President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 24. The LaSallian looks into the insights of DLSU students on the address.
While Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte discussed some key developments in the second State of the Nation Address (SONA), analysts from various news organizations cite how the president mostly resulted to slamming critics throughout the delivery of his speech. The president was also seen veering away frequently from the script, spending a couple of minutes in between to express his frustrations on several aspects of the country and government—a trademark approach which has consistently attracted the Filipino masses.
There were also several topics and issues not covered in the SONA, including current developments on the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea, end of contractualization, drug rehabilitation, and rewards sought to be gained from foreign visits, among others.
Below is a compilation of some of the main points of the SONA, and how DLSU students perceive such.
Campaign against illegal drugs
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency reported that, from July 1 last year to June 20 this year, over 3,200 drug personalities and 57 policemen have been killed in more than 63,000 anti-drug operations in the country. A total of 1,308,078 drug personalities surrendered while 86,933 were arrested. Around P81.51 billion worth of illegal drugs and paraphernalia were seized. Over 159 drug dens and laboratories were dismantled.
Nicholas Barria (I, AEF-APC) believes that although the government’s campaign against illegal drug has its negative consequences, the president was able to deliver on his promise on eradicating illegal drugs. However, he adds, “It also increased the risk of being framed as a drug pusher. Even if a citizen was innocent, it’s easier to frame a person while the ‘war on drugs’ still occurred, as compared to previous administrations.”
On the other hand, Joseph Villanueva (III, BS-MEM-MR) shares that the moderation of illegal drugs should be addressed. “I don’t think drugs [in general] are a major cause of accidents or conflicts among peers; the main problem that should be focused on is the moderation of drugs,” he reasons. “Having no moderation of any vice would lead to harmful effects that could affect the lives of innocent people.”
Addressing economic challenges
Jose Coronel V (II, AB-HIM) perceives that one of the current administration’s feats is establishing ‘pseudo-control’ in the country in terms of its economic relations with other countries. “We are no longer relying on the United States alone as an economy but the administration is opening to other countries as well such as China,” he continues. “There are also attempts for economic nationalism to be adopted, and creating a Philippine economy that is not relying on outside factors or other nations.”
In addition to Coronel’s statement, Barria also takes note of the economic growth of the administration, as well as the latest value of the Philippine peso as compared to foreign currencies. “As an economics student, I’ve studied that the economy grew by 7.1 percent in the first three months of his administration, but as of now, the Philippine peso has gotten weaker,” he points out.
Apart from these, Coronel cites the government’s intention to build Filipino-owned factories. “The declaration made me hopeful for the possibility of a newly-industrialized country. As of right now, the Philippines does not even have the capacity to produce its own nails. More so, the Philippines does not even have the ability to convert the abundant resources of the country into industrial products,” he expresses.
PH governance and public service
Jason Dizon (IV, BS-LGL) shares that he looks forward to the approval of the Rightsizing the National Government Act, a House Bill which aims to enhance the government’s institutional capacity by reducing bureaucratic processes and improving the delivery of public service.
“I believe in the opinion that thick red tape isn’t efficient in delivering government services. I think this act requested by the president for urgent passing is a step in the right direction for cutting unnecessary bureaucracy,” Dizon asserts.
Meanwhile, Alexander Adriano (II, OSDM-MKT) points out that the president is doing his best to push forward the country’s interests. He adds, “His way of doing things, albeit unprofessional and radical in many ways, are necessary; without strong political will, people who would otherwise violate laws will be forced to be disciplined by force. In addition, he seems to not care about his image and reputation and this makes him focused on the agendas he wants to address.”
According to Adriano, Duterte needs to also tackle the advancement of public transportation, development of tourist attractions, and furtherance of sciences and arts in schools and universities in order for the national economy to improve.
Following the conclusion of Duterte’s second SONA, he was seen speaking with protesters outside the Batasang Pambansa, addressing their complaints and claiming that the government “needs more time” in implementing the aforementioned initiatives. While several of these programs remain to be seen, the Filipino public still awaits concrete developments now that the administration has begun its second year.