President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (PGMA) delivered her last State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 27, 2009 at the Batasan Complex… or did she?
This is the mind-boggling question that has been lingering in everyone’s minds even after PGMA had delivered her 9th and “last” Philippine SONA for her administration. As ridiculous as it may seem, the most anticipated part of the SONA wasn’t her declaration of the country’s status or the contributions of her administration but rather, it was hearing a straight-to-the-point, vindictive, and hopefully final statement regarding her political plans and her plans of accelerating the ratification of Charter Change. But to everyone’s dismay, there were no straightforward answers delivered during her last SONA, and the expected contents were delivered with a surprising blow.
After delivering her speech with the usual trends of having statistical data and some testifying personas, she extended her hopes and wishes for the persona and her gratitude for the Congress. This was common for the last SONA of the president.
However, the president designed her speech to deliver quick jabs to her critics and other political aspirants at the end of almost every achievement she mentioned - a low blow which was certainly unfit for the occasion. Ideally, the event should be a medium for the Filipino people to learn about their country’s development and the things that they will be doing to improve the economy, not the woes of their president. In whatever way the First Family would like to defend their mother, the fact still remains that this was not an appropriate event to vent out her feelings. But what’s done is done, and what we have to focus on is the present and, hopefully, direct it towards a good future.
To end her speech, PGMA said, “I shall step down from this stage but not from the Presidency. My term does not end until next year. Until then, I will fight for the ordinary Filipino. The nation comes first. There is much to do as head of state—to the very last day.” This may not be the answer that we were all hoping for, but, from this, we can see her intentions of stepping down from her position when her term ends.
This is not to say that PGMA was a lousy or useless president; she was able to do a lot for our country. She was able to alleviate, if not solve, the problems of our country especially in those concerning our economy, education, employment and energy reserves. She is a well-educated economist and was able to complete her education in other countries. Whether she has the heart to serve the Filipino people as much as others would serve them is the one left unanswered.
But why are we so worried about, then?
With all the attempts of trying to accelerate the Charter Change coupled with famous scandals like the “Hello, Garci”, “ZTE” and others, the Filipinos have heightened their senses in detecting the possibility of history repeating itself. They would like to prevent the possibility of another period of dictatorship and another need for an EDSA revolution. We want to ensure that the president would willingly and peacefully give up her position when her term ends and that she will not have any other political interests of holding that power once more.As we have always been told, prevention is better than cure. The Filipinos want to prevent this from happening again. We have experienced much from the Arroyo Administration, and we are grateful for their services. But come 2010, I believe that we will be ready for the elections and welcome a new administration.