The usual human traffic normally crowding downtown places here paused over an hour as everyone were glued to their television sets during President Benigno S. Aquino III third State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
At the huge Central Bus Terminal here, all TV sets at the passenger waiting area, cafeterias, malls, offices and on board buses, jeepneys, taxis and tricycles were tuned in to the live telecast of the SONA and everyone enthusiastically clapped and cheered when the speech was interrupted some 120 times.
“Walang pagbabago kay PNoy. Siya pa rin ‘yung dating madaling unawain ang mga sinasabi’t nais ipahiwatig sa ating mga Pilipino. Prangka at hindi mo kakikitaan ng pagkukunwari. Lahat na kanyang mga sinabi sa SONA, lalo na tungkol sa mga nagawa na ng kanyang administrasyon para sa mga mahihirap ay totoo’t ramdam ang epekto,” Ramil Agripa, a 30-year old auto mechanic here, said.
“Madalang ang pasahero at ‘yung mangilan-ngilan na sumasakay nagmamadali’t gustong makauwi agad para manood ng TV. Iyon namang iba, ayaw nang bumaba ng dyip dahil nakikinig sa radio. Lahat po sila, gustong pakinggan o mapanood ang Pangulo,” a jeepney driver said.
“All the city employees were eager to listen to and watch PNoy with his SONA. As if they were inside the Batasan applauding almost every line of the President. We were all impressed by how the speech was delivered in Filipino language and dazzled by its contents particularly those that concerned government workers, rural development, national economy, anti-corruption, poverty alleviation and education, among others,” Rosal said.
The emotion observed from City Hall spectators, she said, reaffirms the support and confidence of Legazpeños to the President.
“He won an overwhelming percentage of votes from the city during his election and that support and confidence have never waned, instead multiplying all those two years of his presidency,” Rosal said.
At the nearby Albay provincial capitol, Governor Joey Salceda said “the 2012 SONA must be remembered more for its ‘statement of holy desires’ than getting fixated with its mechanical and protracted recitation of two-year achievements even if they are statistically verifiable. Such ‘holy desires’ are embodied by targets that are socially desirable and desirably ambitious.”
“All 1.2 million hectares of CARP lands (mostly private agricultural lands) distributed by 2016; 10 million tourists by 2016; Universal Healthcare from current 85 percent; Responsible parenthood; No backlog in education via 68 percent increase in DepEd; Better quality higher education through 43 percent increase in CHED/SUCS: All these can summed under the doctrine of ‘reforms as norm’ which lay the fundamental for “Talagang masarap maging Filipino sa panahon ngayon,” the governor said.
Local radio commentator Ariel Ayque admitted that he was “terribly mesmerized.” “Of all the Presidents who delivered their SONAs…this one is credible. Congrats, PNoy,” he said.
Dante Magayanes, a DepEd employee, said what he likes most among the statements of PNoy was the mention of the new airport in Daraga.
“I was clapping alone in my office…go, go, go Daraga Airport. Go,go, go, PNoy and bring the best economy for us in Daraga. Can’t wait anymore longer seeing the landing and taking off of planes on my native land,” Magayanes posted on his Facebook account.
“Parang fiesta sa kabayanan na masigla ang lahat sa panonood kay PNoy. Ramdam naming lahat dito ag katapatan ng Pangulo sa kanyang mga binigkas dahil kasama kami sa mga nagkikinabang sa mga nagawa nito sa mga mahihirap na pamilya,” Hamor said.
The municipality is beneficiary to the Aquino administration’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA), a rural development program being carried out by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as a peace and development framework for the empowering of conflict-affected countryside.
The program is a way towards attaining economic progress as its objectives are based on initiating reforms and development projects in line with the national government’s peace agenda and ending internal armed conflicts.
“We now have a good road that opened a market link for four of our upland villages whose residents rely mainly on agriculture for their living. They could already deliver their crops to the market conveniently using motor vehicles,” Hamor added.
In Masbate City, Laura Marcayda, a city hall official, told the PNA over the phone that PNoy’s third SONA was very impressive.
“We really felt as we watch and listen to the President on TV that being a Pilipino remains a big pride,” Marcayda said.
She said that under the Aquino administration, Masbate, the province considered as the poorest in Bicol, has developed a great sense of perseverance to grow and be looked upon high in the near future as a top economy given its vast potentials in agriculture and tourism even as it is already the region’s top producer of cattle.
In Catanduanes, Governor Joseph Cua, in a statement Tuesday, said the SONA made Catanduanos realize further how the Aquino administration is doing its best to improve the living conditions in the countryside.
“Most of the infrastructure and other developmental projects the President have mentioned were directed to the provinces particularly those that are considered poor but potential growth areas,” Cua said.
Cua said Catanduanes is among the big beneficiaries of these projects since last year, as funds from the national government have been pouring into the province for the improvement of its roads, seaports, agricultural and tourism facilities and other vital infrastructures that the past administrations have failed to provide.
“We have ongoing road projects worth over P2 billion all financed by the national administration. And for Catanduanons, these projects are dreams coming true only under the Aquino administration,” he stressed.