The Tuwid na Daan or straight path is the central image President Benigno Aquino III conjured in last year’s presidential campaign and at the start of his term to delimit the scope of reforms that he would implement as the country’s leader until 2016.
The straight path is a lofty vision that, according to the President’s spokespersons, has been translated well through exposes of anomalies under former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and in developments like the resignation of the obstructionist Merceditas Gutierrez as chief Tanodbayan, an event attributed in part to pressure from the President’s allies in the Lower House.
The straight path, the President’s spokespersons say, has everything to do with housecleaning—a requirement if the nation is to move forward without the baggage of unresolved scandals committed or allowed in the past.
True enough, there needs to be closure with regard to wounds like the Hello Garci scandal and allegations of plunder leveled at Arroyo.
But the man or woman on the street cannot be temporally fed, housed or clothed with probes and the prosecution of the unjust.
The President, in delivering his State of the Nation Address today, must satisfactorily go beyond knowing the lay of the land that he accomplished in delivering the “shock and awe” Sona of the previous year.
What people expect is something beyond a litany of scandals that are already being taken care of by courageous complainants as well as legislators who have the power to investigate in aid of legislation.
The people already know the terrain—the path to progress is being straightened out. What they want to hear from Aquino are the concrete programs that would nourish and make them prosper on the road.
The Sona would essentially be a report, and so we expect a pithy picture of what the President has done to cure the ills that he identified (other than corruption), in his oath-taking speech and Sona 2010, and during the months after his defining speeches.
What has been done to stem the country’s brain drain and the splitting of families whose breadwinners were constrained to go abroad? What will come after the programs like the Pantawid Pasada? How many people have been prosecuted under the law that bars superfluous perks for executives in government-owned and -controlled firms? How will the money taken from their hefty bonuses be realigned?
Is the 4Ps social welfare program well implemented? Are safeguards in place so that no family will be economically oppressed by the implementation of a 12-year education cycle? Can we still overtake the goal of universal primary education by 2015? Will this country, home of the International Rice Research Institute, still continue to import rice?
What will the President do to better address crime? How about environmental degradation? Was more done after the appointment of a new weather bureau head to prepare us for disaster?
P-Noy needs to bring the straight path down the ladder of abstraction. He can do so when if he answers these questions.