MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte promised to deliver a short State of the Nation Address (SONA), but the 100-minute speech he delivered on Monday, July 25, lost focus with off-tangent comments, analysts said.
In his first SONA, Duterte ignored the teleprompter several times to make ad-libbed remarks, coming back later to his prepared script to finish the points he was making.
Former Ateneo School of Government dean Antonio La Viña identified 3 main highlights in Duterte's speech: his reiteration of his war against drugs, the push for federalism, and promise of peace. But Duterte's winding speech, La Viña added, made it difficult to follow his main points.
"The speech just went on in various directions...[It's] a lost opportunity because speeches like these are a moment to unify the country, make clear the vision of governance," La Viña told Rappler.
Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug, meanwhile, said that the speech should've been adjusted to fit Duterte's speaking style.
But political psychologist Cristina Montiel said that the ad-lib-filled speech showed that the tough-talking former mayor of Davao City cannot be packaged, and that he knew how to connect with the audience and speak in the language of the people.
She also said that Duterte was "very complicated" and hard to figure out. Montiel noted the repeated use of war images that Duterte used in his speech, particularly when talking about his vow to be relentless in the war against drugs. (READ: Duterte's drug war in numbers)
While Duterte knew how to make people laugh, Vitug said she expected more from the new president's first SONA.
"Where is he taking us 6 years from today? It's not only drugs, drugs, drugs. I'm looking for the big picture, the long view," Vitug said. – Rappler.com