Over the last five years, Presidential State of the Nation Addresses have been slowly transformed from a day of dressing to the nines and speaking like poets about past glories and dramatic video interludes as was the practice presidents past , into a day of frank speech and strongly worded agendas for legislation.
Which we believe they should be, anyway.
In this particular address,
the president Duterte`s 5th SONA is conditioned by a nation seeking relief from its most challenging economic crisis since world war 2. We cannot deny that national government efforts to contain infections prevented the original 1% of the population, or 1 to 1.5 million Filipinos from getting infected. Truth be told, we have not even reached a tenth of the original estimate.
What is left now is for those areas where infections are highest, such as the National Capital Region and Central Visayas to actively control new infections and expand health capabilities. The rest of the country can slowly open up.
Thus, much of his speech focused on where the suffering continues to be felt most strongly -the economy, where our businesses and livelihoods that have taken a serious beating, are.
He mentioned how build build build has continued and will need to be pushed.
We will remember how he spoke of the need to sustain implementation of previously passed legislation such as the Anti Red Tape Act and the Ease of doing business law.
His strong words to improve telecommunications service to provide strong internet remind us of the uncomfortable truth that telecommunications and broadcast services are a legislative franchise - a privilege granted by congress under public service laws subject to renewal-something we may have forgotten amid the fog of the abs-cbn franchise issue. To think that broadcasting is a right and an entitlement, and that it needs to be granted to preserve a free press is, therefore, twisting the law to favor the renewal of franchise applicants against others who may equally be deserving of the privilege.
More thoughtfully, he spoke to the millions that need economic relief to survive. He spoke of the Small Business Corporation loans for affected businesses he raised are points for the various government agencies to really fast track since this will also help businesses, of agricultural stimulus package, which includes the Plant, Plant, Plant program, will help the agricultural and fisheries sector recover. He also mentioned the need to use our natural resources, including mineral resources properly. He knows full well that there are hundreds of thousands of families, especially in the countryside deriving livelihoods from our resources.
Thankfully, he pushed for the passage of badly needed stimulus programs, the CREATE bill, the FISTA bill, the internet transaction act and the National.Land Use Act. These will not only help businesses recover but put in place measures and incentives that will make our country`s economy more competititve.