President Aquino receives standing ovation after delivering his 5th SONA

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, July 28 (PNA) – President Benigno Aquino III received spontaneous standing ovation after he delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) during Monday’s joint session of Congress that officially opened the 2nd regular session of the 16th Congress at the Batasang Pambansa.

President Aquino also received 87 applauses from lawmakers and guests, almost similar to last year’s SONA where he was applauded 88 times.

Presidential sister Kris Aquino became emotional towards the end of the 95-minute speech when the President mentioned critics trying to put his administration down despite his ‘Tuwid na Daan’ (straight path) governance.

”I remembered an old woman whom I talked to. She said, ‘Noy, be careful, you’ll encounter many critics.’ Her warning happened. But I’m firm to face my critics. They are few and we are many,” Aquino said, drawing one of the longest and loudest applause.

Aquino said the Filipino people will succeed in this fight, adding “we are on the right path, we dreamed, we persevered, we worked hard, and now the Filipino, we’re able to take off.”

The President urged the Filipino voters to choose the leaders who will continue what his administration has started in winning back the confidence of local and foreign investors that propelled the economy to grow.

”In 2016, you will choose a new leader. For me, to continue the reforms we have started, there is only one basis in choosing my replacement. Who will undoubtedly continue the transformation that we have been implementing?,” Aquino said.

The Aquino administration has recently received criticisms over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to which the Supreme Court (SC) declared certain provisions as unconstitutional.

President Aquino, however, mentioned nothing about DAP in his SONA. The DAP helped improved the economy from 3.1 percent in 2011 to 7.3 percent in 2013.

The President received the longest applause when he said: “Should I have turned down the opportunity, I could have also rejected my parents and all their sacrifices for us. That will not happen.”

President Aquino is the only son of the former President Corazon Aquino and the former Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr. who was assassinated in 1983.

The President said the transformation the country has achieved will continue with the help of God.

”And as we strengthen each other, we will continue to prove that ‘the Filipino is worth dying for, the Filipino is worth living for, and I will add: the Filipino is definitely worth fighting for.’” the President ended his SONA. (PNA)