SONA 2013 “Three years of rising economic returns, diminishing hairline” aptly describes President Benigno Aquino III’s first half in his six-year term. On the eve of his fourth State of the Nation Address, the whole nation awaits more good news, especially on the economy. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

MANILA, July 22, 2013 (INQUIRER) Time sure flies. Already, we are on the eve of the fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III. In SONA I in 2010, Mr. Aquino’s most memorable line—having been delivered shortly after his inaugural—was aspirational: “We can dream again.”

In SONA II in 2011, the President was emphatic that his fight against graft and corruption was “personal.” In last year’s Sona, Mr. Aquino declared: “Nothing is impossible if the Filipino people see that they are the only Bosses of their government … they themselves will lead you to meaningful change.”

The Inquirer kept tabs of the changes Mr. Aquino hoped to accomplish with and for the people by 2013, and if he made them happen for his Bosses. Here is our report. (TABLES: 2012 GOALS AT LEFT COLUMN, CURRENT STATUS AT RIGH)



Pinoys weigh in on SONA “fashion show” By Alma J. Buelva (MB Online) Published: July 21, 2013

A quick poll using Manila Bulletin's official Facebook account captured the sentiments of Filipinos about the glitzy aspect of the yearly State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Asked whether they think it is necessary for lawmakers to dress up in stylish ternos and barongs when they attend and listen to SONA, Facebook users answered Yes or No and, after three hours, the poll results showed that the respondents are clearly divided over this question that touches on sensitivity and propriety.

By the narrowest of margin, those who believe lawmakers, especially the female ones, should not dress up like Hollywood celebrities in a red-carpet event prevailed over those who say a formal event warrants formal attire.

About 40 people were of the opinion that lawmakers need not come in expensive haute couture gowns or Filipiniana ternos and Barong Tagalog when they go to the SONA.

A majority said a simple barong or terno will do because the SONA is not a fashion show. They also said dressing up like celebrities or royalty is a big “No” when the lawmaker is representing a poor province or region.

“They can dress appropriately, but not extravagant. It is much becoming a fashion show than the true purpose of the event. But after the show of wealth, the people can get the idea of where some of the public budget really goes,” said Robert Rivera Vargas.

Others also asserted that it's not necessary for the clothes to be stylish because what's important is the President's message during SONA.

“Public servants must come dressed with decency and simplicity,” said Facebook user Mario R. Gatus.

While the “No” camp are not dazzled by all the bling and glamor that lawmakers wear during SONA, some also acknowledged that attendees should “appear respectable but not to the extent that they have to brag about their designer styled clothing. They still have to empathize with all poor Filipinos,” said Nova Arante Castino.

Among the more critical remarks, one user said the SONA “is one of the only few times to flaunt phony patriotism” of lawmakers. Another joked: “It's very awkward to see crocodiles in terno and barong.”

About 30 respondents saw no problem with lawmakers attending the SONA in designer gowns and crisp coat-and-tie or barongs.

One Fgm Mayumi said: “Alangan naman mag T-shirt and maong lang. (Do you expect T-shirt and jeans?) A true Filipino has a blood to respect and be respected.”

In defense of fashionista lawmakers, Mike Chuaunsu succinctly said: “Of course! Are they attending a BBQ?”

Another Facebook user said: “Why not? It's fun. They just have to make sure they're using their personal money for the dress and stylist LOL.”

Even among the YES camp, some said lawmakers should tone down their attire.

“It is our nature as Filipinos that when we are called or invited to affairs we want to dress up with the best of our clothes. If we who commented here were invited to attend the SONA, would you wear your usual formal attire? That thing you use every day?...Won't we wear the best?” asked Edgy Dulds. -- (with notes from Ron B. Lopez)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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