Cabinet officials to present econ recovery, infra dev’t plans at first 2020 Pre-SONA forum

The Economic Development and Infrastructure Cabinet Clusters (EDC-IC) of the Duterte administration are set to present the government’s plans for recovery and resilience in the face of coronavirus-induced headwinds this year, at the first Pre-State of the Nation Address (Pre-SONA) forum for the year to be held next week.


In the forum titled “Regaining Momentum, Accelerating Recovery in a Post COVID-19 World,” the country’s top economic and infrastructure officials are also expected to report on the state of the Philippine economy, as well as the government’s ongoing efforts to leverage on its strong fundamentals in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


The forum will be held virtually on July 8, due to the limitations on mass gatherings as part of the government's mobility restrictions to prevent further spread of COVID-19.


Hosted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS), in coordination with the Departments of Finance (DOF) and of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as chairs of their respective cabinet clusters, the forum will be streamed live on the Facebook pages of the Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), DOF, DPWH and other government agencies.


“This year’s Pre-SONA forum will be different, as our audience will be purely virtual. We do hope that our citizens will be able to tune in as the country’s top decision makers discuss our path to a quick and strong recovery from this crisis,” Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino II said.


Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar will present performance updates and priority plans, respectively, on the economic and infrastructure fronts. 


Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua will speak on the Philippine Economic Recovery Program.


“The audience can expect Secretary Dominguez to delve deeper into the challenges we’re facing right now, the accomplishments in the previous year that we can build on, and the legislative proposals that the economic team submitted for Congress to consider,” Lambino said.


Meanwhile, updates on the monetary, external, and financial sectors will be discussed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno.


Pre-SONA forums are held annually to discuss in greater detail the achievements of the government in the previous year and the priorities of the Cabinet cluster heads in the run-up to the President’s SONA on July 27. 


This Pre-SONA forum of the EDC-IC will be the first such forum this year. 


The EDC of the Duterte Cabinet is chaired by the Secretary of Finance and has, as members, the Executive Secretary (ES), Cabinet Secretary (CabSec), head of the President Management Staff (PMS), and Secretaries of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), DPWH and Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), of Budget and Management (DBM), of Transportation (DOTr), of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), of Energy (DOE), of Science and Technology (DOST), of Tourism (DOT), of Agriculture (DA) and of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).


Meanwhile, the IC, led by the DPWH Secretary, is composed of the ES, CabSec, head of PMS, as well as the Secretaries of the DILG, DBM, NEDA, DOTr, DOF, DICT, DTI, DA, DOT and Departments of Health (DOH), of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and of Education (DepEd).


Lambino also invited the Filipino public to raise any questions about the Philippine economy during the Pre-SONA forum.


“The Pre-SONA forum also presents an opportunity for the citizens to address their questions directly to the Secretaries of the EDC and IC. We are taking advantage of existing technologies to continue our engagement with the public, while observing proper health protocols,” he said.


“The mechanics for sending questions are simple: you just have to record yourself asking your question and post it on your personal Facebook account. Afterward, tag the DOF ( and DPWH (  Facebook pages on your post and use ‘#PreSONA2020 #AskYourCabinetSecretaries’ so we can see your entries,” Lambino explained.


According to the Finance official, the content of the video must follow either of the following formats:


  1. “Ako po si <insert name>. Ang tanong ko sa ating Cabinet Secretaries ay <insert question>.” or
  2. “I am <insert name>. My question to the Cabinet Secretaries is <insert question>.”


“To make sure that our Cabinet Secretaries will be able to properly address your questions, please keep the maximum duration of the video to 45 seconds and ask only one specific, objective, and concise question per video.”


“Please also set the privacy of your post to ‘public.’ We will be retrieving all questions from July 1 to July 5, 2020. Selected videos will be answered by the Cabinet Secretaries during the Pre-SONA forum on July 8. But questions that will not be featured because of the limited time will be answered on another platform,” Lambino said.


To ensure that the campaign adheres to data privacy laws, Lambino gave notice to the public that “by posting your videos publicly, tagging DOF and DPWH, and using #PreSONA2020 and #AskYourCabinetSecretaries in your caption, you are giving consent to the Pre-SONA organizers to use, feature, or edit, in whole or in part, your video for the forum.”