We are pleased to provide the salient points or the highlights of the 2012 SONA speech of President Benigno Aquino III delivered at the Batasang Pambansa on July 23, 2012.
These were supplied online by reliable and credible sources; netizens in social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, websites, blogs, and other online fora; but majority of the inputs come from this author.
President Aquino started to deliver his report to the nation at 4:04 pm.
Highlights and salient points of the SONA:
- President Aquino mentioned perks for GOCCs, PAGCOR ‘coffee scam’, and secondhand helicopters sold to PNP as brand-new.
- Aquino cited economic achievements, including the $1 billion loan the Philippines granted to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
- Free education - 4.57 million students who could not go to school before due to poverty are now able to study.
- 85% of Filipinos are now Philhealth members.
- Government expanding health services; PhilHealth extends coverage to cancer and leukemia patients.
- More than 30,000 nurses deployed to over 36,000 barangays.
- DOST Secretary Mario Montejo and DOH Secretary Enrique Ona lauded for the success of mosquito traps in bringing down the number of dengue cases in the country.
- Congress urged to to pass sin tax reform bill to raise taxes on cigarettes and liquor.
- Backlog of over 2 million chairs to be addressed by 2012; backlog of over 66,000 classrooms to be addressed by 2013.
- The president received applause, standing ovation upon mention of responsible parenthood bill (or RH Bill).
- State universities and colleges will get a 43.61% budget increase in 2013.
- TESDA Secretary Joel Villanueva commended for reforms and effective implementation of technical education scholarships and other vital programs.
- Inherited 8% unemployment rate has reduced to 6.9%.
- During Aquino’s term, 3.1 million jobs were created.
- Construction of Bohol airport in Panglao, Legaspi airport in Daraga, and Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental in 2016 mentioned.
- LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension Project has started in June 2012.
- NAIA-3 structural defects to be addressed.
- SLEX-NLEX connector to be completed by 2015.
- Better implementation of bidding process at DPWH cited; infrastructure being improved without raising taxes.
- Target of 4.6 million tourists for 2012 set.
- DOT’s “It’s More Fun In The Philippines” tourism campaign lauded.
- Pres. Aquino hopes that country can export rice in 2013.
- Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program cited.
- 1,520 sitios have been provided with electricity within 90 days.
- When he assumed office, 45% of policemen had no guns; 74,600 new guns to be added for the police force.
- On the AFP modernization: Hi-tech and better quality patrol and war ships; new helicopters, radio and communication equipment, frigates, light aircraft will be acquired.
- VTRs of housing and Conditional Cash Tranfer (CCT) beneficiaries shown during the SONA.
- No more cash advances allowed in government agencies.
- Voters list cleaned up; no more ghosts voters; officer-in-charge Governor Mujiv Hataman commended for reforms in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
- DOST/PAGASA’s Project NOAH cited, disaster preparedness in the country has improved.
- By 2013, 600 rain gauges and 422 water level sensors will be installed at 18 main river basins.
- 1.5 million hectares of trees to be planted by 2016.
- Executive Order on mining cited.
- Illegal loggers warned: “Kayong mga isinusugal ang buhay ng kapwa Pilipino: maghanda na kayo. Tapos na ang maliligayang araw ninyo.”
- Pres. Aquino assures government workers of provision of benefits; unveils ‘performance based incentives’ for state workers.
- Bonus of goverment workers this year will be based on achieved targets.
- Old-age and disability pensioners will receive at least P5,000 per month.
- Progress will continue with fairness, consistency in governance.
- Territorial dispute with China particularly in the West Philippine Sea mentioned.
- Aquino said Philippines will protect and uphold its national sovereignty and territorial authority.
- “Forgive and forget ang lahat ng atraso ng mga naglubog sa atin sa bulok na estado? Ang magpatawad, maaari; ang makalimot, hindi.”
- PNoy also mentioned the filing of plunder charges against former-president Gloria Arroyo, the impeachment of Renato Corona as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the search for the latter’s replacement.
- Pres. Aquino likewise lauded Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for fighting graft.
- PNoy called on Congress to pass amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).
- President Aquino tackled electoral reforms for the 2013 polls.
- Aquino: Filipinos made change possible; change comes from the citizenry.
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