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Rough Cuts | The strong and weak points in PRRD’s SONA

Indeed the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday was subject to rigid scrutiny by analysts who could be extremely biased against, fairly fair for, or apparently biased in favor of the administration based on their opinion on the subjects taken up by the country’s chief executive.

Of course, as we said yesterday, there were the usual hard line critics that include the perennial activists, those coming from the other side of the political fence, some from the religious sector, the academe, from labor, and the student ranks. They were on the streets presenting their own version of the SONA.

We ourselves, were glued on television to ensure that we would not miss a single word the President would say. Our intention of course, is for us to come up with our own fair evaluation of his report vis-a-vis our observation of his administration’s performance during the past three years of his term.

As a Davaoeno and one who is overly proud of being a fellow resident of the city where the President comes from, we patiently keep stock of what he has been able to accomplish in his campaign promises.

Honestly, we are in agreement of what the President reported to the nation of his administration’s accomplishments. And we also agree with him on the areas of his frustrations.

In other words, his SONA, for us, was an honest, frank and bold assessment by the President of what he has done, what he failed to do, and what he owes the Filipino nation an apology.

Yes, everything written in the script of the President’s SONA, had it been delivered to the letter, was the true picture of the nation under the Duterte regime. Easily, his SONA the other day would have easily repudiated the protesters’ version of the state of the nation.

Unfortunately, the President was unable to resist the temptation to be himself even for just an hour or two. In so many instances we noted the President deviating from the script either to crack jokes laced with expletives, or to drive home a point in a manner he is used to. These deviations, we noticed, waylaid the President that when he returned to the script he seemed to be catching up on time.

We do not know if doing such is the President’s way of breaking the air of seriousness that pervades in a forum like a Presidential SONA. Or, that the President has been so used to his personal style that he cannot let go of it even in occasions of that significance.

But even if any, or both of the two possibilities is the reason why the President resorts to such characteristics during his SONA or in all occasions he is to deliver an address, may be his speech writers, advisers or whoever is within the President’s circle can have the courage to convince him to lump all his ad lib — jokes, parodies, hyperboles, sarcasms or whatever — as an opener, in the middle portion with an expertly phased-in scheme, or as pre-closer diatribes.

That way the possibility that the meat of the President’s speech, especially in such important occasion as making a SONA, will not be lost in translation.

Honestly, we believe that all the negative observations on the Duterte administration exist not because the President did some wrongs. He knows his mandates and the responsibilities that he was sworn to undertake. But some people, especially those who are alienated with his administration, interpret his messages differently, either due to the way the President communicates his messages verbally or through his body language; or it is the only way to interpret Presidential actions or statements to suit their own selfish interests.

And sadly, the messages become even more muddled when the President’s spokesman and other alter egos of his make clarifications on his statements usually interpreted to the letter by media men who covers him on a daily basis. More often than not the clarifications issued create contradictions ending up in intrigues.

As we can see now, the President’s fourth SONA address last Monday is no exception.

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