President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26, 2021.
Duterte is the first president from Mindanao and the oldest elected president of the country, now will soon to be stepping down from office.
In his SONA, he is joined by 350 people in the plenary hall of the Batasang Pambansa. The SONA lasted for about 3 hours which started at 4 pm PST.
Here are the important points of the president’s SONA 2021:
Duterte and the Philippine economy
Philippines’ Economic Growth was stopped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Duterte was disheartened to say that the country would’ve been one of the countries in the world with the fastest growing economy if it wasn’t for the pandemic.
“Our economy, with investor confidence, was poised to leapfrog into the company of the world’s fastest-growing economies until COVID-19 pandemic stole everything.”
Duterte and his unfulfilled promises
President Duterte ran down the acts he promised in 2016 in which he failed to fulfill: the war on drugs, eliminate corruption, federalism, peace and security, end of contractualization, fight for the West Philippine Sea, and new trains and other infrastructures.
Duterte and his failure of the War on Drugs
What Filipinos felt during the war on drugs was fear. The war on drugs which was supposed to protect the people from criminality and drugs dreadfully failed. According to the Human Rights group, the number of deaths in the war on drugs, if extrajudicial killings are included, could go on as high as 20,000 to 30,000. President Duterte himself was honest to admit that he did not foresee the corruption that could happen within the police ranks.
Duterte thanks health workers, the private sector, local government for assistance amidst the pandemic
“Allow me this opportunity to extend my personal and nation’s gratitude to all those who selflessly gave their all in the fight against COVID-19, our health workers and front liners who risk their own safety.”
“I am profoundly thankful for your sustained assistance to your fellow Filipino,” he said to the private sector.
“To our local executives, this pandemic pushed you to step up and deliver responsive assistance. I’m glad to have seen you undertake new and heightened responsibility.”
Duterte wishes to pass the ‘12 Priority Bills’ before his term ends
President Duterte identifies the 12 bills he wishes the congress to pass before the end of his term in 2022: the passing of a unified system of separation, retirement, and pension for uniformed personnel; free legal assistance for police and soldiers; Foreign Investments Act; Public Service Act; Retail and Trade Liberalization Act; department for overseas Filipinos; E-governance act; Creation of the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Creation of the Virology Institute of the Philippines; department for disaster resilience; Law to mandate evacuation centers in provinces, cities, and municipalities mandatory; and Bureau of Fire Protection modernization.
Duterte vs the communists
“My orders to you: If you see them walking around, kindly shoot them dead, and I will be happy. Anyway, you’re only charged in the ICC together with me, so what is the problem of adding another one, another idiot Filipino who has caused great damage to our country?”
“With the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), we have made great strides in addressing the root causes of this conflict…. We have worked towards the sustainable rehabilitation of communities where communists used to operate.”
Duterte says Sotto can become a ‘good vice president’
“He is a good man; he can become a good vice president. He is a capable man, a good man, and a Filipino.”
Duterte and his Marawi Rehabilitation
“Rebuilding a better Marawi remains today, still not completed. To Task Force Bangon Marawi, we need to race against time and you have to finish the necessary work to rehabilitate the war-torn city and bring its families back home.”
Duterte and his improved commuting systems
President Duterte boasts about his success in improving local commuting services such as MRT3 rehabilitation, LRT2 East Extension, Metro Manila Skyway 3, Kalayaan Bridge of BGC-Ortigas Center Link, and more.
Duterte vs the government’s corrupt practices
“Corruption is endemic in government. You cannot stop corruption. Nobody can stop corruption unless you overthrow the government completely.”
Duterte and his soldiers
President Duterte seeks out a law that could help cops and soldiers charged for abuses despite the human rights approach presented by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Supreme Court (SC), “It is high time to pass a law providing free legal assistance to AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) officers and enlisted personnel to help them from charges arising from incidents related to the performance of official duty.”
Duterte and the West PH Sea
Duterte says he has been protecting the West Philippine Sea from China
President Duterte declared, “We asserted the arbitration in the South China Sea clearly and in no uncertain terms.”
Duterte and the Coconut farmers
“My administration has worked with Congress to pass the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act. We have also returned the coco levy fund to its true and rightful owners, our coconut farmers.”
Duterte vs the ABS-CBN
“Wala akong problema sa ABS-CBN. They got my money, they wanted to return it… but they printed all the garbage, including my daughter as a drug trafficker. Nilamon ko na lang lahat ‘yun. But itong ano, they are cheating the government, billions in taxes, and they still want that frequency because ‘yan ang pinag-aawayan.”
Duterte vs the COVID-19 pandemic
“We prioritized saving lives. Buhay muna bago ang lahat…. We moved quickly to safeguard the well-being of every Filipino.”
Duterte and the COVID-19 testing, facilities
“We ramped up our testing capacity. We now have more than 260 accredited laboratories nationwide that are capable of conducting at least 50,000 tests daily. All regions now can conduct their own COVID-19 tests.”
“We established over 9,000 temporary monitoring and treatment facilities across the country.”
Duterte vs the Delta variant
Duterte adds that the country might have to go under another lockdown if the Delta variant spreads any further and causes a surge in the COVID-19 cases. “Delta, if ever it will spread.… If something wrong happens, I have to be strict and I have now my word that there will be, just like what happened in the early days.”
He then adds that the country cannot afford another lockdown. “We have spent enormous amounts of resources to build our capacity to overcome this pandemic. We cannot afford more lockdowns.”
Duterte to his people
“Desperation is a feeling alien to the resilient Filipino. A peaceful and prosperous Philippines is no longer just a distant dream, but one that is within our grasp, if our future Filipinos would also do it if they would continue and seize the opportunity to work together.”
“Together, let us rise as a nation. Thank you.”
Photo Credit: www.pcoo.gov.ph