SONA to detail strategies for recovery, development
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) today, unfolding his agenda to bring the country back to overall good health while aiming to fulfill the many wish lists expressed by various sectors and groups that helped him win the presidency in a landslide last May.
The Palace said over the weekend that plans for economic recovery and the resumption of face-to-face classes will figure high on the President’s address to the 19th Congress, where he has the support of the supermajority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Senators, meanwhile, said they hope Marcos will lay down his legislative agenda with a specific focus on the pandemic response and full and inclusive recovery.
Senator Christopher Go, chairman of the Senate health committee, said he hopes to hear how the President intends to strengthen the country’s health care system amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising threat of monkeypox.
Go is also looking at plans to make food affordable, communities safer, and government agencies more responsive to calamities.
A close aide to former President Rodrigo Duterte, Go said he hopes the new administration will continue projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, on the other hand, said he expects to hear details of Marcos’s plan for the economy and how to assist sectors that need help
Senator Francis Escudero listed three items.
“In every SONA that I attend, I expect that the President will state, with frankness and candidness, 1) the true and current state of our nation; 2) outline his plans and programs for the ensuing year; and 3) inform Congress about his legislative agenda for the coming year until his next SONA in 2023,” Escudero said.
Escudero said the SONA should go beyond the aspirational to the immediately actionable because the people need relief now, not later.
“Therefore, the SONA must not only inspire hope, but must show directions,” he said.
“A people tired of rhetoric would rather have a SONA that is delivered without flair, for as long as it is full of clear details on how their lives will be made better. They are excited about programs, not prose,” he said.
“Battered by high prices of food and fuel, low pay, and lack of jobs, what the people will be looking for in the SONA is the government’s response to their resilience.”
Senator Loren Legarda said she looks forward to hearing the President speak about his priority programs and policy reforms on health and education, food security, agriculture and sustainability, economic and fiscal policies, human rights and social justice, unemployment and underemployment, the legislative agenda, and the critical role of local governments.
During his inaugural speech on June 30, Marcos told the public that concrete measures to address the country’s many challenges, from economic recovery to poverty alleviation, will be presented during his first SONA when the 19th Congress opens on July 25.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda believes the President’s first SONA is the best time to signal a foreign policy doctrine of national interest and global cooperation.
Marcos “may have to make deals” with “non-traditional partners” such as Russia, Arab nations, and India, he said, citing “new goals, new friends, new projects,” he said.
The SONA would be “his (Marcos) chance to articulate as President to the diplomatic corps his guiding foreign policy doctrine,” he said.
“Because much of the current threats to economic recovery are externally driven, domestic policy and foreign policy will be deeply interconnected in the coming months. The SONA is the first best chance for [the President] to articulate to the world how he will navigate this dynamic,” he said.
“While domestic policy is a power shared among the three branches, foreign policy is almost exclusively the domain of the President. He is, after all, the chief architect of foreign policy. Tomorrow, the entire diplomatic corps will be at the State of the Nation Address.
That will be his chance to articulate what the Marcos Doctrine will be,” he added.
To find cheap sources of food, fuel and fertilizer would demand that Marcos “make deals in the national interest that are not necessarily perfectly aligned with the designs of our traditional allies,” he said.
Rep. Marlyn Alonte of Biñan City, Laguna said she wants to hear about the inclusion of school clinics, tourism promotion, and forest and ecology laws at the SONA.
“I await the SONA details on Monday, and I will be listening for broad strokes and some specifics on improved health care and education, strengthened tourism, jobs creation, and sustainable development because these are among the top concerns of my constituents and neighboring areas,” she said.
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said it is looking forward to learning what the administration hopes to accomplish in its first 100 days and in the rest of its term.
The dean of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law Nilo Divina said there is nothing more crucial than to unite under one decisive and responsive leadership.
As poverty, inflation, and increasing economic uncertainties loom not just in the Philippines but all over the world, Divina said now is the time to set aside political differences and animosity to prioritize meaningful work.