Marcos' 'business-like' SONA 2022 lacked applausable moments: analyst


Posted at Jul 25 2022 09:52 PM

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., by focusing on his plans for the Philippine economy, was more "business-like" in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) compared to his inaugural address, an analyst said Monday.

De La Salle University political science professor Julio Teehankee said Marcos' first SONA lacked applausable moments, compared to the speeches of his predecessors.

"One thing I missed about this SONA is the lack of applausable moments. We are used to previous presidents, from the time of FVR, Erap, etcetera all the way to Duterte. There are several, and we always have a count of how many times the congressmen and the senators applauded, or even gave a standing ovation," he said.

"But this one seems to be, just one or two. Because of course, it's the tenor of the speech and the manner he delivered it. He's more business-like this time around compared to his inaugural address," Teehankee added.

In his SONA, Marcos enumerated his priority programs, which included amendments to the to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA (Rep. Act No. 9136) and the reinstitution of the mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) and National Service Training Program (NSTP).

For Teehankee, the amendment to the EPIRA is a welcome development.

"That is a welcome development that he is willing to revisit EPIRA, which, of course, most economists and again, analysts, have pointed to one of the biggest factor to our being one of the most expensive power and electricity in the region," he said.

He also said Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla was among those who pushed for the passing of the EPIRA back in 2001.

"Well who else can revisit the EPIRA but the one who helped draft it, right? And of course, if it's the order of the executive, the president, then we have to revisit it," Teehankee said.

On the issue of the mandatory ROTC, Teehankee said Marcos seemed to have agreed to its reinstitution as a concession to some politicians and to certain segments of the population.

"Again, this is a concession to a segment of the electorate and some politicians, including the Vice President herself who have been pushing for this return of ROTC. But of course they are trying to package it in a manner by which it is not simply focused on the military and defense aspect, but also on socio-civic and disaster response," he said.

Teehankee also said Marcos, by first acknowledging the issues and problems the country is facing, was able to maintain his "unifying" message.

"As chief executive, as president of the republic, he should be a source of hope and inspiration, and that is what SONA is all about. It have evolved into a rallying cry, it's not only a laundry list of what things to do and things to be achieved, but rather it is also supposed to rally the people, the nation, to a vision. And that's what this president has done," he explained.

"He has been forthright by acknowledging all the issues and the challenges, but at the end of it all, he's saying, we will endure," Teehankee added.