Famous themes of “State of the Nation Addresses” (SONA) of Filipino Presidents Manuel Luis Quezon & Ramon F. Magsaysay – Second Installment
Anchor for Allvoices
President Benigno Aquino 111 is girding up to report for the third time to the nation through his 2012 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23, 2012 in a Joint Session of the Philippine Legislature – Batasang Pambansa. The entire Filipino people will be expected to listen carefully and intently in order to determine whether or not President Aquino will be saying the same things he had said already in his two previous addresses.
In view of such an important event, this writer would like to give a brief revisit on the famous themes of state of the nation addresses of past and present presidents of the Philippines. State of the Nation Address is a 1987 Constitution mandate which allows the sitting present to give updates, through addressing Congress, on what has been done and what should be achieved. SONA is held every last Monday of July. Since 1936, at least 72 SONA addresses have already been delivered, with Manuel L. Quezon giving out the first.
This enables the readers, especially the Filipino audience to see the relevance of such themes to their lives at present and even tomorrow.
President Manuel Luis Quezon addresses the social inequality prevalent during his time to embark on a program of “social justice.” Speaking then, before the Philippine National Assembly of the Commonwealth government he headed President Quezon said, "We must encourage our people to have a national outlook so that they may feel at home in whatever corner of the Philippines they may find themselves." He laid his hands to craft a solution to the agrarian problem he further said, "when there is so much available fertile and untouched public land in many regions of our country, particularly in Mindanao." "We thus have an opportunity to induce the settlement of our sparsely populated areas by the tenants of these “haciendas,” and the money that the
Government would surely lose with their purchase could be invested to better advantage in the construction of roads and improvement of health conditions in said uninhabited but rich sections of the Philippines."
By virtue of such policy pronouncements of President Quezon, thousands and thousands of farmer family settlers from Luzon Island, mostly Ilocanos migrated to Mindanao to settle and live there. Despite of President Quezon’s great pioneering efforts to institute social justice, he had just scratched the surface of the tenancy problems in Philippine agriculture.
The Champion of the Common man President Ramon F. Magsaysay once said,"I must remind you of an all-important fact: that what we have set out to do can be realized only through concerted action and unity. More than ever, we must think, plan, and work as one, with only one supreme goal in mind-the promotion of the welfare and happiness of our people.”
In his 1954 State of the Nation Address, President Magsaysay delved on the need for national unity on top of a deficit and huge debt and issued a very stern warning against communism he said, "Perhaps you will say that the people are asking for a miracle. But they too performed no less than a miracle when in one great irresistible movement they dared every peril to preserve the right to have a government of their choice." This was an emphatic reference to the movement for Philippine independence.
President Magsaysay further said, "the creeping advance of Communism." And now is growing more than ever. . .”To have a government of the right they choose.. . Self-governance mandated under our constitution!
Magsaysay partly quelled the HUKBALAHAP by arresting its higher echelon leaders but the bandit group perpetuated to foment disorders and crimes in the countryside particularly among peasant farming communities.
Nevertheless, Magsaysay was revered until these days as the Champion of the Common Man and President of the masses.