Fact-checking Aquino’s SONA claims

President Aquino at the Batasan Pambansa. (Photo by: Tobias Engay, Media Relations Service-PRIB)

President Aquino at the Batasan Pambansa. (Photo by: Tobias Engay, Media Relations Service-PRIB)

In his fifth state of the nation address, President BS Aquino made many claims to prove that he deserves the public’s continued “trust” and to bolster his record as Chief Executive.

Let’s take a close look at some of those claims.

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Stop letting go: Electricity, oil and telecoms

For a long time now, the government has let go of its important role in the electricity, oil, and telecommunications sectors. The dominant view is that these sectors work and serve everyone better with only little or no state role in them. Continue reading →

How to help: #ReliefPH after #GlendaPH

Implement the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act ASAP

MobilePhilippines

The long wait for Mobile Disaster Alerts, via SMS, should be over soon. (Photo from The Asia Foundation.)

The Philippines’ de facto messaging standard is still text messaging. Most Filipinos have at least one phone and could be reached by relatives,  friends, schoolmates and officemates via text message.

While not all may have data subscriptions to be able check extreme weather news on Twitter or the websites of PAGASA and Project NOAH, the government knows for a fact that it could easily, cheaply and quickly send text messages to citizens.

Enter Republic Act 10639, otherwise known as the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act, which was enacted into law on 20 June 2014.

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Tuition in UP, SCUs: The P11.34-billion question

The University of the Philippines is the national university. Its most popular symbol is the Oblation, which challenges the brightest young Filipinos to make themselves a total offering. UP however has been charging a rising amount of tuition fees against students who respond to the call of Oblation.  (Photo from Wikipedia)

The University of the Philippines is the national university. Its most popular symbol is the Oblation, which challenges the brightest young Filipinos to make themselves a total offering to the nation. UP however has been charging a rising amount of tuition fees against students who respond to Oblation’s call. (Photo from Wikipedia)

The January-March 2014 issue of Budget Facts and Figures, a newsletter released by the Senate’s Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office, reveals that the government expects state colleges and universities (SCU) to generate an income of P7.3-billion from tuition fee collections and another P4.04-billion in “other income collected from students” for fiscal year 2014.

These two items comprise 70.5 percent of expected total SCU income of P16.08-billion for 2014. Continue reading →