MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Patrollers want freedom from poverty and corruption, a government that serves them, and a chance to improve their lot – possibly mirroring what typical Filipinos would say out loud if they had the chance to tell President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III what they wanted to hear in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday.
The wishes came from at least 550 citizens who responded to a question posed by Bayan Mo, iPatrol Mo: Ako ang Simula (BMPM), the citizen journalism project of ABS-CBN.
The question, “Anong gusto mong marinig sa State of the Nation Address ni Pangulong Aquino?” sought from citizens what about their livelihood or their community they wished would be addressed when Aquino delivers his SONA for the first time.
Presidents have traditionally outlined programs and legislative agenda when they delivered their SONA every last Monday of July, the Constitutionally-mandated opening of Congress sessions yearly.
BMPM posted this question July 16 on its site (bmpm.abs-cbnnews.com), and on its accounts on Facebook (facebook.com/bayanmoipatrolmo.akoangsimula) and Twitter (twitter.com/bayanmo). BMPM gathered citizens’ responses a week after and ranked these according to volume.
Topping the list of citizens’ wishes were those related to being freed from poverty. Most mentioned problems were the lack of jobs, the need to improve people’s standards of living, and the need to improve provisions for water and electricity.
In the BMPM’s site , job-related issues comprised 8 of 15 responses. Four of the 15 talked about the need to increase take-home pays. Several others tackled job security and the need to stamp out corruption.
Coming in second among citizens’ top 10 wishes was to rid government agencies of corruption.
The need for better health program and benefits came in third, while discipline and efficiency among state workers ranked fourth.
Education – improving its quality and making it available for more people, especially those in the far-flung areas – was fifth.
Bulk of the citizens responded by texting to BMPM’s SMS/ MMS number 2366, while the rest came through emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, BMPM staff’s Facebook accounts and Twitter.
The complete list of citizens’ wishes follows:
1. Freedom from poverty (solutions to jobs problem, water and electricity crises)
2. End to corruption
3. Better health program and benefits
4. Discipline and efficiency among state workers
5. Education (Improving quality and equal opportunity for everyone, especially those in the far-flung areas)
6. Caring for the environment (Program on climate change)
7. Crime Prevention (Peace and order)
8. Improvement/ upgrade of infrastructures and technology, road projects, government facilities
9. Overseas Filipino workers' situation (security and benefits, lower taxes)
10. Agriculture (program for small farmers, land reform)
* The author is former BMPM head, now editor of tvpatrol.abs-cbnnews.com