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MANILA, Philippines – Those who want to have an idea of how the Philippines will turn out in the remaining 3 years of President Rodrigo Duterte need not wait long, as the Chief Executive will give Filipinos a glimpse of the “future” when he delivers his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA), a Palace official said on Saturday, July 20.
During the “Cabinet Report sa Teleradyo” on Saturday with Communications Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar discussed the possible contents of Duterte’s SONA on Monday, July 22, which he said then was about “98%” complete.
“This Monday will be the day that you will know the future and how the future will look like in the Philippines,” Andanar said.
He said that Duterte is expected to highlight 3 issues in his 4th SONA: poverty alleviation, infrastructure development, and efforts to end the communist insurgency. (READ: 12 things to expect at Duterte’s SONA 2019)
Andanar described Duterte’s 4th SONA as “one of his most important SONAs” as it would be his first SONA in the second half of his term, where he would bare his plans for the next 3 years.
Andanar said he expected the prepared speech to last for about 45 minutes to one hour and 20 minutes, but it could be longer if the President would adlib, as he had done on past occasions. (READ: What were Duterte’s favorite words in his speeches?)
A June 2019 survey of Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated showed that higher wages, lower prices of goods, and Philippine sovereignty are among the top topics that Filipinos want to hear in Duterte’s SONA.
Duterte would deliver his SONA unscathed by controversies, the latest of which was the Recto Bank incident where a Filipino fishing boat was sunk and abandoned by a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea. Despite criticism that he seemed to favor China over the 22 Filipino fishermen left to die in a sinking boat, Duterte still kept his high approval rating of 85%.
Experts found the hugely popular Philippine president a “uniquely domineering” force in politics that now threatened democracy and space for dissent. (READ: [OPINION] What Duterte has achieved in 3 years)
In his first 3 years in office, Duterte was infamously known for his bloody crackdown against illegal drugs that claimed thousands of lives, with trust in his administration’s political bets high enough to help wipe out opposition senatorial candidates in the 2019 midterm elections.
Multisectoral groups are expected to hold protests on the sidelines of the SONA, among them, a coalition of opposition personalities and groups will highlight the country’s struggle for sovereignty, democracy, and livelihood through the United People’s State of the Nation Address. (LIST: SONA 2019 protests, activities)
On Saturday, labor groups said in a statement thousands of workers under the alliance United Workers SONA are expected to join the massive mobilization on the ocassion of Duterte’s SONA.
The workers affiliated under Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod, Sanlakas, Oriang, and Partido Lakas ng Masa and other allied organizations would march to the Batasan Pambansa on Monday to demands for regular jobs, decent living wages, lower of prices of basic commodities, and the assertion of Philippine sovereignty. – Rappler.com
For highlights of President Duterte’s 4th SONA, check out our live blog.
For related stories, visit Rappler’s 2019 State of the Nation Address page.
Rappler takes a deeper look at the first half of Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency – its highs and lows, its achievements and shortcomings:
Duterte Year 3: The Halfway Mark