[written by Rick Daligdig]
Last Monday, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. gave his First State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Straight to the point, The President gave his clear plans and aspirations in different issues and sectors. Let’s have a rundown of them.
Marcos laid down his plans in economy specially on how we will strike out in the effects of world pandemic that crippled our economic gains in the past years.
The following figures as economic targets during his term:
- 6.5 to 7.5% real GDP growth in 2022; 6.5 to 8% real GDP growth annually between 2023 to 2028
- 9% or single-digit poverty rate by 2028
- 3% National Government deficit to GDP ratio by 2028
- Less than 60% National Government debt-to-GDP ratio by 2025
- At least 4,256 US$ income per ca pita and the attainment of upper middle-income status by 2024
In terms of additional taxation, He throw his support to digital taxation in order to accumulate additional income.
Agriculture and Agrarian Sector.
Being at the helm of Agriculture portfolio, Marcos acknowledged the need to help the sector in order to maximize it’s role to the economy. With the use of agricultural science and new mechanisms of farming, fishing, livestock and husbandry, The President is confident that we can attain increase in production, food security and uplift the lives of our farmers and fisher folks.
He also aspire to condone the long outstanding loans of farmers, formalize a road map network so that agri-products will transport faster and cost efficient. Reviving of Masagana’s 150 and 200 to increase production and Kadiwa Stores for the consuming public. He also give emphasis on the amendments of CARP and giving free lands to the qualified beneficiaries.
As one of his platform during his campaign, Marcos gave marching orders to Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to enhance connectivity throughout the regions of the archipelago
Also, the department ask to study on how to digitize the government transactions, harmonized government records to be shared across the department and agencies.
The President is convince that face to face classes must resume this school year. Vice President and Department of Education Secretary Sara Duterte promised that school opening will be on time and the challenges with regards to the opening of the classes will address swiftly.
Also Marcos supported the review of K-12 curriculum so that necessary adjustments or amendments will do. The controversial comeback of ROTC in the curriculum was also mentioned…in fact it is included in his legislative agendas.
Health Sector and Pandemic Response.
Pres. Marcos Jr. lauded the works of his father, former President Marcos Sr. In building specialty hospitals like the Lung Center, National Kidney Center, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Heart Center.
With that, he wants to make a version of these specialty hospitals per region. Rural Health Unit (RHU) which will be built in the far flung areas so that every Filipino will have an access to health. The President also stressed that no more lock downs will be implemented for as it will make more damage to the fragile economy and to the livelihood of every families. Pres. Bongbong ask Congress to pass a law creating Virology Institute and Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
He also point out that the country needs to look for a new source of energy. Marcos Jr. Instructed the Department of Energy(DOE).
To hasten the use of non renewable energy such as solar, wind, hydro, thermal with combination of the present energy sources. The President also support the study of nuclear energy for being a potential energy source.
Being regarded as a potential economic mover and labor producing sector, he vowed to protect workers in the creative industry — one of the hardest hit by the pandemic — although details on this are scant.
Foreign Policy and Defense.
Pres. Marcos again reiterate that no square inch of the territory will be surrender to foreign power. He echoed the previous admin slogan’s “a friend to all and an enemy to none.” principle.
In terms of military capacity, He asking Congress to amend the National Defense Act of 1935, which he called “antiquated,” to “provide for a change in the military structure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that is more responsive to current and future non-conventional security threats to the country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty.”
Sec. Toots Ople of Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), was instructed by the President to make sure that every OFW was being cared of. He also wants to make the processing of papers to be digitize for faster transaction.
“From three months, we will turn this into just three weeks for a foreign employer to process a Filipino’s papers who they want to hire,” he said. “Life is hard, that is why we do not want to see our migrant workers go through any further hardships just to fulfill their dreams.”
Build Build Build 2
True to his promise, Marcos Jr. Vowed to continue the on going projects of the previous Duterte Admin. He also said the infrastructure spending will be maintained at 5-6% of GDP.
WHAT’S BEEN LEFT OUT?
Although during campaign, Marcos Jr. Said that war against drug will continue BUT with a different approach and style. People are left hanging on how they will do it.
Some advocates of the Human Rights also awaits about how will the human rights situation of the country will be, given that another Marcos was placed in presidency.
Another important aspect of economy which is the labor force was also left out during the SONA. Labor groups wants to hear if the Marcos Administration will support a law in ending labor contractualization.
Insurgency and NTF ELCAC.
The decades long problem of insurgency associated to different rebels from CCP NPA, Abu Sayaff, BIFF, Maute etc. was also not heard. The vital role of NTF ELCAC, the whole government approach solution of the government was not included in the President’s speech.
West Philippine Sea and China
Maybe this is also one of the issues that the people wants to hear from President, the clear statement on how the new admin will be dealt with the West Phil Sea issue and the Manila-Beijing relations.
Overall, the First State of the Nation’s Address of the President was straight forward, no adlibs,no expletives like his predecessor does during SONA. He conveys the message he wants to tell to his people. Thou there are some issues that we want to hear to be address with but he has still five SONA’s coming and his administration will be running the government in six years further policy and announcement will be given so let’s wait for those actions.
As I close, like the President said. “ The State of the Nation is Sound.”