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Thoughts on P-Noy’s SONA

July 30,2015 - 03:12 PM

Daang Matuwid by Rene Elevera

Long after his achievements may  be  forgotten – and public memory singles out  the Mamasapano massacre and Luneta bus hostage crisis – Filipinos will recall President Benigno Aquino III’s  use of a Biblical passage in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA).

He quoted II Timothy 4:7.

The verse was a farewell of sorts by St. Paul to his protege and adopted son Timothy:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

Aquino couldn’t have picked a better time to use this line  perhaps as a way to be honest with his “bosses”, the Filipino people.

His administration’s accomplishments in economic growth and good governance will stand the judgment of history.

There were solid gains, but so much more ahead still needs to be done to get the country out of a quagmire of poverty and partial political paralysis.

For now, not  everyone is willing to give Aquino the benefit of  a graceful exit as shown by a handful of militant lawmakers who booed him after Aquino finished his speech.

When he recited the sins committed by his unpopular predecessor in jail, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the President wanted to show how his watch started from a difficult low point.

He listed several gains,  like the average 6.2 percent economic growth from 2010, the best four-year average in decades.

We don’t think the SONA was a pure brag list.

It was a sober, over-lengthy report with enough admissions about how the weight of leadership and correcting past errors made him feel like  a “punching bag”, swaddled in duct tape.

He attributed  achievements to the support of those who believed in keeping a “straight path” of reforms.

When Filipinos voted overwhelmingly for Aquino  in 2010, they expected him to show integrity and  not end up a crook.   They didn’t expect a superman. He certainly didn’t sound like one last Monday.

To those who criticized Aquino for not mentioning the fallen Special Action Forces (SAF) officers in the Mamasapano massacre, there will be a time for that later.

SONAs are not the forum to discuss one’s biggest blunder.

Aquno left Congress with an unexpected request – to  pass an  anti-dynasty bill.  He sounded almost wistful.  To ask a legislature dominated by political families and the elite to diminish their power is a humbling acknowledgment that the work ahead to transform Philippine society exceeds the good intentions and deeds summarized in a two-hour SONA.

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TAGS: Daang Matuwid, President Benigno Aquino III, presidential election, SONA

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