The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is an annual political event in which the President tries to do a major selling job at the opening of every regular session of Congress. He or she has to sell every failure as a success, and every small success as a great one. It is for us, citizens, to buy what is being sold or not.
So everything is scripted, from the speech to the applause, to the tv camera angles, to the favorable reviews from friendly sources. The only thing the speaker is unable to script is the weather (unless the air force decides to seed the clouds to rain out protesters), and the heckling from the hostile crowd. That, however, can always be predicted.
No sooner is the President finished speaking than the critics take turns to offer their own “true state of the nation.” The usual result is a torrent of words which create their own headlines but offer nothing really that can cook the rice.
This year’s SONA was no different from previous ones except perhaps in one respect. It was preceded by an alleged survey showing how low President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s approval rating had reportedly plunged. Local political surveys are either actual and honest or rigged. Yet whatever they are, they have become the nation’s substitute for serious thinking and analysis. And this one showed Mrs. Arroyo at the bottom of the pit.
But if it was meant to discourage Mrs. Arroyo from giving herself good grades, it did not. She praised herself for reportedly taking steps to prepare for the global food and energy prices, otherwise we would have been completely sunk. And she recounted with pride her having disbursed billions of pesos as doleouts to the poor, even without an enabling law from Congress. She refused to submit to the rising demand that she scrap the Value Added Tax (VAT) on oil to ease the burden on consumers. Then she gave her vote of confidence to natural family planning in the face of a concerted move to steamroll a highly objectionable reproductive health bill in the House of Representatives.
The real test for Mrs. Arroyo has just begun. We shall see what happens if and when her Congress allies, prodded by their foreign friends, insist on ramming through the repro health bill which seeks to legalize the state contraceptives program and mandatory sex education for young children which, unbeknownst to most Filipinos, have been going on illegally for years. Although many of the congressmen are eating pork out of the President’s hands, they have their own allegiance to the foreign population control lobby, which has been trying to legalize the killing of unborn children worldwide since the seventies.
The repro health bill owes its origin to the World Population Plan of Action launched by the United States through its 1974 National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200, entitled “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests.” Also known as “The Kissinger Report,” NSSM 200 called for drastic fertility reduction in at least 13 developing countries, including the Philippines. It was kept a secret document from 1974 to July 3, 1989, when it was officially declassified and released by the White House. You can download it now in the internet.
The global target of a two-child family continues to be promoted actively in the poor countries, using “progressive-minded” activists and one-eyed “nationalists” who normally protest foreign political intervention in their country’s sovereignty, but not this most insidious meddling in shaping the lives of their families.
The concerted effort to steamroll the repro bill in the House comes after the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee in the United Nations tried to pressure the Philippines to change its laws against abortion, along with 64 other countries which had been so pressured.
The present bill is not about abortion yet, but prepares the ground for it. The bill is an attempt to legalize ongoing official contraception, whose aim is to reduce fertility. But as NSSM 200 says so emphatically, “no country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.” NSSM 200 estimated 30 million abortions around the world every year, as of 1974. That figure has grown since.
Right now, Mrs. Arroyo has to walk the tight rope. But eventually, she will have to decide clearly and firmly, whether to uphold the Constitution, the moral law and the laws of God, or to allow this persistent racist doctrine of population control to colonize the minds of her people, long after they had rejected the colonization of their land by the imperial powers.