The past twelve months have been a year for the history books. Financial meltdown in the West spread throughout the world.
Tens of millions lost their jobs; billions across the globe have been hurt – the poor always harder than the rich. No one was spared.
It has affected us already.
But the story of the Philippines in 2008 is that the country weathered a succession of global crises in fuel, in food, then in finance and finally, economy in a global recession, never losing focus and with economic fundamentals intact.
A few days ago, Moody’s upgraded our credit rating, citing the resilience of our economy. The state of our nation is a strong economy. Good news for our people, bad news for our critics.I did not become President to be popular. To work, to lead, to protect and preserve our country, our people, that is why I became President.
So goes the intro to Pres. Gloria Arroyo's State of the Nation address this year, her last SONA.
I welcome what she said about education: Our educational system should make the Filipino fit not just for whatever jobs happen to be on offer today, but also for whatever economic challenge life will throw in their way.
She sums what has been done:
1. We have a strong economy and a strong fiscal position to withstand global shocks.
2. We built new modern infrastructure and completed unfinished ones.
3. The economy is more fair to the poor than ever before.
4. We are building a sound base for the next generation.
5. International authorities have taken notice that we are safer from environmental degradation and man-made disasters.
And being a Mindanaoan like her, I agree to some extent with this:
There is nothing more that I would wish for than peace in Mindanao. It will be a blessing for all its people, Muslim, Christian and lumads. It will show other religiously divided communities that there can be common ground on which to live together in peace, harmony and cooperation that respects each other’s religious beliefs.
Some of the one-liners:
To those who want to be President, this advice: If you really want something done, just do it. Do it hard, do it well. Don’t pussyfoot. Don’t pander. And don’t say bad words in public.
Those in the past administrations conjured the demon of foreign debt. We exorcised it.
The noisiest critics of constitutional reform tirelessly and shamelessly attempted Cha-Cha when they thought they could take advantage of a shift in the form of government. Now that they feel they cannot benefit from it, they oppose it.
My term does not end until next year. Until then, I will fight for the ordinary Filipino.
However much a President wishes it, a national problem cannot be knocked out with a single punch. She must work with the problem as much as against it, turn it into a solution if she can.
And I have never done any of the things that have scared my worst critics so much. They are frightened by their own shadows.
My critics call it dictatorship. I call it determination. We know it as strong government.
But I never declared martial law, though they are running scared as if I did. In truth, what they are really afraid of is their weakness in the face of this self-imagined threat.
I never expressed the desire to extend myself beyond my term. Many of those who accuse me of it tried to cling like nails to their posts. I am accused of misgovernance. Many of those who accuse me of it left me the problem of their misgovernance to solve. And we did it. I am falsely accused, without proof, of using my position for personal profit. Many who accuse me have lifestyles and spending habits that make them walking proofs of that crime.
We can read their frustrations. They had the chance to serve this good country and they blew it by serving themselves. Those who live in glass houses should cast no stones. Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there.
Who said it, I do not remember. Oh, Ambrose Pierce, according to Ann.