Wages, inflation, and jobs are the top issues Filipinos want to hear from President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22, a Pulse Asia survey showed.
The poll revealed that 17.1 percent of the 1,200 respondents want Duterte to discuss higher wages and another 17.1 percent to discuss the lowering of prices of basic goods. Meanwhile, 15.2 percent of the respondents want to hear Duterte’s accomplishments and plans on employment.
The survey also showed that 9.2 percent of Filipino adults want to hear the country’s relations with China.
In addition, 6.1 percent want Duterte to assert Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea in his televised speech and 3.1 percent said he should explain the country’s policy toward China.
Moreover, 7.8 percent of the respondents deem illegal drugs as an important topic, while 5.9 percent want the President to discuss improvements in the agricultural sector.
Among Metro Manila residents, Philippine-Chinese relations are the most important topic to be discussed. Respondents from Luzon were focused on wages, while those in Visayas and Mindanao want Duterte to talk primarily about inflation, the study showed.
The respondents were asked: “What would you most like for President Duterte to discuss or mention in his coming State of the Nation Address or SONA?”
The survey was conducted from June 24 to 30, when the major news was the fallout from the Recto Bank incident in which a Chinese vessel hit and sank a Filipino fishing boat, leaving its crew of 22 fishermen in distress in open water. The administration drew heavy fire for what critics described as its failure to assert Philippine rights over the country’s exclusive economic zone.
The Palace said these topics have been mentioned by the President in his previous SONAs.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that corruption, criminality, illegal drugs, terrorism, and the West Philippine Sea dispute are the topics that Duterte is likely to focus on in his address.
While the President’s prepared speech is said to be short, he has been known to go off-topic.
“You know the President. He is very extemporaneous, spontaneous,” Panelo said during a chance interview on Friday.
The spokesman previously said that the SONA will be short, but jested that it might last two hours.
Duterte’s first SONA lasted for one hour and 32 minutes, while his second address lasted for two hours after he deviated from his prepared speech.
His third SONA last year lasted 48 minutes.
The National Capital Region Police Office will put its forces on full alert starting Saturday as part of security preparations for the SONA.
Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, NCRPO chief, said Friday that about 14,000 police officers would be deployed to ensure peace and order during the SONA.
Eleazar said 9,162 cops and force multipliers would be sent to secure the vicinity of the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
READ: 15K cops, force multipliers eyed to guard SONA
The police, he said, would be deployed at about 5 a.m. on Monday to areas where protesters would be allowed—up to St. Peter Parish along Commonwealth Avenue for militant groups, and at the IBP road for pro-administration groups —“for as long as these are held peacefully.”
He said they have a contingency plan in case the President decides to face the protesters after delivering his address, as he had two years ago.
Eleazar noted that part of the security protocol is to jam cellular signals.
At least 15,000 protesters are expected to hold rallies but Eleazar said he had already met with their leaders to set guidelines to prevent violent confrontations.
Part of the discussion was Eleazar’s appeal for the protest organizers to ask their members not to carry bags and wear jackets as a preventive security measure.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said he hoped the President would discuss plans, not only for the remainder of his term but for the next decade, saying the 2020 national budget should lay down the framework for the 10-year development plan for the country.
Senator Joel Villanueva said he hoped to hear the President push key reforms that would sustain the economy’s growth. With Macon Ramos-Araneta, and PNA
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