Saturday, July 26, 2008


Gloria's State Of The Nation Address (SONA) is a ritual that coincides with the opening of Congress. A lot of preparation has gone to the speech (thanks to AIM Professor Gary B. Olivar), not to mention the collateral fuss that the whole government structure underwent for the occasion - overspending taxpayer's money for the Batasan and its surroundings (thanks to Speaker Boy Nograles), securing the place and the roads that lead there, printing invitations and programs, installing a new set of microphones, tapes, CDs, flags, lights, plants, drinks, finger food, light dinner at the lounge, haute couture for the lady (and the not so lady) representatives, signature suits for the men (and the not so men) representatives, and a host of other details and expenses for a one-hour, lie-filled speech. Only those with invitations are allowed entrance to the hall and galleries. The rest of the nation for whom the address is being made are expected to watch the televised broadcast in their homes or offices, or wherever they may be at the time of delivery and are advised to take two (2) tablets of antacid before listening to Gloria's Sonatas de Kasinungalingan, or they may watch the replay before retiring to bed at night. Last year, the SWS gave GMA a negative rating in the urban centers, but a slightly higher average rating in the provinces although still in the negative too. Why is this so? Has she not worked hard enough to make the citizenry feel that her super-projects are already part of the legacy she has spoken of? A bankrupt legacy perhaps. Are not these super- projects for the super- regions super enough to have the people feel superiorly taken care of? There are lessons in history one reads about regarding the leader who does not encourage the people to be part of whatever the government is doing with them. Participation, initiative (not inis sa thief) and responsibility - these are the key elements if one is to spur the people to development. Everything the president has talked about lies (lies!) in the balance between the forward motion of her projects and the participation, initiative and responsibility coming from the mass base. If these are not elicited from the people, the recited list of infrastructure would remain simply as cold as steel, iron and cement, while the individual citizen remains equally as cold and detached. If such a relationship between the leader and the people has not been established, or has been falsified, all these super-projects would self-extinguish in the consciousness of the masses. If she is not able to "awaken the imagination of her audience," hence the oratorical delivery of the SONA would be for naught. And I expect it to be just that on Monday's SONA.

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