When the President makes their State of the Nation Address, the entire nation listens. This constitutional obligation and tradition marks the time when the most powerful individual in the Philippines personally addresses their constituents . They report the key events that have affected the nation while highlighting the next steps that their administration promises to fulfill in their remaining term. However, listening to the SONA can be intimidating. The nature of the SONA leaves it full of jargon and terminology that may leave most Filipinos asking: So… Ano daw? Using Information Retrieval techniques such as TFIDF Vectorization, Singular Value Decomposition, and Clustering, it was possible to uncover four clusters which represent the prevalent themes present in the SONAs. These clusters are the Commonwealth Cluster, the Developing Republic Cluster, the Martial Law Cluster, and the Economy Cluster. The Commonwealth Cluster contains 6 SONAs from Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmena. Features in this cluster that stand out are: commonwealth act and national assembly.
The Developing Republic Cluster contains 25 SONAs from Manual Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, and Ferdinand Marcos. Prominent features from this cluster include united state, economic development, land reform, armed force, and trade zone hence the theme of development.
Next is the Martial Law Cluster. This cluster contains 14 SONAs all from just one president: Ferdinand Marcos. This cluster contains the features of batasang pambansa, martial law, new society, crisis government, samahang nayon, drug addiction, and moral revolution.
The last cluster is the economy-focused cluster. This cluster contains 39 SONAs from Manuel Quezon, Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Gloria Arroyo, Joseph Estrada, Benigno Aquino, and Rodrigo Duterte. While most of these SONAs come from post-martial law presidents, 2 are from Manuel Quezon, 1 is from Macapagal, and 1 from Marcos stand out.
On further analysis, the clusters were differentiated by time. A less obvious differentiator is the topic of the SONA. The SONA have for the most part addressed the pressing problems of that time. Benigno Aquino talked about wang-wang. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo talked about agrarian reform. Manuel Quezon talked about Tydings McDuffy.
Manuel L Quezon once said, “We shall build a government that will be just, honest, efficient, and strong so that the foundations of the coming Republic may be firm and enduring – a government, indeed, that must satisfy not only the passing needs of the hour but also the exacting demands of the future .”
We can use this knowledge to measure the presidents against our own moral compasses. We will know who rose to the occasion and who were found wanting.
 State of the Nation Addresses | GOVPH. (n.d.). Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/past-sona-speeches/
 Quezon, M. L. (1935, November 5). Message to the First Assembly on National Defense. Official Gazette. https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1935/11/15/inaugural-address-of-president-quezon-november-15-1935/