Leyte solon grades PGMA's 8th SONA 95%
By Bong Pedalino
Maasin City (July 30) -- It was a high rating mark of 95%, the 8th State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, that is, as graded by Southern Leyte Lone District Representative Roger Mercado.
In an interview with PIA yesterday, Cong. Mercado intimated that the Philippines has been battered by a "subasko", a bisayan term for sudden onslaught of strong winds, a metaphor he used in the face of global events like skyrocketing of oil and food crisis.
And in the midst of this international crisis, the solon admitted that the value-added tax (VAT) has helped a lot so that the national government can cushion the adverse effects of the worsening economic slowdown, its impact in the country at least mitigated.
In the same SONA, Cong. Mercado praised President Arroyo's call for everyone to exert their best efforts in this challenging times so they can attain progress at their personal or individual levels and not rely endlessly on government intervention.
In her speech, the President recognized a number of ordinary Filipinos who excelled in their vocation despite the current economic slump.
Among those cited was Victoria Mindoro, who used to earn P 5,000.00 a month as a farmer and factory worker but now earns P 10,000.00 a week, being a beneficiary of an agrarian reform community in Kabasalan town in Zamboanga Sibugay.
Another person who was acknowledged for his feat was Alan Almanse, a 40-year old college undergraduate with two children. By fishing and driving a tricycle before as his occupation, he had earned P 100.00 a day, but now as a whaleshark officer under the government's tourism program, he is earning P 1,000 a day.
A 13-year old boy, Rodney Berdin of Barangay Rombang, Belison, Antique, was also honored by the President for saving his mother, brother, and sister from drowning in a river at the height of typhoon "Frank."
Cong. Mercado likewise credited the President for not dealing with issues in her talk but gave enough focus on just stating her case on the issue of the VAT.
"Take away the VAT and you and I abdicate our responsibility as leaders and pull the rug from under our present and future progress, which may be compromised by the global crisis," Pres. Arroyo said, even as she described the present situation as the "worst since the Great Depression and end of World War II."
"Take away the VAT and we strip our people of the means to ride out the world food and energy crisis," she added. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]