Our Stance and Stand

Movement for the Advancement of Student Power

National Office: #18 Callejon Conchu Street Project 4 Quezon City

Email Address: maspnational2008@gmail.com

Blog Site: www.maspnational.wordpress.com

Mobile number: 09184128622

 

 

 

Statement on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s

8th State of the Nation Address

 

 

Students On genuine People’s SONA

 

            On July 28, Monday afternoon, the country will again see the president in her one of her most prestigious-high-status dress, holding her statements of rhetoric and avowal of accomplishments and plans. The public will again hear her voice in proud and of vows, with all the claps of our honorable politicians in all colors of nationalism and patriotism. The Filipino citizen will again be fooled, will again be tricked, will again be deceived. But this time, with all the stamina of hunger and poverty, with all the past seven SONAs and the all-throughout-crisis-and-dismay, Movement for the Advancement of Student Power (MASP) shouts, “On GMA’s SONA, hear no evil, hear no lies! Fellow youth, citizens of the nation, all in unity, raise our fists, declare the genuine people’s SONA!”

 

            Hunger, poverty, injustice, oppression, crisis – name it all, count it all – incalculable. Politics remained to be corrupt and dreary. Economy stayed undeveloped and stagnated. The state of the nation is in severe and bastardized condition. And with this context, the Arroyo government has never been responsive and accountable to all the problems and issues raised. Instead, the government keeps on arguing that there is no crisis, the economy is developing, the country is on road to justice. If these are all true, then who is becoming untruthful? Is it the Macapagal-Arroyo regime that has been engaged in enormous scandals of bribery and corruption, or the Filipino people who do feel all the hunger and suffering?

 

 1Some 48% of respondents disapprove of President Arroyo while 53% either have small confidence or completely distrust her based on the latest Pulse Asia survey released. Furthermore, 2GMA’s net satisfaction rating reaches to the most negative 38 (3rd quarter of 2008 SWS Survey), the lowest of all the presidential popularity rates in history. With these two survey-results being presented, the doubtless reactions to these are beyond question. These are just reaffirmation of the Filipino’s distrust and dismay to the Arroyo government. These are manifestations of how bankrupt the government is. These are reflections of Gloria’s seven-year perpetuation in power and arrogance.

 

            On education, the quality has been continuously deteriorating. While the parents and students tighten their belt just to afford the unjust increasing price of our deregulated education, the promise of good and high quality education is indeed questionable; the hope of welfare and success is at the edge of a cliff. The government keeps on giving band-aid solutions that will not solve the real problem. Like for example, GMA’s plead to the school administrators to freeze all the tuition and other fee increase. She better call to the policy-makers, education institutions and school administrators to do end the [1]deregulated status of education, to do a concrete policy to make education accessible to all, in mode of legislation to execution. Her government should take an action to some policies that hinder the progress of education like repealing the Automatic Appropriation Act (AAA) for Debt Servicing.

 

            3This is not to mention the more chronic, strategic mal-governance the people, especially the youth, faced under her illegitimate regime. Under her term, the Philippine national government debt rose to record heights, her administration itself keeping its record of having to borrow and pay debts more than the post-EDSA administrations combined. Under her term, the youth suffered the most, with the education spending per GNP dropping from an already meager 3.8% during the Estrada administration to a record-low of 2.2% in 2006, a far-cry to the UNESCO standard of 6%.

 

We have had enough of this administration’s deceitful ways and false promises of education reforms. While the number of out-of-school youth is growing in millions every year 4(from 14.6 million OSY in year 2004 to 17 million OSY in year 2008), while the exodus of students transferring from private schools to public schools is at an astonishing increase, while the necessary things and equipments like chairs, books, classrooms, etc., are at fixated shortage, not even a glance has been provided from the Arroyo government. Instead, the government thrusts the school administration in making education more commercialized and privatized. While the education is at worst, the negligence of Arroyo government is at worst too.

 

Furthermore, we are in outrage over unending and unjust price hikes. Oil prices have risen 18 times this year, and more daily increases are set to burden the people. This government refuses to impose and implement regulative policies to pad the blows of soaring oil prices. Prices of food, electricity and other basic commodities similarly continue to be padded up by economic policies such as the Value Added Tax (VAT) and other arduous taxes.

 

 

Moreover, while the country is suffering under rice price crisis, the agriculture sector is being ignored by this regime. The call for the extension and reform of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is being disregarded by the majority of the policy-makers even as GMA never bothered to do something about the peasant sector’s outcries. If GMA is really serious in solving this crisis, then why not give the demands of the sector, the land, rights and justice? Why keep on saying that there is nothing to blame about this dumbfounding rice price hike instead of doing concrete action to feed the people, which is in the long run. 5For a sector that accounts for close to 19 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and employs 35 percent of the labor force, agriculture has not received the attention and support that it richly deserves. Data from the General Appropriations Act show that the Department of Agriculture only got an average of 2 percent of the annual budget over the past six years.

5The most that the department got to fulfill its mandate to make sure that Filipinos have enough to eat and that the sector continues to help drive economic growth was 2.4 percent of the budget in 2002, before dipping to 1.6 percent in 2005 and 2007. This year is no different, with Congress allotting P24.7 billion for the agriculture sector, equivalent to a mere 2 percent of the total budget this year of P1.227 trillion. Now the country is literally paying the consequence of neglect.

On urban poor issue, aside of suffering severe hunger and poverty, they are also being deprived of their rights on safety housing. Demolitions were at left and right within the communities while safety relocation of the families is being set aside by the government.

            The Filipino citizens have been robbed and deprived of the basic services that are in need in order to survive. The Filipino citizens have been denied of dignified life. Where is the promise of poverty alleviation and democracy?

The above-mentioned issues are just some of the worst problems the people are suffering under Arroyo regime. There is more than that. The country is facing aggravating political and societal problems.  Arroyo is not the only reason why the nation remained at dismal state, but then, Arroyo is one of those main reasons. And Arroyo, the state’s highest official, is part of that political and societal problem.

            We had heard all her litanies in her SONAs for the past seven years, and on her eight SONA, for sure, litanies of superficial achievements and elusive promises will again be heard. The youth sector has had enough of all those lies. We’ve had enough of all her pretensions and foolishness. Therefore, hearing another SONA of lies will just waste our time. The real state of the nation will be addressed by the people and not by an illegitimate liar president. To the so called ‘President of strong nation’, your SONA is yours; it will not be relevant at all.

            As long as GMA stays in power, as long as neo-liberal policies continue to exacerbate, as long as this system of elite democracy persist to aggravate, as long as we won’t realize in unity the real alternative, the state of the nation will always be the same.

            The power is in us. We are the alternative.

Let us hear no evil, hear no lies. Fellow youth, citizens of the nation, all in unity, raise our fists, declare the genuine people’s SONA! End the crisis! Oust GMA! #


[1] The Daily Tribune; Pulse: 48% reject, 53% distrust Gloria; July 28, 2008 2 newsinfo.inquirer.net; How Arroyo can reverse her unpopularity by Ramon Tulfo 3 Youth Against Debt Unity Statement; Youth (SONA) State of the Nation Address; July 21, 2008 4 www.akbayanyouth.org 5 Why RP, home to IRRI… by Tina Dumlao of Philippine Daily Inquirer

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