President Noynoy Aquino's First State of the Nation Address (SONA)

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I highly anticipated President Noynoy Aquino's first state of the nation address (SONA), just because. I was tuned in to the ANC channel early in the morning because I didn't know what time it will start. Later on, it was announced that the SONA will start at 4PM. (Early in the day, a senate president and speaker of the house were elected in congress.) By 3PM, they showed the presidential car with a convoy of PSGs already headed for Batasang Pambansa. I was glued to my TV screen from hereon, not wanting to miss anything. It was like literally watching every move of the president, so to speak.

The first five minutes of his speech was an explosion. Obviously, P'Noy wasted no time speaking in conundrums. Indeed, if you will all pardon my language, it was a no bullshit kind of speech, and it was really amazing. Once he started detailing the anomalies of the past administration, there was no stopping him and his rhetorics.

I have heard a few criticize P'Noy's choice to use the vernacular when speaking to his constituents. In fact, at one point, I myself doubted if he could speak well in English. I know it was such an unfounded bias and I should be condemned for downing a fellow Atenean! But when I watched his interview on CNN Talk Asia, I suddenly felt foolish for thinking that Noynoy could not deliver in English. He simply prefers to speak in Filipino when talking to the Filipinos.

His first SONA may not be the best of speeches ever written, but I think it was one of the most powerful simply because it was in Filipino. And not merely was it in Filipino, but he used the everyday words of Filipinos. In this manner, he made it sure that Filipinos from all walks of life will be able to understand him. And that's what matters more after all, because he is talking to his countrymen and not to the international leaders around the world. In some sense, it is more dramatic and effective.

I secretly admire former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) when it comes to giving speeches because she is eloquent and exudes an air of confidence. She maintains eye contact to her audience and seems spontaneous about it. I thought Noynoy Aquino will pale in comparison in this department. But again, he surprised me when he hardly referred to his hard copy and spoke of figures and other nitty-gritty details from memory. He faltered once in a while but that was forgivable. He garnered no resounding applause in my opinion, but at least the audience knew when to clap in appreciation, even if only on cue.

Overall, I loved President Noynoy's SONA because I felt the sincerity as he stood in front of the congress and spoke before his countrymen. His exposes were bold and unforgiving, hitting Gloria Arroyo and her midnight appointees without fear. I told my mom that if Noynoy continues to be this way, he is putting his and his family's life in big danger. But knowing the Aquinos, they will not be daunted.


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