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Gloria’s Valedictory: Foundations For A Better Tomorrow?

July 27, 2009


It was a State Of the Nation Address unlike all the 8 annual speeches that came before it.

I have to confess that the valedictory of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has given this often jaded observer three very clear indications:

1.Mrs. Arroyo will step down from office on June 30, 2010;

2. She does not want her term extended, and;

3. She has no intention of declaring martial.

This final SONA of hers rightly focused on the economy’s undeniable gains during the Arroyo watch and how the foundations have been laid for the 15th President of the Philippines we Filipinos will elect in the country’s first fully automated elections on May 10, 2010.

My bases for these conclusions come from these verbatim quotes:

1.    “I did not become President to be popular but to work, to lead, to protect, to preserve our country and our people. That is why I became President. When my father left the Presidency, we were second to Japan. I want to see our Republic to the first world in 20 years.”
2.    “The strong, bitter, and unpopular revenue measures of the past few years have spared our country the worst of the global financial shocks. They gave us the resources to stimulate the economy. Nabigyan ng pinakamalaking pagtaas ng IRA ang mga LGU na P40 billion itong taon, imparting strength throughgout the country at every level of government.”
3.    “Sa telecommunications, inaatasan ko ang Telecomunications Commission na kumilos na tungkol sa mga sumbong na dropped calls at mga nawawalang load sa cellphone. We need to amend the Commonweath-era Public Service Law. And we need to do it now.”
4.    “With earnings of $6 billon and employment of 600,000, the BPO phenomenon speaks eloquently of our competitiveness and productivity. Let us have a Department of ICT.”
5.    “Cash handouts give the most immediate relief and produce the widest stimulating effects. This year conditional cash transfers will benefit 700,000 poorest of the poor families. I ask Congress to institutionalize them.”
6.    “Pitong milyong entrepreneurs na ang nakinabang sa P165 bilyon na microfinsnce.”
7.    “Umabot na sa halos lahat ng mga barangay ang elektrisidad. We increased indigenous energy from 48% to 58%. Nakatipid tayo sa dollars tapos na reduce pa iyong oil consumption.”
8.    “The huge reduction in fossil fuel is the biggest proof of energy independence and environmental responsibility. Further reduction will come with the full implementation of the Renewable Energy Act and the Biofuels Act. Thank you, Congress.”
9.    “The Presidential Task Force on Education headed by Jesuit educator, Father Bienvenido Nebres has come out with the Philippine Main Education Highway towards a Knowledge-based Economy. It envisions seamless education from basic to vocational school or college. We want early childhood education included in basic education. Our children are our most cherished possession. In their early years we must make sure they get a healthy start in life. They must receive the right food for a healthy body, the right education for a bright nd inquiring mind — sand the equality of opportunity for a meaningful job.”
10.    “In good times and bad our overseas Filipinos keep our nation resilient. Their remittances of $16 billion last year were a record. This year they are even higher.
11.    “We are working to create high-paying jobs here at hope so that overseas work will just be a career choice, not the only option for a talented Filipino in search of a better life.”
12.    “We should make their sacrifices worthwhile, we should take stronger measures to preserve and enhance the value of their hard earned wages. That means stronger consumer protection for OFWs investing in property and products back home. For them I am activating an Investors Protection Task Force.”
13.    “I have accepted the invitation of President Barack Obama to be the first Southeast Asian leader to meet him at the White House this week. High on our agenda will be peace and security issues. Terrorism: how to meet it, how to end it, how to address the roots in historical injustice or religious prejudice. – and first and always how to protect innocent lives.”
14.    In 2008 up to the first quarter of 2009 we stood among only a few economies in Asia Pacific that did not shrink. While in 2001 when a failure o effective government put me at the helm of the state, Asia was surging but our economy was on the brink of bankruptcy.
Since then our economy posted uninterrupted growth for 33 quarters… more than doubled its size from $ 76 billion to $186 billion. The average GDP growth from 2001 to the first quarter of 2009 is the highest in 43 years.”
15.    “There is nothing more that I wish than peace in Mindanao. It will be a blessing for all  its people, Muslim, Christian and Lumads. It will show religiously divided communities that there can be common ground on which to live together in peace, harmony and cooperation that respects each other’s religious belief.”
16.    “Real government is about looking beyond the vested to the national interest, setting up the necessary conditions the next, more enables, more empowered generation to achieve a as prosperous, a people ad content, as our deserve to be. Current 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. They oppose it now that they cannot benefit from it. As the process of fundamental political reform begins let us address the highest exercise… voting. I said we would finance fully automated elections. WE GOT IT, thanks to Congress.”
17.    “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.”
18.    “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.”
19.    “Meanwhile I will keep a steady hand in the tiller, keeping the ship of state away from the shallows some prefer, and steering it straight to the course I set in 2001.”
20.    “A year is a long time. Patuloy ang pamumuhunan sa tinatawag na three E’s ng Ekonomiya, Environment, at Edukasyon.”
21.    “We cannot be complacent. We only know that we have generated mo resources on which to draw and thereby created options we could take. Thank God we did not let our critics stop us.”
22.    Everything right can be undone by even a single wrong. Every step forward must be taken in the teeth of political pressures and economic constraints that could push you two steps back if you flinch and falter. I have not. Di ako umaatras sa hamon.”
23.    “I will protect democracy with law and order where it is subverted by anarchy; and always  and ever I will try to sustain it by wise policies of economic progress, so that a democracy means not just empty liberty but a full life for all.
24.    “I never expressed the desire to extend myself beyond my term.”

Pres. Arroyo didn’t mention them by name but everyone listening to her knew who she was referring to when she cited critics “who are walking evidence of having used his office for personal gain and was jailed for it.”

Her advice for critics aspiring for high office “not to say bad words and take decisive action instead of pussyfooting” also hit the mark.

I will leave it to the mainstream to recap the economic achievements enumerated by Pres. Arroyo.

But from where I sit I believe it is fair to say she earned the applause that punctuated the speech.

Mrs. Arroyo should use the next ten months to ensure the achievements she cited are not undone by any new scandals and inglorious acts.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. simpliving permalink
    July 27, 2009 8:14 pm

    You hit the high spots, Ding. :okay:

  2. July 29, 2009 6:54 pm

    kailan mo kaya maririnig ang pinakamagandang SONA para sayo…

    magkakaroon nga kaya ng SONA na kakatuwaan ng lahat?

    hnnnmmmm parang napaisip ako dun ahhhh…

    padaan lang po

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