Thursday, July 31, 2008

SONA is Not a Fashion Exhibit

The opening of congress is an awaited political gathering. It is filled with excitements, a fashion show or an awards night as you may want to call it. I likened the gatherings to an inaugural ceremony of newly elected officers of a homeowners association. The wives of the elected officers, in this show, took the limelight where they paraded with splendid gowns, some are new-fashioned creations, and others are antique ones fitted to a museum.


The recent gatherings in congress was just another celebrity shows. The setting was the Batasang Pambansa, a newly refurbished building costing 90 million pesos. This was just to show the physical accomplishment of the newly installed speaker of the house, Congressman Prospero Nograles of the lst district of Davao City –he was the first ever elected speaker from Mindanao and Mindanaoans are very proud upon the election of their representative. The landscaping was well-designed and groomed to greening effect of its surroundings. The walls were repainted neon green that match up with the photographs of the previous house speakers framed in the walls. The metal cladding installed at the exterior facade and the walls erased the memory of the ugly November, 2007, congress bombing. Speaker Nograles, in a six-month leadership has changed not only the substance but the physical grandiose of the Batasang Pambansa.


As the President and guests entered the building, they were treated with the freshened colours of the house and the red carpet leading to the hallways. It was here where Senators: Lorai Lorayna displayed her native and splendiferous –backless gown made of local materials and pineapple fibres; Jimba Madsamana's dark-blue and wide-shouldered gown; Payat Kayetana’s cover-all gown; and Miam Galitsapromo’s oversized-look gown. Also, a number of celebrity wives and socialites paraded in stylishly fashionable manner –good there is no slippery shoes which may fumble on the floor.


The State of the Nation Address (SONA), to be delivered by the President of the Philippines, will grace the congress opening and Ate Glo entered the vibrant hallways, with Deputy Speaker Gerlie Villaroza on her side, then to the resplendent Hall of Congress amid the enthusiastic and rows of skeptic audience. She seated between the Senate President and Speaker of the House –reminiscent of Drilong and de Venasa who act as the theatrical grim-face-mask of senate president and the grin-face-mask of house speaker. (It reminds me of the previous SONA where Drilon ostensibly not listening to the president’s speech while de Venecia was always on standing ovation and clapping his hands almost, always at every end-sentence of the president’s speech.)


The President enumerated her accomplishments and citing the obstacles of global oil price increases, food shortage, and recession. She described the worst recession as short of economic downturn of the Great Depression of 1928 and the end of World War II. EVAT saved the nation, as she paused. The money generated from the collection of Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) saved the poverty stricken people and shielded them from the onslaught of rice crisis that sent food riots in less-developed countries of Asia and Africa. Her critics and power-obsessed oppositions as well as the communist-inspired civil society groups continued to dump her accomplishments with the aid of biased and unresponsive media, the same groups which gave much credence to the leftist organizations. They, whose leaders were put in congress by the virtue of the party list system of the l987 constitution formulated with the participation of communist leaning delegates. These party-list representatives were given allotment fund from the government to buy ammunition to attack the same government they pretend to protect.


And they seemed to be gaining the upperhand in its campaign of discrediting the government. Ate Glo’s sentiment at the opening of her speech was recognizable with her depressing face expression. She was disturbed by the left and right attacks not only on her administration but even in her person. The latest of which was the popularity rating conducted by the biased research firm which showed “she is the worst president” while there are presidents confirmed worst and were dethroned.


Congress again opened its session and its members are reminded of their duties and responsibilities to perform –there were senators who did not report for work and they should be reprimanded. It should be understood that SONA is not the main concerns of the 14th congress. It is the discussions of legislative agenda and the laws they are going to pass for the welfare of the people and not the individuality of the President.

(Source: Local TV networks.)

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