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Campaign against illegal drugs, corruption, federalism likely highlights of SONA

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By Genalyn Kabiling

The government’s campaign against illegal drugs and corruption as well as the federalism drive will likely be among the highlights of President Duterte’s upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA).

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Preparations for the President’s national address have started with plans to limit the prepared speech to less than 35 minutes.

According to Roque, the President will ask Congress to support the proposed shift to a federal form of government by amending the Constitution during his SONA.

“Sigurado po ako na magkakaroon ng diskurso iyan tungkol sa federalism at iyong hinihingi niyang transitory provision sa Kongreso. Ito na po iyong pagkakataon niya na kausapin talaga iyong Kongreso para tumulong para sa charter change papuntang pederalismo [I am sure there will discussion on federalism and the transitory provision he asked from Congress. This is a chance to really talk to Congress to support Charter change towards federalism],” Roque said in a radio interview last Thursday.

“I’m sure po magiging malakas ang apela ng ating Pangulo para diyan sa Charter change na iyan [I am the President will make a strong appeal for Charter change],” he added.

The President is also expected to dwell on his efforts to combat illegal drug trade and weed out corrupt public servants in the bureaucracy.

“Iyung kanyang kampanya laban sa korapsiyon at kampanya laban sa droga, sigurado po ako eh nandoon pa rin sa kaniyang talumpati – na sabi niya ‘no, ang pangako niya, babasahin niya at hindi lalampas ng tatlumpu’t limang minuto [I am sure that his campaign against corruption and campaign against drugs will also be part of his speech. He promised that he will read his speech, which will not exceed 35 minutes],” Roque said.

He said Duterte intends to give the “big picture” about the country’s current condition and how he envisions the Philippines by the end of his term.

he said the President might also highlight a few government achievements but would not focus on the “facts and figures,” which were already given by concerned Cabinet members during the pre-SONA briefings.

“Siguro ito na iyong talagang honest assessment ni Pangulo, kung ano talaga ang nagawa niya bukod pa doon sa facts and figures na dapat naman i-report ng mga Gabinete, saka iyong mga saloobin na niya [This will likely be the President’s honest assessment on what he has achieved apart from apart from the facts and figures reported by the Cabinet, his personal thoughts],” he said.

“I’m sure mayroon pa rin iyan, iyong mga… kumbaga iyong kabuuang picture, kung anong klaseng gusto niyang magkaroon ng imprastraktura at anong klaseng gusto niyang pisikal na anyo ng Pilipinas bago siya matapos ng kaniyang termino [I’m sure it will be tackled, like the big picture – the kind of infrastructure and physical state of the Philippines he wants before the end of his term],” he said, when asked if the President will talk about infrastructure development and economic growth.

He noted that since the President would read a prepared speech, there would be a rehearsal ahead of the main event.

“Siguro naman hindi magagalit ang Presidente kung sasabihin ko na magkakaroon pa nga ng rehearsal siya [ I think the President won’t get angry if I will say he will have a rehearsal],” he added.

Roque said they actually started preparing for the President’s SONA four months ago, initially with the gathering of accomplishment reports from Cabinet members.

He said his office has already established a catalogue of the administration’s achievements based on the reports submitted by various Cabinet clusters.

“Kami talaga iyong documentation ng accomplishments, at dahil mayroon na ngang pre-SONA, mayroon pa kaming parang catalogue ng mga accomplishments. Tingin ko po iyong mas malawakan at iyong mas personal na mga pananaw ni Presidente ang lalabas sa kaniyang SONA [We handle the documentation of the accomplishments and since we have pre-SONA briefings, we have a catalogue of accomplishments. I think the President will give a more extensive and personal views in his SONA],” he said.

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