MANILA July 23, 2013—Representatives from the worker’s sector expressed disappointment on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III saying they cannot feel the economic growth the president was referring to.

Rene Magtubo of the Church Labor Conference (CLC) stressed that the workers only has simple request from the government.

“In the president’s SONA that lasted for one hour and forty two minutes, we only have simple request that we wanted to hear from him but was not mentioned. These are high wages, cost of living allowance, regulation on electricity, MRT and LRT fare and housing programs to mention some. Like for housing programs, they are sending us to faraway places outside the city without livelihood to give way for high rise condominiums. We are expecting fare equality,” Magtubo said during a Church forum in Intramuros, July 23.

Magtubo pointed out that the president bombarded the public with data and not what ordinary Filipinos want to hear like honest talks on developments that everyone can benefit from.

“The president is telling us about progress and development. But who is the real one benefiting from the economic growth? Since 2006 to 2012, 58 out of 100 people are poor. In a survey, 40 richest families in the Philippines who are part of the list of Forbes Magazine controls 70% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the country. The economy is growing but also the inequality on the division of wealth among us,” Magtubo added.

Unemployment and underemployment were also not addressed during the SONA, he said.

“We are ready to engage with the government but they are not responding,” he also added.

Meanwhile, Erwin Quiñones from the SOS Yamang Bayan also pointed out the exclusion of the environment in the president’s SONA.

“Healthy economy and communities are healthier when there is a healthy environment and proper management of natural resources. Access of control of our natural resources for the benefit of the Filipino people was not mentioned in his nation’s address,” Quiñones added.

He emphasized that an environmental program cannot succeed without checking the natural resources in which many things referring to the environment were not addressed during the president’s speech.

“The president should also focus on the issue of the environment like giving importance to environmental bills such as the alternative minerals management bill (AMMB) which we are advocating right now. Until the law is amended or change in terms of mining, its direction will continue to go out of the country without us benefiting from it. In an economy, there should be a clear understanding on the natural resources that we need to protect and put in good use,” Quiñones furthered. (Jandel Posion)