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July 27, 2015

PNoy Gets Failed Mark on Fulfilling Promises During Term – Social Watch Philippines

In response to President Benigno Aquino III’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA) today, Social Watch Philippines (SWP) lead convener Prof. Leonor Magtolis Briones said that the President has failed to fulfill his promises on the matter of social development and protection of the Constitution. According to Briones, based on the Millennium Development Goals target on poverty, the Philippines has not met its 17.2% poverty rate goal. As of the first semester of 2014, poverty incidence remains at 25.8% proving that despite the flagship poverty reduction programs of the government, poverty levels have remained virtually unchanged.

Leonor Briones, PNoy gets failed mark on fulfilling promises during term - Social Watch Philippines, SWP Logo, July 27 2015

It is claimed that the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) has improved, however the GDP goals for 2015 may not be attained. GDP growth does not guarantee that the majority of the Filipinos have felt this economic progress. She stressed that, “Many Filipinos still consider themselves poor and hungry. Claims of robust growth can only be substantiated if they benefit from it.”

Scaling up the conditional cash transfer program (CCT) or popularly known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P’s) was the President’s solution to eradicating poverty. Briones said however, “Hindi pamimigay ng pera ang solusyon, trabaho ang dapat pagtuunan ng pansin. Besides, CCT is directed to children of school age and pregnant women, leaving out those who are not in this group of poor.”

Moreover, numerous violations of the Constitution happened during his term. “The Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program, albeit in different manifestations, continued to exist despite the Supreme Court declaring both schemes as unconstitutional.” Briones explained.

“The administration has effectively defied the Court’s decision by inflating budgets that contain PDAF-like, legislator-identified projects, arbitrarily redefining savings and augmentation, as well as inserting the concept of reallocation of allotment classes and reprioritization,” she added.

The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law as supported by the administration comprises of provisions that are unconstitutional, in terms of fiscal autonomy and audit & fiscal accountability.

With these actions, Briones said that, “it is in this current administration that the Constitution have been repeatedly violated and
disregarded.”

PNoy administration also had the weakest financial management wherein large amount of money appropriated in the budget remain unspent due to inefficiency of agencies and institutional weakness. The slow implementation of projects, according to Briones, is one form of corruption.

The state of our mass transportation became worse and was not handled effectively by the government. The Yolanda rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, in which up until now, still has not met its spending targets most especially regarding resettlement of the victims. “Just like the famous line in the American series Game of Thrones: winter is coming. For us, other Yolandas are coming,” said Briones. “The lack of priority to disaster preparedness will definitely may lead to similar, even worse situations than the onslaught of Yolanda,” she stated.

In 2010, the President, during his electoral campaign, promised to eradicate poverty, hunger, corruption and pledged to defend the Constitution. But, nearly the end of his term, he has not achieved any of these promises he made to all the Filipinos, Briones said in closing.

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