State of Delusion: An Open Letter to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

By in

Madam President,

I do not hesitate to call you “Madam” not on the basis of respect or cordial greeting, but on the basis of its traditions.  You are indeed a Madam: political royalty, among other things, an elite, a political butterfly masquerading as a figurehead of political unity.  I write this letter in the interest of providing you with the State of the Nation, as experienced by a 24-year-old who happens not to be sheltered by delusional people in your circle, or trapped by the delusions of power.  As a citizen, I am entitled to describe the state of my nation, but am not as privileged as you are to deliver it before a lectern in the Batasang Pambansa.

Towards your vision of a great country, towards First World status in 20 years, you have pledged reform after reform, bill after bill, project after project, that claim to improve the lives of the Filipino people.  Yet the streets are filled with the hungry and the unemployed who have suffered the brunt of a financial crisis far worse than you can possibly imagine.  The farms are fallowed and dry, thanks to an agrarian reform program that only works to serve the interests of landlords, not tenant farmers.  The nets cast to the seas remain empty as the boats reach the shore, for as you focus on the imagined enemies of your Administration, our environment is in a shambles.  Your laudable commitment to link all the island groups of the Philippines to a nautical highway is great and all, but the absence of national industries to take goods and products through this highway will leave it an extremely open road.

A commitment to a national industry, Madam President.  While you attempt to paint a glossy picture of our country being a wonderland of outsourcing, you never looked at the other side of the portrait.  The absence of a national industry forces us to become the back-office of the world, working not for our benefit as a people and as a nation.  We need a purposeful commitment to things like science and technology to improve the lives of our citizenry; and to art, literature, and music to highlight our culture and our humanity.

As you travel the world shaking hands with the world’s leaders, the Filipino travels in a chaotic transport system.  As you pride yourself on teaching, the young Filipino not only struggles to fit inside a crowded classroom, but also reads textbooks that are inadequate and grammatically incorrect.  As you pride yourself on the invitation of another President, you cannot invite yourself to the scrutiny of the public who demand your side of the story.  As you talk about drugs, you have refused to take a stand against drugs without approved therapeutic claims, and the specter of drug use still remains an ominous shade in back-alleys and even open markets.

Your Administration may have had 365 days to do it this year, and that is a very limited time.  The past 8 years, though, is an extended grace period that we will no longer tolerate.

This year, the Government made the grievous mistake of threatening the survival, sovereignty, and unity of the Philippines thanks to the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity – Memorandum of Agreement.  This year, thousands of Filipinos lost their jobs in shoe factories, in chain restaurants, in BPO facilities, tire factories, small cottage industries.  Things like corruption, scandal, accountability, and transparency, were not addressed in the SONA.  The state of the environment – the degradation of the Sierra Madre, Diwalwal, the Cordillera, the seas and oceans and rivers – were name-dropped in your SONA.  The very unity to exhort us to do is the very unity you compromised and destroyed.

The disgust and revulsion that threatened our Constitution in the form of HR 1109 was not discussed, not in passing and never even mentioned, in the SONA.  Your blatant disrespect for history, the Constitution, and the laws of the land were things you swept under the rug.  Political killings, the silencing of dissent… these are things not at all addressed in the SONA in favor of signing passages for treaties not useful (or irrelevant) to us, name-dropping, acknowledgments, and self-aggrandizing behavior that borders on the tasteless, and certainly crosses the border into shameless.  Your critics call it dictatorship.  You call it determination.  Madam President, I call it like I see it: a sham.

The state of the nation is exactly that, Madam President: a sham.  A nation plagued by the scandals of its own Government.  A nation mired in the miasma of neglect and selfish interests.  A nation framed in the struggles of poor families, the unemployed, the children who starve, those who have given up  and surrendered their rights because the Government offers no hope and no way out of the impasse of corruption it has created for itself to stay in power.  Power is far more important to you than principles of fairness, justice, and freedom.

To you, Madam President, this advice: if you really want something done, do it sincerely, within the bounds of the just, the moral, the ideal, and the prudent.  Do it true, get it done.  Don’t keep switching a foot.  Respect the true.  And don’t distort the truth  in the face of the public.

As you crunch out the numbers to validate your claims, those who are not cocooned in corporate privilege or government privilege do not feel, nor do they benefit, from the changes and reforms you brag about.  They remain poor, starving, lacking in education, denied, cheated, hoodwinked, betrayed by the very Administration that is willing to sacrifice the needs of the many for want of personal glory.

As your staunchest supporters spew forth paraphrases of Goebbels and Castro, know this: history is not the future, nor does it await legacies.  History is a judge of the here-and-the-now, and will judge you on what you do today.  You do not dare put yourself on the same pedestal as a Bonifacio, or on the same plane as Cory Aquino, if not for your audacity and desire to cling to power.

Kung sa kasaysayan ka umaasa para malinis ang iyong pangalan, iminumungkahi ko na gawin mo itong batayan.  Nagsasalita lamang ako para sa sarili ko: hindi ako matitinag ng iyong kasakiman.  At lalung-lalo nang hindi ako papayag na papatotohanin ang iyong mga kasinungalingan.  Higit dito, hindi ko isusuko sa iyo ang aking karapatan at ang aking kinabukasan.  Tama na, sobra na, sawang-sawa na ang mamamayang Pilipino – kabilang ako – sa iyo.

Sa kalayaan, sa hustisya, sa nararapat, sa tama, at sa Bayan, Madam Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: sabihin mo ang totoo.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas, at maraming salamat.

(Added September 1, 2009: For purposes of verifying nominations for the Ten Best Posts of the Year for the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards, this code: PBA09prn98r6)

25 comments on “State of Delusion: An Open Letter to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo”

  1. Reply

    *standing ovation*

  2. Reply

    Bat walang “pussyfoot”

    • the xaris
    • July 29, 2009


    or more fitting in SONA setting, *applause* after every paragraph.

    • Louie Cheng
    • July 29, 2009

    well said. bravo! now, you make me proud to be a filipino. mabuhay ka!

    • moi
    • July 29, 2009

    mabuhay mabuhay! sana ikaw na lang presidente ng pilipinas para bumuti buti naman ang pinas. promise kapag tumakbo kng presidente or any elective opis iboboto kita.

    ps. sana di ka magbago kapag nakatikim k ng kapangyarihan.tenk yu.

    • l|Raven|l
    • July 29, 2009

    mabuhay ka kasama!
    kung nabasa nya 2 bgo mag sona…
    malamang patamaan k rin nya…
    ewan q lng ha…
    pero tsong, ang mas nagustuhan q ay ung huling linya about sa kasaysayan.
    maraming presidente n ang ipagpalagay n nating…
    naging katulad ni PGMA at nlinis ang knilang mga pangalan sa pamamagitan ng huwad n kasaysayan.

    • juana
    • July 29, 2009

    very well said.. you deserve a standing ovation.. and an applause with every word.. rock on!

    • rovi
    • July 29, 2009

    ei… nice!!! =) i made my own blog ’bout the sona… some didnt like it.. like i was way too violent haha* anyways.. loved ur piece!!! that makes u someone to look-up to. *up*

  3. Reply

    I applaud you for voicing out the thoughts that so many people, including the youths and our generation so desperately wish to voice out.

    What you have written is far more like a SONA than what our so-called president have stated last Monday. I fully support and agree on your thoughts regarding our state of the nation.

  4. Reply


    • Cindy
    • July 29, 2009

    that was honest. nasabi mo sa loob lamang ng labing-apat na talata ang lahat ng hinanakit at pangarap ko sa bayan na ito.

  5. Reply

    Good job! Very well done.

    • akomismo
    • July 29, 2009

    what you wrote projects your well justified anger at GMA and as you correctly surmised…the more realistic state of the nation. However, if we are all really honest with ourselves…EVERYONE has always something to say about what is wrong with our politicians and government… but NOBODY wants to personally get down to work on nation building. We can do this in our everyday lives simply by doing the right thing in everything we do like following traffic rules, obeying the law, paying our taxes, being honest in our dealings, not taking advantage of people, improve our work place,our own their neighborhood, voting for candidates who are all or nothing: honest, intelligent, capable, conscientious and hardworking. I’m tired of all these so called nationalists who are full of rhetoric but has really done nothing for the country to deserve the title. Pweh!

    • Jen
    • July 29, 2009

    pweh ka din. Luli brigade ka ba?

    • Jen
    • July 29, 2009

    para pala yun kay “akomismo”

    • Laya
    • July 29, 2009

    As always, a good article, Marck. 🙂

    @akomismo, you seem to be angry at these “so called nationalists”. I hope you yourself are doing what you say they should be doing. That is, if you can find candidates “who are all or nothing” as you say. It is very easy to be passive and go on with your everyday life and hope that because you are not doing anything bad to others, nobody will do something bad to you. Reality says otherwise. If a person does not speak up, he will not be heard, and the violations of rights which are endured in silence will not be redressed.

    • Im rich
    • July 29, 2009

    go go go,,. i agree with these….

    • Keiya
    • July 29, 2009

    If you have time to write this statement, then you have time to think about what to do next. The problem here is not how to topple the administration, or how best to pin the blame on them; the problem is what to replace it with.

    Currently, between a clown, a crook, an ex-priest and another clown vying for president, the Philippines find their presidential choices sparse, and their chances of improvement sparser. But this is not only because of leaders; the Philippines in and of itself is a completely faulty society that requires a radical change in order to improve.

    First of all, unless you can break the Iron Triangle of the religious, the land-owners, and the politicians they support, there can never be reform in the Philippines.

    Second, the public must be informed greatly of political, social and economic issues that concern them, so that they can make choices based on sound reason, not by popularity but by principle.

    Third is that one must remember that we have, since the 70’s, have taken the wrong steps at the wrong times, because we always think emotionally, and not pragmatically (Edsa 2, for example). Part of it is because of the Iron Triangles, part of it is lack of adequate knowledge, but a huge part of it is the “victim’s mentality” of the Philippine society, and its reliance on the very forces that destroy it. We need a radical change in this country, and we need it now.

  6. Reply

    *claps* (eto hindi scripted) hahah

    • zekattor
    • July 29, 2009

    sana mamatay na yang putang inang pandak na yan.

  7. Reply

    Much more realistic than the official SONA!

    • ellesse
    • July 29, 2009

    well said..
    cheers to the author!

  8. Reply

    Marocharim is deluding himself here. He thinks words mean something to the administration. I echo someone’s observation. You missed pussyfoot. It makes your rhetoric weak. May I suggest a change:

    You do not dare put yourself on the same pedestal as a Bonifacio, or on the same plane as Cory Aquino, if not for your audacity and desire to cling to power… and please don’t pussyfoot anymore, k?

  9. Reply

    “You are indeed a Madam: political royalty, among other things, an elite, a political butterfly masquerading as a figurehead of political unity. ”

    Great kilig moment this.

  10. Reply

    There was a pussyfoot named Gloria
    Who lied the whole hour of her SONA;
    Her supporters applauded
    But the people decided
    Her speech drove the nation to nausea.

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