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By: Editorial July 27,2016 - 09:47 PM


President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) may be overlong and dripping with folksy humor, but it was thankfully bereft of all those motherhood statements that his predecessors were fond of making, especially from one who had just been released from hospital arrest and joined her fellow leaders in attendance in last Monday’s event sans her neck brace.

The President noted the presence of former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the session hall as well as the absence of his immediate predecessor, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, who was understandably not too thrilled with sitting next to his former teacher whom he had detained for five years on corruption charges.

Mr. Duterte first set the tone of his Sona by reiterating at the outset that both the executive and legislative branches of government were held by Mindanaoans, a first in the country’s history.

He also hit a home run when he said that his administration would rather look forward and not dwell too much on what transpired in the past, but qualified it by saying that anyone who still faces charges will have their day in court and if proven guilty “will have their day of reckoning.”

This was welcome respite from Mr. Aquino’s frequent bashing of Arroyo, which, while valid in his first few years of office, quickly became a stale and sick running joke as well as a convenient excuse for the failures of his administration (cough, Mamasapano massacre and Yolanda tragedy).

There were a lot of issues that Duterte tackled in his first Sona, all of which would be discussed by pundits and political analysts for days to come; but the general mood and tone of his speech was one of conversation, albeit frank and thankfully without the cuss words that he is associated with, though he was caught on camera mouthing a cuss word that drew laughter from the crowd in Congress and millions more watching via TV.

As pointed out by many in social and traditional media, President Duterte took time out to address concerns that might escape the attention of the rich and powerful or inconvenience them a little, but were quite real and a source of frustration and pain for the public.

The long lines of people processing passports and documents at the Departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) were something that past presidents would gloss over but Duterte had highlighted to remind fellow public servants of their responsibility to make life easier for Filipinos.

That, in a way, encapsulates what the President said in his first State of the Nation Address, and that is something that everyone in government and the private sector should focus their energies in accomplishing — to make the lives of Filipinos a little better.

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TAGS: drugs, humor, Mamasapano massacre, message, President Rodrigo Duterte, SONA, speech, State of the Nation Address

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