SONA means hope, lies for Pinoys abroad

President Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday elicited opposing reactions from Filipinos living abroad. In Austria, Mrs. Arroyo’s SONA renewed hope among overseas Filipino workers.

“I watched the message of the president via TFC (The Filipino channel) and I would consider that Macapagal-Arroyo’s latest State of the Nation Address is a message of hope for all Filipinos. She related a message that is being accompanied with accomplished goals and optimism for the future,” said Cecille Grandits, a Filipino nurse residing in Austria for 20 years.

“Christy,” another Filipina nurse working at the Vienna General Hospital, said the President’s report “showed a government with political will, and a government that delivers on its promises.

A member of a Filipino group who declined to be identified, said: “I’m wondering how Gloria Macapagal Arroyo could make something believable despite the public outrage on issues pertaining to her government’s policy. The SONA has always been a venue for grandstanding, false hope and worst a fashion show.”

He added: “A number of Filipino migrants here in Austria are enraged with the refusal of the Arroyo government to heed the people’s demands to remove the value-added tax on oil and the scrapping of oil deregulation.”

Camilo Domingo, a United Nations employee in Vienna, said he watched the President’s SONA from start to finish and noticed what he called the “usual promises that presidents trumpet and exceedingly fail to fulfil.”

“I am very much convinced that the true state of the nation is what an ordinary Juan dela Cruz have on his table, how much money he’s earning on a hard day of work how far can he send his children to school. These are basic necessities that this government failed to address. These are the issues that I believe to be of urgency and importance, food, shelter, education and most importantly work security,” Domingo said.

Since many of the Filipinos in Austria are considered breadwinners of their families back home, a number of them contended that they really could not escape the tragedy after tragedy that the government imposes.

“Every month, we are full of worries as to how we can still shoulder the increasing needs of our families back home. Mahirap na nga ang humanap ng Euro dito na ipadala sa aking mga naiwanang pamilya doon. Malaki nga ang halaga nito kung ikumpara sa peso pero mataas naman ang mga bilihin sa Pilipinas,” said Gina Reyes, an OFW.

Generally, Filipinos in Austria believe that the government has done everything just to help the Filipinos at home and overseas.

Majority of Filipinos in Austria said that if the administration continues its prudent fiscal and monetary policy, if foreign investors continue to set up shop, the outsourcing business continues to grow, the security issue in Mindanao and in Manila can be effectively addressed, and if the international economy doesn’t completely implode, the President’s SONA would be viewed more positively.

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