Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

President Roxas justified the granting of privileges to American citizens in 1946, the Philippines had a Bureau of Aeronautics in 1947, President Quirino claimed that the school crisis was already solved in 1949, a railway in Mindanao and Cagayan Valley was proposed in 1952, and we were still technically at war with Japan in 1953.

The State of the Nation Address might be packed with lies, inconsistencies, and exaggerations but it remains an essential document to learn how the president views the situation in the country. More than the government’s accomplishment report, we should read what the president refuses to mention in his speech. Sometimes the least cited topics are the most troubling issues in society. It’s interesting how a problem that was supposedly resolved already is mentioned again by the president in his speech. It’s during these moments when the Sona offers a glimpse of the truth.

Reading the Sona of past presidents is heartbreaking since it reminds us of our failure to realize our big dreams as a nation.

Manuel Roxas, June 21, 1946

“Our future is grim, brightened only by the patriotic determination of the Filipino people, to succeed, at whatever cost.”

“We must agree to take steps to amend our Constitution to provide certain rights for American citizens which are now at variance with the Constitution.”

“I have no fear whatsoever that the granting to American citizens of rights equal to those of Filipinos in the development of our natural resources will bring about an imperialistic exploitation of our country.”

“We are a prostrate nation. The apparent well-being of some of our citizens today leads them to puff up with dignity, like the bullfrog of Aesop’s Fable.”

Manuel Roxas, January 27, 1947

“We have reestablished complete peace and order throughout the Philippines, except in a few limited areas in Central Luzon.”

“We are in the process of strengthening our Bureau of Aeronautics to regulate and stimulate the further expansion of the aviation industry.”

“With the aid of the United States, we are preparing to reconstruct our harbors and portworks. With the aid of the United States, we are in the process of reorganizing and reestablishing our weather observation systems…With the aid of the United States, we are beginning large-scale programs of public building construction and repair…”

“We have had during the past 8 months, very few strikes. The biggest strike was that of some government laborers in Manila.”

Manuel Roxas, January 26, 1948

“In the past year we have advanced from a state of emergency into the plenitude of constitutional normalcy.”

“The fact that Baguio is gaining favor as the seat of international conferences is indicative of the worldwide interest in Philippine affairs.”

“The United States Government has already returned to us the airport at Nichols Field. It is our hope to make Manila the hub of air transportation in the Far East.”

Elpidio Quirino, January 24, 1949

“I am glad to report to you that the sporadic depredations of these outlaws in isolated areas of the country are but the last paroxysms of a dying movement.”

“For the first time in the history of civil administration in this country there was no such thing as a school crisis this school year.”

“Although the United States continues to be the only country that maintains an embassy here, 8 other countries now have legations…”

Elpidio Quirino, January 23, 1950

“Circumstances beyond my control make me forego the pleasure of appearing in person to deliver this message following a beautiful tradition established many years ago and adhered to most punctiliously by my predecessors in office.”

“We have these past years since liberation seemingly enjoyed a life of plenty and even a luxury, not so much as a result of our productive energies as because of the temporary flow of money into our economy.”

Elpidio Quirino, January 22, 1951

“We cannot justifiably look always to the United States to meet out budgetary requirements. This government cannot be delivered to the Treasury of the United States.”

“Arms without valor, however powerful, are useless weapons. Valor can be aroused only by a righteous cause…The world is not merely on the verge of fire; it is on fire. And yet people can be immobilized by fiddling and temporizing while the nation’s life and future are at stake.”

Elpidio Quirino, January 28, 1952

“There are now more surrenderees than captives or Huk casualties; many of them are now settled in government farms with their families…”

“This past year we passed the minimum wage law.”

“The victims of the 1951 public disasters will take years to rehabilitate themselves. The coconut industry in the Visayas has been practically totally damaged.”

“Our BCG laboratory is rated the best and the largest in the region. We are producing vaccines for Formosa and Indo-China, besides filling our own requirements.”

“In the ratio of school enrollment to total population, we rank next to the United States, the highest of any country in the world.”

“But the rapid growth of the private school system poses the problem of effective supervision for the maintenance of scholarship standards at high level.”

“Ninety percent of the war-damaged water supply systems have been restored to operation.”

“We should begin to explore the problems, possibilities and potentials of a railway system in Mindanao, and provide for the extension of the existing system to Northern Luzon, especially in the Cagayan Valley.”

Elpidio Quirino, January 26, 1953

“And our watchword has since been land for the landless, home for the homeless.”

“Our program of slum clearance is being implemented with the construction of low-cost houses for squatter and low-income families, one in Pandacan, Manila, and another in Bago-Bantay, Quezon City.”

“The Senate did not act on the Japanese peace treaty during its last session. Technically, therefore, we are still at war with that country.”

One Response to “State of the Nation Address 1946-1953”

  1. […] Part 1: SONA 1946 – 1953 […]

    Mong Palatino » Blog Archive » State of the Nation Address 1954-1961

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