ON JULY 24, President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City.
As the name implies, this political event will be about the conditions that transpired around the country and after a year since he delivered in his dais in the plenary hall last year, everything happened faster than we can ever imagine.
What Will Happen This SONA Day
On SONA Day, classes are usually suspended in all levels throughout the city to accommodate the President and the protesters.
Last year, militant rallyists in Commonwealth Avenue did not show disdain for Duterte but by this year, there will be as they will very first effigy for the occassion (the second throughout the administration) ready to be burned (for the second time as the first one was burned last December), symbolisizing their “betrayal of the people,” as part of their counter-SONA program.
All television and radio stations will participate as long as media accreditation and their designated locations are concerned as they will set aside at least an hour for their premonitions. However, will GMA “News” TV give in after two years of missing the coverage or skip it entirely for the third consecutive year?
Unlike previous SONAs, there was no frenzied fashion show on the red carpet last year; it is certain that it will be implement the same course of action for this year.
During the address proper at 4:00 p.m., we should expect Duterte’s freewheeling and extemporaneous tirades that will elongate about twice than the expected time on delivering the solemn discourse just like last year. Since our country began igniting the fire of the international post-truth politics where alternative facts dominate the shape of the policy debate, we should expect any superficial and wild claims emanated from him upon dealing with figures.
Consequently, private and commercial media organizations must fact-check such claims with annotations as live as possible so that students can critically think before writing down their reaction paper as a potential requirement for Araling Panlipunan (for junior high school students) or Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics (for senior high school students).
On the other hand, famous humorous netizens will use this opportunity for their outsmarting gimmickry such as a drinking game and bingo game from a satirical WordPress site, So What’s News (SWN) and “rejected” excerpts from The Professional Heckler.
Three years ago, the Turf posted four indexes to watch out for that will not usually be heard during SONA and its respective technical report. So far, let us revisit the barometers and deduct from the year-on-year difference.
Global Peace Index (GPI)
Assessed by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), this index is an attempt to measure the relative position of nations and regions’ peacefulness. The lower the score, the more peaceful the country is.
- CURRENT STANDING: The Philippines scored 2.555 (138th of 163) in 2017 from 2.511 (139th of 163) in 2016.
- ATTRIBUTION: Believed to be the War on Drugs, the corresponding extrajudicial killings (EJKs) and the unresolved standoff in Marawi City
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)
Published annually by Transparency International and scored from 0-100, it measures the perceived levels of corruption in a country. The higher the score, the lesser corruption is practiced.
- CURRENT STANDING: The Philippines maintained the same score of 35 (2016 vs 2015).
- ATTRIBUTION: Despite the change of administration, the long-established palakasan culture stands still – the strong influence of appointing and defending closest friends, classmates or supporters with adverse and/or unfitting record of accomplishment. (Does anyone think that we are the next Singapore with this type?)
Ease of Doing Business Index
Devised by the World Bank Group, this yardstick determines how better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights the country performs. The higher the rank, the better it will set up.
- CURRENT STANDING: Our country improved the rankings of 99 out of 190 in the 2017 report from 103 out of 189 last year.
- ATTRIBUTION: Duterte inherited the effect of previous administrations’ economic agenda is carried over despite a new label (Dutertenomics). His first orders were to slash the bureaucratic red tape that he uttered in his inaugural address last year. However, keep an eye on this report for to check if he uphold such sustainability — especially on the adminstration’s tax reform.
Human Development Index (HDI)
Devised by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), it measures improvement of life expectancy, education and income.
- CURRENT STANDING: Last March, the 2016 report was released with the Philippines remaining in the medium territory at 0.682 (up by 0.003) but it dipped down two places to the 116th place of 188 countries measured.
- ATTRIBUTION: Other countries have improved the change of HDI levels than ours. Fellow ASEAN neighbor, Vietnam was up 0.005 to 0.683, hereby overtaking us.
A new gauge
In light of the turbulent situation, a new indicator will be introduced: the Press Freedom Index.
Compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders (RWB/RSF), it is based upon the organization’s own assessment of the countries’ press freedom records in the previous year. It intends to reflect the degree of freedom that journalists, news organizations, and netizens have in each country, and the efforts made by authorities to respect this freedom. The smaller the score, the press is somewhat freer.
- CURRENT STANDING: Out of 180 countries assessed this year, the country was restored back to its 2015 levels with 41.08 (127th) from 2016 with 44.66 (138th).
- ATTRIBUTION: The press was somehow able to resist and to stand back from antics and alibis from the President’s PR men.
Keep an eye on this new indictator for observation purposes.
Opening the Pit
Since I officially commence the inaugural Open Pit, it is now up to you to kick in the discussions and to judge them.
Without reservations, what will you expect about President Duterte’s second SONA?
If you comment it after July 24, what are your reactions to it? Which points do you think are praiseworthy? Which points are lacking and needs attention?
During the Open Pit, any subject may be raised or requested. However, civility will always be the priority. Rude languages or crude photos are not allowed; violators will be dealt with accordingly. Thank you.
Photo courtesy of PCOO