Subject: State of the Nation Address
Darn, the SONA thing is due next week. What do I say? With three years to go Filipinos want to know my vision of the finish line.
I need an overarching theme. I could go with “Happy days are here again!” but that is probably inappropriate since I understand there are now more people out of work than before. I actually have reasons to brag: The Makati crowd tells me life has never been this good. Still, I should come up with something more in keeping.
What about Bayanihan and its spirit of sharing and trusting? That could work. I could tee-off with the idea the wealthy need to contribute to the community some of the bounty of the first three years. Businesses need to pay their fair share of taxes. The water companies and Meralco need to be merciful on what they pass to the consumer. The rich may have to subsidize affordable housing and education through a levy on urban property and high-end condos.
Burden sharing has never been big with business and the 1% –my staunchest supporters- so it may have to be force-fed. Hopefully it becomes an acquired taste, the notion that what is good for the many will ultimately be good for the few. By empowering the poor, we will broaden the consumer base, generate more buying power and create further jobs, the multiplier thing. This benefits business.
I like that Bayanihan is about trust. Filipinos have lost trust in their institutions and their leaders. Victims fear going to the authorities –police, judges or labor attaches- when in trouble. I need to restore that trust for it is the foundation of the social contract between governors and governed.
I should remind Filipinos to also trust in themselves and each other, to believe we can together make ours a better place. I could recall Mom’s battle cry of “Hindi ka nagiisa” to unify the individual with the collective.
There is the saying “Be careful what you wish for …”. Well, I am kinda there. I now control the Senate, the House and, it is perceived, the Supreme Court. The bad news is I now have to deliver. For this I must now call in my chips, nicely of course.
First on the list is CJ Sereno. Judicial reform was the priority of my Administration in 2010 but the country has little to show for it. The Court has to deliver its part, that was the promise on which Lourdes was selected. She will have to convince her colleagues to come around but that is not my problem. I cannot be the only one doing the heavy lifting.
Second are the lawmakers. They must be reminded who put them there when I gun my legislative agenda. The recent P10 billion pork barrel hoax is my opening to review what is once again confirmed as a legalized slush fund. I am unsure I could scrap the program without a mutiny in my hands; but I could downsize it and add stricter conditionalities. Pork barrel should not be a livelihood nor a re-election kitty for legislators.
Third is local Government. I need to talk to Mar, Butch and Jun about getting the LP to flex its muscles with Governors and Mayors so everybody toes the line.
Lastly is the bureaucracy. My people must work smart, execute well and be accountable. The National Irrigation Authority is an example when that does not happen.
With only 3 years to go, people may start to see me as a lameduck and lose heart. I must reassure them otherwise. They must know I am not going to ride quietly into the sunset. On the contrary I am now going on a war footing. If murderers and other criminals expect to wait out my Presidency they are mistaken. Justice will be served in my term.
The same message goes to my political detractors. They will want to show me up so they can buy the 2016 elections on the cheap. Guys, I am not going away.
SONAs are a report card on the accomplishments of the nation but they also should be a recognition of its failings. Filipinos must know I know that it has not all been good but that we are working on it.
My SONA must be a message of hope for the millions who joined me on this journey of change. I have leveled the playing field for business. I should be doing likewise for the ordinary Filipino so everybody, regardless of circumstance, has the same opportunity at making something of himself. Those who have benefited from the new regime must now give back to the community. Those who have not must know help is on the way.
I think that’s it. Now to get it down on paper.