Scenes and soundbites from the 2009 State of the Nation Address
TODAY President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will deliver her valedictory State of the Nation Address (SONA). The act is the highest level of public accountability for the president that is mandated in the Philippine Constitution – for the country’s chief executive to report to Congress, the bureaucracy, and the Filipino people on the state of the nation.
The question is which Arroyo will show up to deliver the SONA: A boastful, triumphant Arroyo, who will take credit for the Philippine economy’s uninterrupted expansion during her watch or an apologetic Arroyo, who has caused so much pain and misery for a lot of Filipinos and has managed to damage, in varying degrees, existing democratic institutions?
RAPID economic growth in recent years, perhaps one of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s few and widely acknowledged achievements amid the steady slide in her popularity ratings, could turn out to be as debatable as her devotion to good governance and anti-corruption.
As Arroyo delivers her ninth and presumably last state of the nation address on Monday, she is again expected to highlight her past economic achievements – even as the economy is poised to either shrink for the first time since 1998 or grow at its slowest in at least seven years. Already, gross domestic product, a measure of economic output, dropped by 2.3 percent in the first quarter from the previous period.
HER HANDLERS portray her as a hardworking president, but after eight years in power, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is looking more like being long on show and short on substance.
Indeed, while critics and observers alike acknowledge specific successes by her administration, they point out that more fundamental concerns were neglected in the pursuit of achieving these.
The Lematin River forms the western arm of the proposed Laiban Dam watershed and reservoir. This river supports seven of the eight barangays that will be submerged when the dam project finally pushes through.