NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 26 July) – Keenly aware that he was terribly boring reading his equally boring speech, the President would intermittently abandon his script and rambled back and forth in the dialect on popular or controversial issues like his drug war, corruption, irresponsible mining and the damaged environment, climate change, terrorism, the Marawi crisis, death penalty, gallivanting and womanizing public servants, praising police and soldiers and slamming critics and so-called enemies of the state – the UN, Obama and the US, the media, the Supreme Court, Rappler, the CHR, drug pushers and users, Sen. de Lima, human rights advocates, Sison and the NPA, warning, threatening, cursing and calling them names the kanto boy’s way to entertain and to the delight of his millions of salivating minions worldwide.
He, without doubt, got what he wanted. Never mind if the invited foreign dignitaries were fogged by his rambling; their comfort is not his concern. Never mind if he failed to substantiate the theme of his SONA “Comfortable Life for All.” It’s the problem of his script writers. After all he did not craft that comforting theme. Never mind if school children who were with their parents in front of the family TV set were aghast and confused by the cursing of the President, who threw nonchalantly cuss words in the air, bad words their parents and teachers have repeatedly told them never to utter any time anywhere. Such profanities and monumental insensitiveness to various publics ought to be tabooed in a SONA, which is a formal communication of the highest authority of the land to the Filipino people, young and old, throughout the world.
A SONA is supposed to be a report of what the man who leads the nation has done to improve the State, the circumstances or condition of the nation, in this case, after a year under his watch. He should have reported on the economy, on concerns close to the heart of everybody, answering questions like, what has been done on jobs creation, on oppressive ENDO, government housing program, on food security and affordability – rice production and agricultural productivity.
On peace and security, what measures have been in place to protect the territorial integrity of the country and the lives and livelihood of our fishers on the light of the Chinese incursions into our exclusive economic zone, particularly into our traditional fishing grounds.
What likewise were the targets and accomplishments of Martial Law in Mindanao. And what still needs to be done that necessitated its extension for six more months.
Among others, right thinking citizens of the land also want to hear clear and substantial policy statements to be assured that the ship of the State is in the right hands and in the right direction.
In his blabber though to his credit, the President touched informatively on some national concerns like climate change, irresponsible mining, the proposed National Housing Act, and the RH law that is languishing at the Supreme Court and on some legal processes, particularly the Court’s Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that, accordingly, impede or slow down the implementation of government projects.
How would one rate the communication of the President?
No matter, a good or bad SONA doesn’t mean much to the President neither to his throng of loyalists. He is very popular and everything about him is always good, regardless what his critics say. The surveys regularly affirm this. As long as he continues to provoke, entertain, and make controversial moves he would top surveys and remain popular.
Digong may not have been the best president the Filipinos ever had, but he is the most popular president the country had come across with. Right or wrong, a very popular president is always right in the eyes of many.
His smothering popularity which translates to moral support of the people to what he is doing and what he may still do, may yet allow him to deliver the change he promised.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)