AGAIN we are reminded of a quote posted on Facebook and attributed to have been said by Queen Elizabeth the Second of England. Part of the quote says: “There is nothing wrong with the Philippine government; the problem is the Filipino people.” Unfortunately, that includes us.

     We are retrieving this portion of the quote after we read some comments of certain netizens on the use by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. of both the English and Filipino languages during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, July 25. Specifically, the netizen giving such a comment focused on PBBM’s use of the English language when he dealt for a much longer time with his address on the issue of the country’s economy.  The netizen also noted that the President shifted to our native language when he presented the state of the country’s agriculture sector and his plans to perk it up in terms of production and marketing.

     According to this netizen, this to him is a classic manifestation of a class divide. We are not certain though whether the netizen was addressing his comment on those who attended the SONA, or was he referring to how the President looks upon us Filipinos.

     To us though it was possibly PBBM’s way of delivering his message exactly to where it is due. And we cannot imagine thinking that speaking in our native language is showing the President’s affirmation of and his intention to perpetuate the class divide among Filipinos — the elite and the lower strata of Philippine society. In fact, 2-language SONA delivery should even be a rallying call to action for all Filipinos to do their respective responsibility in nation building.


     In yesterday’s first SONA of President BBM we noted his seeming familiarity with all the subjects he tackled that every word that came out from his mouth was manifestly spontaneous. His gesture, his rumbling of numbers, his delivery and the finesse with which he used phrases to describe the magnitude of certain problems and how his administration intends to solve the same indicated that PBBM must have studied and digested all the data for a pretty long time. But all the data was recent. So he could not have prepared his speech much earlier. 

     The President’s proposed strategies of addressing the problems appear to be all doable if he gets everyone’s cooperation and support especially from Congress the expected actions of which on the various proposed legislative requirements will be realized on expected time frame.

     And yes, the President’s SONA met one of our expectations – that he firmly establishes the premises of his proposed action plans by first presenting to the people the current “state of the nation” before he proceeds to present the “State of the Nation” under his 6-year administration.

     PBBM simply told his audience both inside the Batasang Pambansa session hall and the millions watching his SONA on television, that the Philippines is a country devastated by the three years of the CoViD 19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war now ongoing for over three months already that led the prices of oil shooting sky high followed by the hike in costs of basic commodities.

     It is this situation of the country that may have caused the President to deal a lot about having our economy resuscitated the soonest to the best of the Filipinos’ ability.

     He also acknowledged in his SONA that the country is still very much in the pandemic situation although his administration had inherited a very well placed CoViD response program making the pandemic state much manageable that his government can now afford to continue relaxing the restrictions on economic activities. Thus he committed that there will be no more lockdowns as there is the urgent need to “balance the economy and public health.” 

     And if only to ease for a period of time the suffering of the most affected sectors by the impact of the pandemic, especially the Agrarian reform beneficiaries who have defaulted on their payment obligations to the land accorded them  PBBM wanted the banks to give a one year amortization payments moratorium. That would probably be a huge relief for the indebted beneficiaries, although personally we knew several of them have defaulted payments for years already.

     Then he had a long list of “to-do” things for the newly minted Department of Migrant Workers all of which will redound to the benefit of Filipinos working abroad and their families back home. That is, if those who will be manning the new agency will get all the needed support from the government to realize the new agency’s mandate..

     But the one thing that the President failed to mention in his SONA was his administration’s program on the country’s peace and order including his strategy in preventing the perpetuation of the illegal drugs trade. That intrigued us somehow.

     We will write more about the first SONA of PBBM in our next column.



Source: Mindanao Times (