On SONA 2016

Did you get a chance to watch or listen to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte?

To be honest, I was excited to watch it because it was his first SONA. It’s where he tells the Philippines of his plans for a better country in many fronts: national economy, security, agriculture, war on drugs, and so on.

There’s already a full video on it on YouTube if you want to watch it again. PhilStar.com lists down the highlights of yesterday’s speech.

My off-the-bat comments from President Duterte’ SONA 2016:

Top of my mind: it’s so refreshing to see a president full of candor and honesty. At some points in the SONA, he digressed from the prepared speech and addressed a lot of things spontaneously.

The first part of his speech was a sort-of nudge to his predecessor. Let’s face it, former president Aquino did blame persons and events to rationalize certain situations during his time. In his first SONA, President Duterte made it clear that he won’t do that. Which is, I think, the higher road to take.

I’m also happy that he addressed bureaucracy and red tape in government agencies. I remember when I applied for a replacement for my SSS ID because I want it to reflect my married name. It took me the whole day to process it in the SSS main office (the 5-hour waiting-in-line time included) and SEVEN MONTHS to receive it. Wow. I hope with his mandate, processing of government-related IDs and documents will be done faster.

Internet in public areas — yes! But he has to also talk to the service providers to give the people decent connectivity. I mean if there is access but the connection is lousy, then it’ still all for naught.

Tax reform — a big YES! The middle class — yes, that’s US — bear a heavy weight when it comes to taxes. Our salaries get cut and there’s not much left to take home because of taxes. Ugh. Hopefully, Duterte and his government will find a way to ease the burden of the taxpayers.

On the war on drugs, I believe that it’s doing okay but I feel that it would make room for vigilantism. I just hope that the bad guys are given due justice and that the innocents are spared.

On that note, I also want to agree on his comment about how the media portray these drug-related killings. It really irritates me to see dead bodies on TV, you know, just to make a point. Or make it controversial. Heck, there was one time, in the morning news, wherein the reporter did the news with the dead body behind her — ON LIVE TV. So much for my appetite. You know, the US media doesn’t show dead bodies like that on the news. Maybe a bit of decency, please?

Unilateral ceasefire. I sure hope it will be respected by all parties concerned.

On China and the disputed islands, which the Philippines was given favor, I know we all want “Chexit” and President Duterte’s response to it was not exactly what every Filipino wanted, but I think he had the country’s welfare in mind with that. Let’s face it, China’s army is much stronger than ours and they won’t think twice about going into war if we force “Chexit.” If a dialogue can be done, then there’s a chance for peace… right?

I just noticed that he didn’t touch upon education. K-12 is still an issue to many parents and schools. And the lack of classrooms. Also about contractualization. During his campaign, he said he wanted to remove ENDO. Didn’t hear about it yesterday.

So far I’m quite satisfied with his SONA. I sure hope that he and his administration will push through with their good plans.

And hopefully next SONA, Brillante Mendoza can limit zooming into the president’s hand and using the “laylayan” (worm’s eye-view) camera angle. 🙂

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