Noynoy's SONA is all Addition. Where's the Strategy of the Collective?

clip_image002MANILA: Kate's baby, it's a boy! Noynoy's SONA, boy, it's a list!

Nobody outside the family has seen William & Kate's baby boy, the latest British royal prince, but I have seen the latest Philippine SONA in its full splendor in the text, naked. You can read it all here (

It's a hit list, once. It's a hit list because it was applauded at least 50 times, but who's counting?

It's a hit list, twice. If you ask Noynoy, yes. He thinks he hit the target at least 101 times. I mean, in the last year, he had at least 101 targets and he hit them all at least once. And I'm not referring to target shooting.

It's a hit laundry list, thrice. It's "an item-by-item enumeration" (American Heritage Dictionary). "A lengthy, especially random list of items" (Random House Kemerman Webster's College Dictionary). Not bad for a laundry list of presidential achievements; nevertheless, it's a laundry list. It can only get longer!

It's all of 11,538 words, excluding the paragraph of greetings. Given Noynoy's casual delivery, causing excitement was unexpected.

I said 101 targets. Let me start enumerating them, chronologically as they appear in the text, translating not literally but liberally from the original Tagalog:

(1) You gave me 9 out of 10 Top Senators - This is the first thing he mentions. This is his private measure of his public approval. He's telling us Pinoy voters are intelligent.

(2) We lighted 8,581 sitios. It took them 1,095 days to do it.

(3) We provided housing to 28,398 informal settlers. He doesn't tell us how many more are homeless squatters. And no, calling them "informal settlers" doesn't solve the problem.

(4) We collected taxes right and perseveringly. "Tama at masugid na pagkolekta ng buwis." Were the taxes collected right?

(5) Niño Aguirre is a hero. He is a hero in Noynoy's eyes because he exercised his right even if he was unable to walk; he climbed up to the 4th floor just to vote. Did he vote intelligently?

(6) We have inclusive growth as strategy. "Malawakang kaunlaran ... Ang maiiwan na lamang ay ang ayaw sumama, dahil hindi sinamantala ang pagkakataon." He will be left behind who doesn't want to take advantage of the opportunity. Noynoy is the Chair of the NEDA Governing Board, the source of the Philippine Development Plan for 2011-2016, where you find the concept of "inclusive growth." He is telling us his inclusive is exclusive of those who disagree with his policies.

(7) We graduated 503,521 TESDA scholars. 6 out of 10 got employed. He doesn't tell us about total employment versus total unemployment.

(8) Conditional Cash Transfer benefited 700,000 households. Did these families rise from poverty?

(9) We solved the lack of books and classrooms. Did instruction improve?

(10) We instituted the K-12 program. Did we improve high school instruction?

(11) We are importing less and less rice. And we are starting to export hybrid rice, Noynoy says. Have the poor farmers risen from poverty? Noynoy says agriculture as a sector grew 3.3% in the first quarter of 2013. What did that mean to the farmers?

(12) Intercropping for coconut farmers. Noynoy says coco farmers can earn 172,000 pesos if they intercrop with coffee, 102,000 pesos if with banana, or 89,000 pesos if with cacao. That's what the coco technicians will say.

(13) We provided cold storage for Bataraza in Palawan. Now then, the fishers can get more from the same harvest. He doesn't say of course the middlemen will get many, many times more.

(14) Overfishing. The government is guarding strictly against overfishing. Do we have enough guardians of fisheries?

(15) Hacienda Luisita. The government will be distributing land titles to the Luisita farmers in September. Is land ownership the solution to poverty of farmers?

(16) We are fixing our land records system. By next year, we should have full coverage based on correct data and information, Noynoy says. I'll believe it when I can clear the 7 hectares we have in Isabela from tenants who claim to be the legal owners, and they have titles issued by the DAR! I have been trying to clear the records for the last 3 years.

(17) 81% of Filipinos are now covered by PhilHealth. Benefits are also increasing, Noynoy says. Including those who risk their health by smoking?

(18) Infrastructure for health. We spent for 2012 some PhP 33 billion to construct, improve or rehabilitate hospitals, rural health units, and barangay health stations, Noynoy says. Oh? Our community hospital in my hometown Asingan, Pangasinan needs medical help - it's short of doctors, short of facilities.

(19) Safety from disasters. In 2012, we finished the multi-hazard mapping of 28 most vulnerable sites in the country, Noynoy says.

I'll stop here where I'm on safety.

I got that list of 19 out of the first 2,455 words of Noynoy's SONA. So you see, it's all enumeration. A long laundry list of what has been achieved so far, especially last year.

I am stopping my enumeration because I don't see the light at the end of the long tunnel. The SONA violated all the 4 Cs of Good Communication: It was not Coherent, not Comprehensive, not Clear, and not Concise.

Where's the Vision? Where are we heading? Where are we coming from? Where's the corporate plan? In those 11,538 words, I can't find a single phrase that indicates where he wants us to go, what's the Grand Dream.

We are running fast, so we must be getting somewhere, Noynoy seems to want us to believe. What if, like the Red Queen says in Alice in Wonderland, we have to run twice faster than that just to stay in place!?

What are we running away from?

He used "ambag" (contribute) 27 times in his entire speech, in comparison to "aral" (education, 15 times), "bahay" (house, 14 times), and "pondo" (funds, 14 times). He's more interested in collective action. Good. "Ano ang inambag ko sa solusyon?" What did I contribute to the solution? He wants us to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Very good. Collective Solution. Excellent!

Now, what about Collective Growth? NEDA's Inclusive Growth, which Noynoy subscribes to, is not collective enough; I began saying something like that almost a year ago (see my "Inclusive NEDA," 13 September 2012, The Creattitudes Encyclopedia, NEDA does not include the poor as actors in development, only as families-in-waiting beneficiaries. It does not eliminate the middleman, who becomes richer at the expense of the poor farm producer.

What is True Collective Growth is ICRISAT's Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD), of which I have at least 50,000 words in 50 essays written over the last 3 years in my dedicated blog (see my latest essay, "Inclusive Coco Billions. To ACPC 60, UPLB-ICRISAT 30 & R Davide 10 B," 17 July 2013, iCRiSAT Watch, By the way, the Director General of ICRISAT, which is based in India and is a sister agency of IRRI, is a Filipino, William Dar, a former Secretary of Agriculture of the Philippines. The poor farmers must be connected to the market directly; they have to be actors in the whole value chain. For NEDA, it should be Collective Growth, not Inclusive Growth.

Everyone's talking about the coco levy fund that runs into PhP 150 billion (Wikipedia). And everyone has a suggestion on what to do with all that money. With collective growth at the back of my mind, I have only one suggestion: Come up with a corporate plan first. And don't forget to begin with a Vision. And don't write a vision that is 70 words long - 7 words max in a memorable phrase would be just right. Like? "5 years, 5 million wives, all entrepreneurs." Why entrepreneurship? Because it multiplies jobs. Why women? Because the female is the better species than the male when it comes to managing money.

That goes for the whole Philippines. Noynoy Aquino is my President, but I want a visionary, President or not, male or female. Now! If you don't have The Vision, you only have Division. Careful with all that Math! You may have Multiplication and Addition, but without the Strategy of the Collective, which is IMOD, you have only Subtraction from the Multitude.

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