Did you know that according to a DZMM report, President Aquino coughed 8 times, stuttered 35 times, and was applauded 90 times during his whole State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 22? How interesting!
What a lot of people probably looked forward to was the red carpet event where our public servants trotted and posed in lavish clothing; expensive stones, elaborate embroidery, long sleeves, backless and all!
I know I sound sarcastic, which probably is not a good thing, because the SONA is very relevant. But relevance is relative, and for me, it turned out to be not relevant enough. Do I think many people tuned in to approximately an hour and a half of self praising? Nope. They probably just tuned in to the late night news and news articles that contained the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s SONA.
I applaud that his SONA was in Tagalog, because he should be addressing the general public. The President mentioned how DFA was able to help many OFWs, the 7.8% increase in the GDP, updates on our foreign relations and tourism, more updates on the agricultural sector and how we’re now becoming self-sufficient, how the government has been planning to fix roads and public transportation, and many, many more. He also mentioned how they fought corruption during his term; a promise he made when he ran for presidency back in 2010.
PNoy also mentioned many figures: PhilHealth enrollees increased from 62% to 81%, 77 recorded election related incidents this year, 24,000 farmers helped through a project in Iloilo, 21.4 increase in tourist travels, and many more.
Great! I’m sure those figures were meant to connote progress and development but I needed more proof. Because majority of the people have heard of GDP but don’t even know what it is.
What I think they fail to understand is that progress is not purely quantitative; just as economics isn’t purely science. In fact, for me, proof of progress is more qualitative in nature. What is the use of all those figures if the people do not feel the boost in the economy or if the confidence level in his administration has dropped?
I expected a different kind of SONA; the kind of SONA where the president does not talk about the fact that he’s been doing his job. Imagine a chef telling you that he cooked your meal! Everyone talks about what his administration has done— it’s been the front page news for so long now— but that’s only one side of the “state of the nation.” Why don’t we talk about what we haven’t done and focus on that? What else can we do as a people? What our goals were and if we need to readjust our goals now? I expected to know the real state of the nation; no sugarcoating, no attempt to make it look like his administration did their job, because that is already expected of them.