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State of the Nation

On Monday, July 25, President Aquino will deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) to the joint session of Congress. As his “boss”, we may very well also asses what truly the state of our nation is.

We can look at our country in many different ways and we can draw insights from as many people as we can. For brevity, we offer four essential indicators: (1) Peace and order, (2) Governance, (3) Economy, and (4) Development and poverty alleviation.

Peace and order. Yet again, this is one sad note that grips our Nation still. The communist insurgency remains and there has been no remarkable development in the peace talks by the government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Cases of enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and common crimes remain unresolved. For that matter, do you feel much safer now? It’s certainly not the case I believe.

Governance. President Aquino’s government has undoubtedly made some headway in his fight against corruption, especially in unearthing the alleged anomalies in the GMA administration. Of course, until we see the day that the big fish he has been after are put in jail, we can’t really say that success has been achieved. Everything may just be all noise for it is so easy to come up with allegations that may be erroneous after all. Take the case of the “Pajero bishops” issue that went bust in the end.

Then there’s a saying that “little things mean everything.” In Aquino’s efforts to curb corruption, he should not overlook the day-to-day acts of corruption by individual officials and even lowly employees that occur in the usual offices known for corrupt practices.

Economy. Thankfully, as PhilStar reports, our country “posted its strongest growth in 34 years after its GDP growth expanded by 7.6 percent last year after slackening to 1.1 percent in 2009 from 3.8 percent in 2008 due to the full impact of the global financial crisis.” However, New York-based think-tank Global Source Partners states that “[a]t this time, we are still sticking to our projection of 4.8 percent growth for the year, though it is obvious the economy now confronts stronger head winds. As we previously reported, the leading economic indicators index released by NSCB suggests an increased lethargy in the economy in the second quarter.” (

Development and poverty alleviation. Official government statistics available are of 2009 vintage. Thus, we can simply look around us, and for sure, we’ll see that massive grinding poverty remains our biggest challenge. In particular, the pace of progress in Philippine efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in respect of extreme poverty and hunger (Goal 1) is “LOW.” The same “low” pace holds true for Goal 2 on achieving universal primary education. Significant progress for other MDGs has been achieved, however, such as on access to safe water, sanitary toilet facility, and other health concerns like malaria and tuberculosis.