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Fourth SoNA about legacy

Hananeel Bordey

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It will be all about the legacy that President Rodrigo Duterte wants to leave Filipinos when he steps down in 2022 that will form part of his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) on 22 July, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth SoNA would highlight the legacy of the current administration and its path for the next three years.

In a television interview yesterday, Andanar said Mr. Duterte will likely discuss the government’s efforts to reduce poverty, pursue big-ticket infrastructure projects and push peace and order programs in his fourth SoNA.

“Poverty alleviation or bringing the poverty rate down from 21 to 14 percent and making the economy climb to upper middle-class level by the end of his term will be the top agenda. Second would be the infrastructure projects,” Andanar said.

“There’s also peace and order highlighting the national task force to end local communist armed conflict, because you can never have progress without peace and order. And I think those three topics would dominate the President’s address,” he added.

Showcase of successes

Andanar added other accomplishments under the economic and the business cluster, as well as policies and programs of government agencies, would possibly be included in the SoNA.

The PCOO chief said other issues that could also be addressed include his policy on West Philippine Sea and his stance on the issue surrounding the intervention of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the human rights situation in the country.

Last 8 July, the President bared that he may “educate” the public during his fourth SoNA on the constitutionality of the verbal fishing agreement he entered into with Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2016.

The agreement between the two leaders allows the Chinese to fish within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), for as long as China will allow Filipinos to fish in the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

As for the Iceland-sponsored resolution adopted by the UNHRC to look into human rights violations in the country, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo has said Duterte is “seriously considering cutting diplomatic relations” with the Nordic Island-country.

Smooth but exciting

The PCOO chief is expecting Duterte’s fourth SoNA to be a “smooth-sailing, exciting one.”
“It’s the first State of the Nation Address on the second half of the President’s term.
Everybody is ecstatic and really waiting what would be the plan for the next three years,” he said.

The SoNA, which is delivered by the President of the Philippines every year, is a constitutional obligation, required by Article VII, Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution.

Leading instrumental ensemble Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) will welcome guests and top officials of the country during the SoNA, granting director Joyce Bernal’s dream of a grand event.

In an interview with Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) president Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso, he said the PPO will play at 2 p.m. while the guests are entering the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives.