State of the Nation Address (SONA) versus the SANA (Filipino Euphemism for “Wish It Was True”) Print
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Written by Benjamin G. Maynigo   
Sunday, 19 September 2010 13:31



By Benjamin G. Maynigo




F ormer Speaker Newt Gingrich recently described President Obama as one who has a “Kenyan anti-colonial world view.”


Asked what his understanding of the statement was, my barber whose interest in political history seems never-ending answered, “I think Gingrich believes that Obama is individualistic, an isolationist and against colonizing or being colonized by others. In Filipino translation, Obama prefers, “Kenya, Kenya”.


SONA (State of the Nation): 8 Killed in hostage crisis. President Noynoy Aquino assumed full responsibility following the Principle of Command Responsibility. The amount of responsibility is always commensurate to the amount of power and resources available to him in meeting his responsibility. He definitely had the power and resources to have prevented the killing. Although one was supposedly willing to take the bullet for him, none of the underlings willingly accepted blame and none offered to resign.


SANA (My barber's wish): 1) Si Manila Mayor Lim na head of the crisis team did not go off to eat at Emerald restaurant at the height of the crisis; 2) yung second-in-command did not go drinking coffee at a bar; 3) yung phone call from the Hong Kong chief executive was returned; 4) the right team had been sent in; 5) media did not breach the boundaries; 6) walang hostages na killed by local fire; and 7) kung si Secretary Robrero remains as DILG Secretary, he should be given full powers, responsibility and trust in running the department including the PNP.

SONA: Appointment of the new Chairman of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) announced. As provided in EO 269, the CICT shall be the "primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, regulating, and administrative entity of the executive branch of Government that will promote, develop, and regulate integrated and strategic ICT systems and reliable and cost-efficient communication facilities and services." In its mandate, it defined "Information and Communications Technology" (ICT) as the totality of electronic means to collect, store, process and present information to end-users in support of their activities. It consists, among others, of computer systems, office systems and consumer electronics, as well as networked information infrastructure, the components of which include the telephone system, the Internet, fax machines and computers.” More than 2 months after the turnover, the website has not been updated. The key officials listed in the site are still the ones of the previous administration.

SANA: The website of the CICT is updated and the new key officials listed. In fact, the news updates should really be up to date if not in real time. Among the cabinet departments it should take the lead in the utilization of new information and communications technologies. A look at its website, would explain our concern. The latest news in the commission happened during the GMA Administration.

My barber says, “Life is really unfair. The Filipino Muslims successfully resisted foreign occupation and colonization and yet many of them continue to live in abject poverty and sub-human conditions.”

I told him about one of the most memorable quotes that I heard in my early years of marriage. It came from Tita Techie la O' Velasquez, sister of my late mother-in-law, Pacita la O' Manglapus when she said, “To say that life is fair is like saying the bull won’t come after me because I am a vegetarian.”

On the Filipino Muslim situation, I told my barber,” President Benigno S. Aquino,
III in his remarks at the Hariraya dinner held at Malacañang’s Rizal Hall on Monday assured Muslim communities that his administration will work doubly hard to advance the welfare, aspirations and interest of Muslim Filipinos by supporting and strengthening the autonomous region in Southern Philippines.”

“Mosque papaano, si Noynoy naalaala ang mga Muslim! Sa
America yung iba ayaw sa Mosque at gusto pang sunugin and Koran!” my barber exclaimed.


SANA: I got this message from Jose Alejandrino, a former presidential assistant of President Fidel Ramos and a friend of mine. He has some tips to President Noynoy Aquino which I think are worth considering:


“I just read your Perception vs Reality. Very informative. If we had one or two Fil-American Cabinet secretaries, it might not be a bad idea. For one, they would provide fresh ideas. For another, they would inject a new set of values. For a third, the Pinoys in the US would take greater interest in their country, maybe even encouraging the most successful entrepreneurs among them, to invest in the Philippines. India is trying to woo back Indians abroad. Many (Indians) in England have gone back to invest in Mumbai.


The private sector should be the engine of growth. Also, the President must learn to "harness" the media and not be reactive. He must remind the media of their responsibilities, that is, to inform objectively, to educate the people, and to look to the national interest rather than the interest of a small group that has its own agenda. He must be an excellent communicator and learn how to use "sound bites" that are effective on television.


The President must learn how to turn questions around at press conferences. Often a bit of wit and humor will help. Everybody, including the press, loves a witty person. When asked a provocative question, he should answer, "Now, what you really meant to ask is this. Let me reformulate your question." So he turns the table to his advantage.


The lesson to learn is that when the media warms up to you, they become less aggressive. The second lesson to learn is that when you impress the media by your intellect, they feel inferior. So they become less aggressive. The third lesson is that the media can be your enemy or your friend. To become your friend, they must respect you. When you have lost the media battle, your presidency is doomed because they influence the opinion polls.”


SANA: After reading my article on “Dreaming . . . Hoping . . . etc.,” Joe Alejandrino also had this to say: “Very nice. It's what life is all about . . . dreaming . . . hoping . . . fighting . . . winning. My dream was that the Philippines would reach Camelot. We are a long way from there.”


Editor’s Note: To read again Ben Maynigo’s article on “Dreaming . . . Hoping . . . etc.,” please click on this link, The American Dream from the Perspective of an Aging Filipino Ambassador of Goodwill


T his was my response. “Thanks Joe. Your dream about the Philippines reaching Camelot is a positive step. Writer Theodore White once wrote what Camelot represented, “a magic moment in American history, when gallant men danced with beautiful women, when great deeds were done, when artists, writers, and poets met at the White House, and the barbarians beyond the walls held back.” Indeed, reaching a situation where a King Arthur with his Knights or a Kennedy surrounded by "the best and the brightest" seems a long way to go.


The crisis that Noynoy initially faced was minor compared to those that occurred during the Camelot years of King Arthur and John F. Kennedy. Remember Arthur's wayward wife and Kennedy's Bay of Pigs? Noynoy's assumption of responsibility over the hostage issue showed signs of command leadership and humility. I continue to hope . . .” # # #


E ditor’s Note: The author is an International and Cyber Lawyer with an LL.B and LL.M; An Educator with an M.A. in Human Resource Development; An IT Chief Executive Officer with M.B.A.; Community and Trade Association Leader; Lecturer/Speaker/Writer; Political Strategist; Technology Pioneer. He is based in Washington, DC.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 19 September 2010 13:37
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