President Duterte SONA 2017 highlights, review for reaction paper

MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivered on Monday, July 24, 2017 his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in front of around 3,000 lawmakers and guests at the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City.

President Duterte SONA 2017 highlights, review for reaction paper
The SONA, an annual constitutional obligation, is delivered by the President of the Philippines every fourth Monday of July.
With the theme "A Comfortable Life for All," President Duterte delivered his speech in line with the administration's three key agenda—prosperity for all, law and order, and peace —which categorize the positive changes felt by the people.


SONA 2016 started at exactly 4:20 in the afternoon and concluded after 2 hours and 6 minutes (6:26 p.m.), longer that his previous SONA due to off-the-cuff remarks.

Known for his no-holds-barred speeches and fiery statements, Duterte delivered once again his colorful tirades and expletives mixed with report of plans for the country.

READ: Despite the cursing, most netizens all praises for Duterte’s SONA 2017

Duterte admitted that he is bully to the enemies of the state. He even thrown some rants to some news organizations like ABS-CBN and Rappler for the their alleged biased stories about him.

"Wag ninyo ako takutin. I am willing to go to prison for the rest of my life," Duterte voice out to his critics in his lengthy speech.

For the first time in recent Philippine history, the President discussed his Administration's proposed 2018 national budget, worth P3.767-trillion, on the day of the SONA itself, with the biggest chunk allotted for education, infrastructure development, and health care.

Be guided with our summary and review of President Duterte's SONA 2017. Students may use this as reference for making a reaction paper:

"I want to make good on my promise of change. Let the change to be done from the bottom. This must be meaningful. Genuine change is what this country need," President Duterte opened his speech.

The fight against illegal drugs will continue despite the foreign pressure. He said he value human life and won't allow to ruin the youth and family. "It's the root cause of evil and suffering," he said.

For Mindanao, he said that peace continues to elude us. "Peace of the living is what we seek." Talking of the Marawi crisis, Duterte believed martial law was the fastest way to quell rebellion. Duterte told to troops: "I stand beside you."

Duterte also urged the legislators to pass the national land use act to ensure the rational and sustainable use of our land resources.

Protection of the environment was also highlighted against irresponsible mining. Duterte even mentioned how Gina Lopez and the efforts of Ted Failon on his show presented the urgency to care for our nature. He also warned them to restore the environment or he will raise taxes. He also advised them to declare correct income and right taxes.

Duterte also mentioned the need to prepare for major calamities like the "Big One," a magnitude 7.2 earthquake to be generated by the West Valley Fault. He asked the Congress to pass the Disaster Response bill.

The president also tackled the issues of West Philippine Sea and Federalism.

As expected, Duterte wants to reimpose the death penalty on heinous crimes.

Duterte told to critics: "If you want to criticize, condemn the act, stop there. Do not make it trivial by saying "human rights" and "due process".

Duterte mentioned accomplishments through the President's Hotline or 8888, dedicated to complaints against fixers, corrupt officials, and poor government services and Hotline 911 for emergency response.

The president said he will never tolerate corruption in his administration.

On Reproductive Health (RH) Law, Duterte lashed out the Supreme Court for putting a temporary restraining order (TRO), which he believed is a bane of government project's efficiency.

Duterte also announced that the nationwide smoking ban is now in place after the full implementation on July 23.

Duterte also expressed gratitude to China for their help on infrastructure projects. He revealed that we might get money from China for new airports.

On education, Duterte also affirmed his commitment to fully implement the K to 12 program that highlights skills training, learner mobility, and lifelong learning among Filipinos.

Reactions on President Duterte's Second SONA

The second SONA highlighted the government's accomplishments especially on war against drugs and criminalities. Duterte during the election campaign period promised to resolve these in just six months but failed to bust and requested for extension saying he was shocked by the extent of the drug problem.

Same with previous SONA, thousands of protesters and militant groups rallied near the Batasan to denounce the recently approved extension of Martial law in Mindanao until December 31 and to assert that the president’s promise of change has not been realized. Protests meanwhile was peaceful and orderly.

Some activists claims Duterte's first year was “a major flop in addressing the pressing economic and social imbalances only to be highlighted by blood and gore.”

While the president also emphasized his plans for a tax reform program to raise the national budget, it must be studied thoroughly as it is branded as regressive and anti-poor by certain groups. For instance, House Bill 5636 for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), will come with a P10-per-liter tax. This will apparently dissuade consumers from purchasing SSBs. According to the Philippine Association of Store and Carinderia Owners (PASCO), the imposition of SSB tax will result to 3% to 200% rise in prices.

READ: Is the Proposed Beverage Tax Anti-Poor?

The president also showed his eagerness to stop violence and rebellion in Mindanao and said that Mighty Corporation's P25 billion tax settlement can be used for the rebuilding of Marawi. However, he did not mention the immediate actions to settle the issue.

It is interesting to note that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was certified as urgent by Duterte administration. "BBL is key to just and lasting peace."

While there's a lot of issues that need to be resolved, Filipinos are hopeful that Duterte will deliver his promised change during the course of his presidency. This is evident of the “excellent” trust rating he received in the latest Pulse Asia Research's June 2017 Ulat ng Bayan survey, 82% nationwide.

"Believe me, it is easier to build from scratch than to dismantle the rotten and rebuild upon its rubble. Let us work together and lay a new foundation in which a better Philippines can be reconstructed. Help me build a better tomorrow," Duterte ended his speech.

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