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From Cory to Gloria: 'First SONAs' of past presidents


As President Benigno Aquino III delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), GMANews.TV looks back at the first speeches to Congress delivered by his predecessors since the time of his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino. Full of promises and hope, and occasional memorable gimmicks, the first SONAs all raised expectations nearly impossible to meet. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's first SONA, 2001 The highlight of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's first SONA was the presentation of the three "Bangkang Papel" boys living near the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City. Her blueprint for her first year of the presidency took off from the boys' wishes — jobs, housing, education, food — scribbled on paper boats left to float on the Pasig River. "Mga kababayan: tulungan ninyo akong tuparin ang pangarap nila Jason, Jomar, at Erwin. Magkaisa tayo upang lahat ng kabataan — kasama ang kanilang magulang — ay magkaroon ng bagong buhay at bagong pag-asa sa hinaharap., (Fellow countrymen, help me fulfill the wishes of Jason, Jomar, and Erwin. Let us unite so that the youth and their parents will have a new life and a new hope for the future)," she said. "Trabaho. Tahanan. Edukasyon. Pagkain sa bawat mesa. (Jobs. Housing. Education. Food for every table)." As she took over President Joseph Estrada, the only president to have resigned from office, Arroyo called for national unity and vowed to pursue a fair trial of her predecessor. "Our policy is to support the fair and speedy trial of all the accused involved in the cases against former president Joseph Estrada," Arroyo said. "If there were times that I showed concern for the personal circumstances of the former president, it is not a sign of diminished determination to see justice done. Rather, it is out of sensitivity to the feelings of the segments of our masa who have continued to identify with his personal circumstances," she said. "But as I sometimes extend a hand covered by a velvet glove, inside it is an iron hand where justice and the rule of law are concerned," she added. Estrada's trial lasted until September 2007, when the Sandiganbayan sentenced him to reclusion perpetua for plunder. Arroyo, however, pardoned him a month later. The word cloud below allows you to interact with the key words in GMA's 1st SONA. The bigger words are the ones used more frequently in the speech. You can remove words that you deem irrelevant and you can recolor and rearrange the layout of the visualization. President Joseph Estrada first SONA, 1998 In his first SONA, President Estrada talked about how corruption during the previous administration of former President Fidel Ramos depleted government coffers, which may sound familiar to those have heard President Noynoy's choicest soundbites. "Hindi kayang pamunuan ng pamahalaan ang kakulangan ng ekonomiya. Sa madaling salita, bangkarote ang gobyerno (The government cannot fill in the deficit in the economy. In other words, the government is bankrupt)," Estrada told Congress. "Well, we just have to begin now. With honesty, with thrift, with efficiency. Tama na ang pagpapasasa. Tama na ang nakawan. Tama na ang aksaya. Tama na ang mga palabas (Enough of excessive lifestyles. Enough of theft. Enough of wastage. Enough of of grandstanding)." Estrada also laid out his plans for a thrifty government. At that time, he had no idea his tenure would be cut short in 2001 at the height of a massive anti-corruption protest on EDSA in January 2001. "In sum, they are to spend wisely and less. And, by austerity and hard work generate the means to cover the shortfalls of the past, so we can have a smooth runway for a final take-off." "Perhaps by then, six years will have passed, and someone else will take over as pilot." This word cloud visualization allows you to interact with the key words in Erap's 1st SONA. President Fidel Ramos first SONA, 1992 In his first SONA, Ramos stressed peace and reconciliation, and announced his plan to grant amnesty to thousands of former communist rebels and Moro National Liberation Front members. During his presidency, Ramos' government was successful in signing a peace pact with the MNLF. "First, I am submitting to Congress today an amnesty proclamation that will cover some 4,500 former rebels -- 2,100 former members of the CPP-NPA and 2,400 former members of the MNLF -- who have already applied for amnesty under Executive Order no. 350, promulgated on March 13, 1989, as well as those who may still wish to apply for amnesty under this Executive Order. I ask for immediate Congressional concurrence." "Peace is a process. And we must all join hands to bind and heal the conflicts that have so long divided and held us back." His address also outlined his plans for the economy, infrastructure-building, public order, education, debt management, energy, trade, defense, and foreign relations. Ramos likewise sought to end the growing number of Filipinos seeking jobs abroad. "The need is here. The need is now. Let us not allow our troubles to disperse our men and women all over the world -- to be the housemaids and janitors of more fortunate peoples. Let our problems rather bind us together in one concerted action to banish the sorrows of the past, confront the difficulties of the present, and redeem the promise of the future." President Corazon Aquino first SONA, 1987 In her first State of the Nation Address, the late President Corazon "Cory" Aquino recalled the allegedly fraudulent 1986 snap elections where her rival, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, emerged the winner. Allegations of cheating sparked the first People Power Revolution that installed Cory to the presidency. "The route to these Chambers was long and difficult, fraught with danger and paved with sacrifice. The electoral contest just completed has been exacting for all and bitter for some. But the nation has spoken, the complete leadership of this country has been chosen; the configuration of their powers and duties permanently set by the new Constitution. " Cory delivered her SONA in July 27, 1987, the year Congress was restored. A few months before the event, on February 11, Filipinos ratified the new Constitution that restored broken democratic institutions and provided more checks and balances among the three branches of government: the executive, legislative, and judiciary. "This day completes the circle of our democratic achievements. Now Philippine democracy rests solidly upon the three pillars of freedom: the President, the Supreme Court, and Congress." July 26 will complete another circle, with Cory's son Noynoy delivering his own first SONA 23 years after his mother, after assuming power in a peaceful transition -- a legacy of the first President Aquino's freedom-fighting generation.–VVP, HS, GMANews.TV
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