“His administration will grapple with a wide variety of challenges, problems and issues, now existing or may yet emerge in the coming years”
Since his inauguration as the 17th president of the Republic of the Philippines, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos will deliver his first State of the Nation Address today.
As in the past, this momentous event such as the SONA is being awaited with much anticipation.
But it may be a little different this time. What with the COVID 19 pandemic now in its third year, and the majority are feeling the pinch of skyrocketing and unabated increase in the price of gas and other prime commodities.
To millions of BBM supporters, the SONA is a cause for celebration, if not guarded optimism.
To the victims of the father’s iron rule and those who fought martial law, the son’s ascent into the highest post is to open anew old wounds.
But still to most ordinary people in the street, who have seen presidents come and go, a BBM presidency will make no difference to their lives.
As I have written with a colleague in an online article, the Marcos Jr. electoral victory is a bitter pill to swallow to many.
This is especially true since Marcos Jr. cruised along the campaign without bothering to address vital national issues when, as a matter of strategy as pundits would suspect, he refused to participate in presidential debates or was selective in interviews.
To make matters worse, the Marcos family have long been suspected of maintaining a machinery for disinformation to sanitize the family name and romanticize the Marcos era and distort, if not erase from national memory, the traumatic martial law experience of the patriarch.
The Marcos victory is doubly painful to activists and journalists who have been fighting a “losing battle” of fake news and disinformation, in no small measure caused by the accessibility of social media and other digital platforms.
Yet, no matter what people say, no matter what people do, the Marcos electoral victory, and his presidency for that matter, is now a fait accompli. It is safe to assume, however. that his triumph will be weighed down to some degree by resurfacing skeletons from the past.
As President Marcos Jr. delivers his maiden SONA, he will face a perfect storm of crises, be it health, economy or climate change.
His administration will grapple with a wide variety of challenges, problems and issues, now existing or may yet emerge in the coming years. It is for this reason that his SONA is important. It is a singular occasion for Marcos to finally say what has been unsaid during the campaign, to allay fears of future uncertainties, and to inspire hope to a nation afflicted with self-doubt and sagging confidence.
In the past few weeks, we saw encouraging signs.
Marcos has mentioned that the drug war must be done ‘within law.’
This was echoed by newly appointed National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos who also said that red-tagging must be stopped under the new administration.
This is a clear break from the policy of the previous administration when human life became so dirt cheap that thousands had been killed and imprisoned in the murderous war on drugs.
Additionally, initial Marcos appointees in the Cabinet are above par.
It is shaping up to be the least militarized as compared to other post-EDSA I administrations.
There are also excellent choices in other departments including in the energy and environment departments.
To have competent, brilliant and independent minds in the Cabinet is critical in any administration.
With Marcos leading the agriculture department himself, we can expect a major push towards achieving food security and self-sufficiency.
The same with Vice President Sara Duterte who has assumed the position of education secretary.
More than two years of the pandemic have thrown our education system into serious disarray.
We must expect the vice president to dedicate her time to more meaningful programs that will make Filipino education system more competitive and attuned with the times.
These are small and incremental but nonetheless meaningful steps in the right direction.
Yet, they are but openings, mere opportunities with the potential to improve the lives of the people.
And they will remain as mere potentials unless and until they achieve their end goals. In the meantime.
We can only work, fight, and hope that the mistruths, lies, and deceit that have long been, rightly or wrongly, ascribed to the Marcoses will be debunked and righted by an effective, competent and honest Marcos’ presidency.
In these times when we are not so certain what is in store for us, we can only hope that this administration will deliver.
And, yes, aside from hope, we must also remain vigilant—vigilant against abuse of power, vigilant against dishonesty, and vigilant against deceit.
To paraphrase Apolinario Mabini, the most brilliant of Filipino revolutionaries, the person is truly a patriot when, whatever his or her post, high or low, that person tries to do the greatest possible good to our countrymen.
Website: tonylavina.com Facebook page: deantonylavs Twitter: tonylavs