MANILA - Jobs and better work conditions, the safety and welfare of overseas Filipino workers, peace and order and defense of Philippine territory and sovereignty are among the top priorities Bayan Patrollers want to hear from President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s July 23, 2012 State of the Nation Address (SONA).
On the Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo Facebook page, Jerry Saenz says he wants to hear the President thumb down calls to increase the Philhealth premiums of OFWs. Fatty Singson wants to hear about social nets to cushion OFWs and their families from the effects of a weakened dollar. Renz Azcuna demands an end to extortion and exploitation of OFWs. Shaine Rodriguez urges Mr. Aquino to set policies that would provide jobs with reasonable income for OFWs to come home, while Mannuel Tibhay, Elena Salvador and Thess Madrigal say they want to see OFW concerns as a genuine priority of the government.
“Kung paano protektahan ang bansa laban sa mga mananakop, ano ba ang plano nya tungkol ditto,at hangang saan ang proteksyon na kayang ibigay ng gobyerno para sa aming mga OFW,” is what Florencio Torero Perado wants to hear from the President. Ydran Ocampo Mangune, on the other hand, appeals for faster aid to distressed OFWs in the Middle East and speedy repatriation.
Rolan Paniergo calls for greater attention on national security, including the setting up of naval bases and improving tourism in the Spratly islands and a push for oil and gas exploration in Benham Rise. Arnel Gambol, on the other hand, says, “sa isyu ng SCARBOROUGH, dapat po liwanagin nyang mbuti kung anu ang mga hakbng na gngwa ng gobyerno kasi mukhang talga desidido ang China na kunin ito.”
Salvador, Romulado Policarpio and Fredo Patubo want a stronger Armed Forces and greater assertiveness on the Spratlys dispute. Ray Biniza Bilon takes it further: “Mabawi ang Panatag Island dahil sa atin naman ito at kung lumaban ang mga heroes natin noon para sa Pinas, kaya din natin gawin ito, buhay man ang kapalit.”
Still on corruption
Several Bayan Patrollers also wish to see a crackdown on corruption and Donie Contemprato Sana wants a cleanup of the Philippine National Police.
Paniero says publishing corrupt government officials would be good for business.
Azcuna and Rolan Rivera Tepait want an increase in classrooms and teachers to improve the country’s educational system. John Davies Bautista Franco cites the need for reforms in education to long-term economic stability.
Almoarif Mangotara says he wants a solution to the Mindanao conflict, even if this would require charter change. Erie Lester Selerio, meanwhile, wants the police and military to crush rebels and bandits in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country.
John Delacuesta wants to hear the President order the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to punish firms that violate the rights of workers. Vincent Dahiyag appeals for protection against lack of tenure and social benefits caused by piecemeal work or contractual systems. Nylnyl Mendoza Eroy wants to hear clear solutions to unemployment.
Rose Cuenca Llanes says she wants to hear the President call for higher wages that could ease the impact of inflation, while Annaville Austria adds, “sana taasan nman ang sweldo ng mga construction w0rker at mga laborer. At sana maramdaman ang pgtaas ng sweldo dito sa Bicol.”
Environment, tourism, China
On the environment and agriculture, Azcuna wants the President to support a halt to mining and push for a more efficient re-forestation and agriculture programs. Ann Esperanza wants a tighter watch against illegal fishers to halt degradation of the country’s marine resrouces.
John Paul Martirez wants to hear stronger policies on tourism, environmental protection, infrastructure and transportation, plans to add more international airports and seaports, greater Internet accessibility and digital television.
“Ang gusto ko madinig ay ang mas malawak na plano ng ating gobyerno na naka tutok sa mas maayos na pamaahala sa pera ng ating bayan,” says Bobby De Belen Magsino. “Isa yun sa susi para umunlad ang ating economya.”
Some critics made fun of the Mr. Aquino’s perceived penchant for blaming former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the country’s problems. Other bewail that they are tired of hearing the President harp on the country’s territorial dispute with China.
But Thess Madrigal calls of Filipinos to unite behind Mr. Aquino and Zeny Balani Mendoza defends the President and insists he has started many good programs.