President Noynoy Aquino’s 2010 SONA concentrated on the themes of integrity of leadership, good governance, and clean and honest government. For most people who are tired of the politicians’ shenanigans, this is enough and probably form the basis for their hopes and expectations from the new government.
There are comments, including mine, that the SONA –particularly as a first SONA–lacked a great many things, including a new development framework, policies on burning issues in environment and ecology, rural poverty and land reform, human rights, political reforms, and social justice, and definitive solutions to the specific corruption problems he enumerated.
The SONA is correct in its exposé of the previous administration’s corruption and in its emphasis on clean and honest government, good governance, and leadership by example. It may turn out that these are all that’s needed to start off a sustainable partnership between his administration and the people. Still, this is only a governance policy framework, not a complete development framework.
As the first SONA, it missed the opportunity to lay down its full policy for the next six years. There are too many gaps–it will be necessary to closely monitor each and every presidential decision to discern the Aquino administration’s eventual policy directions.
Those who hope for more systemic reforms and a substantive change in terms of government policy in various areas of governance cannot find them in the SONA. As it is, the SONA has more rhetorics than substance. It remains to be seen if the reality of an Aquino government defines a bright future for the people or will dash the last hopes of battered generations.