Press Release
July 26, 2011


Reacting to the State of the Nation Address yesterday, Senator Edgardo J. Angara challenged President Benigno Aquino III to focus on measures that will raise the country's productivity and competitiveness and leave police-work to his cabinet.

"The speech was good, practical and understandable to all Filipinos, but I felt there was too much concentration on looking back, when we could focus on moving forward to advance our country. The president should leave the police-work to prosecutors."

While lauding the government's efforts in building infrastructure, consistent battle against corruption, and strong leadership on the Spratlys issue, Angara noted gaping gaps in core issues necessary to a modern economy.

"The 'tuwid na daan' needs to be modernized. When the President meets with his cabinet, they should look at the root causes of our problems instead."

He pointed out that, "The success of agriculture is not in how much less rice we have to import. We import because of inadequate yields. If only we invest more in agricultural research, we would not need to import 660,000 metric tons at all," said Angara, who served as agriculture secretary from 1999-2001.

Overall, Angara challenged the administration to galvanize efforts towards improving productivity and efficiency in all sectors of the economy.

"Our current growth rate of 5.3 percent growth is not enough. To truly alleviate poverty, we need to grow at a sustained rate of 6.5 percent to 7 percent every year. That is why we need the President to focus on increasing our productivity and competitiveness."

Angara, chair of the Congressional Committee on Science, Technology and Engineering and the Senate Committee on Education, Arts, and Culture, suggested that productivity-enhancing measures should be intensified.

"Training and education standards in the country are declining progressively, and yet there were no plans presented on these."

Angara added, "There was also no mention of information technology and biotechnology when these are the catalysts of growth in advanced economies. We should aim for long strategies instead of shortsighted solutions."

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