MANILA, Philippines – No time to watch President Rodrigo Duterte’s 50-minute State of the Nation Address (SONA) or read the complete transcript?
Here’s a quick summary of all the important points he mentioned at the Batasang Pambansa on Monday, July 23.
Drug war – Duterte’s banner program gets first mention. He says it will be “relentless” and “as chilling as the day it began.” Slams human rights groups for criticizing the anti-drug campaign.
Corruption – Thanks Congress for passing the Ease of Doing Business Act. Says all agencies must simplify processes and cut red tape. Says he’s had to fire “friends” due to corruption.
Mindanao promise – Vows “significant increases” in Mindanao’s budget
Bangsamoro law – Promises to sign the Bangsamoro Organic Law within “48 hours” after Malacañang receives Congress’ approved version.
Marawi siege – Recognizes soldiers and police who died fighting in Marawi City. Says government welcomes with open arms terrorists who surrender to authorities.
Foreign policy – Vows to pursue an “independent foreign policy.” Mentions ties with Southeast Asian countries but spends bulk of this portion on benefits of “reenergized” ties with China and commitment to “defend our interests in the West Philippine Sea.”
Overseas Filipino workers – Condemns deaths and abuses suffered by Filipino migrant workers at the hands of foreign employers. Says OFW rights to be his administration’s “foremost foreign policy concern.”
Contractualization – Says government efforts have led to regularization of 300,000 workers. Calls on Congress to pass a law prohibiting all forms of contractualization after admitting his executive order won’t suffice.
Coconut farmers – Asks Congress to pass bills creating a Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund, one of his campaign promises.
Telecommunications, internet – Reiterates promise to ensure reliable, affordable, and secure telecommunications services. Says terms of reference for 3rd telco player is almost ready. Promises the lowering of interconnection rates between all players to ensure improvements in the entire sector.
Bong Go – Mentions his aide’s name in relation to “consultations” with the public and establishing “malasakit centers.” Go is said to have plans to run for senator in 2019. (READ: Do Bong Go’s donations, billboards violate government ethics code?)
Land use act – Calls on Congress to pass a law creating a national land use policy, legislation that has been pending for two decades.
Disaster management – Calls on Congress to pass a law creating a disaster management department with more powers and resources than existing disaster response agencies.
Warning to miners – Tells “irresponsible miners” to stop destroying watersheds, forests, and bodies of water. Says natural resources must benefit all Filipinos, not just the rich.
Tax reform – Insists Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law must not be repealed despite criticism it has contributed to inflation. Tells Congress he wants to sign TRAIN Package 2 by the end of 2018. Mentions by name the lawmakers who filed versions of the bill. Calls on Congress to pass all other tax reform packages.
Health – Calls on Congress to pass the universal health care bill. Mentions Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, author of the bill when he was Kabayan representative, by name. Roque is also said to be running for senator in 2019.
Federalism – Thanks his Consultative Committee for their draft federal constitution. Insists that Filipinos will support the shift to a federal system of government. (READ: Majority of Filipinos reject shift to federalism now – Pulse Asia)