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.