Davao Today asks people on the streets about what they expect from the President’s state of the nation address on Monday, and in return, got a wish list of what people think government should do to alleviate their plight.

What do you think the government should address in her state of the nation address on Monday?

She should address urgently the skyrocketing prices of oil, which bring 23 million Filipinos going hungry for every P1 increase in prices. It will affect not only the poor (they have already suffered enough) but also the middle class. These subsidies that GMA is talking about – the lifeline subsidy, rice subsidy, etc. – are mere palliatives. We want GMA to suspend the ad valorem tax and the expanded value-added tax of 12 percent because these taxes have worsened the suffering of the poor.

We want GMA to be accountable for the P7.3 billion that government lost to corruption ($2M President Diosdad Macapagal Avenue, Free Port, Agri Fertilizer, Swine Scam, Telepono sa Barangay, among others). This amount does not include yet the P329 million ZTE deal.

We want the prosecution of personalities involved in questionable government deals, like Jocjoc Bolante, Nani Perez, among others. Millions of Filipinos are going hungry while GMA and her officials squander the people’s money.

We want GMA to prioritize urgent economic bills such as the 125-peso across-the-board wage increase bill, the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law and the implementation of Price Control Act of 1992.
–Jeppie Ramada, regional secretary- general , Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) should be serious and decisive in resolving the crisis and not just give band-aid solutions. She should shift her priorities to agricultural development and should provide support to farmers to ensure affordable prices of rice.
–Franchie Buhayan, secretary- general, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap

GMA should address the people’s poor living conditions. She must answer first the rising prices of products including that of fuel. The cost of fare now is very high. My child couldn’t go to school anymore because I could no longer afford to send her to school. Our money is just enough to buy NFA rice. Every time we buy NFA rice at the store, we tell each other that we will not vote for Gloria again. If she runs in 2010, no one will believe her anymore.

We are worried that if she remains the President, we will start eating bran (tahup) instead of rice, because of the increasing prices.

If we get sick, we don’t have money for medicines. Living conditions were even better during Erap’s and Marcos’ time. She keeps ignoring the increase of prices. She’s just making herself rich. Poverty is not caused by God anymore but by the government. It’s the poor, not the businessmen, who suffer the most. Some can’t even eat thrice a day. Some would only drink coffee in the morning, while others combine their breakfast and lunch.
— Gilda Sotero, 54, balut vendor in Sandawa

She should tackle the increasing prices of commodities. Prices are already high. Fuel is only one of them. We hope she would pull down the prices of fuel because that is the reason the prices of goods and other products keep increasing. The food should be the most important. The prices of rice are very high and that is what people buy everyday. Then, there’s also the problem of the increasing cost of fare and school supplies for our students. Arroyo should address them.
— Rommel Quiamco, barber in Ponciano street

I do not know anything about SONA. I open my store at 7 am and I go home at 11 pm. Sorry, I
know nothing about that.
–Edna Anghel, vendor in Ponciano street

“President Arroyo should focus on the economy. She should address the country’s crises, the salaries and wages of the employees and the workers; the fuel problem; the peace and order situation; and the rice problem. I hope that we will not import rice from other countries anymore, and start exporting rice, instead.”
–Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz, councilor, Davao City third district

“The President should address our problem on fuel because it has a domino effect. If the price of gasoline increases, the prices of basic commodities like rice and other staple goods will automatically increase.”
–Jose Louie Villafuerte, councilor, Davao City third district

“Sana lifting value added tax on fuel, increase taxes on tobacco products and liquor and subsidize rice for the poorest of the poor. All must be done immediately!”
–Tomas Monteverde IV, councilor, Davao City second district

“Since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has just approved the amendment on the tax exemptions to low earners, the President should ensure that it will be implemented. It is good news to our poor workers.”
— Edgar Ibuyan, councilor, Davao City first district

“Talk on corruption in government. What happened to the implementation of agriculture modernization law to increase production and food supply? We are now net importer of most commodities. No production increase due to Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Jobs and poverty reduction. She should step down after her term.”
— Angel Puentespina, president, Davao Tourism Association

“The crises on oil and rice must be addressed. Increase the salaries and calamity funds, more jobs for the Filipinos, housing projects for the poor, fight against corruption.”
– Jocelyn Gumpad-Joson, CPA-MBA; Accountancy Professor, Ateneo de Davao University and Holy Cross of Davao College

“Solutions to the high inflation and food prices, police impunity, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), energy crises, expanded Value Added Tax, oil, food security vis--vis CARP and agricultural support vis--vis renewable energy a.k.a. ethanol; and peace.”
– Valeriano Clamonte Jr, Social Science Professor, University of the Philippines in Mindanao

“First on the list for me should be finding a solution on the oil problem. I agree with what the church said that the P500 power subsidy could only make more people dependent. They should have used the money for a more concrete, long-term plan. Then the rice shortage pa talaga, dami na kasi lupa na dapat pwede sanang taniman ng palay which were converted to other use.”
– Linda Mae Bosquit, RN, professor/nurse licensure exam review lecturer, St. Louis Review Center

A few weeks back in a published article, a World Bank report cited the Philippines as the most corrupt country in East Asia! This is a grave concern of every Filipino.

Biblically, the love of money is the root of all evils. But it is equally true that the lack of money produces more evil. If the money intended for government projects to alleviate the plight of the poor is drained down the corruption funnel into the private coffers of greedy politicians, we’ll certainly expect more crimes to happen. Corruption is a crime and the type of crime that begets more crimes.

This I believe should be one of the major concerns, if not the primary one, that must be addressed in the upcoming SONA.
— Rev. Edwin P. Santos, Doctor of Ministry in Missions Founder, Voice of God Church (VOGC), Inc.

I hope she will solve the ZTE issue, the political killings, the continuing poverty and the high prices of rice.
— Rev. Ariel Baladjay, UCCP conference minister

She should address poverty issues, because it has been a lingering problem in the Philippines. That should be the primary thing the government should tackle. There is rise in the prices of fuel and rice. We cannot control it. Everybody experiences it. We, in the police are lucky because the President check on us. We have a cheque, although it’s not so substantial. Maybe other government agencies should also have some kind of subsidies like what we are having. How can you cope with the rising prices of basic commodities if your salary remains the same? All of us clamor for an increase in salary so the government should address that. But where would the government get the money?
— police chiefiInspector Alden Delvo, San Pedro police station

Land for the landless. Landlessness is responsible for widespread poverty. If the middle class is already affected by the current food crisis, what must the poor be eating? Arroyo should address the people’s issue of landlessness and address people’s needs for food, shelter and education. Recent surveys showed more children are dropping out of school this year.
— Sister Luz Mallo, Missionaries of the Assumption

The current wages simply aren’t commensurate to the increasing prices of basic commodities, particularly rice and oil. Since the President claims to be an economist and the country’s problem are mostly economic-based, she should figure out a solution.
— Atty. Faye Risonar

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