The Youth’s View of the 2008 State of the Nation Address

The Arroyo government has been dismissing surveys showing that the satisfactory rating of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is at an all-time low of –38 and that majority of Filipinos think that the SONA is untruthful.  Do these reflect the views of the people?  The following are write-ups from two high school students, which was sent to Bulatlat.

Why is GMA’s SONA a False Pretense?
Arellano University Plaridel High School

The 2008 State of the Nation Address is the 8th SONA of our “President” Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and it is perhaps the most abysmal address that she has ever done in her entire term considering that this time is supposed to be a crucial situation.

Firstly, her so-called deceiving advertisement is a flaw of her Public Relation’s People. A SONA that has got to do with individual personalities such as Federico Alvarez – a jeepney driver; Rodney Berdin – 13 year-old boy; Edwin Bandila – a rice farmer; Rosario Camma – chieftain and mayor (in tribal attire); Jessica Barlomento, Shenve Catana, Mary Grace Comendador, Marlyn Tusi – all welders of Hanjin (a private firm); Victoria Mindoro – a farmer and factory worker; Pedro and Concordia Faviolas – rubber farmers; Justice Vitug and Francis Lim – of Texas Instruments and Philippine Stock Exchange, respectively; Allan Amanse – a fisherman turned whaleshark watching officer; and Joey Concepcion – a partner entrepreneur, is probably a publicity stunt to make herself appear like she’s doing a good job. Too bad this kind of deceiving doesn’t really work anymore.

This exploitation of these kinds of people from different walks of life is more about saving the president’s face than actually saving the people. She is implanting (or at least tried to) an idea on the minds of the citizens that everything is all right by showing illusory success and development in standard of living of these people. Moreover, we cannot use specific developments of people as individuals to prove success and improvement in our country’s state. A SONA is about the nation’s situation and NOT of an individual.

Another attempt of camouflage is bringing up the current oil crisis. She pinpoints the blame on the oil crisis for the nation’s current downward spiral so much in order to cover-up the misgivings of her government. Isn’t her government supposed to be finding concrete solutions to this problem instead of blabbering and defending it that it isn’t the government’s fault that people are suffering?

Because of her persistent stubbornness regarding the removal of VAT, believing that this will save the people, there is still no apparent solution to the nation’s problem though oil prices had already decreased. VAT would be really helpful if the people of the country she is suppose to be governing has money. But at this current state, how can the people carry the burden of paying the VAT if they have barely enough money to SURVIVE? Ideally, the said value added tax is to benefit the Filipino people but let’s not kid each other in facing the reality that the people pay their taxes but they aren’t really getting the benefits they should. It’s like dumping the citizens’ money in an endless pit.

Where does the money go? The pit that I’m talking about is the hungry pockets of our government leaders.

And there is the P 0.50 cents text messaging. This is the one project that gathered the most number of applause. But this reward is not even close to an inch of what the nation really needs. This is another deception because following the SONA, we all found out that it’s a promo – a promo that will probably last for 3 months or so.

Mrs. Arroyo spoke generally about what her government aims and what it has achieved for the past year. The issues in Mindanao were expected to be tackled in the first place since they have been issues way before her term. In history, one way of getting the sympathy and love of the people is when you talk about uniting the Moslem and Catholic Filipinos. It’s not surprising if she attempted to use this issue to gain the people’s love.

I don’t know if anyone else considers the president’s statement, “I will let no one – and no one’s political plans – threaten our nation’s survival,” an irony or not. Considering that the president has been involved in controversies, including the infamous “I am sorry” speech, isn’t this a proof that she herself has political plans? And up to now it remains a question mark if her plans are for the nation’s survival or for her family’s wealth.

The Sona 2008 made the 9th Sona on 2009 less anticipated since it gave no impact to the people. Maybe because the people are too tired to listen to words that are so good to hear but bear no action, or maybe the people feel that the government has already lost its integrity. They choose to depend on themselves because the government’s promises bear no fruit for them. This is probably the most critical problem of all – to regain the nation’s trust, which the government officials had long ago killed.

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