DUTERTE SONA 2016
Rodrigo Roa Duterte, inaugurated as the 16th President of the Philippines on June 30, gave his first State of the Nation address at Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on July 25. While he gave emphasis in his battle against drugs, crime, and corruption, he covered many national concerns and laid down concrete plans of action.
Here are the highlights from the address:
1. He will create an Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs. This committee will be composed of members from multiple agencies and will handle all concerns related to the war against drugs. Meanwhile, the President will prioritize the implementation of nationwide rehabilitation programs and facilities to aid recovering drug users.
2. He has called for a ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA). The NPA have expressed mutiny for nearly 50 years but have shown consideration of ceasefire after the President’s efforts to negotiate for peace. The National Democratic Front, the Communist Party of the Philippines’ political wing, has responded in favor of the ceasefire.
3. He will lower personal and corporate taxes. The President intends to make tax reforms in order to make the tax system more efficient. He also targets to focus more on investments and give rise to more jobs.
4. He strongly respects the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the maritime case against China. However, he continues to seek a peaceful resolution despite China’s adamancy. He has appointed former President Fidel V. Ramos as envoy in upcoming peace talks.
5. He will reduce the processing time of government permits and licenses to three days. President Duterte vows to cut the red tape in processing government transactions and has given all agencies a maximum window of 72 hours to complete requests.
6. He will improve public train systems by adding more trains and railways. He promises to implement this not only in Metro Manila but also in other regions of the country as well, including Mindanao. He will also connect Metro Manila and Clark International Airport via railway to transfer more flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Clark.
7. He will employ strict law enforcement against illegal logging and mining. He will be assigning military officers to aid the government in putting a stop to practices that harm the environment and devastate our natural resources.
8. He will form a task force to probe into media killings. The Presidential Communications Office is currently drafting the Administrative Order on the creation of the task force. He clearly expressed that the current administration does not disregard repression of media and acts of violence toward them.
9. He calls for the full implementation of the Magna Carta for Women. He ordered all agencies including local government units down to the barangay level to combine their efforts in the execution of RA9710.
10. He is pushing for the Philippines to adopt the federal system. He plans to create an information dissemination campaign throughout the country in order to help the citizens understand this form of government.
President Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address was labeled as the plainest one in recent years. By doing away with overly-extravagant attire and serving simple snacks after his speech, the 77th SONA was described by the majority of the Filipino as modest and unpretentious.