Monday, July 24, 2006

Some thoughts on SONA 2006

What an... interesting SONA.

The President appeared to be in an upbeat mood... and was probably a little bit too excited for her SONA, as she stepped up to give her speech even before the singing of the National Anthem. Whoops. I expect several Protocol Officers to get a really good tongue lashing later, as well this little incident getting blown totally out of proportion by the media and her enemies.

Quite a bit of names congratulated there, and not a few ribbing. She even took a playful jab at Makati Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin.

She rattled off quite a good number of programs, nearly all of it infrastructure in nature: roads, sea and air facilities, railways... In one sense, the construction of all these transportation infrastructure makes sense on a strategic level: roads, rail facilities, seaports and aerodromes are not called "arteries" for nothing. These are the essential pipelines through which a nation's economy and growth flow through, and development is usually interconnected, pun not intended, with the level of development of such. A bad road usually means less progress coming into a locale, just as a well-paved and maintained highway quite literally speeds up the flow of investments and people into a place.

Of course, as the Prez continued to rattle off all those projects - some of which, she said, are in place already - my mind had one question: where are we going to get the money for all this?

Is that why she started her SONA by saying we not only have money to pay off the national debt, but to build needed infrastructure?

And I don't think she should have spent the amount of time she did in praising Gen. Palparan. She's currently under flak for the disappearance and deaths of Leftists; heaping such accolades on the man regarded as the foremost hunter of the Left in the Philippines might not be good PR. People would say she's sancitoning extra-judicial killings now, straight from her own mouth, even if there really is no proof until now that the military, and Palparan in particular, are behind many if not all of the deaths and disappearances.

It's also good to see a new guy at the helm of the Senate. I have nothing against a Senate that is indepedent and even critical of the Executive Branch; the principle of the Separation of Powers only holds if all three branches are strong. But, given the context of Frank Drilon's actions since 8 July 2005, the Senate's activities appeared to go beyond mere fiscalizing.

Now that a man without (immediate) ulterior motives on the Presidency is at the Senate's helm, perhaps it would be a more productive one, and not just plain destructively noisy.


jon malaya said...

Hi Rob!

I must congratulate you for keeping your site constantly updated and even providing a link to my own humble blog.
Hey, I'm new to this place so these things matter to me.

If there is one thing good about the President's SONA, its the road map that she unveiled for the entire country. I dont think a President has gone into detail as much as she has.

The opposition will, as expected, say that she's playing to the gallery and that she's dangling projects to her supporters. But that doesn't subtract from the fact that the President submitted to Congress and to the people an economic recovery program anchored on building the country's competitiveness and developing our infrastructure.

It's a tall order, indeed, but since we have the funds why not lay it all down to the people. And she has in dramatic fashion. Cong. Joey Salceda, Chair of the House Appro Committee, said that the funds will come from the additional revenues as a result of fiscal reform, funds from LGUs, funds from GOCCs, and from BOT investments.

The President has shown us that she has a plan for our country and that we all have a role to play. All it needs now are for the people to embrace the plan as their own and identify with it. For so long, we have been a rudderless ship, finally we have a direction.

If there is one thing bad about the SONA, its the glaring ommission of education in her roadmap for recovery. She of all people knows that we are in the midst of an education crisis and therefore education must be given the priority it rightfully deserves.

My hope is that she gives Secretary Lapus all the help that he needs.

Azure Phoenix said...

Hi, sir J. Saw how FVR qouted your book. What better endorser than a former Prez, huh? Nice.

You have a point there, in saying that she unveiled plans for the country. It's really up to her, I guess, which to focus more on in her SONA: a report on the country's state - which will be contested - or spell out her plans. At least we all have an idea of what she intends to do.

I just hope we have to resources to implement those projects, and sustain them. Like I said, they make strategic sense. It'd be interesting to see what would happen if we even achieve 50% of the projects the President came up with.