QUEZON CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte delivered a remarkable State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
As expected, the president once again gave his speech in an unconventional but witty manner. Duterte made his audience at the Batasang Pambansa laugh at almost every part of his speech, changing the whole atmosphere.
Let us review the key points of his SONA for this year.
The president stands firm in his decision to extend the martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2017.
- This enables the military to act against and question suspected members and sympathizers of the rebellion.
- Martial Law is the fastest way to quell the rebellion at the least cost of lives and properties.
- Rebellion is happening in Mindanao as a whole, not just in Marawi.
- "It is not the peace of the dead but the peace of the living that we seek."
- Promised fast rehabilitation for the victims of Marawi siege.
War on Drugs
Despite local and international condemnation, Duterte assured the continuity of war on drugs.
- The fight against illegal drugs will not stop until those who are involved ultimately understand they have to seize.
- They have to stop or the alternative is either jail or hell.
On the issue of mining and its harmful effects to nature, he made it clear that the protection of the environment must be made a priority.
- Stop the exportation of mineral resources.
- Refrain from the irresponsible destruction of the watersheds and aquatic resources.
- Protection of the environment is non-negotiable.
- Mining companies must pay proper taxes and declare their incomes accurately.
- LGU's must do their job without fear or fervor on the matter of irresponsible mining.
Climate Change and Food Security
- Different departments and organizations should look into the impact of climate change in food security.
- Encouraged the passage of the National Land Use Act
- Must ensure the rational and sustainable use of land, provided the needs of the people.
In his first year in office, the president has generated billions worth of investments from different countries. Now, he calls on investors to put up factories in the Philippines to process raw materials into finished products.
One of the top priorities of the Duterte administration is to provide quality education to Filipino students.
- Implement and improve the K-12 system
- Invest in higher education
- Strengthening of the Alternative Learning System (ALS)
- Widening the reach of skills training
Under his administration, the Philippines has finally streamlined services by launching government hotline 8888.
- Help people to report corruption and any anomalies in government offices
- Processing of documents for job application and licenses now made fast and easy
- Extension of passport and driver's license validity
Reproductive Health Law
Duterte asked the Supreme Court to lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the implementation of the RH Law.
- TRO will delay projects for RH Law
- Asked DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial to find a way to expedite RH processes as well as changing procurement procedures or she will get replaced
Communists and the Leftists
The president confirmed that the peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA are over.
- The NPA ambushed the presidential convoy in Cotabato City.
- He is done talking with them.
- He revealed that Joma Sison has a colon cancer and that the Norwegian government won't pay for his hospitalization anymore.
Expressing his disappointment with the never-ending accusations against him, Duterte challenged his detractors to a public debate.
"When you talk in public, carry the proper message," he said. He also stressed that Sen. Leila Delima's case cannot be connected with due process and human rights because of her questionable credibility having been involved with drug trafficking.
"Don't try to scare me with the International Criminal Court (ICC). I am willing to go to prison for the rest of my life," he added.
Internet - Plans to improve broadband connectivity, installed free WIFI in public areas.
OFW Welfare - Cash assistance to Overseas Filipino Workers
Government hotlines - Launched the first ever hotlines for emergency (911) and streamlining of government services (8888).
Death Penalty - Reinstatement of capital punishment in the Philippines
No balance billing - Implementation of "No balance billing" policy in hospitals and health care
Magna Carta for Women - Passage of the 120-day (extended) maternity leave for women
Balangiga Samar Bells - Asked the US for the return of the Balangiga church bells
China/US - Implementation of an Independent Foreign Policy
Executive Order 26 - Passage of the nationwide smoking ban
Salaam TV - First ever Muslim-oriented channel in the country
Traffic - Orders MMDA to clear road obstructions
Those are the highlights of President Rodrigo Duterte's 2017 State of the Nation Address. Do you think he was able to cover all the important issues in the Philippines during his SONA?