Pres Noynoy Aquino Sona

Senator Loren Legarda commended the various accomplishments and concrete targets presented by President Benigno S. Aquino III in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

”“The SONA was a comprehensive, clear, targeted, and detailed outline of what has been accomplished due to policy reforms and priority projects of the administration,” Legarda said in a media interview.

”I am glad that measurable goals for the coming years were also mentioned, because now we will have a way to gauge how efficiently and effectively the administration has performed, and how gains can be sustained and how the targets can be achieved,” she added.

Legarda specifically mentioned the PhilHealth enrolment which now stands at 85 percent after 5.2 million of the poorest households have been enrolled without having to pay for it from their own pockets.

Legarda also supported the administration’s effort to address the backlog of classrooms in the country, and the ambitious goals for the tourism and agricultural industries.

“I am especially pleased that there is a target to build 66, 800 classrooms by the end of 2013. Placing high priority on education will be one of the best investments we can make,” she said.

She said the government’s target of 10 million tourist arrivals by 2016 is achievable given the country’s rich heritage, unparalleled biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes.

Legarda said the reduction of rice shortage to only 500,000 metric tons “is a stunning improvement from the 1.3 million” two years ago.

Legarda also lauded Project NOAH, or Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, a map which can be accessed through a real-time information website. It shows information coming from 86 automated rain gauges and 28 water level monitoring sensors in various regions.

“I am fully supportive of expanding this project through the installation of 600 automated rain gauges and 422 water level monitoring sensors, because this will be an effective tool for disaster risk information and early warning dissemination,” she remarked.

On the issue of the West Philippine Sea, Legarda said the mention of Bajo de Masinloc underscores the importance placed by this administration on the issue of West Philippine Sea.

”It is important that the matter was addressed in the SONA with a clear call to peaceful action,” she said.

Legarda vowed to support the President “for the sake of our country and the generation to come.”

”The Congress has an equally important role in ensuring that our country stays on its path to sustainability and security. It is important that policies and the budget are in place to provide the framework and the wherewithal to carry out the programs and services for the people,” she explained. – By Jelly F. Musico

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