All eyes are on the president at every State of the Nation Address, but really the biggest speech of the year is the culmination of weeks of work, done by dozens of the nation’s best and the brightest.
Smile Indias—then a staff member of the Presidential Communications Development & Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO)—posted these photos as a look back at the frenzy of activity that always went on before each of former president Benigno “PNoy” Aquino’s SONAs.
Malacañang staff who served during his term mirrored their boss’s notorious passion for detail, parsing every line of his speeches, rigorously researching and fact-checking every assertion, and examining every nuance—even adjusting the size of the screen pixel by pixel, says Indias.
With her captions, these photos give a rare and personal look at the biggest political event of the year, as seen from the point of view of the actual people who make it happen.
“‘Yung totoo, hindi ko gets yung SONA nung lumalaki ako. Nanood lang ako dahil required noon sa school pero wala naman talaga akong pake for the most part. Lol,” she admitted in her post. (“To tell you the truth, I didn’t get the SONA while growing up. I used to watch it because it was required in school, but I didn’t really care for the most part.”
“Pero dahil sa karanasang ito, nakita ko kay PNoy na iba pala talaga kapag gusto mismo ng lider na maintindihan ng mga boss nya ang tagumpay natin bilang isang bansa. Nasa Filipino ang buong talumpati niya. May kasamang visuals para madaling sundan ang numbers at makitang may totoong tao at pamilyang nakakatanggap ng bawat programa.” (“Because of this experience, I saw how different it is when your leader wants to show the people our triumphs as one nation. His entire speeches were in Filipino. There were visuals, so the numbers were easy to follow and would show that real people and families who benefited from each program.”)
“#SalamatPNoy sa pagkakataong mag-ambag sa paraang alam at kaya. I miss the calibre of your thought process. I miss the stability of your presence. I miss the quality of your leadership — a leadership that gives hope, a leadership that inspires. “