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President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III during his speech at the launching of Pagbilao Power Plant III extension project, Manila, Philippines

PNoy: Ph gov’t to overcome pressing problems

President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III during his speech at the launching of Pagbilao Power Plant III extension project, Manila, Philippines
President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III during his speech at the launching of Pagbilao Power Plant III extension project, Manila, Philippines

MALACANANG, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday vowed to resolve the pressing problems his administration faces in the remaining two years of his term.

Speaking during the Agenda-Setting with Dialogue Partners, which was attended by members of Congress and the Cabinet, coalition allies, leaders and representatives of various civil society organizations and business groups, President Aquino focused on four issues the government is facing and the steps it is taking to resolve them.

First, he said, is the possible power shortage next year, brought about by a resurging economy and the El Niño weather phenomenon.

The President said he will soon ask Congress to authorize the government to contract an additional power generating capacity.

“Sa ngayon po, lahat ng iskema para masiguradong mapipigilan ang brownout ay itinutulak natin. Ang katuwiran po natin ay sakali ngang magkaroon ng pagkukulang sa kuryente, maganda nang tiyak na may pagkukunan tayo nito, kaysa aasa na lang tayo na, sana may makunan tayo kapag nagkakaproblema,” he explained.

He said he has instructed Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to do everything to avert power outages during summer next year.

Second is the port congestion in Manila, brought about by unclaimed cargoes, the President said, adding that this has resulted in gridlock in main thoroughfares.

In response, the government has coordinated with the local governments of Manila and the entire National Capital Region regarding the passage of trucks, and has imposed a daily fine of P5,000 for unclaimed cargoes starting October 1, among other measures, he said, noting that he has directed Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras to concentrate on solving the issue.

Third is the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, he said.

“Dumarami po ang nagkakaroon ng kakayahang bumili ng sariling sasakyan; hinahabol po natin ang pagpapagawa ng supisyenteng kalsada, pero alam po nating hindi ito sapat. Kailangan ding pagbutihin ang sistema ng pampublikong transportasyon,” the President said.

He also traced the root of the MRT problem back in 2006, when the MRT was supposed to have a general overhaul, necessary every eight years, but got a minor overhaul instead.

“Sa ngayon nga po: Gumugulong na ang proseso para sa isang malawakan at sistematikong pagsasaayos ng MRT system,” he announced.

He said 48 new coaches will arrive in a year’s time, railway tracks will be improved to ensure passenger safety, an Automatic Fare Collection System will be put in place, and queuing areas will be expanded.

Fourth is the peace and order issue, he said, adding that the government is addressing high-profile cases and has scored successes in the arrest of two suspects in the killing of race car driver Enzo Pastor, two suspects in the murder of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan Mayor Ernesto Balolong, and three suspects in the killing of hotel chain owner Richard King.

He also praised the police for reducing the number of homicide cases in the National Capital Region from 31 cases a week to 20 cases a week.

“Ang mga hakbang ukol sa mga isyung tinukoy ko ang magpapatunay: Sagad na sagad pa rin ang tutok natin sa kapakanan ng ating mga Boss. Hindi tayo lilihis sa tuwid na landas; ang tuon natin: Hindi pulitika, kundi resulta; hindi pag-iingay, kundi kongkretong tugon sa mga suliranin ng ating mga Boss; hindi ambisyon, kundi serbisyong pampubliko at tunay na pagmamahal sa ating bansa,” President Aquino said.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.