfied or dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied” with the performance of the President.

Results of the poll showed 76 percent of respondents were satisfied with Aquino’s performance, while 12 percent were dissatisfied, resulting in a net satisfaction rating (satisfied minus dissatisfied) of 64.

This is 3 points shy from his record rating of 67, registered in August last year. His lowest net satisfaction rating is 42, recorded in May last year.

SWS considers net satisfaction ratings of 70 and above, “excellent”; 50 to 69, “very good”; 30 to 49, “good”; 10 to 29, “moderate”, 9 to -9, “neutral”; -10 to -29, “poor”; -30 to -49, “bad”; -50 to -69, “very bad”; and -70 and below, “execrable.”

In the Pulse Asia survey, “sizeable to big majorities” across geographic areas and socioeconomic classes approved of the President’s performance: 82 percent in the Visayas, 78 percent in Mindanao, 68 percent in Luzon outside Metro Manila and 67 percent in Metro Manila approved—a sentiment shared by 75 percent among Class E, 74 percent among Class ABC and 72 percent among Class D.

Across areas, indecision about the President’s performance ranged from 16 percent in the Visayas to 22 percent in Metro Manila, and from 18 percent in Class E and Class ABC to 20 percent in Class D.

Disapproval ranged from 2 percent in the Visayas to 11 percent in Metro Manila. It was at 7 percent in Class D and Class E, and at 8 percent among Class ABC.

Big trust

Overall, 77 percent of Filipinos expressed “big trust” in the President, while 5 percent said they had “small or no trust” and 17 percent were undecided.

Majorities across areas and classes trusted the President—90 percent in the Visayas, 86 percent in Mindanao, 69 percent in Luzon outside Metro Manila and 68 percent in Metro Manila; and 82 percent in Class E, 76 percent in Class ABC and 75 percent in Class D.

Indecision about trusting the President ranged from 9 percent in the Visayas to 23 percent in Luzon outside Metro Manila and Metro Manila, and from 12 percent in Class E to 20 percent in Class D.

77% trust rating

Meanwhile, distrust in the President ranged from 1 percent in the Visayas to 9 percent in Metro Manila, and from 5 percent in Class D to 7 percent in Class ABC.

The President’s overall trust rating increased from 72 percent in March to 77 percent in June. However, the 5-percentage point increase was “marginal” in light of the survey’s margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points, Pulse Asia noted.—Inquirer Research

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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