After 3 years in office, PNoy gave his longest State of the Nation Address. I was wondering which part of his SONA was remembered most by the Filipinos especially by the youth. So I asked ten (10) persons of my age the question, “Anong masasabi mo sa SONA?”. I did not deliberately asked, “Anong naalala mo sa SONA?” because it would limit them to certain things they’ve heard in the news. The question, “Anong masasabi mo sa SONA?” would give them the freedom to express their thoughts and opinions on the things they’ve remembered. Here are the common three (3) answers:
- “Ang SONA ay bitin.” – PNoy’s SONA lasted for an hour and forty-two minutes. The SONA may be long, but it lacked information that people were anticipating to hear such as the territorial dispute with China. Such issue deserves to be included in the President’s speech because it deals with the security of the Filipino people – how well we can defend our borders, our military strength, and the status of our foreign relations. Another issue not mentioned in the President’s speech is the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill. It seems that the bill did not make it to this year’s “important list”. And then, there’s the issue about the Maguindanao Massacre which the President mentioned in his last year’s SONA. The President vowed to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice. Has he forgotten about this issue? (I certainly hope not.)
- “Masyadong madaming binanggit na figures.”- In PNoy’s speech, he mentioned a lot of numbers. It may sound astounding, but there had been reports that the numbers mentioned in the SONA are not credible. PNoy reported that 81% of the population is already covered by PhilHealth. This percentage shocked medical groups nationwide, because it contradicts the report from various hospitals. The SONA is an annual report of the President to his constituents. It must contain trustworthy information. People say numbers are just figures, but these figures are what we hold on to. Therefore, these figures should not be merely said, it should be seen and felt as well, if not at the moment…in the near future I hope.
- “Masaya ako na binanggit ng pangulo ang pagkukulang niya. Hindi siya natakot na banggitin ang mga nagkasala, at hindi siya nagdalawang-isip na bigyang papuri ang nagsigawa ng kabutihan.”- Of course, there are good points in the President’s speech. He was brave enough to mention the flaws of some government agencies. It means he still lives up to his promise of correcting the wrongs. I also commend him for giving recognition to the people who did well, and for telling the people that what the Philippines have today is due to the Filipinos’ collective action.
It is obvious that the Philippines is not yet in the state where PNoy promised it to be. But I am hoping that, in PNoy’s three (3) remaining years in Office, he would eventually succeed in curing the illness of the “sick-man of Asia” and thus, be known as the “vigorous-man of Asia”. And we, as Iskolars ng Bayan should contribute to the healing process of this country. Let us do our part. Let us be Iskolars PARA sa Bayan.