JULY 10, 2009 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - President Arroyo has begun rehearsing for her final State of the Nation Address (SONA), described by Malacañang officials as a report on her administration’s achievements since she assumed office in 2001 and a message to her successor.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman for Economic Affairs Gary Olivar said Mrs. Arroyo read the first draft of her SONA during their Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

While it may detail her accomplishments in the last nine years, the SONA would not be lengthy as Mrs. Arroyo “does not believe in loose language,” Olivar said.

“It (SONA) will be as usual a great document from the President,” Olivar told a news briefing.

“There will be a discussion on what has been achieved in the past year and also the entire term of the President as we all know this will be her last SONA.”

Among the major issues in her address would be her advocacies on social protection, energy, infrastructure, “the continuing search for peace and order, the need to strengthen our political system and democratic institutions,” Olivar said.

“She will talk about her vision for our country and how she has pursued this vision,” he said.

Olivar said Mrs. Arroyo might again use Power Point or audio-visual presentations to make her SONA more understandable.

He said the SONA would be an outcome “of a democratic process.”

Olivar stressed drafting the SONA is not an easy task since it takes a lot of research and consultations across government.

“The work is very, very detailed and can be a grueling activity, so the SONA that you will hear is a product of the most and best possible number of inputs as well as the best thinking that can be brought to bear,” Olivar said.

“It’s very well thought out, the President takes every care with every word with every nuance because she wants to make sure that the truth gets to the people,” he said.

Olivar said the SONA would also mention things that have yet to be accomplished as far as Mrs. Arroyo’s vision of the country is concerned.

He said the visions in the SONA “would have to pass on to the next leadership,” referring to her successor emerging from the presidential elections in 2010.

Olivar said this year’s SONA would be on “pride in achievements, hope for the future, and faith in the stability of our institutions.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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