A day before President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA), Senator Loren Legarda outlined the core issues the President must address and remarked on the important role of Congress in achieving progress in these areas.
“National security is the unifying theme in everything the government does, and should be among core considerations he must address. It straddles across governance, delivery of basic services, consistent and honest pursuit of sustainable development, and ensuring security not just in the national defense realm, but security for every Filipino inside and outside of his home,” Legarda explained.
On the President’s Tuwid na Daan strategy, she commented that while anti-corruption is a central theme and vital element in the administration, “Filipinos need to see how these efforts translate to food on the table, education and health services for all, access to clean energy, and a healthy and secure environment in order for Filipinos to grow and prosper as a nation.”
“Governance policies, while important, need to be translated into services and programs whose benefits can be felt by the ordinary Filipino. At the end of the day, this government will be judged by the number of people it will lift out of poverty and by the sense of security that our people will enjoy facing the future,” she said.
Legarda also highlighted the importance of foreign policy to protect our national interest in the global arena.
“We have more than 8 million Filipinos, nearly 10% of our population, who needs to remain in our radar screen as their contributions in various ways have kept our economy afloat over the past decades. We need to ensure that their safety and well-being form part of our definition of national interest,” she explained.
Citing the country’s credit rating upgrade to one notch below investment grade and strong foreign investor interest in the country, she added that a level playing field for investors must be ensured in order that private sector may continue to serve its role as engine of growth.
“Congress has an equally important role in ensuring that our country stays on course in its path to a sustainable and secure future. It is important that policies and the budget are in place to provide the framework and the wherewithal to carry out the programs and services for the people. Key sectors that we need to look at include the environment, disaster preparedness, foreign policy, energy, education, health, and social services,” Legarda concluded.***