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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Commoner's View on GMA's SONA

I have not been given the liberty to watch the live coverage of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's State of the Nation Address last 28 July 2008. This is her 8th, and the second to the last SONA. (The last will be on 2009, after that, the 2010 elections).

As is very much expected, bulk of the speech pointed to the Economic crisis on Oil Price hike and the removal(non-removal) of the Value Added Tax.

The beginning part of the speech dwells on her government doing lots of UNPOPULAR decisions. As quoted,

"Because tough choices were made, the global crisis did not catch us helpless and unprepared. Through foresight, grit and political will, we built a shield around our country that has slowed down and somewhat softened the worst effects of the global crisis. We have the money to care for our people and pay for food when there are shortages; for fuel despite price spikes.
The result has been, on the one hand, ito ang nakasalba sa bayan; and, on the other, more unpopularity for myself in the opinion polls. Yet, even unfriendly polls show self-rated poverty down to its 20-year low in 2007.

Probably, this should be her introduction to the lengthy discussion on why the VAT should not be removed into the Philippine Tax system, even though a lot of Politicians and the masses are trying to convince the lawmakers to remove it.

But, as commoners who could not (and maybe are not willing to) understand all of those lenghty speech given by the President, only those things that easily matter, were the ones given the attention.

However unpopular the VAT issue may be for GMA, it seems that she made a scheming move to be popular to the masses by working out into the lowering of text messages fees from 1php to 0.50php.

As Manolo Quezon ellaborates in his article:

"And perhaps as an exercise in demonstrating how unpopularity can still result in popular applause, there was this, most-noticed and sole genuine crowd-pleaser in her speech:

Texting is a way of life. I asked the telecoms to cut the cost of messages between networks. They responded. It is now down to 50 centavos.

Which was as much a shot across the bow at big business, as it was a sop to gain propaganda points from the public. As of this writing, talk is already going around that this is a “limited time only” thing, perhaps along the same lines as the President having used moral suasion to demand that the oil companies roll back oil prices in the weeks leading to her speech. And while the oil companies grudgingly complied -but stated, with ill-disguised bad humor, that this might be one of the last times the President could do that to them- and while the telecoms companies will have to react to the President planting the idea of cheaper SMS messages in the public’s mind, this is of no consequence to her. The propaganda points have been made, she can worry about businessmen later."

Now, this must be a popular move, considering that the Philippines is worldly known as one of the top Texting Nations (we used to be the texting capital).

GMA News, meanwhile, states that, "Domestic mobile phone companies have slashed their texting fees by half to P0.50 from P1 until October. The rate cut takes effect Monday (July 28). It is approved for implementation by the NTC for three months. And it is up to them (Smart, Globe, Sun Cellular) if they will ask for an extension of the promo".

There, we have to take note of the fact that this is a "Special Promo only" until October.

The move might have given the President a popular gain from the masses, but, there is always the issue of this, being a politically motivated scheme in time for the President's State of the Nation Address.

note: I have asked at least 10 people to verify if this 0.50/text promo is already going on, however, all have answered in negative. So I still have to hear a person who will say, yes, it does!


  1. How Shall Freedom Be Defended?
    In these critical times, I often reread the words of the poet Archibald Macleish:

    "How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always and in the final act, by determination and faith."

  2. yeah, it is our hope that freedom shall finally be conquered by the filipino spirit.

    thanks for dropping by, equalizer.

  3. hi!
    yes correct. wala kang na miss.
    and nakakainis talaga yung "texting is a way of life" ek ek nya. ginagawa nyang tanga talaga ang mga tao. ganun kababa ang tingin nya sa mga pilipino na dahil sa text lang eh matutuwa na sa kanya. at ang nakakainis sa lahat ay ang pagkakasabi eh tipong accomplishment nya. desperada na may mai-report lang.

  4. what's worse is the fact that hindi pala automatic yung .50 per text na 'yon. i've heard people say that you have to register first before you'll have that "limited to 3 months" promo.

    very misleading yung sinabi sa SONA.

  5. haha.. funny. actually, matagal nang 50cents/text ang sun. so really, that's not news. how shall freedom be defended? how shall peace be defended? ano nga bang sabi ni gandhi... nakalimutan ko na, hahahaha.. wala wents. basta it starts with you. don't look for it outside. if you can find it in you, you can perhaps help others find it in them, too. focus on things that you can do.

  6. yeah, you're right.
    change starts within yourself.

    but time will really come na kapag nakita mo na iyon sa sarili mo at lumabas yung pagiging makabayan mo, hahanap hanapin mo at pipiliting maabot yung pagbabago para sa bayan.


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