The President’s annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) is a strong indicator of an administration’s priorities and accomplishments, but how do we compare across presidents? We can distill the SONA into numbers and count instances of national issues mentioned in the speech to find out and compare. You can also explore the speeches yourself using an interactive SONA word counter.
I got this great data gathering idea from an awesome article on the Washington Post, which analyzed the State of the Union Addresses of the various US presidents to determine hot-button issues in the United States. I decided to apply the same methodology to the Philippines and extract word counts out of the various State of the Nation Addresses, from Cory Aquino in 1987 to Noynoy Aquino in 2013.
First, let’s take a look at a very basic statistic - the length of the speech in words - as well as something I constructed called the Riffraff Index, which is the percentage of words in the SONA that do not specifically relate to any national issue. What these words are, and how they were selected are at the next section.