President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address today is a report card centered on the accomplishments of his administration, Malacañang said Sunday.
But for Duterte, he will let the people judge his works for themselves.
“All I want is the people to just look around. This, like that, I won’t boast. Firstly, that’s not my money (used to build these projects),” said Duterte.
“I will just mention what were the projects completed without necessarily attributing the miracle to me. I worked for the government, I just worked, so I have nothing to boast about,” he added.
However, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said “death, misogyny, and treason” are the legacies that Duterte will leave to the Filipino people when he steps down in 2022.
“His years in office will forever be linked with the thousands of lives lost in extrajudicial killings, and the thousands of lives also lost amid his administration’s bungled response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hontiveros.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said Duterte “is expected to crow about supposed accomplishments, especially in his clique’s desire now to extend its influence and control beyond June 30, 2022 and escape accountability for its bloody and inept governance.”
Still, Duterte will outline his roadmap for his remaining year in office in his sixth SONA, the Palace said.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the President’s speech would focus on what his plans would be in the next 11 months, and the achievements under his administration during the past five years.
“It is unlikely that the President’s plans for 2022 (national elections) will be included in his landmark speech. I don’t think his political plans will be part of the speech,” Roque said in a press briefing.
“What’s important is the roadmap for his last year in office,” he added.
Health and safety protocols at the House of Representatives are all set for the holding of the SONA, as Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said strict rules will be observed to ensure the event will not endanger the health of the guests at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The PSG, Presidential Management Staff, and Congress have prepared and held meetings for arrangements. It’s very strict. All protocols to protect the safety of everyone to ensure there is no transmission are set in place,” Nograles said in an interview over dzBB.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said a maximum of 400 guests are expected to attend the final SONA.
Guests must present their proof of vaccination, must be negative for COVID-19 via a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test two days before the event, and must undergo a rapid antigen test at the Batasang Pambansa.
Video teleconferencing and live streaming will be done to accommodate media and guests who will not be physically present at the plenary hall.
The rules applied to Vice President Leni Robredo as well, as she has only received her first dose of the two-shot AstraZeneca vaccine. Her second dose is scheduled for Aug. 11, her spokesman Barry Gutierrez said.
Initially, the Palace only invited Robredo to attend the SONA through Zoom, but later changed its mind and invited her to personally take part in the event.
“VP would never want to miss out on SONA. She considers as part of her obligation as the second highest official of the land. In fact, if only she had her second dose, she would really go,” Gutierrez said.
Nograles said the President himself decided on specific points he wanted to highlight in his last SONA.
“The President has been practicing his speech. He himself gave inputs he wanted to highlight,” he said.
He explained that besides the Duterte administration’s accomplishments, the President is also expected to convey what programs and projects he expects his successor to continue.
“We expect that he will mention all accomplishments under his administration, what we need to do in the fight against COVID-19, the vaccination rollout, and probably the challenge to the next administration—the policies we need to continue for the benefit of our people and the country,” he added.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco assured Sunday everything was set for the President’s final address.
“It’s all systems go for Monday’s SONA. We are ready to receive the President for his much-awaited annual message for the Filipino people,” he said after the final inspections at the Batasan Pambansa.
“Strict security and health restrictions are in place to ensure the safety of the President, members and staff of Congress, and other invited officials and guests throughout the activity,” Velasco said.
The Batasan complex is currently under strict lockdown, and those attending the SONA on Monday have been shortlisted.
Velasco expects the President to look back on the performance of the administration.
“I believe that the President will go back from the start of his administration in 2016. We accomplished a lot in that period,” he said.
“Many people thought we were shooting for the stars and that programs, such as free tertiary education, accessible health services, environmental rehabilitation, peace and order in communities, would never see the light of day. But PRRD proved that under his leadership, this can be achieved. Kung Duterte, Posible!” he said in a statement.
“During the SONA, we expect that PRRD may also ask Congress to pass certain legislative measures within the remaining time that we have.”
Pre-SONAs were held across the country to assist the President in reporting to the people the accomplishments of his administration, as well as the scale-up plans for the remainder of his term.
The pre-SONAs were also held to inform the public on the priority and legacy projects of the Duterte administration as well as the COVID-19 response and strategies.
Duterte’s penultimate SONA lasted for 100 minutes. It is longer compared to his fourth SONA which lasted for 93 minutes.
His longest SONA was his second, which lasted for 120 minutes. His first and third SONAs lasted for 90 minutes and 48 minutes, respectively.
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