The play of words in lines like “May pumapasok nang madilim pa, at may umuuwing madilim na—pero lahat sila, naiiwan sa dilim dahil hindi sapat ang oras ng pag-aaral” (Some went to school when it was still dark, others went home when it was already dark, but everyone was in the dark…) gave it rhythm.
His claims are supported by figures and percentages: dividends from GOCCs, revenues generated by BIR, budget reform, global competitiveness and economic growth, investment-grade credit rating, net foreign investments, domestic investments, growth of the manufacturing sector, lowest unemployment in a decade, better opportunities so OFWs can return to the Philippines, improved labor relations, support for education, wider heath coverage, etc. Admittedly numbers are not thrilling and many listeners may have tuned out, but how else do you illustrate improvement? Besides, we will know that we have matured as a nation when our politics becomes boring. Perhaps aware that reciting numbers makes listeners sleepy, he closed out the math section by quoting Aiza Seguerra: “I thank you, bow.” Later he provided a helpful summary for listeners who had just woken up.
Aquino absolves Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya for the atrocious state of the MRT, heaping the blame on the private corporation maintaining it. “Di po ba miski sinong kumpanya, dapat sinisigurong masusulit ang kanilang investment? Pero hinayaan lang nilang lumala nang lumala ang situwasyon hanggang umabot sa puntong ipinasa na sa atin nang ora-orada ang pagsasaayos ng MRT.” (Whatever the company, shouldn’t they be ensuring a return on their investment? But they let the situation get worse and worse…) Why are you complaining to us about how your private partner runs the MRT? You’re the government! The MRT is a public utility!
Aquino points out that politicians exploit the forgiving nature of Filipinos (which we ascribe to very poor memory and a refusal to do anything that might cause other people to dislike them), chanting “Kawawa naman kami” (Poor pitiful us) all the way back to power. This is the closest he got to criticizing his “bosses”. “May naalala ba kayong nagsabing, ‘Sorry sa pagnanakaw at pang-aabuso, handa na akong magbago?’” (Do you recall anyone saying, ‘Sorry for the theft and abuse of power, I am ready to change?’”)
In detailing efforts to upgrade the Armed Forces (the Air Force now has actual planes) and the National Police, he cited these statistics: In Metro Manila, from January to June 2014, there were 37 murders and homicides every week. The number is now down to 23 murders and homicides. There were 919 cases of robbery, theft and carjacking every week, but they’re down to 444 cases a week. What! That many?! The stats may be down, but it still sounds like a crime wave.
Read our column at InterAksyon.