Metro Manila · Implications of SONA for Megacitizens - Interview with Prof. Edmund Tayao

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In the aftermath of the President's State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) on July 22, 2013, we were able to talk to well-known political analyst Professor Edmund Tayao about its relevance for Megacitizens.

Professor Tayao, our readers, who are Megacitizens and expats from all over the world, would like to know what this year's SONA means to them. What is your take on that?
In the remaining days in office (editor's note: President Aquino's 6-year-term is half over), the administration can only continue what it has set to accomplish from day one. Ultimately, the only hope we now have is for them to finish what they have set to do in the first place.

So, with regard to the Megacitizens living in Manila, what did they set to do?
What they have set to do?  I can at best surmise that one of the main objectives includes your concern, public transport, infrastructure and tourism.  What is disappointing however is that these issues are not necessarily seen as interrelated. Seems that none of the programs of the government are integrated.

Could you give an example for that?
For example, CCT (the Conditional Cash Transfer Program) could have been tied to preparing local communities for future livelihood, in which case, government programs for future livelihood should have been tied to developing the countryside (say agriculture) and thus, have enough people staying and available for local employment when the programs for tourism starts to get results, considerable results.

So what are then the infrastructure works, that were talked about?
The ongoing "massive" infrastructure work to me is still limited that it is simply upgrading existing roads. New links have yet to be started like the upgrading of the highway from Clark to Manila and straight to the South that is Cavite and even Laguna.

Many of our readers are also interested in the airport development. What do you think about that?
The poor state of our airports needs no more discussion as has already been reported extensively in the media. The problem is the tourism campaign did not anticipate the increase in volume of visitors, thus the need for increased number of flights, and ultimately inadequate number of runways.

Your conclusion does not look promising then, I guess.
So ultimately, I am not expecting much from this administration at the end of its term. I explained it in my blog and my interviews with the media.  I may be wrong, and I hope I'm wrong, because if I am wrong, that means my country would be better of. Until then though, I remain disappointed.

About Edmund Tayao

Prof. Tayao is Executive Director of the Local Government Development Foundation (LOGODEF). He is Professor of Political Science at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, member of the American Political Science Associaton and former Secretary of the Philippine Political Science Association. He frequently appears with political analyses and commentaries in major Philippine and international media outlets.