MANILA, Philippines - The contents of the President’s third State of the Nation Address on Monday remain a tightly guarded secret. But Malacañang described what it would not be.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said there would be no human props, a style used by President Aquino’s predecessors to stress a point by presenting certain individuals, notable or otherwise.
There will be visual aids or a slide show, however, that will go along the President’s speech.
“There will be no Lenny Skutnik. There will be no bangkang papel boys. However, there will be some visuals… It’s important that we also provide visuals for some of the things that the President will be mentioning,” Lacierda told reporters.
Martin Leonard "Lenny" Skutnik is a former US government employee who was honored by US President Ronald Reagan for saving a passenger during an airplane crash in 1982. He is the first in a long line of people who are invited to sit in the gallery at a State of the Union address or other joint meeting of Congress."
In the Philippines, President Fidel Ramos used Felipe "Mang Pandoy" Natanio to symbolize the face of poverty during his term. President Arroyo later used the "bangkang papel boys" - 3 children who wrote their dreams on paper boats - to symbolize her commitment to the Filipino youth.
Lacierda said the President will still deliver the address in Filipino, a practice he has made since he delivered his first SONA In 2010.
Translation aids will be provided to foreign diplomats with Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Undersecretary Manolo Quezon providing the translation.
With no other public event scheduled, the President, along with his team of speechwriters, is spending the entire Friday to finalize the SONA.
"Isa pang pasada doon sa SONA… We had much more time to prepare for the state of the nation address this year. The drafts this year are a lot less than the drafts last year."
No West PH Sea mention?
Lacierda won’t say if the President will mention issues related to the West Philippine Sea nor if the President would dwell on the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona and the arrest of former President Arroyo.
“Let’s just wait for the delivery of the President,” he said.
In broad language, Lacierda said the President will do a review of what his administration has accomplished last year and lay out more specifics on how he intends to achieve his plans in the remaining years of his term.
“The roadmap of the President would necessarily involve our anti-corruption program because that’s part of our advocacy, ‘Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap,’ and also our economic roadmap. Nandoon po ‘yan,” he said.
Even with the arrest of Mrs. Arroyo and ouster of the former chief justice, Lacierda said, the fight against corruption is far from over, citing the need to address corruption in all levels of government.
“The President said much more would have to be done to combat corruption. Corruption exists in all level of the bureaucracy. We need to continuously address issues of corruption in all levels. Hence, we have involved the citizenry,” he said, pointing out a program of the Department of Finance that invites the public to report cases of corruption.
Come into fruition
Meantime, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said most of the proposed bills that the President mentioned in his SONA last year have “come into fruition.”
She said “10 to 11” bills have passed the lower house, including an act to protect whistleblowers and an act establishing a magna carta for the kasambahay or household help.
She pointed out that the bill extending lifeline electricity rates have been enacted into law.