The State of The Nation Address



In anticipation of the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr on July 25, 2022, I ventured into some readings about the SONA in the history of the Republic of the Philippines. By tradition, the President of the Republic gives us a report every year on the state of the country and reveals his program of governance through the SONA. The one to be delivered by President Marcos, Jr., I interestingly found out, is the 84th State of the Nation Address, following the last one given by Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the end of his term. He will appear before a joint session of both the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines. As early as the 1900s, through the Philippine Organic Act of 1902, this tradition was shaped by speeches delivered before a National Assembly on the country’s conditions, in what was then called the “Governor General’s Message to His Legislature”. I gathered that the first Governor General to deliver this message was Governor James F. Smith, who delivered his speech at the Opening of the Philippine Assembly’s first session in 1907. But the SONA as the practice that it is known to us today started with the Commonwealth of the Philippines, as stated in Article VII of the 1935 Constitution that “ the President shall from time to time give to the Congress information on the state of the Nation, and recommend to its consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Thus, the very first SONA was delivered by President Manuel L. Quezon at the National Assembly in November 1935.


I have discovered other interesting facts about the SONA in my readings. It is documented that the President who delivered his SONA only once was President Jose P. Laurel of the Second Philippine Republic, and this special session was led by then Speaker Benigno Aquino in 1943. President Elpidio Quirino delivered his SONA in 1950 from a hospital bed in Maryland, USA where he was said to have been recuperating from an illness. The last SONA to be delivered under the 1935 Constitution was in 1972 by Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.


The nation awaits the first SONA of President Marcos, Jr. The impact of the pandemic on many fronts-from economy to our people’s employment, has seen us battling many challenges, on top of world events like the Ukraine war whose effects have also been felt in the rising of gasoline prices and consequently, in basic commodities.


The most important message the nation would like to hear from the 17th President is how clearly his government agenda can take up the cudgels for the poor, who have been hit hardest by these present challenges.


As the sages would always say, difficult challenges present new opportunities to rise.


QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:


“SMOOTH SEAS DO NOT MAKE SKILLFUL SAILORS” - AFRICAN PROVERB


FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE:


“THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS, AND THE DARKNESS DID NOT COMPREHEND IT” - JOHN 1:5