Twitter flared up before, during, and after the third State of the Nation Address (SONA) was delivered. #SONA2018 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte generated over 310,000 related tweets as Filipinos around the world expressed their views, opinions, and sentiments on yesterday’s speech.
This year’s SONA was delayed for more than an hour due to a leadership showdown between then incumbent House Speaker and Davao Del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In an effort to unseat Rep. Alvarez, a total of 184 lawmakers signed a manifesto of support to elect ex-President Arroyo as Speaker of the House.
Netizens on Twitter were quick to respond mostly with surprise from the series of unexpected turn of events—the non-functioning mic during Arroyo’s oath-taking, the vanishing mace (symbol of the authority of the House), and when incumbent House Speaker Alvarez still sat at House rostrum and welcomed President Duterte.
— Nathania Chua (@PilosopoTanya) July 23, 2018
The dramatic & historic coup succeeded. Ex-president Gloria Arroyo just took her oath as new Speaker of the House of Representatives just minutes before #SONA2018. We now have a mass murderer as president, a rapist as Senate President and election cheater as House Speaker! pic.twitter.com/zlyZPhaFsY
— Cleve Arguelles (@CleveArguelles) July 23, 2018
CGMA in the House Speaker’s seat for the SONA after everything that has happened.. did not see that coming.
— Bianca Gonzalez (@iamsuperbianca) July 23, 2018
Like the previous SONA, people watched out for the President’s report on the accomplishments and resolutions of his ongoing term. Plan of action on education, economy, healthcare, charter change, international relations, and labor policies were also hoped to be addressed by the listening masses. Here are some of the netizens’ pleas to the President.
issues that P.Duterte should include in #SONA2018
-P53 to $1
-Thousand Unsolved Murder Cases
-Unsafe&Crowded Prison Cell
-Increasing Price of Goods
-Poor Quality Education in Rural Areas
-Threat of Colonization of other country
Hindi lang drugs ang problema ng bansa.
— jl (@EbronJL) July 23, 2018
pinoys: we wanna hear abt jobs and inflation
du30: war on drugs
pinoys: but we need to feed our families
du30: WAR ON DRUGS
pinoys: we are literally dying—
— Vince Liban; 🏳️🌈 (@vinceliban) July 23, 2018
I am excited to witness the nation’s address . As a Filipino citizen, I do consider myself a recipient of imperfection that our leaders have committed but I am positive that we can make Philippines better. Let’s not react violently as if we are making great things.#SONA2018
— JV De Asis (@Jv0420) July 23, 2018
Aside from the official hastags pertaining to SONA like #UnitedPeoplesSONA, #SONAlokoNA, #TakeBackDemocracy, #YouthSONA, #NoToDu30ChaCha, and #wakaSONA also peaked on Twitter, which aimed to expose the “‘true” state of the nation according to activist groups and common citizens.
Along Commonwealth Avenue, more than 40,000 people from different groups of youth, workers, women, peasants, indigenous people, religious groups. and leaders converged for a peaceful protest to hold the Duterte administration accountable for its human rights violations and anti-people policies.
— Teddy Casiño (@teddycasino) July 23, 2018
Figures don’t lie about the true state of the nation (SONA).
Let’s start w/ Good Governance:
-Duterte’s travel expenses, year 1: P386-M, 3x costlier than previous presidents’
-Contingent Fund: P13-B; biggest in history
-Sacked officials for corruption but reappointed 16 of them
— Alt Tantay 🏳️🌈 (@rupertnotholmes) July 22, 2018
— Akbayan Party (@AkbayanParty) July 23, 2018
DUTERTE’S INFERNO 1: A nation unable to recognize and respect its women is a nation swamped in the deepest recesses of the Inferno, its patriarchal sinners and abusers stuck in the unyielding ice. #UnitedPeoplesSONA #SONA2018 pic.twitter.com/931r1otiH5
— Philippine Collegian (@phkule) July 23, 2018
How can the youth #TakeBackDemocracy?
1. Be knowledgeable about what’s happening in the society.
2. Be more vocal despite other people’s condescension.
We are indeed the future. Let’s prove it by calling out the wrong and help the country improve its principles! #YouthSONA
— Andrew Nodado (@AndrewNodado) July 16, 2018
As a known tough-talker and strongman, netizens also anticipated that the President will utter foul words as well as focus on his flagship agenda: war on drugs and federalism. Twitter parody account Malacañang Events and Catering Services (@MalacananEvents) even came up with a drinking challenge.
However, to the viewers’ surprise, President Duterte delivered a speech without any profanity and refrained from giving additional comments. Duterte’s speech lasted for nearly 50 minutes, the shortest among his addresses.
— Malacañang Events and Catering Services (@MalacananEvents) July 22, 2018
President Duterte reading his speech almost verbatim. #SONA2018
— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) July 23, 2018
Meanwhile, the much-awaited red carpet event once again caught the attention of twitter users as some of the public officials showed up at the affair in striking outfits. Consequentially, they did not fail to come up with puns and stories.
— JR CASTILLO (@JRDCastillo24) July 23, 2018
“Unahan ko na kayo guys bago pa ko maging meme.” – nancy binay, probably
we all aspire this level of self awareness https://t.co/APsiFO1570
— Lord (@lordnicolas_) July 23, 2018
Despite Duterte provoking issues this year, supporters continue to acknowledge his efforts and express appreciation. Having a tatay image, many Filipinos remain hopeful to what the President has in store for the country.
#SONA2018 President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime has changed a hundred different things when it comes to politics and governance. See it good or bad, he’s one of the most effective presidents this country ever had.
— tavias (@tavvias) July 23, 2018
It’s not easy to lead a country… to be a President and especially to solve all the problems that we’re facing right now! Think about that and just try to appreciate the good things that our President did for our country, Philippines! #SONA2018
— Jayson Torres (@iamjaysontorres) July 23, 2018
Amidst the mixed reactions and varying opinions on Twitter, the SONA served as an opportunity for the Filipino communities to talk about issues and sentiments that deserve to be heard. Join the discussion on Twitter with your post-SONA thoughts by using #SONA2018 and other related hashtags.