President Rodrigo Duterte later today, July 24, will deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) before Congress which recently – and overwhelmingly – allowed him to extend martial law in Mindanao until December this year, the longest of such kind in this country.
The vote on the eve of the President’s SONA is symbolic of many things, especially since it came weeks after the Supreme Court also ruled in favor of his declaration covering Mindanao. It speaks of the huge political capital that the President enjoys more than ever. It shows our policymakers’ acceptance of how he intends to address Mindanao’s intractable problems. And it proves that if the President wants it, then he will have it.
Filipinos are in a good place, the country is in good shape. This is what Duterte is expected to say in his SONA on Monday, with the theme “A comfortable life for all.” The President, based on our SONA 2017 promise tracker, has made an effort to meet his promises last year on his 3 key agenda: prosperity for all, law and order, and peace. Because he has not completely fulfilled them, he will ask Congress today to approve a P3.767-trillion national budget, with the biggest chunk allotted for education, infrastructure development, and health care. His advisers expect this budget request to set the tone for a more inclusive growth in the coming year.
Underneath this, however, are cries for help that only the indifferent and the detached have not heard.
For all the military’s braggadocio and the President’s martial law cure, Marawi’s war is not going to end anytime soon. The state of the nearly 400,000 Filipinos displaced from the ghost town and its neighboring areas is a catastrophe that will take years – and human stamina – to address.
For all the national police’s boast, the war on drugs has broken only the poor, not the pipeline and the network that fuels and facilitates the illegal drug trade.
For all the high-profile talks of globe-trotting communists and their government counterparts, the peace process with the guerrillas is all but doomed, as Duterte himself said so.
And for all the President’s empathy for the neglected, the widowed, and the abandoned, there is terror and fear among those who question and disagree with him.
At no other time in recent Philippine history has reality been so torn apart by polarized views toward a sitting president.
What will prevail and endure? The answer lies beyond today’s SONA. – Rappler.com