How people reacted to Duterte’s ‘address to the nation’

September 11, 2018 - 6:37 PM
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President Rodrigo Duterte speaks after his arrival from a visit in Israel and Jordan at Davao International airport in Davao City in southern Philippines, September 8, 2018. (Reuters/Lean Daval Jr.)

President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed “address to the nation” on Tuesday ended up becoming a one-on-one talk show with his Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, but only after a confusion of announcements on whether it will even push through.

Filipinos were quick to share their reactions on the sudden change of agenda. Some connected Duterte’s previous cancellation with his preference to start his day late.

Spot.ph editor-at-large Manuel Quezon III offered a compilation of the Palace’s confusing statements about Duterte’s press con-turned-têtê-a-têtê.

One private citizen asked if the têtê-a-têtê would become a regular protocol and recalled former US President Franklin Roosevelt’s radio talks.

According to White House History, Roosevelt’s radio talks “connected Americans to the White House in a way no medium of communication had yet allowed.”

Roosevelt addressed the problems and triumphs of the Great Depression and World War II through the medium.

Meanwhile, former presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte recalled the meaning of the term “national address” in light of the situation.

There is no standard definition of what a national address is. However, based on Valte’s notes, it is a more informal version of the State of the Nation Address where the president briefly updates his citizens on current issues.

“It is reserved for times when a president needs the full attention of the nation. It also signals to the public the importance of the subject discussed, usually reserved to address serious issues and/or allegations,” she wrote.

Duterte’s desire to have a national address came in the midst of Senator Antonio Trillanes’ controversial amnesty revocation, the drastic rise in the country’s inflation rate and the supposed ouster plots against him, among others.