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That speech

IT had something for everyone. Even “ambush” moments as Senator Loren Legarda and Rep. Baby Arenas tried to bend the President’s ear as soon as he stepped down from the podium. The winner of the day was Phillip Salvador (rumored to be the next chairman of MTRCB), who gave and got a tight, long hug.

If there was anything business-like about the ladies’ attire, the dress code was observed more in the breach. Jinkee Pacquiao was the most formally ternoed, in lovely lavender with huge petals seemingly fluttering at the gown’s hem.

Rep. Geraldine Roman was rightly fetching in a business suit, royal blue jacket over sprigs of multicolored flowers blooming on her sleeveless dress.

In his 100-minute speech, 2/3 of which he wrote and half of that 2/3 ad libbed, President Digong made sure everyone had their share (i.e., inclusive growth?). Climate watchers. Environmentalists. Moros, lumads, communists. Widows and orphans of war. Taxpayers. Laborers. Fathers and mothers. Farmers and fishermen. Soldiers and policemen. Metro Manilans. Drivers and passport applicants. Passengers of trains and airplanes. Miners. Techies. Witnesses in need of protection. OFWs. Squatters. Government broadcasters. The most vulnerable (read: the poorest of the poor).

He warned drug lords, pushers and abusers. Illegal recruiters, human traffickers. Haters. Troublemakers. Abusive, corrupt public servants.

As each SONA addresses the nation, the nation is indirectly reminded that their needs are many and immediate. In the year 2016, the 16th President empathized with them, citing a shortage of peace in our hearts, our homes, our streets.

We lack kindness and compassion. Responsibility for one another. Jobs, lakes to fish and water to plant and irrigate.

Energy, power. We need to cut red tape and build more and faster trains, bigger airports. We need a complaint mechanism right inside Malacañang.

We need money, but the President never mentioned it. He did promise a clean government, with a caveat: “The problem is, I can only act through agencies.” (Jullie Y. Daza)

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