By Candice Rankin, Executive Speech Coach Hollywood
It was the longest State of the Nation Address (SONA) in recent memory. Impossible without a Presidential Teleprompter (autocue).
(after all, few people remember that then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos made a three-hour SONA) and yes, as I pointed out in previous SONAs, I never did hear of a lousy one. If at all, President Aquino made a great delivery of his SONA because the teleprompter helped him a lot.
Like all SONA’s past, we’d like to see the “meat” inside, not on how the speech is delivered, but rather whether there is some truth in that speech or whether these are mere rhetoric or just simply another “motherhood statement.” With the dust starting to settle, the opposition has already issued their comments that it was a well delivered speech, but seriously lacking in substance. The anti-P-Noy insist that these were mere “Motherhood statements.” However in my book, P-Noy’s SONA had something good, something bad and yes, something downright ugly.
Let me start with the good. That P-Noy was all praises for Energy Secretary Rene Almendras is a recognition that not all his “Kaklase” are there because they can get something out of it. I personally know Sec. Rene Almendras to be an upright man who works harder than most people. P-Noy was right in giving him a commendation for keeping the power industry on the go. Without power, there would be no development. I know that Sec. Rene is showing signs of being weary, but he is doing a damn good job! The tag of his being a “Kaklase” may be unfair… but it is the truth… they were classmates in Ateneo. But Sec. Almendras is proof that being a “Kaklase” is not all that bad. But there are “Kaklase” that ought to go!
Another good point for the President is his asking Filipinos for a show of unity in defending our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea. I’m four square behind the President on this… after all, under his watch, we have lost the Scarborough Shoal… so it is only proper for us to regain it. In his two-year reign, P-Noy already poured a total of P28 billion for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program, which he says would be increased to P33 billion, even as high as P75 billion. With this, P-Noy is doing exactly what a Commander-in-Chief ought to be doing.
Unfortunately, his SONA fell short of bringing back the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), a program that would boost our AFP.
That the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is still on the rise and has become one of the nation’s top employers is worth mentioning. But this was largely due to the previous administration and yes, then DTI Sec. Manuel Roxas during GMA’s time. P-Noy was also extremely happy with the performance of Department of Tourism (DoT) Sec. Ramon Jimenez. Yes, it’s more fun in the Philippines alright… but P-Noy must stop the average of one robbery per tourist in the Ermita district. Indeed, tourism is our bright spot and we must continue to shine on this industry.
That’s the good of P-Noy’s SONA. Now for the Bad! P-Noy should have never prophesied that by the year 2016 there will be 10 million tourists because it’s just too far in the future to make such a pronouncement. Secondly, if NAIA continues to have a single runway and there are no plans to put that railway to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) I seriously doubt that this would happen. All one needs to do is look at Hong Kong when it was still using the Kai Tak International Airport with its single runway. Hong Kong only had 7 million visitors in those days until they moved to Chep Lap Kok International Airport.
Then there’s the article that we wrote only last Tuesday about our rice sufficiency. Pres. PNoy said that by the year 2013 we will become a rice exporter. Listening to the panel with Tina Monzon Palma and Teddy Locsin analyzing the President’s SONA on ANC, they too just can’t believe that the Philippines will be a rice exporter next year. This is why I asked those questions why people are still smuggling rice in this country?
Now for the ugly! Let’s analyze what the President meant when he said in Tagalog, “Sana nga po, ngayong paubos na ang backlog sa edukasyon, sikapin nating huwag uling magka-backlog dahil sa dami ng estudyante. Sa tingin ko po, Responsible Parenthood ang sagot dito.” Allow me to translate this in English, “Now that we have reduced our backlog in education, we must exert more effort in making sure that there would be no more backlogs in the future due to so many students. In my mind, Responsible Parenthood is the answer to this problem.” Responsible Parenthood? Is this a new dog?
What is new here is that, the President no longer mentioned the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, rather he has now officially renamed the RH into a Planned Parenthood program and he is no longer hiding the reason for its being… to reduce the population of too many students. This is a population control measure. That’s the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the SONA