Duterte’s 14-page 48-min SONA, 34 times applauded

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DAVAO CITY (July 23) — The 14-page State of the Nation Address  (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte lasted for 48-minutes and was applauded 34 times.

Contrary to his previous SONA,  his third  SONA was shorter and delivered clearly without a single expletive,  contrary to the expectations of his critics.

Last Friday,  Vice President Leni Robredo in a forum said, “There are people telling me not to go because I might get insulted again.” She added attending the SONA  is her obligation as Vice President. “I won’t lose anything if I would be insulted. I’m ready to face anything, she added.”

Vice President Leni Robredo.-(Photo Credit OVP)

But Monday’s SONA passed beyond the expectation of Robredo.

Among the  highlights of Duterte’s SONA which was warmly welcomed are as follows:

-On his relentless war on drugs:
” If you think that I can be dissuaded from continuing this fight because of [your] demonstrations, your protests, which I find, by the way, misdirected, then you got it all wrong.”

-Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives. The lives of our youth are being wasted and families are destroyed, and all because of the chemicals called shabu, cocaine, cannabis, and heroine.

-You worry about the present; I am concerned [about] both the present and the future. I worry about the future because I know what crimes can do to the youth of this country. If not stopped, crimes can make human cesspools of succeeding generations. I will not allow it to happen. Not during my term.

-Time and again, I have stressed that corruption must stop. Corruption is like a leech that it bleeds the government of funds programmed for its infrastructure and other social development projects. It saps the morale of dedicated and honest government workers.

Photo Credit: SAP Bong Go

-I thank Congress for the swift passage of the Ease of Doing Business [Act], which is a significant fight against corruption and improving service delivery. We need to sustain our momentum.

-The ASEAN events showcased not only the world-renowned Filipino hospitality and organizational capabilities but also our artistic talent.

-Our improved relationship with China, however, does not mean that we will waver in our commitment to defend our interests in the West Philippine Sea.

-We strongly condemn the deaths and abuses experienced by Filipino migrant workers in the hands of their foreign employers. I have said this before and I say it again: I am a worker of government, and it is my vow to make sure that your well-being remains our foremost foreign policy concern.

-As a worker of government, I promised to do whatever it would take to give all Filipinos a comfortable life, fighting powerful interests and making sacrifices. My obligation is to promote and uphold the greatest good, for the greatest number.

-That is why I add mine to their voices in asking Congress to pass legislation ending the practice of contractualization once and for all.

-Our farmers, especially our coconut farmers, form a significant part of the basic sectors of society. It is from the toil of their hands that we put food on the table. It is my hope that we finally see this through. I urge you, Congress to convene the [bicameral] conference committee and pass at the soonest possible time the bill establishing the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund. I pray that you will do it.

-When I decided to establish Malasakit Centers in Cebu, Tacloban and Iloilo, my long-time aide, Bong Go and his team became instrumental in arriving at the right decision through proper consultations.

-Deliberations with the proper agencies also made me decide to push for, and eventually approve, both the [free] Tertiary Education Act and the increase in the salary of our men in uniform, our soldiers and our policemen.

– I therefore urge the Senate to urgently pass the National Land Use Act to put in place a national land use policy that will address our competing land requirements for food, housing, businesses, and environmental conservation. We need to do this now.

– We, in the the Cabinet, have approved for immediate endorsement to Congress the passage of a law creating the “Department of Disaster Management,” an inter-agency — just like FEMA. Well, I don’t know if it’s — it’s an effective agency in the United’s government.

Photo as posted by GMA network

-Nature endowed us with this wealth to be tapped for the benefit of all generations. My policy in the utilization of these resources is non-negotiable: the protection of the environment must be top priority and extracted resources must be used for the benefit of the Filipino people, [applause] not just a select few. Do not just give me taxes. I can get it from other sources. Give me what needs to be given to my countrymen.

-To the mining industry, I say this once again and maybe for the last time, do not destroy the environment or compromise our resources; repair what you have mismanaged. Try to change [your] management radically because this time you will have restrictive policies. The prohibition of open pit mining is one. [applause] It is destroying my country. It is destroying the environment. It will destroy the world of tomorrow for our children.

-We are currently institutionalizing the unified implementation of the “No Balance Billing Policy” through which the government and our private healthcare providers can work out a system that will provide an order of charging of medical expenses.

– I urge the speedy passage of the Universal Health Care Bill authored by Former Representative Harry Roque. [applause] Strong political determination, not political ambition, is the guiding light.

-I therefore consider it a distinct honor and privilege to have received earlier from the Consultative Committee that I created, the draft Federal Constitution that will truly embody the ideals and aspirations of all the Filipino people.

-I thank all the members of the Committee, especially those who came out from their retirement, for their valuable services in crafting this draft Federal Constitution. I would like to extend my particular gratitude to Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno [applause] and Former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.

-I was informed that satellite facilities were set up by the Presidential Communications Operations Office in certain far flung barangays so as of today the residents of these communities can watch the State of the Nation and for the first time see you on TV. I hope you have enjoyed the experience.

In ending his speech, Duterte quoted Abraham Lincoln ” And I came across this statement which has been with me since I was a fiscal in the 70s. And he said: If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop, the presidency, might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how—the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is — what has been said against me won’t amount to anything. But if the end brings me out wrong, ten angels of God swearing that I was right would make no difference.

Daghang salamat ka ninyong tanan.

After the SONA, Duterte went home to Davao City.-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph

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