Palace defends two-hour SONA

Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang defended yesterday President Aquino’s long State of the Nation Address (SONA), saying the Filipino people, as his bosses, deserved a comprehensive report on what he and his administration had accomplished.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told a press briefing that the President provided the people a long list of what he and his officials had done in almost all sectors of society that brought the country back on the radar of the international community.

Aquino’s final SONA took more than two hours, the longest that he had delivered.

The President admitted that his biggest fear was that he would not know how long people would be patient with him and start venting their ire on him if problems remain unsolved.

Coloma said there was also nothing personal about Aquino’s reference to the anomalies and scandals during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Aquino said he was aware of calls for the administration to move on instead of continuously blaming the Arroyo administration for the country’s woes, but said he could not allow those who committed irregularities to make the people forget or pity them because “we can only move on once justice has been attained.”

Coloma said some reforms take time to be implemented but that was only because they were of the firm belief that “correct analysis leads to correct solution.”

He said the President was not passing on responsibility for the problems in the country, but was pointing out the challenge of starting from negative when he took over.

Coloma said the administration would not stop addressing the problems of the country until the last day of their term.

SAF 44

On complaints that the killing of 44 police commandos was not mentioned in the SONA, Coloma said the commitment to provide assistance to the families had been given long before the SONA.

He said the  SAF 44 families should not feel forgotten if they were not mentioned in Aquino’s farewell SONA. 

He said the President in his address to the nation on Feb. 6 had said he would carry the incident “until the end of my days.”

On March 26 during the graduation of the Philippine National Police Academy, the President explained at length what he went through and the circumstances that led to the incident and said it would be the last time he would talk about it, Coloma noted.

Thumbs up

The President’s last SONA drew cheers from most local business groups.

The Makati Business Club (MBC) said it was the President’s best SONA because he apprised the people of the gains of his administration and asked them to continue to build on his achievements.

“He told us that much has been accomplished and we’ve only just begun. I think it was successful as an inspirational message,” MBC chairman Ramon del Rosario said.

MBC president Peter Perfecto said the President was able to communicate his straight path contract with his bosses.

“I hope that this will mean that we can expect more from the final year even as elections fast approach. I am still hopeful that key infrastructure PPPs (public-private partnership project) will roll out and legislative priorities will prosper,” Perfecto said.

Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines president Ernesto Ordoñez said the speech highlighted the bullish investor outlook and business confidence.

Rene Romero, vice chairman of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce, said the SONA was well prepared and inspiring because the President was able to enumerate the gains of the administration.

Perfect SONA

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon and other officials in the province said the President’s speech was the “perfect SONA.”

“It was appropriate and humble of him to when he admitted ‘I am not perfect, but I did my best,’” Marañon added.– With Delon Porcalla, Richmond Mercurio, Danny Dangcalan, Ric Sapnu, Roel Pareño

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