SOME local officials had no idea on the first State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III on Monday.

Sun.Star Pampanga called over a dozen Capitol and City Hall officials for their reactions on Aquino's Sona.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

At least three officials said they were not able to watch the event broadcast live on TV because it coincided with official business.

Some said they were doing something else when the Sona was broadcast and may watch the replays later, while others said they had no idea that Aquino was delivering the Sona in the first place.

Those who paid attention to it, however, praised the speech, albeit with some reservations.

Misamis Oriental Vice Governor Norris C. Babiera described the Sona as "simple yet unconventional," as it exposed alleged anomalies of the past administration and was delivered in Filipino.

"There was more applause outside Congress, which means the ordinary people received the Sona very well. To some in the Congress, however, the Sona may have not been that acceptable," Babiera said.

Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus B. Rodriguez (second district) shares the same impression, saying the Sona resonated well with the Mindanaoans when President Aquino delved on the island's peace problems.

"For me it was a good speech especially that he did not forget to tackle the problems in Mindanao. He showed that he has a good grasp of what's going on among the Lumads, Muslims and Christians," Rodriguez said.

However, the lawmaker said he would have wanted to hear the President mention the budget for Mindanao. Rodriguez has been an advocate of bigger allocation for Mindanao, dubbed as the country's food basket.

More than promises, Cagayan de Oro Councilor Alexander D. Dacer said Aquino should focus on resolving some of the country's pressing problems.

Councilor Dacer said Aquino can do this by "not concentrating on the past," adding that Aquino's Sona "was focused more on the failures of the past administration."

Dacer said he felt Aquino has given Filipinos "too many promises" in the Sona. He warned that Aquino may "end up like Barack Obama", the U.S. President "who lost his popularity because of broken promises."

The Indigenous Peoples (IPs), meanwhile, held their own State of the Indigenous People's Address (Sipa) in Bukidnon Monday.

They gathered in Lantapan town to call on Aquino to stop illegal small-scale mining and other infrastructure projects they deem disastrous to their ancestral domains.

Rovic S. Obanil, communications and networking officer for Sipa, said the holding of their own version of Sona was a venue for IP communities "to draft plan of action to address issues and concerns and forge a collective IP agenda for the new administration."

In the national scene, meanwhile, former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada expressed satisfaction on the nearly 30-minute Sona.

Estrada lauded Aquino for tackling poverty alleviation in his statement but chided the appointment of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide to the Truth Commission.

Ramos meanwhile said that the country has yet to await the short-term and long-term effects of Aquino governance.

"After six years, ano maasahan natin especially for ordinary Filipinos? This is just the State of the Nation Address, it's only good for 40 minutes, we will see the short-term, medium-term and long-term promises coming up of the government," said Ramos. (Annabel L. Ricalde/Nicole J. Managbanag/With Sunnex)