A Short Reaction to SONA 2013

I find it quite difficult to react or comment on the statistics that President Noynoy gave in his State of the Nation address last July 22. Those nationwide statistics seem like immeasurable numbers to college student like me who is unable to actually visit those places right now, and see the whole country. For me to talk about the PPPs in Bukidnon shows no shame because I do not know the condition in the area prior: its problems, its complaints, and its people, unlike the President who has most likely seen the whole of the Philippines. But what can be commented upon is President Aquino’s way of praising the heroes of our country, and reprimanding—it could even be called condemning—the villains in government.

He has praised his cabinet and their efforts before, in previous State of the Nation addresses, sure. The manner of which truly rewards the successes of those he appointed into power. A citation by the president on the most public of occasions, an even that many—both private and public folk—witness is a commendation of heroism. And such heroism that invites applause, for they are examples of going the extra mile, such as how he praised Department of Education secretary Armin Luistro for his tenacity in improving education resources for public schools.

There are also acts of heroism that would not be exceptional in a functional society, but for now, they prove to be the exception, not the norm. I am talking about the police officer, PO2 Dondon Sultan, who helped a businessman with his broken down car, and did not accept money being offered him. He instead said that it was his job; “to help our countrymen.” We live in a country where goodwill from police officers normally comes with a price, but, thankfully, that is changing, according to this evidence.

Big change is coming, and President Aquino promises it. He called out all the corrupt practices and corrupt people in the executive. He named names and government agencies that are going to face justice for their corruption: former TESDA head Syjuco, former PAGCOR officials, former PNP heads. And then he publicly reprimanded agencies still marred by corruption, such as BIR, NIA, and Customs. To change or they will face justice, that is Aquino’s promise.

With all that commendation and scolding, this was a SONA that informed the Filipinos that President Aquino stands for justice. This was a SONA for the Filipino people – specifically the Filipino people waiting for corruption to be the exception, not the norm.

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