Yesterday, July 27, 2020, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address at Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City. He was joined by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, and some lawmakers. While Vice President Leni Robredo and other legislators attended via Zoom
Here are the important points from the 5th SONA :
“But let us not despair, the vaccine is just around the corner.”
“The Government focuses its attention and resources to battle coronavirus. There are those who take advantage of the pre-occupied government. One of them is Sen. Frank Drilon, in an interview, he arrogantly mentioned among others that oligarchs need not be reached.”
“I am a casualty of the Lopezes during the 2016 elections.”
“The dealers and purveyors of illegal drugs hiding in the shadows of covid-19 have stepped up their activities.”
“The financial and material assistance of the government to the unemployed, the sick and the destitute running into billions of pesos, are not spared from corruption and ineptitude. Even the donations from well-meaning private persons are skimmed before reaching their intended beneficiaries. It is like snatching food from the mouths of babes.”
The President quoted the late President Ramon Magsaysay with its words that were relevant in our current state:
“We need men of integrity and faith like Rizal and del Pilar, men of action like Bonifacio, men of inflexible patriotism like Mabini. We need their zeal, their self-reliance, their capacity for work, their devotion to service, their ability to lose themselves in the common cause of building a nation.”
If we allow greed, self-interest and ambition to rule us, then as stated by one prominent physician, we will “be left with nothing better than the lesser evil instead of the greater good.”
“The efforts and resources which we poured out produced the momentum needed to bring our country closer to our goals. Suffice it to state, we made significant strides over time.”
He then highlighted the significant programs & actions of the government:
Pantawid Pamilya: Over 4.3 million poor families benefitted
Postponement of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections: It saved much-needed government funds and help to focus more on the pandemic situation
Malasakit Centers Act: There are currently 75 Malasakit Centers serving Filipinos all over the country. This centers are really of great help for those less fortunate in ensuring that our people remain healthy and resilient during these challenging times.
Salary Standardization Law of 2019: This increases the salary of civilian government workers.
National Academy of Sports: To support the student-athletes with every training they need to excel in their chosen field of endeavors.
Streamlined services: Such as consular processes and business permits.
Build Build Build Program: There has been significant progress in infrastructure projects. A comprehensive written report will be released.
Human Rights: “Part of our efforts to uphold human rights is the protection of the rights of children and the right against discrimination.” He also said, “Rest assured that we will not dodge our obligation to fight for human rights.”
Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program: This aims to be beneficial to everyone outside Manila. To reform the economic and social welfare programs, activities, and projects.
Lessons from this pandemic: It is much easier to destroy than to build. Our profound gratitude goes to everyone who helped keep our country’s food supply chain running, the valiant soldiers, policemen, and security guards who kept peace and order in our communities. He thanked everyone who risked their lives to keep up with the Filipino spirit of Bayanihan.
Thankful to the IATF, NTF & local government: For all their hard work to ensure the safety of our people during these trying times.
“When the pandemic struck, I decided to prioritize life over other considerations. “Buhay muna, bago ang lahat.””
Covid Testing: We now have 93 accredited testing laboratories nationwide.
Social Amelioration Program (SAP): PhP205 billion fund allotted for poor and low-income (no work no pay) households who were affected during this pandemic. The SAP program might not be perfect but it hoped to help people in need.
Financial Aid: There is financial assistance to over 650,000 affected individuals in the formal sector, 110,000 OFWs abroad, and almost 83,000 repatriated OFWs.
Education: TESDA launched an online mode of livelihood and skills training, wherein they are offering 71 free online training. No face to face classes until we have the vaccine. Online learning, modular learning, and TV- and radio-based broadcast should be readily available for students.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas: Offer a regulatory relief for MSMEs and allow loan payment extension without incurring penalties and charges.
E-commerce Industry: Run after online scammers as they break people’s trust in online transactions which affects the livelihood of others.
Government Online services: DILG, DBM, and ARTA among others are directed to make all possible services available online to lessen long queues.
Telecommunications: Summoning to improve their services otherwise, the government will be forced to take serious steps to address the concern. People should get 100% of the service they pay for.
Health Workforce: President Duterte assures to hire and deploy more than 20,000 health professionals by 2021.
Martial Law: Martial Law in Mindanao ended without abuse from the citizen, police, and military. Thanks the Congress for the support but notes there’s more that needs to be done.
OFW: Calls to establish stable and balance support for Filipinos working overseas. “Kawawa kasi itong ating mga overseas.”
Death Penalty: Revive the death penalty by lethal injection for those crimes committed specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous [Drugs] Act of 2002. “This law will not only help us deter criminality but also save our children from the dangers posed by illegal and dangerous drugs.”
National Housing Development bill and the Rental Housing Subsidy bill: Everyone’s dream is to have a safe home they can call their own. This bill will enable all Filipinos regardless of social status to have a decent home.
Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016: Calling Congress to amend this law. Requiring professionals to undergo seminars is burdensome and not realistic.
Nursing Education Act: “We hail our health professionals as heroes.” This will be passed alongside the Medical Reserve Corps.
National Disease Prevention and Management Authority: Tomorrow is not promised and this pandemic might not be the last, therefore a better preparation is a must.
Another call on Congress: Prioritize the passing of laws for the Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension of the Military and Uniformed Personnel.
Police Salary: He said he did it to somehow an attempt to kill corruption in the department.
BFP & B.I: Modernize to act with urgency. He proudly mentioned how serviceable are fire trucks in Davao.
Department of Disaster Resilience: “We must act now before another major disaster shakes us into action.”
National Land Use Act: He said that the law has been pending for decades. “Pakisilip lang ho ninyo ‘yan.” “For the rest of my term, I hope to see concerted efforts in protecting the environment.”
Island Rehabilitation: He commended how Boracay did a great job restoring its beauty.
Coco Levy Funds: Utilize the coconut industry to help the coconut farmers. He said these funds should be used for the welfare of the farmers. He urged Congress to look into it and how the money should be utilized. “Tulungan natin ang ating mga magsasaka pagka hindi mawawala ‘yang pera, bilyon ‘yan. Jusko po.”
Plant, Plant, Plant Program: He hopes that this P66-billion agricultural stimulus package will help the agriculture and fisheries sector recover.
Online Transactions: Internet Transactions Act (ITA) should be passed for consumers to have protection with their online purchases.
Philippine Territory: “Now, plenty of critics, both sides, claim about nothing has been done to retake forcefully or physically the South China Sea. China is claiming it. We are claiming it. China has the arms, we do not have it. They are in possession. So what can we do? We have to go to war and I cannot afford it.”
Covid-19 Battle: He said he knows very well that everyone has sacrificed a lot. “But we have no other choice but to work together and to do even more.” He then calls the Bayanihan spirit to every Filipino now more than ever. That this battle can’t be fought by the government alone.
On Oligarchy: “The oligarchy that exists in this country is the oligarchy that existed during the Spanish time.” “Wala ng oligarchy dito except that [Lopezes]. They have controlled. Look at… How can you now craft a new contract? Because I would insist that you pay the billions and billions that you collected.”
The President simply ended his speech with “Thank you. I am through.“
You can watch the full SONA below: