The coming address-A A +A
Monday, July 16, 2012
WHAT is clear so far about the State of the Nation Address (Sona) that President Benigno Aquino III will give next Monday is that the day will not be declared a holiday.
Other than that, it is still guesswork for many on what the President will say in his annual address before a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
It will be Aquino’s third Sona since he was elected to Malacañang in May 2010. The giving of the address is required under Article 7, Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution that says the “President shall address the Congress at the opening of its regular session.” Purpose of the Sona is for the President to report on the status of the country and to propose to Congress certain legislation believed to be necessary.
The President has been quiet about what he will say in the address, and there has been little given away by his Cabinet to media. The little that deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte gave away was limited to the announcement that July 23, Monday, or the day of the Sona, will not be a holiday. Valte also said the President was at his fifth draft of the speech.
Aside from the no-holiday and the number of drafts, Valte said President Aquino will wear clothes created by veteran designer Paul Cabral, a favorite of members of the Aquino family.
The rest, like what the President would say in his third address, was left so far to the public’s imagination since his Cabinet and spokespersons have kept mum. This silence, understandable so as not to preempt the President, has led to other sectors coming up with their guesses and expectations.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, through its president, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, expressed hope that the truth will be told. "For us bishops, even to me personally, we just hope that what President Aquino will tell will be truthful," Palma said over a radio broadcast.
Other groups have come up with statements of concern over inadequate funding for education and health, and the continued violation of human rights.
The militant group, Karapatan, had said the Aquino government has not done enough in its two years to stop human rights violations. It said it had identified 95 victims of extrajudicial killings from July 2010 to June 30, 2012. Most of those killed were farmers, indigenous people and environmental activists.
These are among the tough issues Aquino would have to take a stand on in his coming address.
Participate in the discussion on the Sona by visiting the Sun.Star website at www.sunstar.com.ph. An interactive coverage is what the Sun.Star website hopes to give Filipinos during President Aquino’s address to the nation.
Before, during and after the address, people can go to the Sun.Star website and its Facebook account to give their reactions. Selected Filipinos abroad will be featured in pre- and post-Sona video interviews.
The website will stream the Sona live and will do a live blog and a timeline. The special at http://specials.sunstar.com.ph/noynoyaquino/ carries the full text of the President’s past speeches in Filipino and their translation in English.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2012.