MANILA, Philippines - Although President Aquino's vision for the country and achievements are laudable, he needs to do more.
So said Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano in his "kontra SONA," a speech countering the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA) traditionally delivered by the minority leaders in both chambers of Congress.
In his speech on Monday, Cayetano praised Aquino for his plans , the things he has accomplished, and his sincerity. "Bilang mga Pilipino, masaya kami na maaari na kaming mangarap muli," he said.
But Cayetano said the President has still failed to address many pressing problems, including joblessness, the rising cost of commodities, and poor education and health facilities.
Cayetano said many Filipinos are still forced to work abroad because the are very few opportunities in the country, contrary to Aquino's statement in his SONA that the unemployment rate has gone down.
He also believes that the conditional cash transfer program, the Aquino government's anti-poverty measure, is not enough.
"Malaking bagay ito, ngunit mas maganda kung kami ay magkakaroon ng magandang trabaho o pagkakakitaan," Cayetano said.
"Hindi likas sa amin ang hingi nang hingi ... ngunit wala pa ring mga oportunidad at trabaho. Bigyan n'yo po kami ng negosyo at trabaho at hindi kayo magsisisi."
Cayetano also lamented the poor state of public hospitals and schools, and the the high cost of healthcare even with the PhilHealth medical insurance program.
"Mabigat pa rin ang toka sa amin ng gastusin sa pagpapagamot. Marami sa amin ang hindi pa rin ocvered ng PhilHealth," he said.
Cayetano called on Aquino to prioritize these problems in the remaining half of his term.
Although the leader of the Senate minority, Cayetano has been usually supportive of the administration.
He has said he will criticize the administration constructively.