what arroyo delivered was the State Of The Nation Address. this is supposed to basically have two main parts – where the country is in the past year and the second part where the country will be in the coming year.
we heard a lot of the first part, that is if you took pains to read the SONA on your own. i say that as we don’t really remember many of the things said for the first part. we remember the 4% of the words she said criticizing her presidentiable opponents, but we hardly remember the 96% of the words she actually devoted to boasting about her achievements.
i don’t remember hearing or reading anything on the second part. i don’t think arroyo mentioned what new programs or key strategies she will adapt for the next year.
i remember arroyo saying something that refers to the rest of her term but she said that in reference to something else and not in reference to her future plans for the country.
if we are going to judge SONA 2009 on that basis, her SONA failed miserably.
more importantly, from the perspective of what will happen in the coming year, she did not say what the filipino people was waiting for her to say – her plans after 2010. she did not say anything about it or at best she was unclear. either way, she gave us no clue as to what she will do after 2010.
the other very important part of a SONA and this every leader ought to know is that it should at least inspire if not excite the people about the future of the country.
a SONA is about the past but more importantly about the future. everyone looks for hope in these types of speeches. specially for our country which has been having tough times and more importantly for arroyo whose leadership is most unpopular among the people.
after the SONA, how are aw as country? are we inspired? do we see a brighter future? do we see hope?
the obama-arroyo meeting: arroyo says obama “cordial, warm, welcoming”; obama says “i’m sure she thinks i’m much younger than she expected”. huh?
Pool was ushered into the Oval Office about 3:45 p.m. for statements by Obama and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines. The two leaders sat on flanking chairs in front of the fireplace.
Obama praised Arroyo for her efforts to fight terrorism, and her help in dealing with the problems of Burma and North Korea. He noted the Philippines is hosting a conference next year on nuclear non-proliferation. “We’re going to have a busy agenda together,” Obama said.
He said the Philippines is a small country, but, to use a boxing metaphor, it “punches above its weight in the international arena.”
Arroyo thanked the U.S. for its “soft power” in helping the Philippines build roads, schools, and bridges. She said her country backs U.S. efforts in Burma and North Korea. Praised Obama’s plans to battle global warming, which threatens “disaster for our country.” She thanked Obama for his “new engagement in our part of the world.”
A Philippine journalist asked each leader his or her impression of the other. Arroyo called Obama “cordial, warm, and welcoming.”
Obama joked, “I’m sure she thinks I’m much younger looking than she expected.”
read other reports on obama-aroyo meeting:
- RP-US ties at forefront of Arroyo-Obama meeting – http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/07/30/09/rp-us-ties-forefront-arroyo-obama-meeting
- Pelosi welcomes Arroyo to Capitol Hill – http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/07/30/09/pelosi-welcomes-arroyo-capitol-hill
AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
July 29, 2009
HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
Washington District of Columbia
United States of America
Dear Mr. President,
We shared the wonderful jubilation of the American people during your historic election triumph. When you assumed office early this year, we rejoiced at the audacious hope that you inspired, and on your promise of change for the common good.
We joined all freedom loving people of the world who exulted when you declraed that “those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent…are on the wrong side of history.”
The Filipino People share the same morals, ideals and aspirations that define the envied way of life of the American people. Filipinos yearn for the same kind of leaders that the American people yearn for themselves; leaders who are imbued with the right values, lead principled lives, and govern with the highest ethical standards. The ideals of justice, democracy and the upliftment of human rights animate the Filipino people’s dreams of a better world in much the same way that these ideals animate the dreams of the American people.
Upon your invitation, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will have the chance to meet with you on July 30, 2009. In your meeting with Ms. Arroyo, it may serve you well to be mindful of Ms. Arroyo’s legacy of corruption, extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, bribery, election cheating, among others. We do not wish to belabor you with the details of these high crimes which have surely been documented and reported by the U.S. State Department to your office.
The Filipino People also yearn for change from the effrontery of hopelessness and the curse of decadence that Ms. Arroyo represents. In your meeting with Mrs. Arroyo, we feel confident that you will make clear to her that a Government that does not comply with Principles of Democracy and respect for Human Rights cannot have the approval and support of your administration. We implore you Mr. President to inspire hope and be an instrument of change for the common good of the long suffering Filipino People.
Teofisto Guingona Jr., former Senate Presidents Jovito Salonga and Franklin Drilon, former SC justice Camilo D. Quiason, former senators Wigberto Tanada, Sergio Osmena III, Vicente Paterno Jr., Agapito “Butch” Aquino, and former secretaries Josefina T. Lichauco, former solicitor-general Frank Chavez, Corazon Soliman, Juan Santos, Jejomar Binay, and Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Sr. Mary John Mananzan, Atty. Harry Roque and Jun Lozada.
please post in your own blogs
sttange bedfellows — a convicted criminal and a bishop of the catholic church. but that is what happened – erap estrada and bishop lagdameo of the CBCP said the same thing.
erap just had it sexier with a new word – arroyonomics.
Estrada said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s claims of economic gains in her Monday’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) were “fiction,” charging that she “either lied or was gravely mistaken.”
“Arroyonomics is a kind of economics that is out of touch with reality and real facts,” Estrada said in a statement.
bishop lagdameo has this to say. not as sexy as estrada’s “arroyonomics” but with more details.
“The state of the nation should also be looked at from the experiences and eyes of the remaining millions who are still suffering from hunger, illiteracy, unemployment, homelessness and sickness,” said Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
“This would balance the picture,” Lagdameo said. “They were outside the SONA site.”
The Jaro archbishop said that Ms Arroyo spoke of macro-level “statistics which most do not understand.”
Macro not micro
“But the macro is not always reflective of the micro. Therefore, the state of the nation must also consider the millions who make up the micro-level and are missed in the statistics,” Lagdameo said.
estrada and lagdameo are making good points here. on the same day of the SONA, SWS released the latest hunger data where it said a high number of filipinos continue to experience hunger and has increased from previous. (click here: on the day of arroyo’s SONA 2009 – SWS survey release – hunger rose, 3 points to all time record high hunger)
we are printing her excerpts of the reactions on GMA’a SONA 2009 from the press.
as you can read from the materials, the columnists seem to be enjoying themselves. we think this creative fun that these journalists are taking was spawned by the use of the word “pussyfooting” by arroyo in her SONA and specific words and thoughts delivered by arroyo in her SONA which we think amounts to no more that 4% of all the words but the things we remember from her SONA. the balance 96% of the words and thoughts? well, we’re not sure what they were. will review later.
we like to know the speechwriter of arroyo’s SONA. it is an interesting word, this “pussyfooting”.
i have to be honest, i was shocked by the word. okay, okay so the shock might have come from my mind taking a fall into the gutter. i knew what it meant but somehow my mind kept going there. perhaps it was the spam emails i was trying to delete from my in-box right before i read the transcript that got my mind into the gutter. my blog email account all of a sudden got impregnated with porn email of all sorts from debbie going to a lot of places and this certain pill that was colored blue.
remote, but was it also because there was so much talk about arroyo’s breasts and the implants that were not but turned out they were? having these thoughts that are about on the same page gets you lucid on the possibilities.
it looks like i digressed from the topic. back to the topic…..
The ‘bitchiest SONA’
By Rina Jimenez-David
“The bitchiest SONA ever,” is a general, if somewhat cheeky assessment of Monday’s State of the Nation Address, which is expected to be the last of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 9-year term.
Others have characterized it as her “payback SONA,” which gave her the chance not just to refute charges against her but to get back at her critics and opponents. Expectedly, the pro-Arroyo crowd greeted each barbed remark and pointed reference with laughter and applause, even if the targets remained unnamed. But the most telling indicator of the President’s intent was her own smug smile, displaying just how satisfied she was, having just poked and jabbed at people who had publicly castigated her.
That she should have used the occasion to deliver a valedictory, a summing up of her nine years of governance and an articulation of her philosophy of government, instead of a petty vendetta, seemed lost on her and her speech writers.
So when she side-stepped the issue of her leaving office by saying that the remaining year left to her term was a “long time,” she simply lent credence to speculations that she has plans of staying in power beyond 2010.
Never mind that the lasting legacy she leaves after “the bitchiest SONA” is of a leader intent on putting down those who dare cross her, more concerned with put-downs and insults than elevating rhetoric that should have prepared the nation for a new beginning at the end of her legal term.
No matter how tempting it was to use the SONA platform to respond to charges of corruption, incompetence and overweening ambition, the President should have resisted it, which is what true leadership is all about. Setting aside juvenile urges for the greater good and the sake of one’s legacy is a sign of maturity, after all. And that’s not what we saw that rainy Monday afternoon.
the title of today’s editorial at PDI:
She did this by means of trumpeting her achievements and more significantly deviating from the post-Edsa tradition established by President Corazon Aquino of making the last SONA of her term not merely a valedictory address, but also the formal start of the transition period from one administration to the next. Presidents Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos made such commitments in their final SONAs and categorically stated that they would hand over office to whoever was their duly-elected successor come June 30 of the following year. To borrow a word revived by Ms Arroyo, instead of following this democratic precedent, she pussyfooted around the question of handing over power on June 30, 2010.
What she didn’t pussyfoot around was the question of a transition. There will be none. “There is much to do as head of state, to the very last day,” she declared.
The President may have virtuously declared that she is more interested in governance than politics, but her determination to cling, limpet-like, to every single one of her presidential prerogatives makes her a compleat politician. Again, her apologists might object that every president is a politician, too, but there comes a time— specifically, the final months of a president’s term—when the politician must at least attempt to transform into a statesman.
This, the President refuses to do. She remains in campaign mode, demonstrating every indication that she intends to maintain a vise-like grip on her administration coalition and compete with her potential successors.
The result of the President’s pussyfooting around the question of her leaving office—not only when, but under what circumstances—will guarantee more politics, not less. It ensures that whatever governance takes place will be firmly subordinated to politicking since she will be aggressively ensuring that everyone continues kowtowing to her until high noon of June 30, 2010, not least because she refuses to commit to a specific role beyond that hour.
Mixed message in Arroyo’s SONA
By Amando Doronila
The speech disappointed civil society and political groups which demanded that she should use her last SONA to declare unqualifiedly that she is stepping down at the end of her constitutional term on June 30, 2010 in order to calm widespread public unease over her political intentions after she serves out her term. Instead, the President stoked public uncertainty with glib prevarications and double talk that indicated that she is not exiting but clinging tenaciously to office.
In a well-applauded segment of her speech, the President said: “At the end of this speech, I shall step down from this stage… but, not from the presidency.” She added emphatically, “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.”
Stepping down after the closing bar of the SONA was not the clamor. The clamor is, “Quit on June 30, 2010. We have had enough of you.”
But she said, “A year is a long time. There are many perils that we must still guard against.” She did not say that the “many perils” might include the usurpation of power.
She did not touch the contentious issue of constitutional change that has stoked political unrest each time it is pushed by her congressional cohorts. All she said was, “I never expressed the desire to extend myself beyond my term.”
True, but this is dishonest. There were many voices who expressed this desire on her behalf as proxies. One of them was former Speaker Jose de Venecia, whom she lambasted in her speech by inference. De Venecia sponsored proposals to amend the Constitution to a shift to a parliamentary system, which could have given her the opening to run for member of parliament and from there stand for prime minister. She said, “The noisiest critics of constitutional reform tirelessly and shamelessly attempted Cha-cha when they thought they could take advantage of a shift in the form of government. Now that we feel they cannot benefit from it, they oppose it.”
SONA 2009 is arroyo’s last as president. in many things last, specially in speeches, you normally want it to be your best. these are the last words that your audience will hear from you and that gives you the energy to make it the most memorable.
being the last words also makes you want to enumerate what you have stood for and yes, your accomplishments. accomplishments specially for a public office is very important as they are what you were elected to do in the first place. an office such as the presidency also transcends and goes beyond the execution part of the presidency as that office also defines the principles and beliefs that a nation adapts.
in arroyo’s last SONA has failed in these things. well, she did achieve in getting images in our minds but they are of the wrong kind. and that comes from what we think is a grave tactical error in the writing of the speech.
look at the newspapers and watch the tv news and the overwhelming last take-away and what is most talked about are two things : (a) she did not categorically say she will step down in 2010 and (b) her tirades and attacks on key opposition figures.
the tragedy is that those are two of three components of the speech. in terms of weight, those two items acount for probably less than 4% of all the words in her speech and yet here we are the morning after and that is all we are talking about.
those are the only two things we now remember and want to discuss, we did not at all pay attention nor do we remember that part of her speech that accounts for at least 96% of all the words she said – her accomplishments and achievements.
including those 4% in her speech is gross tactical error not only for the nation but more importantly from her point of view her legacy.
this ending of term speech will play a significant part in defining arroyo’s legacy as president. a big part of her legacy will that be of a president who ends her term in bitterness against those who oppose her and a presidency unable to control itself and getting pleasure in attacking her critics.
what makes that even more telling is that the critics she attacked are supposedly from the minority, a very small portion of the political landscape. one is a convicted criminal, the other a leader in congress removed from power and a senator who cussed his way into history. surely given the credentials of the critics she attacked is no match to her position as president and her huge accomplishments.
attacking these minor players belonging to the political minority showed the presidency which we are supposed to hold high stooping down to the gutter just to get some puny pot shots in. the magnitude of the attack, the stature from wher it came from and the targets has pushed the presidency of this country into a heap of toxic waste.
arroyo has been accused repeatedly of not respecting institutions and those we hold dear as a nation, this one is one more example of that. arroyo tarnished her own position, the presidency.
of all things said in her SONA, there was one thing everyone was waiting for and that was something she did not say categorically – that she will step down from power in 2010 when her term expires.
instead of categorically saying she will step down as cory aquino said in her own last SONA, arroyo gave us wordsmithing of vagueness that had a back door wide open.
arroyo did not say she will step down from power in 2010, all she gave us was this line: “I have never expressed desire to extend myself beyond my term.”
the unsaid on the topic of her plans after 2010 is that she might relent to a clamor from others for her to extend herself beyond her term. it does smell of a set-up.
arroyo has been completely silent on actions in congress on cha-cha always saying they are not involved in the efforts and that these are being done independently by them. according to her spokespersons the they are keeping their hands off and yet she has not categorically told them not to pursue it.
of course none of that we believe. we have witnessed this presidency many times over telling lies about its intent and actions. we know that in this administration words said are not exactly actions executed. and the more dangerous part – words unsaid are the actions done.
there is irony there. in fact irony is all over the place in this country of ours. we now have the leftists and militants seemingly providing us with moral direction while the rightists and the government are providing us with lies and out of moral if not illegal actions.
that is where arroyo’s legacy will sit – the 4% that we remember and the 96% that was said that we chose not to listen to. the morning after is one hell of a ride.
As the campaign unfolds and the candidates take to the airwaves, I ask them to talk more about how they will build up the nation rather than tear down their opponents. Our candidates must understand the complexities of our government and what it takes to move the country forward. Give the electorate real choices and not just sweet talk….
these are good words, specially on the side of asking election opponents talking about how to build the nation rather than tear down opponents.
and yet, arroyo takes a jab at mar roxas one of the leading presidentiable candidates:
To those who want to be President, this advice: If you want something done, do it hard, do it well. Don’t pussyfoot. Just do it. Don’t say bad words in public.
and another jab at erap estrada, also a declared “undeclared” presidentiable who is also one of the leaders in the polls:
I am falsely accused, without proof, of using my office for personal profit. Many of those who accuse me of it have lifestyles and spending habits that make them walking proofs of that crime….
We can read their frustrations. They had the chance to serve this good country and they blew it by serving themselves….
Those who live in glass houses should cast no stones. Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there….
this one is a reference to jose de veencia. it is also another arroyo tactic that has been done many times over – turn things around:
The noisiest critics of constitutional reform tirelessly and shamelessly attempted Cha-Cha when they thought they could take advantage of a shift in the form of government. Now that they feel they cannot benefit from it, they oppose it.
the lighting fast push for con-ass and several attempts at cha-cha speaks of arroyo wanting to benefit from its success not to mention it is widely believed cha-cha is being done for the purpose of arroyo extending her grip on power.
we have a SONA where arroyo says political candidates should stay on talks on building the country and refrain from putting each other down. and yet in this same SONA, she actually attacks 2 leading opposition presidentiables.
combine that attack on leading opposition presidentiables with hiding behind on who benefits with cha-cha plus no categorical declaration that she will step down from power in 2010 leads you to conclude she has political ambitions beyond 2010.
this SONA is more than a SONA, it is an election campaign speech.
read other posts:
- 9 Years Of Arroyo As President – A Review Of Arroyo’s Presidency
- Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s SONA 2009 a failure – half of the truth said, the other half unsaid – no categorical statement she will step down in 2010
- on the day of arroyo’s SONA 2009 – SWS survey release – hunger rose, 3 points to all time record high hunger
- arroyo turns SONA 2009 into a 2010 election campaign speech