Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dissecting PNoy’s TV Address

My barber asked me, “What is your take on PNoy’s most recent TV Address?  I heard and watched it on TV and I thought it was a clear and easily understandable speech."
PNoy on TV

I said that the speech was meant to inform, clarify, and respond to what the naysayers and conniving friends in the media are saying just to confuse the issues.  The fact that it was delivered in Tagalog makes it more understandable and it comes from the heart.

PNoy described the critics’ actions as “if you can’t explain it, muddle it; if you can’t deodorize it, make everyone else stink; if you can’t look good, make everyone look bad. You have heard what they are saying: that we are all the same.”
His response, “We are not the same. I have never stolen. I am not a thief. I am the one who goes after thieves. We appointed people of unquestionable integrity who are fulfilling their sworn duties. Did we not appoint the Commission on Audit leadership that reviewed the documents leading to the discovery of PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] abuse? And now, can we not expect a fair and just investigation, because the Ombudsman we appointed walks alongside us along the straight path?”

Former Senator Rene Saguisag described PNoy as a “non-lying, non-cheating, and non-stealing President who provided hope to the Filipino people.”  His Presidency has been consistently identified with the values of Honesty, Humility, Honor, and Hope.  So it was not surprising that he spoke to reassure the people that his “straight path” policies would be pursued aggressively.
PNoy’s GPS (Grand Prosecution of the Sleazy) remains a primary focus of his team. Addressing the sleazy,  “If you think that this will stop me from going after you, if you think that you can divert the public’s attention, if you think you can get away with stealing from our countrymen: you have sorely underestimated me and the Filipino people.“
One issue that his critics are using to divert attention is the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) the constitutionality of which is being questioned before the Supreme Court.  This is a program designed to stimulate the economy by accelerating the disbursement of funds generated from savings and other sources.
“They came from our efforts to stop the connivance of some in bidding for contracts, in padding costs, overpricing, and kickbacks. They came from the proper spending of our budget. They came from good governance now seen in our GOCCs [government-owned and -controlled corporations]; just one example of this is the MWSS [Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System], an agency once buried in debt, and which now remits dividends to the national government annually. Savings, above-target collections, and new revenues are the results of good governance.“
Where do the savings and other funds go?
“Because of DAP, these funds were allocated to projects that were within the proposed budget and that had a clear benefit to the country.
How does this mechanism work? Simple. There are some agencies that, for a variety of reasons, are unable to implement their projects right away; on the other hand, there are those that are very efficient in implementing their projects. When projects are stalled, naturally, we will not spend for them. We did not allow these funds to remain dormant. We looked for programs under implementing agencies that had proven themselves to be fast and efficient, and we channeled our savings into these programs—together with the additional revenue of the government. The benefits of these projects reached our countrymen faster and earlier, and we were able to spend the money allocated yearly in our National Budget more prudently and efficiently.”
PNoy gave examples of the projects. “DAP funded Project NOAH [Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards], which gives accurate and timely warnings during calamities. Also because of DAP, under the Training-for-Work Scholarship Program of TESDA [Technical Education and Skills Development Authority], almost 150,000 Filipinos were able to study, and no less than 90,000 of them are currently employed. DAP also benefited our Air Force and the police. Through DAP, we were able to construct infrastructure in Mindanao and other parts of the country; restore the benefits of DepEd [Department of Education] employees by paying their GSIS [Government Service Insurance System] premiums, which had long been unpaid by the government; and fund many other programs and projects that have a real, tangible benefit to Filipinos.” 
Asia’s Fastest Growing Economy
DAP “played an important role in our economic resurgence. According to the World Bank, DAP contributed 1.3 percentage points to our GDP [gross domestic product] growth in the fourth quarter of 2011. Let us compare: isn’t it true that, when they were still in power, we were called the “Sick Man of Asia”? Today, we can choose from a number of new labels: “Asia’s Fastest Growing Economy,” “Rising Tiger,” “Brightest Spark.” And let’s include the investment grade status we received from the three most reputable credit ratings agencies in the world. This economic growth—and its positive effects, which have redounded to our countrymen, especially those in the margins of society—this is the product of principled spending, and not of stealing. Money once pocketed by the corrupt is now being used to help our people, particularly the poor.”
The President’s Social Fund (PSF):
PNoy also explained the PSF. “There are times when we will need funds that can be disbursed quickly to meet sudden needs. For example: we needed funds to provide assistance to the families of soldiers and policemen who fell in the line of duty while responding to the threat posed by the MNLF [Moro National Liberation Front]-Misuari Faction in Zamboanga. There were also those who fell in the course of rescue and relief operations in the wake of Typhoon Sendong. The PSF funded these; without it, without calamity or contingency funds, they would have continued to suffer.”
Stoppage due to Past Abuses
“Some propose to remove them completely. Would this be just? If only it were that simple—but what would we then do in case of natural disasters? Even if we were lucky and Congress was in session, it would take at least four months of debate before Congress can approve the funding we need. If you are in Zamboanga, with a child crying from hunger, and government tells you that it cannot help you just yet, it would need to haggle with Congress first—how would you feel? We have the money, and we have the mechanisms that will ensure this money goes where it’s needed most. Would it be right to deprive our countrymen of the care they direly need?”
PNoy’s Appeal to Critics:
“If there still remains some vestige of kindness in your hearts, I hope that you stop acting in self-interest, and instead act to help your fellowmen.”
PNoy’s Appeal to the Filipino People:
“Now that falsehood and deception are threatening the Filipino’s right to a clean and honest government, the truth stands as our most powerful weapon. Tonight, I laid out the truth of what has been happening in our nation. I hope that in the coming days you will talk about this within your families, organizations, and communities, and that you can arrive at an understanding and a resolve that aligns with the truth.”

One columnist called it, “A brilliant speech.”  I call it a refreshing, necessary, beneficial, and practical speech of a “non-lying, non-cheating, and non-stealing” Head of a State!

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