Duterte delivers his SONA. Photo: Screen grab - ABS-CBN broadcast
Rodrigo Duterte's first State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a chance
for Filipinos to size-up their newly elected president, to listen to
what he had to say, then determine for themselves what the next six
years will probably be like.
Above all else, the
president projected an image of a leader who has the best interest of
the country at heart. He realizes that there is much that needs to get
done and he has rolled up his sleeves (literally) in order to get things
moving as quickly as possible. Duterte is definitely a man on a mission
who realizes that despite the country's economic accomplishments of
late, there is still much that is holding the country back and
preventing it from achieving the levels of development attained by its
Asian neighbors like Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, or Korea.
Duterte has also made
it clear that to achieve his goals, he must have to support of his
countrymen. And so far, his current sky-high ratings prove that a vast
majority of Filipinos are behind him.
His honesty and
sincerity are refreshing as well as endearing. And his simplicity in
manner as well as attire is something that many Filipinos should
SONA speech highlighted a few of what some might see as his shortcomings
as well. He appeared to have a tendency to ramble on whenever he was not
reading from the teleprompter. His speech turned into a stream of
consciousness that had him bouncing from one disjointed topic to
his statements to the contrary—Duterte's facile use of shortcuts and
extra-judicial means to achieve his ends, at this point in time appear
as dark clouds in the horizon. He must reign-in any and all rogue
elements working in his behalf. Otherwise they may likely end up
undermining his presidency and prevent him from achieving his lofty
goals. Before things begin turning ugly and start spinning out of
control, the president must go after all these vigilante groups with the
same fervor he is using to stamp-out drugs in the country.
Whether we agree with him
or not, Duterte will lead the Philippines for the next six years. He
appears sincere in his desire to bring about real change and prosperity.
As loyal Filipinos, we must rally behind him to help him achieve those
goals. His win will be our win ... for generations to come.