Pagdating ng balanghay
In our annual life as a nation, the State of the Nation Address is a very important ritual.
More than just watching for the wardrobe of the president and more new wardrobes from lady congressmen and socialites, or what new gimmicks or slogans will be employed to add to SONA’s entertainment value, this is the time of the year when the whole Filipino people, both the elite and the masses, listen intently to the president, the high priest of the nation, preside in the opening of congress and outline his achievements and plans.
The elite did not totally accept this, wanting to adapt a different concept that they learned from Western schools: The concept of Nación—republican democracy based on rights guaranteed by a written constitution, with emphasis on political freedom and power.
After the Americans returned our independence, President Manuel Roxas delivered to the first congress his “Message on the State of the Nation” on 27 January 1947. who prayed for a nation at the brink of a revolution. Fabian Ver, their bodyguard showed supreme loyalty by covering them.
According to presidential historian Manolo Quezon, this started the practice of the president’s message being called “State of the Nation” and being delivered January of every year until President Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972. The battle between the police and the students continued to the night and for months to come.
On 16 June 1936, Commonwealth President Manuel Luis Quezon copied the practice and delivered “On The Country’s Conditions and Problems” to his congress.
But the precursor of what we now call “Ulat sa Bayan,” a more direct address to the people on the achievements of the Commonwealth government, was the much awaited address of President Quezon during the anniversaries of the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth every 15 November.