Archive | July 2009

SONA Postscript: Re-reading the numbers in the President’s report

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo boasted of her administration’s achievements and slammed her critics in a display of fighting stance because of it.

The former economics professor at the University of the Philippines sprinkled her speech with numbers or statistics to prove her 5-point summary, which she used to claim that:

“1. We have a strong economy and a strong fiscal position to withstand global shocks.
2. We built new modern infrastructure and completed unfinished ones.
3. The economy is more fair to the poor than ever before.
4. We are building a sound base for the next generation.
5. International authorities have taken notice that we are safer from environmental degradation and man-made disasters.”

But Filipinos have grown critical of mother hood statements and expect no less than clear and meaningful quantification from a governance report.

In her so-called valedictory address, the 2009 SONA, she used numbers in about 26 paragraphs or 1, 034 out of her full-length speech’s 4, 424 words.

But just as numbers fill the speech, does it also create clarity and assure accuracy?

The figures came generously but largely are reeking with ambiguity and unclear meanings.

Here is a quick run through of each paragraph in the SONA decorated with numbers, and some points to ponder: Read More…

The parade of SOs and peace in Mindanao

A series of more recent development unfolded in Mindanao.

First came the announcement of the resumption “Soon” of the formal talks (and the peace process) between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as a cessation of hostilities is at hand.

Then the continuing calls by civil society and peoples organizations in conflict-affected areas. Among the most prominent call is that Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo to “end the war, enough is enough.” and those from evacuees demanding they want to go home.

Then on July 23, around 4p.m. Malacanang’s announcement at 4 p.m. of a suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) “effective immediately” was met with applause and tears, and even, disbelief.

Then 48 hours later, the MILF, also declared a suspension of military actions (SOMA).

Talk is rife that this will just be a charm offensive in time for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s supposedly last State of the Nation Address at 4p.m. this afternoon.

Incidentally, both the SOMO and SOMA were issued at 4.p.m. which is also the time we expect Arroyo to account for her achievements this afternoon.

For all its worth, this must go beyond politicking and proceed to the resumption of the negotiations for peace in Mindanao.