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AQUINO's LAST SONA: 'I HAVE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT'


JULY 27 ---President Benigno Aquino III said he always upheld the people's interests and that he did everything to leave a better Philippines. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando President Benigno Aquino III claimed on Monday that he has done his job of improving the state of the nation. During his final State of the Nation Address, Aquino quoted a Bible verse and said that he will just let history judge his legacies. "Gaya nga po noong burol ng aking ina, bibigkasin ko ang Ikalawang aklat ni Timoteo, Kabanata 4, Bersikulo 7: 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,'" Aquino said. While he touted his achievements, Aquino also admitted that he had lapses in his performance because some of the people he trusted failed to do their work. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino says goodbye


JULY 28 ---He didn’t use the word goodbye but President Aquino on Monday might as well have said it as he expressed gratitude in his farewell State of the Nation Address (Sona). “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” Aquino said, quoting from the Book of Timothy. But Aquino said he’ll stay with the Filipino people and will continue to fight for and with them. “This is only the beginning,” he declared, saying that the May 2016 general elections would be a referendum on his administration. He profusely thanked every member of his Cabinet with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas getting a lion’s share of the tributes. It was a near endorsement of Roxas as his presidential candidate but not quite. But he left out Vice President Jejomar Binay who resigned from the Aquino Cabinet last month. President Aquino asked the people: Will you squander in one election the gains the country has made under his daang matuwid (straight path) governance? 2016 is a referendum “There is a prevailing sentiment that I think could be captured in one question,” Aquino said, speaking in Filipino. “The question is: Will all that we have invested, all we have worked hard for, disappear in one election?” “With that in view, the next election will be a referendum for daang matuwid,” he added. Aquino said it was the people who would decide whether the reforms the country had achieved would become permanent, or would just be a temporary improvement in a long history of the country being down. Aquino said the Philippines could become a first-world country in one generation if only the reforms he had started under his watch would continue unabated. First world dream It was a dream nobody dared imagine, he said. READ MORE....

ALSO: 2-hour Sona on Aquino gains strewn with swipes at Binay


JULY 27 ---Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, center, delivers his last State of the Nation Address as Senate President Franklin Drilon, left, and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, right, looks on during the joint session of the 16th Congress at the House of Representatives in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Monday, July 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
IN his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (Sona), President Benigno Aquino III highlighted the major achievements of his administration. But as he waxed optimistic about the future of the country, his last Sona might be remembered for his veiled swipes at Vice President Jejomar Binay. As he enumerated the gains of his administration’s programs, he also took the opportunity to answer Binay’s previous statements, some made against him. Aquino started his two-hour speech by showcasing the disparity of his administration to that of Pampanga Representative and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Speaking before lawmakers at the plenary of the House of Representatives, Aquino mentioned the fertilizer fund scam, the NBN-ZTE anomalous deal, the declaration of state of emergency all of which occurred during the administration of Arroyo. The greater part of his speech, however, focused on the improved economy and outlook, increased collection of revenues and benefits of his social service programs, including the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and PhilHealth. There were several instances, however, when he seemed to have alluded to Binay, who is considered the main opponent of the administration coalition in the 2016 elections. Binay, who previously led the election surveys, is the standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance. He has, however, been overtaken by Senator Grace Poe, who is supposedly in talks with Aquino for a possible team-up with Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. Binay has been feuding with Palace spokespersons and administration allies since he resigned from the Cabinet in June. ‘Palpak’? The Vice President claimed that he was not treated well in the Cabinet and, without naming Aquino, that he has had enough with the administration. He said the administration was both “manhid” (insensitive) and “palpak” (bumbling). In his Sona, Aquino hit back and said the performance of the PhilHealth under his term is proof that his administration is far from being “manhid” and “palpak.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Groups lament PNoy’s exclusion of environment issues in last SONA


JULY 28 ---Storm before the SONA Protesters mob a suspected undercover policeman (center) at a rally in suburban Manila on July 27, hours before President Benigno Aquino III delivers his final annual address to parliament. GMA NEWS Environmental organizations expressed their disappointment with President Benigno Aquino III's final State of the Nation Address, saying the two-hour speech delivered on Monday had little to do with environment and conservation issues. Dakila Advocacy Director Renee Juliene Karunungan told GMA News Online on Tuesday that discussions on environment issues was expected since the country was among the most vulnerable to climate change. “The People’s Survival Fund, for example, which has been enacted to a law in 2012, is said to become fully operational only this August, three years after its passage. What has it been doing all these years?" Karunungan said. “Could it have prevented the scale of damage when Yolanda happened?” she asked referring to the super typhoon that devastated the country late in 2013 and claimed over 5,000 lives. Karunungan also said they were disappointed that renewable energy was not mentioned during the SONA. “The 42 coal-fired power plants that are planned to be put up while the rest of the world has committed to clean energy only goes to show how insincere this government is in tackling climate change,” she said. Meanwhile, Greenpeace Philippines Country Director Amalie Obusan said concern for the environment and such issues as climate change was lacking not just in the President's final SONA but also throughout his term. “Environmental disasters as a result of climate change impacts are still largely being ignored. Almost two years after Typhoon Yolanda hit the country—the strongest storm ever to make landfall on earth’s history— affected communities are still reeling from the devastation and massive loss of human lives,” Obusan said. READ MORE...

ALSO: GMA, VP camps hit back at Noy


JULY 29 ---USED AS AQUINO’S PUNCHING BAG The camps of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, who were the hardest hit in President Aquino’s two-hour and 15-minute State of the Nation Address (Sona) Monday, lashed back at the President, saying they were made punching bags of the Chief Executive to hide his non-accomplishments for the past five years that he has been in power. The Vice President, for his part, merely shrugged off Aquino’s tirades against him, saying he would just deliver his own version of the true state of the nation. “Wow na wow naman ‘yun!” was Binay’s reaction to the potshots hurled against him by Aquino in his Sona which has been more criticized than praised. In his Facebook account, former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo said Aquino’s last Sona was done in bad taste and fit only for idiots. “The Sona yester-day (Monday) was so revolting. It was in such bad taste to heap so much blame on a sick person while (Aquino) has been in power for the last five years,” said Mr. Arroyo. Mr. Arroyo pointed out that the sick person, the former president, who has been detained for about four years now, is innocent of any crime. “No evidence has been presented against her up to now. Thus, her co accused (have been) freed either on bail or acquitted,” Mr. Arroyo stressed. The former president’s alleged co-conspirators in the plunder case involving P329-million in confidential intelligence fund (CIF) of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), were already ordered released by the Sandiganbyan after the cases against them had been dismissed. The former First Gentleman also defended his wife’s performance saying that while the global financial crisis affected almost all countries then, Mrs. Arroyo successfully steered the country out of harm’s way. “During PGMA’s term the Philippines had 39 quarters of continuous growth, unlike other countries which fell into recession,” said Mr. Arroyo. “That in itself is something to praise but PNoy preferred to lambast her presidency to cover up for his non-performance, his non-accomplishments,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Roxas gets PNoy’s nod’; Poe throws in the towel, says she no longer expects to be chosen


JULY 29 ---Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas Poe throws in the towel, says she no longer expects to be chosen. Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd by Friday will no longer be referred to as the “presumptive standard-bearer” of the Liberal Party (LP) in next year’s elections. Ranking officials of the administration-backed party revealed on Wednesday that President Benigno Aquino 3rd will formally endorse Roxas as his successor, returning a favor the latter made in 2009 when he withdrew his quest for the presidency “for the sake of party unity”. Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda refused to divulge information about the reported presidential endorsement. “Let’s just wait because[do not have information on the endorsement]… Everybody is waiting. [Let’s just wait],” Lacierda told reporters. But Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda in an interview said Roxas had called him earlier Wednesday during the meeting of the latter’s “Balay” core group and told him that the President had “given him the go-signal.” Sen. Grace Poe – the frontrunner in pre-election presidential surveys — also on Wednesday said she is no longer expecting President Aquino to endorse her for President. “[I will not be surprised if the President will endorse Secretary Mar. First, they’re party mates but the President would always tell me that he understands that we all had to do what we think is the best for the country],” she told reporters.
Poe said she is thankful that the President had even considered her. “[Whatever’s the decision of the President, I know there’s a reason behind it. I’m still thankful for having been considered, just in case],” she added. Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, secretary general of the LP, and Salceda said the announcement of Roxas’ endorsement will be made at 9 a.m. in a “historic place.” The LP has reportedly made a reservation to use the Cory Aquino Kalayaan Hall at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City (Metro Manila) from July 29 to July 31. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy should be held accountable for SAF 44 – House bloc


JULY 30 --Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said it was disappointing that President Aquino omitted in his last State of the Nation Address the heroism of the 44 members of the police Special Action Force, which meant that justice remains elusive for the victims and their families. STAR file photo/Edd Gumban
President Aquino should be held accountable for the incident that led to the deaths of 44 police commandos and more than a dozen civilians and rebels in Maguindanao. This was the conclusion of the independent bloc in the House of Representatives as it released yesterday the summary of its findings on the Jan. 25 carnage in Mamasapano. Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the bloc, said the report was based on documents and testimonies from resource persons in the Senate and the House. This developed as Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Senate probe on the incident could be reopened only if voted upon in the plenary. “It is outside the jurisdiction of the committee on public order (because) the report has been submitted. It is in the calendar for ordinary business of the Senate as a whole. To bring it back to the committee will require the vote of the plenary,” Drilon explained yesterday. Sen. Grace Poe, who chaired the committee that investigated the killings, stands by her report and is ready to defend it in plenary. Among the committee findings was that President Aquino was ultimately liable for what took place on Jan. 25. Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano has pushed for the reopening of the Mamasapano clash probe, which he said must be completed and taken up alongside the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Cayetano believes many details about the clash have not come out and that the findings of the ombudsman regarding the matter were not consistent with those of the Senate. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Aquino: 'I have fought the good fight'


President Benigno Aquino III said he always upheld the people's interests and that he did everything to leave a better Philippines. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando

MANILA, JULY 30, 2015 (PHILSTAR) Louis Bacani -July 27, 2015 - President Benigno Aquino III claimed on Monday that he has done his job of improving the state of the nation. During his final State of the Nation Address, Aquino quoted a Bible verse and said that he will just let history judge his legacies.

"Gaya nga po noong burol ng aking ina, bibigkasin ko ang Ikalawang aklat ni Timoteo, Kabanata 4, Bersikulo 7: 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,'" Aquino said.

While he touted his achievements, Aquino also admitted that he had lapses in his performance because some of the people he trusted failed to do their work.

READ MORE...

"Hinihingi ko po muli ang inyong pag-unawa sa mga bagay na ito," Aquino said.

Despite this, Aquino said he always upheld the people's interests and that he did everything to leave a better Philippines.

"Sa kabila nito, mahaharap ko ang sinoman at masasabing: Ginawa ko ang pinakamainam na desisyon batay sa kaalaman at kakayahang mayroon tayo," Aquino said.

"Ginawa ko ang lahat upang iwanang mas makatarungan, mas maunlad, at tumatamasa ng makabuluhang pagbabago ang ating bansa," he added.

With just less than a year in office, Aquino told the nation that the country's transformation has just started. He again urged Filipinos to continue the reforms of his administration.

"Simula pa lang ito. Simula pa lang ng isang bansang hindi mapapayuko, bagkus ay nagiging huwaran ng paninindigan sa buong mundo.

Simula pa lang ng ginhawang bunga ng kalayaan mula sa katiwalian," Aquino said.


INQUIRER

Aquino says goodbye By: Leila B. Salaverria and Nikko Dizon
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 02:26 AM July 28th, 2015

He didn’t use the word goodbye but President Aquino on Monday might as well have said it as he expressed gratitude in his farewell State of the Nation Address (Sona).

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” Aquino said, quoting from the Book of Timothy. But Aquino said he’ll stay with the Filipino people and will continue to fight for and with them.

“This is only the beginning,” he declared, saying that the May 2016 general elections would be a referendum on his administration.

He profusely thanked every member of his Cabinet with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas getting a lion’s share of the tributes. It was a near endorsement of Roxas as his presidential candidate but not quite.

But he left out Vice President Jejomar Binay who resigned from the Aquino Cabinet last month.

President Aquino asked the people: Will you squander in one election the gains the country has made under his daang matuwid (straight path) governance?

2016 is a referendum

“There is a prevailing sentiment that I think could be captured in one question,” Aquino said, speaking in Filipino. “The question is: Will all that we have invested, all we have worked hard for, disappear in one election?”

“With that in view, the next election will be a referendum for daang matuwid,” he added.

Aquino said it was the people who would decide whether the reforms the country had achieved would become permanent, or would just be a temporary improvement in a long history of the country being down.

Aquino said the Philippines could become a first-world country in one generation if only the reforms he had started under his watch would continue unabated.

First world dream

It was a dream nobody dared imagine, he said.

READ MORE...

“You can see that if we will not be interrupted, if the daang matuwid would continue, we can be a first-world country in a generation,” he said.

If the economic reforms would continue, we would be on the same level as—if not surpass—the countries we look up to, he said.

He wondered if anybody had dared dream of this when his administration was just beginning.

The question of the President became pregnant with meaning because he delivered it as the faces of three potential presidential candidates for 2016 were flashed across four wide screens in the plenary hall of the Batasang Pambansa Complex.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas smiled, Vice President Jejomar Binay laughed and Sen. Grace Poe gave a start to see their faces looking out over the gallery as Aquino spoke of next year’s election.

Of the three, it was only Roxas whom Aquino singled out for praise. He was silent on Poe, an administration ally, and made veiled critical references to Binay, the former housing czar of his Cabinet.

It is only Binay who has so far declared his candidacy, styling himself as the leader of the opposition and lambasting the administration.



Beware of crooked path

The President further warned: If the country would tread the crooked path once more, it would wait a lifetime for nothing.

“We would once again be left behind and the upward trajectory of our economy would be broken,” the President said.

A lot of good things had taken root in the country, cultivated by hard work and sacrifices, he said. Nobody in his right mind would dare cut the tree when it was starting to bear fruit, he added.

Aquino also said one question to ask was if the country was following the right path.

If the people would say no, it would be as if they were saying that they wanted to return to the crooked path, he said.

“If that is your response, then I will just keep quiet,” he said.

‘Up to my last breath’

But if they agreed it was moving in the right direction, then he himself would play a role in continuing the reforms by being “dakilang alalay (glorified assistant).”

He added in Filipino: “Even after I have stepped down, up to my last breath you can expect … that you will not be alone. I will be with you, I will be by your side. We will link arms and live the daang matuwid.”

In touting the gains of his administration, Aquino cited the recent Social Weather Stations survey results that eight out of 10 Filipinos believe the Philippines is a developed or is on its way to becoming a developed country.

While these are people’s opinions, economists at the National Economic Development Authority have studied this in a scientific manner and come to the same conclusion.

In his last year in office, Aquino announced that among his priority legislation was the long-pending antidynasty law, which drew the loudest applause of his two-hour-and-10-minute Sona.

As expected, he urged Congress to approve the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, the charter of a Muslim substate envisioned under a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is regarded as the centerpiece of his political legacy.

The President began his 12,000-word speech with an apology for not being able to do the traditional processional walk. He said he was not feeling well. A well-placed Palace source told the Inquirer the President suffered from vertigo early Monday.

In his valedictory, President Aquino said he never thought he was perfect. He added that there were people he trusted to do their jobs but that they also failed him. For these infractions, the President sought for the people’s understanding.

Nonetheless, he said that in all the challenges he faced in his five years in office, he came up with the best decisions he could, based on the available information and the capabilities available at the very moment he had to make those judgment calls.

“My main interest is the well-being of my bosses,” he said, referring to the Filipino people. “I did everything to leave a more just, more progressive and meaningful change in our society. I will let history to be the final judge,” he said.

The President outlined the achievements of his daang matuwid administration—international credit rating upgrades, average of 6.2-percent growth rate that was the most robust phase in 40 years, employment generation and pushing the “sin tax” and the reproductive health bills.

The President took Congress and his “bosses”—the Filipino people—to what he called the “story of the country’s journey on daang matuwid.”

For good measure, video clips showing testimonials of the people and provinces that benefited from the Aquino administration’s programs were shown.

CCT program, Tesda

They included the story of Alyannah Terite, an honor student and incoming freshman at the University of the Philippines, a beneficiary of the conditional cash transfer program; the recipients of the programs of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda); the little known Sitio Electrification Program where nearly 30,000 villages nationwide now enjoy electricity; the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police; and the infrastructure projects in remote provinces and towns in Dinagat Islands, Apayao and Negros Occidental province.

Curiously, even as the President continued to blast former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her close friend, Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda was among those who testified how Aquino had improved the PhilHealth program.

The President also bannered the increased tax revenue collection of government, which breached the P1-trillion mark in 2012; the single labor strike in 2013, a record in the history of the Department of Labor and Employment; the decrease in the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from 9.51 million in 2011 to 9.07 million in 2014; and the 50 public-private partnership projects, 10 of which have been awarded, 13 are undergoing the bidding process while 27 are in the pipeline.

Aquino said that on Tuesday, his office would submit to Congress the proposed P3-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2016.

As expected, President Aquino began his Sona with a litany of the sins of the administration of Arroyo, which included the fertilizer scam and the NBN-ZTE deal.

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INQUIRER

2-hour Sona on Aquino gains strewn with swipes at Binay By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ INQUIRER.net 07:46 PM July 27th, 2015


Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, center, delivers his last State of the Nation Address as Senate President Franklin Drilon, left, and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, right, looks on during the joint session of the 16th Congress at the House of Representatives in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Monday, July 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

IN his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (Sona), President Benigno Aquino III highlighted the major achievements of his administration. But as he waxed optimistic about the future of the country, his last Sona might be remembered for his veiled swipes at Vice President Jejomar Binay.

As he enumerated the gains of his administration’s programs, he also took the opportunity to answer Binay’s previous statements, some made against him.

Aquino started his two-hour speech by showcasing the disparity of his administration to that of Pampanga Representative and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Speaking before lawmakers at the plenary of the House of Representatives, Aquino mentioned the fertilizer fund scam, the NBN-ZTE anomalous deal, the declaration of state of emergency all of which occurred during the administration of Arroyo.

The greater part of his speech, however, focused on the improved economy and outlook, increased collection of revenues and benefits of his social service programs, including the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and PhilHealth.

There were several instances, however, when he seemed to have alluded to Binay, who is considered the main opponent of the administration coalition in the 2016 elections. Binay, who previously led the election surveys, is the standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance. He has, however, been overtaken by Senator Grace Poe, who is supposedly in talks with Aquino for a possible team-up with Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

Binay has been feuding with Palace spokespersons and administration allies since he resigned from the Cabinet in June.

‘Palpak’?

The Vice President claimed that he was not treated well in the Cabinet and, without naming Aquino, that he has had enough with the administration. He said the administration was both “manhid” (insensitive) and “palpak” (bumbling).

In his Sona, Aquino hit back and said the performance of the PhilHealth under his term is proof that his administration is far from being “manhid” and “palpak.”

READ MORE...

“’Pag kabilang ka sa pamilyang na pinakamahirap na 20 percent ng ating populasyon, siguradong wala kang babayaran. Ibig sabihin, para sa mas pinakamahirap na 40 percent, libre magpagamot sa pampublikong ospital,” Aquino said.

(If you belong to the poorest families, which are 20 percent of our population, it is guaranteed that you will not pay for anything. It means that for 40 percent of the poorest people, medication is free in government hospitals.)

“Ito ang kalingang tinatawag ng iba na palpak at manhid. Sabi nga ni Aiza Seguerra, I thank you, bow,” he added.

(This is the concern others have dismissed as bumbling and insensitive. As Aiza Seguerra used to say, “I thank you, bow.)

The President also questioned UNA’s slogan “Gaganda any Buhay.”

“Kapag sila daw ang pangulo, gaganda ang buhay ng mga matatanda. A ganun? Para ngang ang pahayag ngayon, e di wow,” Aquino said.

“Ang payo ko nga po pag ganito harapan naiinsulto ang talino ng Pilipino, ilipat muna natin ang channel,” he added.

No to political dynasties

But perhaps the most stinging remark was when he pushed for the passage of the Anti-Dynasty Bill .

“May mali rin sa pagpapakasasa sa kapangyarihan ng isang tiwaling pamilya o opisyal,” he said.

The President said this was the same reason why he never agreed to extend his term.

“Hindi tayo nakakasiguro na malinis ang intensyon ng susunod…Kung nanaisin lang nilang habang buhay na maghari-harian para sa pansariling interes,” he explained.

(We cannot be sure that the next president will have good intentions…or if they just want to remain in power forever for their own interests.)

Aquino did not name Vice President Jejomar Binay but his quote appeared to negate Binay’s suggestion to allow the re-election of officials “one to sawa (never ending).”

“Panahon na para ipasa ang anti-dynasty law (It is time to pass an anti-dynasty law),” the President said.

The bill, which has been stalled in Congress for more than a decade, aims to limit the number of relatives in public office. Advocates of the bill believe that its passage will help level the playing field and bring development in areas that have long been under control of only one family.

It is not the first time that Aquino expressed support for the said bill.

Increased revenues

Among the achievements that the President mentioned were the doubled collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenues (BIR) and the Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC).

He said it was in 2012 that the BIR collection reached one trillion pesos for the first time. In 2014, BIR collection was P1.3 trillion, up by 9.64 percent from P1.2 trillion the year before. It may reach P1.5 trillion this year, he said.

He lauded the work of Commissioner Kim Henares who is known for regularly filing cases against alleged tax evaders.

“Si Commissioner Kim Henares, walang tax evader na sinanto (Commissioner Kim Henares has been relentless against tax evaders),” Aquino said, noting that 380 cases have already been filed, in addition to the improvements in the system of collecting taxes.

“Limang taon lang ang kinailangan para mapantayan, mahigitan, at halos madoble ang pinakamalaking nakolekta ng ating sinundan,” he said.

(We only needed five years to be at par, to surpass and almost double the revenues collected by our predecessor.)

This was similar to the case of GOCCs, which were able to raise dividends turned over to the national government.

The GOCCs were previously known for enormous benefits and incentives given to executives. He said the Arroyo administration only gained P84.18 billion in nine and a half years while the dividends from the GOCCs under his administration have reached P131.86 billion in only five years.

CCT

Aquino, on the other hand, hit critics of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps).

He said it the conditional cash transfer program is not a magic tablet.

“Akala nila parang mahiwagang tableta pag-inom ng kinder ay college graduate ka na,” he said. “Tulungan natin silang magbilang. Labing-tatlong taon ang K-12 samantalang anim na taon lang ang ating termino.”

(They think it’s like a magic tablet that when a child in kindergarten takes it, he or she instantly becomes a college graduate. Let us help them count. The K-12 is 13 years long while my term is only six years.)

The 4Ps is a social protection program launched in 2008 and expanded under Aquino’s term. It targets poor families and gives as much as P1,400 to beneficiaries in exchange of keeping children in school.

Its budget has increased to P62.32 billion in 2015, or more than 50 times larger than the budget allocated in 2008.

Aquino said 4.4 million households are now benefitting from the program.

Continuity

“Lahat ba ng ating naipundar, lahat ng ating pinaghirapan maglalaho dahil lang sa isang eleksyon?”

(Everything that we have invested in, everything that we have worked for, will it be gone after just one election?)

That was Aquino’s rhetorical question near the end of his last State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.

Immediately after, the camera showed the split-screen images of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Senator Grace Poe, the so-called top contenders for the presidential race in 2016.

Laughter filled the hall because of the unexpected video stunt.

Before that, Aquino cautioned against allowing the country to return to its crooked ways.

“Muli tayong mapag-iiwanan at mababalewala ang pataas na trajectory ng ating ekonomiya,” he warned.

(We will again be left behind and the upward trajectory of our economy will be put to waste.)

He said he couldn’t think of a person who would dare cut a tree when its first fruit is about to be harvested.

“Sa ganitong pananaw ang susunod na halalan ay referendum po para sa daang matuwid. Kayo ang magdedesisyon kung ang pagbabago bang ating tinatamasa ay magiging permanente o tatanawin lang bilang tsamba at panandaliang pagbangon sa mahabang kasaysayan ng pagkadapa,” he said.

(In this view, the next election is a referendum for the straight path. You will decide if the change that we are experiencing now will be permanent or we will consider it a lucky incident and a short-lived ascent in a long history of falling.)

Binay is the standard-bearer of the opposition party United Nationalist Alliance while Roxas and Poe are among the officials that Aquino have been meeting with in relation to the 2016 elections.

One of the two are expected to be declared the presidential candidate that will supported by the administration coalition. With a report from Marc Jayson Cayabyab


GMA NEWS ONLINE

Groups lament PNoy’s exclusion of environment issues in last SONA July 28, 2015 10:29pm Tags: environmentalissues, sona2015 By ANDREI MEDINA, GMA News


Storm before the SONA Protesters mob a suspected undercover policeman (center) at a rally in suburban Manila on July 27, hours before President Benigno Aquino III delivers his final annual address to parliament. GMA NEWS

Environmental organizations expressed their disappointment with President Benigno Aquino III's final State of the Nation Address, saying the two-hour speech delivered on Monday had little to do with environment and conservation issues.

Dakila Advocacy Director Renee Juliene Karunungan told GMA News Online on Tuesday that discussions on environment issues was expected since the country was among the most vulnerable to climate change.

“The People’s Survival Fund, for example, which has been enacted to a law in 2012, is said to become fully operational only this August, three years after its passage. What has it been doing all these years?" Karunungan said.

“Could it have prevented the scale of damage when Yolanda happened?” she asked referring to the super typhoon that devastated the country late in 2013 and claimed over 5,000 lives.

Karunungan also said they were disappointed that renewable energy was not mentioned during the SONA.

“The 42 coal-fired power plants that are planned to be put up while the rest of the world has committed to clean energy only goes to show how insincere this government is in tackling climate change,” she said.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace Philippines Country Director Amalie Obusan said concern for the environment and such issues as climate change was lacking not just in the President's final SONA but also throughout his term.

“Environmental disasters as a result of climate change impacts are still largely being ignored. Almost two years after Typhoon Yolanda hit the country—the strongest storm ever to make landfall on earth’s history— affected communities are still reeling from the devastation and massive loss of human lives,” Obusan said.

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“The country is already typhoon-weary and there is no respite as scientists have warned that extreme weather events are expected to continue and worsen,” she continued.

Obusan also said the President is aware of all these environmental concerns but has yet to show concrete plans on how to efficiently address human, food and energy security against the looming impact of climate change.

“Worse, the Aquino government continues to champion coal despite warnings that fossil fuels will continue to drive catastrophic climate change. He has refused to see the light on how Renewable Energy can both be a mitigation and adaptation technology, even generate green jobs that will benefit the economy and the people,” she said.

“Any gains that were achieved in governance programs will be nullified if the President fails to address this single defining issue of our time. Based on this, Greenpeace Philippines gives him a failing grade,” she added. -NB, GMA News -


TRIBUNE

GMA, VP camps hit back at Noy Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 29 July 2015 00:00


USED AS AQUINO’S PUNCHING BAG

The camps of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, who were the hardest hit in President Aquino’s two-hour and 15-minute State of the Nation Address (Sona) Monday, lashed back at the President, saying they were made punching bags of the Chief Executive to hide his non-accomplishments for the past five years that he has been in power.

The Vice President, for his part, merely shrugged off Aquino’s tirades against him, saying he would just deliver his own version of the true state of the nation.
“Wow na wow naman ‘yun!” was Binay’s reaction to the potshots hurled against him by Aquino in his Sona which has been more criticized than praised.


Vice President Jejomar Binay “Wow na wow naman ‘yun.” That was the reply of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday to one of the potshots made by President Benigno Aquino III against him in his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (Sona). INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

In his Facebook account, former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo said Aquino’s last Sona was done in bad taste and fit only for idiots.

“The Sona yester-day (Monday) was so revolting. It was in such bad taste to heap so much blame on a sick person while (Aquino) has been in power for the last five years,” said Mr. Arroyo.

Mr. Arroyo pointed out that the sick person, the former president, who has been detained for about four years now, is innocent of any crime.

“No evidence has been presented against her up to now. Thus, her co accused (have been) freed either on bail or acquitted,” Mr. Arroyo stressed.

The former president’s alleged co-conspirators in the plunder case involving P329-million in confidential intelligence fund (CIF) of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), were already ordered released by the Sandiganbyan after the cases against them had been dismissed.

The former First Gentleman also defended his wife’s performance saying that while the global financial crisis affected almost all countries then, Mrs. Arroyo successfully steered the country out of harm’s way.

“During PGMA’s term the Philippines had 39 quarters of continuous growth, unlike other countries which fell into recession,” said Mr. Arroyo.

“That in itself is something to praise but PNoy preferred to lambast her presidency to cover up for his non-performance, his non-accomplishments,” he said.

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Mr. Arroyo said one only needs to look around to see the fruits of his wife’s accomplishments but whose credits are being grabbed by the Aquino administration.

“Just look around you and you will see the fruits of the previous administration’s accomplishments. This present administration is a credit grabber,” said Mr. Arroyo.


APPENDED BY PHNO: Then-President Gloria Arroyo and Dr. Gonzalo Jurado during the launching of the book "Beat the Odds" (credits: Balita.ph) IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUDENT! by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, PhD --[I wrote this article on and off in my spare time during my house recuperation, re-hospitalization and hospital detention from October to December 2011.] The economy I turned over: Countless studies have shown that rapid increases in average incomes reduce poverty. Policy research, notes economist Stephan Klasen, has shown that “poverty reduction will be fastest in countries where average income growth is highest.” Our dream of growth ---In order to avoid such a grim outcome, we must pursue the economic growth of our country as the permanent solution to our age-old problems of poverty and even corruption. Every postwar Administration to my recollection has sought to advance the economic growth of our country as a matter of highest priority. Only by enlarging the economic pie can there be more and bigger slices for everyone to enjoy. It is in poverty that we find the material roots of the problem of corruption – because the political system based on patronage–and ultimately, corruption to support patronage–is made possible only by the large gap between the rich and the poor. This will persist until and unless we enlarge the economic pie. She faulted Aquino, who was her student at the Ateneo de Manila University, for the “vacuum of leadership, vision, energy, and execution in managing our economic affairs.” She also charged Aquino for his “obsessive pursuit of political warfare.” The article title is derived from “It’s the economy, stupid,” the famous 1992 campaign slogan of ex United States President Bill Clinton. Clinton and Arroyo both attended Georgetown University during the 1960s. Below is the full text of Arroyo’s seven-page paper. Credits to Mr. Mike Acebedo Lopez for letting me repost this here.

“Five years into PNoy’s term and he is still blaming the previous administration. To say it in the last Sona is, to say the least, so revolting and in poor taste. Only idiots do that,” said the former First Gentleman.

The VP, for his part, however said he will be delivering his alternate Sona as there is a need to raise the responses and give a more accurate picture of the true state of the nation.

Lawyer Rico Paolo Quicho, vice presidential spokesman for political concerns, was more direct in his rebuttal on Aquino’s tirades.

Quicho said they were already expecting there would be potshots against the Vice President considering his recent resignation from the Cabinet, but that they consider it a small price to pay for showing the people the “incompetent and insensitive” governance of the administration that further marginalized the poor.

While Aquino, in his speech, rhetorically asked how the promise of “gaganda ang buhay ( life will be better), which is Binay’s slogan, will become real while the supposed proponent has not provided concrete plans.

Quicho said the VP does not feel alluded to because he has solidly delivered the social and economic programs that uplifted the lives of the people he has served as Makati mayor and continue to serve as Vice President.

“From the start, the Vice President has articulated that the Makati experience is his template for a caring and competent government, the opposite of the insensitive and incompetent government that we have today,” said Quicho.

Nonetheless, Quicho said the Vice President respects the views expressed by Aquino during his final Sona.

Quicho also scored what he described as a pep rally given by the President to a gallery packed with allies and supporters as it glossed over pressing matters such as what his government has failed to accomplish: justice for the SAF44, distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmer beneficiaries, corruption in the DoTC, DA and other agencies, illegal use of DAP funds, corruption and ineptitude of the Bureau of Customs, selective justice and politicization of the Ombudsman and the judiciary, and abuse of legislative authority, among others.

“The Sona exhibited hubris and lack of appreciation for people in government who genuinely served despite the air of partisanship created by a vindictive and callous government,” said Quicho.

“The Sona systematically downplayed and disregarded the gains of previous administrations that were used as the blueprint for present administration projects,” he added.

In his True Sona Quicho said Binay will remove the gloss and tell the plain truth as experienced every day by ordinary Filipinos.

Noy fixated on VP, Gloria

After playing coy in Aquino’s repeated attacks on a nameless foe, Malacañang vitrually admitted yesterday of the President’s fixation on the VP, justifying Aquino’s usage of the speech as a springboard to bash Binay who has been highly critical of the administration.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, in an interview, said Aquino was merely being “truthful” in his statements, when asked whether it was Binay Aquino had alluded to multiple times during the Sona.

Coloma said the President himself was the author of his Sona, noting that the criticisms were meant to “correct” public perception from the tirades Binay hurled against the current administration.



“What I see is that the President was merely truthful as he gave his explanations. If we remember, the administration was called insensitive and a failure, and after that, additional critique was the reduction of government spending for our people’s health,” he said.

“That’s why in the end, he (Aquino) asked: Is this what shows insensitivity and failure? In my view, if there is criticism...it must be answered and put into place,” Coloma added, noting the video clips shown during Aquino’s speech.

Aquino during his last Sona on Monday alluded to the Vice President’s famous tagline “Kay Binay, gaganda ang buhay!” as well as Binay’s blasting of the administration as insensitive, a failure and callous, through a social media response “E ‘di wow.”

Analysts described as “torture” the two hour speech of Aquino but Coloma defended the speech, saying that the President aimed to be “comprehensive.”


COLOMA: 2-HOUR, 8 MINUTES SONA 2015 AIMED TO BE COMPREHENSIVE.

Coloma said that the President is merely giving “context” to his speech, and that there was nothing personal in Aquino’s jabs against the embattled Arroyo.

The Palace official also downplayed allegations that Aquino is singling out Arroyo over what he claimed as the “grave state” of the Philippines he had been greeted with as President.

“To be honest, that’s what we arrived at. It’s only to remind the actual and concrete situation we arrived at because it defines how hard the things we had to do, must do, on what is the shape of the challenges we are going to face,” he said in a radio interview.

“That’s how it is. Nothing personal. It’s not because of ill will or anger. Maybe it is not proper to use the word blaming because he only provided context,” Coloma added.

Anti-dynasty bill challenged

Meanwhile, Aquino’s “endorsement” of the passage of the anti-dynasty bill was met with a challenge yesterday, coming from a neophyte opposition senator, who dared the Chief Executive to push the coverage of the measure to include not only elective but also appointive posts in government.

Sen. Nancy Binay issued the challenge in response to the call made Monday made by Aquino in his last Sona to lawmakers to consider enacting into law the anti-dynasty bill.

Aquino’s call was seen by many as having been made in retaliation to pronouncements recently made by the senator’s father, the VP to allow the election of public officials from “one to sawa” (unitl one gets tired).

“I have this position (that) for as long as it’s a clean and honest election, why prevent people from running? But my bigger concern is, if you noticed in the President’s Son, there was the (enumeration of) appointed positions. The very sensitive position that is occupied by a single family. I think this should also be taken into consideration, these kinds of appointments,” she said in an interview with reporters.

Even without naming names, it was obvious that Senator Binay was directing her tirades against the family of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad.

Abad, who is also a senior political adviser to the President, even dating back when Aquino was still in the Senate, is married to Deputy Speaker, Batanes Rep. Henedina and father to Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Julia Abad.

They also have some other relatives holding positions in some government agencies, including government-owned and-controlled corporations (GOCC).

“I think there should be guidelines as well when it comes to appointments because it does not represent the will of the people (unlike those holding elective posts). This is just based on the discretion of one person. So a single family can control different departments in the Executive branch of government,” she said.

“Maybe it (anti-dynasty bill) should cover the whole government system.

Technically, under the civil service (rules), there are positions where you can appoint family members but there’s no law preventing the appointment to other departments in government. So it’s possible that one family can occupy posts in various departments,” Senator Binay explained.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, a partymate of the President in the Liberal Party (LP), noted the feasibility of Binay’s proposal.

“Well that is a view that will be considered when we debate on the measure,” he said in an interview with reporters.

But not for Sen. Cynthia Villar who said that realistically, problems could arise at the lower house, whether their counterparts from the House of Representatives could arrive at a consensus on the shape and form of the version that they will pass for deliberations at the bicameral conference level.

“We will wait for their version. I think it would be easier for the Senate (to come up with its version of the bill). I think it (passage) will be determined by the House of Representatives, not us,” she said.

“Even if we in the Senate will pass our version of the bill, if the lower house will fail to do its part, then there would definitely be a problem,” she said.

Drilon confessed that even if he will be 100 percent supportive of the bill, it will need a major boost in both House of Congress in order to ensure its approval.

“As of now, we still don’t know what shape or form it will come out but I’m 100 percent behind it. I haven’t discussed it with my colleagues,” he said.

Sen,. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the bill, contrary to the impression of many, may have a chance of being passed into law under the Aquino administration.

Since it was specifically mentioned by Aquino in his Sona, it’s possible that Congress will have to do away with the three-day rule, the interval in the approval of pending bills on second and third readings, he said.

This means that the bill can be approved on second and third reading on the same day, Escudero said.
By Charlie V. Manalo, Angie M. Rosales and Joshua L. Labonera


MANILA TIMES

‘Roxas gets PNoy’s nod’; Poe throws in the towel, says she no longer expects to be chosen July 29, 2015 11:21 pm
by LLANESCA T. PANTI REPORTER


Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas

Poe throws in the towel, says she no longer expects to be chosen
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd by Friday will no longer be referred to as the “presumptive standard-bearer” of the Liberal Party (LP) in next year’s elections.

Ranking officials of the administration-backed party revealed on Wednesday that President Benigno Aquino 3rd will formally endorse Roxas as his successor, returning a favor the latter made in 2009 when he withdrew his quest for the presidency “for the sake of party unity”.

Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda refused to divulge information about the reported presidential endorsement.

“Let’s just wait because[do not have information on the endorsement]… Everybody is waiting. [Let’s just wait],” Lacierda told reporters.

But Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda in an interview said Roxas had called him earlier Wednesday during the meeting of the latter’s “Balay” core group and told him that the President had “given him the go-signal.”

Sen. Grace Poe – the frontrunner in pre-election presidential surveys — also on Wednesday said she is no longer expecting President Aquino to endorse her for President.

“[I will not be surprised if the President will endorse Secretary Mar. First, they’re party mates but the President would always tell me that he understands that we all had to do what we think is the best for the country],” she told reporters.

Poe said she is thankful that the President had even considered her.

“[Whatever’s the decision of the President, I know there’s a reason behind it. I’m still thankful for having been considered, just in case],” she added.

Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, secretary general of the LP, and Salceda said the announcement of Roxas’ endorsement will be made at 9 a.m. in a “historic place.”

The LP has reportedly made a reservation to use the Cory Aquino Kalayaan Hall at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City (Metro Manila) from July 29 to July 31.

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Club Filipino was the first exclusive social club in the Philippines, founded in 1898 by Filipino high society, including Spanish mestizos.

It was in the same hall where Corazon Aquino took her oath as President at the height of the People Power revolution in February 1986. It was also where Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson denounced his political ally, President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, and revealed his alleged involvement in jueteng, an illegal numbers game.

Friday’s scheduled event would see President Aquino and Roxas returning to the same platform where they announced their tandem for the 2010 elections.

Roxas, who was the frontrunner in the LP nomination, gave way to Aquino whose popularity made a quantum leap following the death of his mother in August 2009.

Aquino went on to win the presidential race while Roxas lost to Jejomar Binay in the contest for Vice President.

Salceda, chairman of the party in Bicol region, said LP members, mostly governors, congressmen and city and town mayors are being invited together with civil society organizations.

YACAP party-list Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez said only his candidacy will be announced during Friday’s event. His running mate will not be named yet.

Salceda said he is expecting Roxas to leave the Department of Interior and Local Government to concentrate on his campaign and party building.

He added that he believes the anointment of Roxas by the President would improve his rating from 13 percent to 16 percent.

He also believes that a Mar-Grace tandem would be a perfect match, saying both have the same aim and focus, which is “good governance.”

Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, the LP chairman for political affairs, said they never doubted that the President will choose Roxas.

“From day one, we at LP never doubted that the President will give his blessings to Secretary Roxas because he is the most qualified,” he said.
With PNA


PHILSTAR

Noy should be held accountable for SAF 44 – House bloc By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 30, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said it was disappointing that President Aquino omitted in his last State of the Nation Address the heroism of the 44 members of the police Special Action Force, which meant that justice remains elusive for the victims and their families. STAR file photo/Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino should be held accountable for the incident that led to the deaths of 44 police commandos and more than a dozen civilians and rebels in Maguindanao.

This was the conclusion of the independent bloc in the House of Representatives as it released yesterday the summary of its findings on the Jan. 25 carnage in Mamasapano.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the bloc, said the report was based on documents and testimonies from resource persons in the Senate and the House.

This developed as Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Senate probe on the incident could be reopened only if voted upon in the plenary.

“It is outside the jurisdiction of the committee on public order (because) the report has been submitted. It is in the calendar for ordinary business of the Senate as a whole. To bring it back to the committee will require the vote of the plenary,” Drilon explained yesterday.

Sen. Grace Poe, who chaired the committee that investigated the killings, stands by her report and is ready to defend it in plenary. Among the committee findings was that President Aquino was ultimately liable for what took place on Jan. 25.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano has pushed for the reopening of the Mamasapano clash probe, which he said must be completed and taken up alongside the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Cayetano believes many details about the clash have not come out and that the findings of the ombudsman regarding the matter were not consistent with those of the Senate.

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In coming up with a bloc report, Romualdez said it was disappointing that Aquino omitted in his last State of the Nation Address the heroism of the 44 members of the police Special Action Force (SAF), which meant that justice remains elusive for the victims and their families.

“President Aquino, instead of prosecuting the criminals to the fullest extent of the law as is his duty, has all but abandoned the SAF 44, his own men. All in the name of peace, so we are made to believe. But, in truth, another experiment in autonomy using unrealistic and unworkable designs littered with constitutional infirmities,” Romualdez said, referring to the proposed BBL.

He said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), whose leaders admitted to firing at the policemen, “still refuse to surrender their murderous members.”

Romualdez said the findings of both the Senate committee on public order and safety, chaired by Poe, and the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry, headed by police Director Benjamin Magalong, reported that Aquino was and is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the mission.

The bloc’s report, prefaced with the Latin legal phrase “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall,” was based on the testimonies and documents submitted by resource persons from the PNP-BOI, National Bureau of Investigation and the MILF and the supporting documents and inputs from local and foreign sources.

It said Aquino approved and directed the mission using inputs from “a limited circle of subordinates,” principally by then suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima, SAF Director Getulio Napeñas and the acting PNP intelligence chief.

The Mamasapano operation was conducted on a ‘need-to-know’ basis, consequently violating a number of protocols, including the role of Purisima and the established PNP chain of command.

It pointed out that Aquino was briefed regularly by Purisima and Napeñas on the progress of the mission, from the time the SAF commandos took off early on Jan. 25 to the time he actually ordered Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero to provide assistance to the besieged commandos, almost 12 hours after the firefight broke out or at around 4 p.m.

The report noted that on the day of the Mamasapano operation, Aquino was in Zamboanga City with the Cabinet security cluster, then Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang and senior AFP and PNP commanders from 10 a.m. until he left for Manila in the evening.

“He was in a position to assume command in the early stages of the firefight and prevent heavy loss of lives. That he did not order a more determined effort to rescue the SAF troopers, or talk directly to MILF chairman Murad Ibrahim to stop the carnage instead of ‘bureaucratizing’ a ceasefire and rescue operations, has fuelled suspicions that he actually issued a ‘stand down’ order as reported in media,” the summary stated.– With Marvin Sy


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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