President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino will be delivering his last state of the nation address (SONA) soon. Filipinos can breathe a sigh of relief now that his reign is almost over. The day he finally steps down from office cannot come soon enough for those who did not vote for him and those who did vote for him but were disillusioned with him after they realized he lacked leadership and diplomatic skills to fix the problems of our nation.
BS Aquino’s previous SONAs were nothing more than hollow rhetoric. It’s as if he never stopped campaigning even after “winning” the popularity contest. His speeches are low on substance but high on pomposity. He is good at bragging about his so-called accomplishments but bad at providing data to back his claims. He also celebrates his government’s future projects even when they are still on the drawing board. His tendency to take credit for the projects initiated by his predecessors is legendary.
The president is likely to use his last SONA to try to appeal to emotion once again by mentioning his family’s suffering during the Marcos years. This will include mentioning his late father, Ninoy who is considered by some as a national hero and his late mother former President Cory who is considered by some as a saint. Frankly, a lot of people have become tired of hearing about Ninoy and Cory because they realize that their only real legacy is disrespect for the country’s institutions and disregard of the law. The country has yet to recover from the first instance Filipinos threw the rulebook out of the window. The nation is still reeling from the effects of the EDSA revolutions that resulted in mediocrity and incompetence in governance that continues to this day with no sign of abating.
BS Aquino’s SONAs will not be complete without the mention of his predecessor or at least a jab at former President Gloria Arroyo. Never mind the fact that he is still using the policies initiated by Arroyo. This includes the Conditional Cash Transfers or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and TESDA-DOLE scholarships given to underprivileged members of society. Like in his previous speeches, his last SONA will mention that the beneficiaries of the programs have increased under his term. He will mention it like it’s a good thing. Increase in the number of people getting government dole outs also means the number of poor people have increased and that more of tax payers’ money is being allocated to something that is not a guarantee to alleviate poverty.
BS Aquino’s last SONA will be awkward for some people. It would be interesting to see how the President will regard his Vice President Jejomar Binay in his speech. While the Veep has always been addressed briefly in the introduction, BS Aquino might dedicate a bigger part of his speech to respond to Binay’s claim that the President is a bumbling incompetent and practices selective justice. I do hope BS Aquino does address Binay. It would be disappointing if he didn’t. Whatever the President decides, people will be watching as he mentions Binay’s name with a clenched jaw.
The animosity between BS Aquino and Binay is proof that he was not telling the truth when he said in his previous SONA that “those who have been with us from the start have only grown in number.” Aside from Binay, there were other allies who severed ties with BS Aquino. After resigning, former Akbayan Party-list Representative Walden Bello criticized the president by comparing his governance style to that of leading a fraternity wherein loyalty is what matters.
So much for BS Aquino’s statement in which he said, “I believe that if what I have been doing is right, then our allies will only grow.” What’s happening is the opposite – his enemies seem to be growing. That is because he is doing something wrong and his fight against corruption had failed.
BS Aquino’s last SONA will give him another opportunity to lambast his critics. He will insinuate once again that if we are not with him, then we are against him. In other words, he will throw another tantrum and it might be a gigantic one considering he didn’t get his Bangasamoro Basic Law in time for the SONA.
BS Aquino’s last SONA will showcase the current government’s hypocrisy. The government will be spending millions on food and manpower during the event. The menu, which reportedly includes “Black Angus with soft pan rolls”, has been circulating around the Net. This has outraged a lot of Netizens who think that public servants do not need to eat like kings and queens. They should be observing austerity measures. Some even think that the poor man’s favorite meal pagpag should be served instead. BS Aquino once tried to show that he wasn’t as extravagant compared to his predecessor by eating a hotdog from a stand in New York. It turned out to be just another PR move.
BS Aquino will be trumpeting his so-called “achievements” in his last SONA as usual. The question is, why should the SONA be celebrated at all? Not much has changed since he took over from the previous government. Considering the SONA is simply a report of the state of the nation, which is still in bad shape, the Congressmen and women need not wear expensive attires as if they are attending a red carpet event. They’ll just look ridiculous the way they did before. The excessive spending is a violation of the law banning thoughtless extravagance. It will be more a reminder of how they squandered public funds through scams like the pork barrel and Disbursement Acceleration programs. Sad to say, the people who are beholden to the public servants will not even mind the circus. Until then, they will continue to wallow in mediocrity.
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