THE spacious and splendid place was well guarded and safeguarded with the required big number of personnel, gun power, big shields plus shinny sticks. The proper ambiance was duly prepared and the air of expectation was accordingly nurtured. The well selected—mostly rich and famous—guests were distinctly clothed, correctly greeted and after some time respectfully seated. The usual long whispers and rehearsed gestures were ubiquitously made. The waiting was fervent, the expectation was tense.
Then, after due vigil and much suspense, the star of the day appeared—with the standard smile and the standard walk. Loud claps were made and respectful cheers were heard. Everybody then sat down, kept still, quiet and anxious. The detailed protocol was then correctly observed, the proper introductions were made. Thereafter, the focus of the whole exercise stood up, faced the audience and began reading his speech prepared by chosen writers. Every now and then, guarded claps were either gleefully or dutifully made. So too, modest cheers were heard from time to time.
The SONA cited delirious facts and triumphant figures. The speaker recited a litany of eminent achievements and painted an enviable present in terms of socio-economic blessings and promises. There was even mention of the coming of one relatively new boat to add to the one very old boat to fight the super power in Asia. And there was even mention of some kind of a transformation of the Filipino people—such as in terms of equality and honesty, satisfaction and harmony.
The GROUND REALITY however was lamentable—accompanied by long marches of loud protests in the different regions of the country. Angry shouts were made and fighting flags of different colors were waved. All these were one in saying and insisting on the following sad and saddening facts in the country: There is extensive poverty and intense misery among the majority of the people. There is no work available, no employment open. Human rights are violated while human lives remain cheap, salaries are regulated. Fuel is deregulated. Prices of basic commodities go up and down. Fathers and mothers continue to leave their families behind to seek work abroad. Men and women do the same, notwithstanding the danger they face and the indignity their suffer in foreign lands. A big ugly effigy was burned.
There must be many things definitely wrong between the extreme optimism proclaimed by the SONA and the realistic pessimism of the GROUND REALITY sustained by the people. Both could not be right as they were world apart in contradictions. Question: On whose side is the truth? In whose lives is the fact?
3 August 2011