MAGANES: Duterte’s SONA

July 30, 2017 at 11:06 pm Leave a comment


virLast July 24, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivered his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) before the joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives at the Batasang Pambansa. His prepared speech, which was expected to be delivered for about 50 minutes lasted for about two hours. The President’s ad-libs made the SONA long, a far cry from the previous SONAs of past presidents in the country.

 Unconventional as he is, President Duterte’s ad-libs elicited laughter from those inside the Batasang Pambansa. His customary cuss words were prevalent but then those were used to stress points on his message to the Filipino people.

 In his SONA, Duterte stressed four points to keep his promised ” change” to work. These were the war against illegal drugs, the continuous war against the ISIS-inspired Maute group in Marawi City, warning against the stakeholders of the mining industry, and the end of corruption in all levels of the government.

 On the war against illegal drugs, President Duterte said it will continue until his term ends in 2022. He wants to see that the last drug lord will be put to jail.

 The war against illegal drugs started last July 2016 when Oplan Double Barrel was implemented by the Philippine National Police (PNP) under Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa. Under Oplan Double Barrel, two sub-activities were enforced: Operation “Tokhang” and Operation HVTs (high value targets). Operation “Tokhang” was able to surrender more than one million drug pushers and users, and about 3,000 of them were killed in legitimate police operations. Operation HVT has not yet produced tangible results. It seemed that the thick list of narco-politicians were not pursued seriously by the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

 The war in Marawi City is still far from over. Martial Law has been extended in Mindanao until December 31, this year. Lately, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that only three villages are to be cleared in Marawi City. After this, the rebuilding of the rubble caused by war will start. How long will it take to rehabilitate the war-torn city? How about the psychological rehabilitation of the people there who had lost their properties and loved ones?

 President Duterte said the mining operations should be undertaken responsibly by the stakeholders of the mining industry. He noticed the extent of degradation to the environment by the mining industries- from siltation to the destroy of watersheds and ecological systems. He deplored the mining operators for not doing their responsibility in rehabilitating the environment they destroyed. He urged them to take immediate actions to correct the destroyed environment. He also invited investors to process the mined raw minerals into finished products to increase their values.

 How about corruption? President Duterte warned those in the government to end all forms of corruption. He promised to stop this seemingly institutionalized corruption in all levels of the bureaucracy. He said he will not hesitate to fire from their positions his appointed men even though they are close to him. The warning of President Duterte is clear to the corrupt officials in the government. How he will end this “corruption movement” is still a thing to watch. Corruption has became epidemic in the government,  coughing up millions of pesos from the public coffers.

 There were other points that President Duterte’s pointed out in his SONA. He talked on the tax reform bill, which is still pending in Congress. He urged the senators and representatives to fast track it but it seems the solons are divided about the issue.

 He also pursued the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law. He took a swipe on Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for the issued temporary restraining order (TRO), that halted its full implementation.

 While Duterte was delivering his SONA, rallyists converged outside the Batasang Pambansa led by the perennial leader Renato Reyes. There were many demands aired by the rallyists as if these will be given solutions immediately by the President. Duterte managed to talk to them after his SONA and explain his actions on their demands.

 What’s funny was Reyes and his minions of rallyists are not “realist individuals”. There never was a time in our history that these people are against any sitting President, from the time of Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Arroyo and PNoy. They are the pseudo-wisdom laden individuals but have not done anything concrete for the development of the country except to mount rallies for their convenience. Are these rallyists paid? Who wouldn’t think they are not?

 President Duterte has still five years to stay in power.  One year is not enough for him to work on his promises particularly in this drug-laden and corrupt country of 140 million Filipinos. Because of his unconventional style, Duterte has inspired millions of Filipinos or 82% of the population as the Social Weather Station’s survey results revealed.

 And who are we to judge him now? Taking his words in his SONA, Duterte said: ” Whether or not my first year of administration was a year of gains or a year of setbacks is not for me to say but for the people to judge; I defer to the people’s judgment.”(For your comments and suggestions, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com orvirgilmaganes42@gmail.com. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com. Visit also our online edition at www.northwatch.wordpress.com)

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Entry filed under: News.

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