Before all the past living Presidents—good friends all —start writing fiery Letters to the Editor because of the title of this column, let me just say that each one, and their respective State of the Nation Addresses (SONA), were well-respected in their own right and by their own style at their own time.
But because the current Palace occupant is a first in many things—foremost among them as the first-ever President from Mindanao—then it is but proper to pay tribute to his first State of the Nation Address delivered last 25 July 2016 before both Houses of Congress as a SONA like no other.
I borrow the title of this column from the seeming millennial penchant for the hyperbole and over-emphasis, and, indeed, it is to the youth groundswell, perhaps, that the President appealed to in his speech: the casual and conversational overtones; the swagger and braggadocio; the diversion from the prepared speech and the teleprompter; the dramatic pauses; the subtle repartees that were really in-your-face… The nervous laughter, the discomfort, the tension…
This President wanted you to be uncomfortable about the harsh realities of society now, and he did not mince words in putting his messages across. Pak. Ganern.
What did the President basically want to say? Discard the old, tired, ineffective and, oftentimes corrupt, ways and bring in the new, effective, expedient ones. Transform the governance structure to make it more responsive to the peoples’ needs. Devolve power to the regions through a federalist system and away from “Imperial Manila”.
Regain your trust in government and law enforcement. Respect human rights, but don’t use it as a shield. Eradicate the drug menace and drug dependents. Speed up government processes and trim the bureaucracy. Increase infrastructure. Be transparent to the public. Be forceful, but be peaceful. Change, change, change.
Change is coming, his campaign slogan said. Forget that. Change IS here.
Change the way you think. Change the way you act.
Even the past living Presidents would agree with me on that.
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