THE STATE OF THE NATION UNDRESSED!
Privilege Speech of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, July 24, 2007
Posted: August 6th, 2008 @ 2:24am
I rise today on a matter of personal and collective privilege to express my sentiments on the state of the nation address delivered yesterday by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
I articulate not only my own personal views, but the comments and observations relayed to me by many of our constituency. They conveyed to me their combined disappointment and apprehension over Mrs. Arroyo’s loud and extravagant claims of achievements.
We listened yesterday to another enumeration of programs and projects that Mrs. Arroyo claims she had accomplished or proposes to fulfill.
Six years after Mrs. Arroyo grabbed power and seven SONAs later, our people remain poor, helpless, desperate, frustrated, and alienated.
They are simply worse off than they were six years ago. And yet Mrs. Arroyo blithely tries to make us believe that we now have a robust and resilient economy.
Our people were treated to another litany of fantastic infrastructure achievements and fabulous infrastructure projects now supposedly in the pipeline.
In her SONA, Mrs. Arroyo sent shivers and chills again to the spine.
If she is serious, and assuming these are not pipe dreams exclusively scripted for her SONA alone, are we to expect another round of new taxes and increases in charges, levies, rates, duties and other fees of government services and transactions?
Or are we going to borrow again? If my memory serves me right, did MIS. Arroyo tell us how these projects are to be funded? She has chosen to be vague on this and as we all can see, the bottomline in all these is money. The rest is just plain conversation.
Kaya kinakabahan aka at ang ating mga kababayan kung may mga high tech at highfaluting project si Gng. Arroyo nu ipinagyayabang dahil ang kapalit nito ay karagdagang buwis.
But equally disturbing and incredible is the claim of Mrs. Arroyo of a 77% conviction rate by the Ombudsman, as if to tell us that her government is winning the fight against corruption.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Arroyo does not exactly enjoy a reputation of being honest and truthful. I will not he surprised, however, if this figure is taken from some manipulated data not very different from the certificates of canvass of votes that brought her to power in 2004.
Mrs. Arroyo also proclaim that our country today enjoys a robust and resilient economy. She claims that 400,000 jobs have been created.
If this is so, why is it that our people continue to leave the country in droves every day to become supermaids, caregivers, babysitters, and manual laborers and even managerial and technical workers in foreign lands? They leave the country in search of employment and better opportunities even if they know that in a foreign land, they stand to he abused, maltreated, exploited and oppressed.
And despite all pronouncements of hailing our overseas Filipino workers as new heroes, no concrete program from Mrs. Arroyo was laid out for them.
To me and to many of our poor and marginalized countrymen who wage a daily war of survival, the reality of poverty and deprivation are found there in the streets, in the slums, in their very homes. For them, Mrs. Arroyo’s words in her SONA are empty achievements and promises that are not edible.
But what strikes us is that the entire SONA of Mrs. Arroyo yesterday did not even pay attention, did not even make mention of an important issue that strikes deep and hard in the heart of the body politic. It is a compelling dilemma that is begging and crying for resolution. I refer to the extrajudicial killings, to the numerous incidences of ambushes, assassinations, and abductions that have now attracted international attention.
Sa magagandang palabok ng SONA, wala tayong narinig tungkol sa kung uno ang ginagawa o gagawin ng gobyevno ni Gng. Arroyo sa mga extrajudicial killings.
Hindi magtatagal tayo na ang magiging extrajudicial killing capital of the world. Wala ho siyang ginawa kundi bumati nang bumati ng mga tao at patayuin ang mga tao. Para tuloy siyang si Lolit Solis, wala pa siyang ginawa kundi bumati nang bumati sa telebisyon.
Mrs. Arroyo glosses over this important concern and conveniently sweeps it under the rug. She does not even offer a token report on what her administration has done, or plans to do about the growing list of cases of extrajudicial killings. Instead, she proposes new laws which perhaps is a way of diverting attention from a critical failure of her Administration.
Mrs. Arroyo talks now of her legacy, even claiming that her successor will benefit from what she has accomplished and will accomplish during the next three years.
She extravagantly claims that she did not benefit from her predecessor, but conveniently left in the public coffers more than P70 billion when he was unceremoniously and unconstitutionally removed.
But if Mrs. Arroyo wants to leave a respectable legacy, she might as well address today the matter of the extrajudicial killings. These are issues that we cannot ignore for they offend our sensibilities, in much the same manner that the “Garci tapes,” the Jose Pidal accounts, the fertilizer scams, and so many others have jolted us and offended our sensibilities.
Our people are waiting for results that they could experience in their day-to-day struggle. Our people are asking for relief from poverty, from taxes, from high prices of basic commodities, from criminality in the streets, from many things that government has failed to deliver.
And this is because Mrs. Arroyo is simply busy fantasizing about her enchanted kingdom, so detached from her people, and so secure in the electrified fences in Malacañang.
Nawa’y magising tayong lahat sa panaginip na ang nangingibabaw ay pawing malayo sa katotohanan.
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