MANILA, JULY 25, 2011 (STAR)  By Delon Porcalla (PHOTO - Workers fix the photo gallery of legislators at the House of Representatives yesterday in preparation for the State of the Nation Address of President Aquino today. BOY SANTOS)

Malacañang said yesterday the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Aquino will not just be a litany of facts and figures that will inevitably compare his government to that of his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but will now be accompanied by an “audio-visual presentation.”

But the speech will again be delivered in Filipino, just like in July 2010, so that people from all walks of life would understand the message the Chief Executive wants to convey to the 95 million Filipinos, a vast majority of whom still live in poverty.

Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications for Strategic Planning and Development Office, whose Communication Group was in charge of drafting the SONA, said the President will try to show citizens where he wants to bring them under his watch.

“The President will talk about transforming society,” he said vaguely in a text message.

Carandang and deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte did not give any additional details about the SONA.

“It’s done. The President saw six drafts before it was finalized but we actually had about eight or nine drafts,” he said, refusing to speculate whether it might still have last-minute changes.

According to Valte, Aquino’s SONA before a joint session of Congress will just be like the one he delivered at the Ultra sports center in Pasig City during his first anniversary in office last June 30.

“There will be an audio-visual presentation. It will be in Filipino,” she said.

The tone will be more of reminding the citizens of Aquino’s mandate, where he was elected overwhelmingly on an anti-corruption platform.

“The important thing here is that the facts and figures that will be mentioned are easily verifiable and are very easy to check. There will also be no human props like the bangkang papel of the previous administration. The President is not fond of that,” Valte added.

Over the weekend, a source hinted that President Aquino will be announcing officially during his SONA his appointment of a new ombudsman, who is most likely retired Supreme Court justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, as he delves on his anti-corruption program.

Three Mala­ca­ñang insiders disclosed that it will indeed be Morales, who will also appoint incumbent commissioner Gerard Mosquera of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, as her assistant ombudsman.

Meantime, lawmakers want President Aquino to bare “specific plans and timelines” in his SONA this afternoon. – With Paolo Romero, Helen Flores, Christina Mendez

More police visibility, less military presence in SONA By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) Updated July 25, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (1)

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) disclosed yesterday that here will be more police visibility and less soldiers deployed in the metropolis today as President Aquino delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasan Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.

AFP spokesman Commodore Miguel Rodriguez noted that securing the SONA is the primary role of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

He added that deploying numerous soldiers in the streets during the SONA would create an impression of instability.

“The more visible the policemen are in the metropolis, the better for us. The less visible soldiers are in metropolis, the better for us,” Rodriguez said in an interview with radio dzBB yesterday.

“We are used to seeing soldiers in the metropolis but visitors from other countries are not. If there are uniformed soldiers, the perception is there is instability,” he added.

Rodriguez said they have not raised their alert levels for the SONA.

“We did not (upgrade the alert status). It (providing security for the SONA) is part of the normal function of the armed forces,” he added.

AFP National Capital Region Command (NCRCOM) chief Maj. Gen. Tristan Kison said at least 700 soldiers would be deployed to support the police units.

“(Our alert status is) normal but we will support them (police). We have seven companies for civil disturbance management. There are 88 persons per unit so more or less 700 persons,” Kison said.

Kison said another company of soldiers was placed on standby for possible deployment. He said they expect the usual rallies from various groups but these are not expected to sow serious disorder.

NCRCOM’s police counterpart, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), has been placed on full alert status in preparation for the SONA.

A full alert means all police personnel are on standby. It also entails the cancellation of all leaves and rest and recreation of policemen.

The 7,000 NCRPO policemen to be deployed during the SONA would be supported by about 1,800 policemen from Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, and Bicol.

AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr. said they do not expect any threat that could disrupt today’s SONA.

“There is no specific threat,” Oban told reporters over the weekend.

Early this month, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Maj. Gen. Romulo Bambao said the threat level in Metro Manila remains the same despite the upcoming SONA.

He said armed groups like the New People’s Army and the Abu Sayyaf continue to pose threat but not within alarming levels.

“I would always say that we consider it (presence of armed groups) always as a threat but the level of threat is not really alarming. The threat level of terrorism in Manila remains the same,” Bambao said. – With Non Alquitran


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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