Note: I wrote this satire for Philippine Online Chronicles.
As in all of President Noynoy Aquino’s past three speeches, this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) painted a glossy picture of the country.
The Philippines is now a “rising tiger,” said the World Bank. The “brightest spark.” exclaims the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England.
Of course, it was met with warm applause from “representatives” in Congress – Aquino’s fellow hacienderos and business scions garbed in designer gowns and suits.
Equally enthusiastic cheers in social media by a middle class ready to fall upon any promise of change and progress amidst the uncertainty plaguing the country and the rest of the world.
“PNoy is not a perfect president. But at least we have a GOOD one. At last! He has been working hard. Lets value,” said Vice Ganda.
Little Nuggets of Wisdom
And who wouldn’t be excited about little nuggets of wisdom like this: “If you put up a wind-powered plant, what do you do when there is no wind? If you put up a solar plant, what do you when the sky is cloudy?”
“I wonder if those who are critical of the plants we want put up will be as noisy when they are busy fanning themselves during brownouts,” the President adds.
Pollution will not matter to those who become ill from the fumes. There’s PhilHealth and the newly corporatized hospitals anyway. If they cannot pay the hospital fees because of the expensive cost and the limited insurance coverage, then would it even matter? You could say this is all within the development framework of our RH Law: population control is the key to reducing the country’s poverty. Eradicate poverty, kill the poor.
With all the flash floods and other calamities caused by large-scale mining, legal logging, agri-business plantations and other “development” projects, many people will likely end up as “bakwits” in evacuation centers or crowd in the cities as “iskwaters.” But no worry, this problem is to be solved with P18,000 per family and relocation to backwater sites developed by the President’s very own Kamag-anak, Kaklase, Kabarilan, Inc.
What do you know? Maybe in the next SONA, the names of these victims who chose to accept government “assistance” will be eulogized by the President alongside the famous “crying cop.”
Who says the president is lazy? He is never lazy for his bosses.
Like the common people who he says must never be lazy in order to take part of this “inclusive growth.” As the President warns, “the only ones who will be left behind are those who chose not to venture onwards with us, simply because they did not seize the opportunity.”
This is why those utopian and irrational activists’ demands for genuine land reform and national industrialization are now passe, as the ever intelligent Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda would put it.
A case in point: Henry Sy, Lucio Tan and Uncle Danding! They cooperate with the government! They seize every opportunity! They never fail to utilize the large pool of unemployed Filipinos in order to subject their contractual workers to cheap labor exploitation.
Is it any wonder that 76 percent of the GDP growth is accounted for by the assets of the country’s 40 richest individuals to which these great men belong?
See, these hardworking billionaires and millionaires, like the owners of Manila Water and Maynilad, seizes every opportunity. Heck, they even pass-on their own income taxes to consumers in concurrence with Aquino’s government. Unlike those lazy workers perpetually nagging for that P125 wage increase.
Correspondingly, those people who are not at all part of the KKK should not hope on government to subsidize their MRT fares, state university tuition, and medical expenses. It is unfair to get government subsidy for transport, education, and health!
A big chunk of the national budget is already being spent on the people via the pork barrel funds of the president, the senators, and the congressmen every year. Let’s not burden the government further. Let us not rely on them for everything.
Dan Brown wrote that the country’s national capital is the “Gates of Hell.” Under Aquino, all that has changed. Not true at all. The Shanghai Morning Post named the country the “Most Romantic Destination of 2012.”
“The Best Tourism Destination of 2012” according to The Oriental Morning Post. The “Best Diving Destination,” said Scuba Diving Magazine. It is indeed more fun in the Philippines!
It makes you wonder why the number of Filipinos leaving the country rose from 2,500 in 2010 to almost 5,000 this year. Worse, why would many overseas contract workers choose hell – countries in the Middle East engulfed in the flames of war than stay in the comforts of paradise?
There are many reasons why they should remain in the country. For one, genuine, lasting peace has come to Mindanao. And anyone who doubts this must ask himself what the President told the skeptics: “Can you really say that you are a Filipino that has compassion for his fellow Filipinos?”
The end of poverty is at hand with the Conditional Cash Transfers. Those complaining for not receiving CCTs should try to reflect. Maybe you’re earning more than P52 a day. If you do then you are not poor according to government research. Why, isn’t that enough to buy a kilo of rice and sardines?
Thanks to Department of Education Secretary Luistro, “we have finally erased the backlog we inherited in books and chairs…”
Amazing! Never mind the fact that students take turns using classrooms. Why, the classroom floor, the stairs and the corridors also count as chairs! And if the space under the mango tree is full, there are more chairs at home via the home study program.
The country almost reached rice-self sufficiency. Rice is no longer being smuggled. It’s just that more and more Filipino farmers are planting rice now that “all notices of coverage will have been served for lands covered by comprehensive agrarian reform.”
Including, of course, the Presidential family’s very own Hacienda Luisita (appropriately distributed through lottery). “I come from a dizzy land where the lottery is the basis of reality,” said Jorge Luis Borges. Those who get the best lots are plain lucky. Or so the winners say.
Naturally, all this is nothing but idiocy.
If the original Greek idios means “private” in the sense of personal possessions, then what do you call the Aquino regime’s clinging to a neoliberal dogma that equates profit-interests with the ultimate good?
How else can one define the way the customary empty rhetoric and endless litanies of rosy figures stand in stark contrast to the daily grind of rising poverty, inequality, hunger, price hikes, and joblessness?
The truth is that the recently delivered SONA is reflective of a rabidly profit-oriented neoliberal agenda of concentrating all the wealth in fewer and fewer hands that is imposed at the expense of the rights and interests of the impoverished majority.
It is this neoliberal idiocy that has become the common sense governing much thinking today, the very dogma transforming many into idiotes concerned only with the private accumulation of wealth.
“How wonderful it is to be a Filipino in these times,” said the President. How wonderful indeed.
There is no more graft and corruption, only the remnants of the Arroyo administration’s shenanigans.
The same old foreign investment-dependent economic model that plunders the environment and exploits the people is called “development.” The massive inequality that this old discredited framework creates now calls itself by the name of “inclusive growth.”
There are no more brutal military operations, only Oplan Bayanihan and respect for human rights. Army units wreaking havoc in rural villages are called “community peace and development teams.” Psychological warfare? No. They are called “civil-military operations.”
Fortunately for the President, “Our country has never lacked for people prepared to take a stand and fight for our country regardless of the enormity of the challenges before them.”
Or did he mean that stubborn crowd of protesters being violently dispersed by the police outside the Batasan Complex?
As the novelist Eduardo Galeano said, “the worst violators of nature and human rights never go to jail. They hold the keys.”