Highlights, Summary: President Duterte last State of the Nation Address (SONA)

MANILA, Philippines – As the Philippines continues to fight with this time of pandemic caused by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), President Rodrigo Duterte’s sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) ceremony remained simple and modest.

Here are some quick summaries of the major key points raised during the sixth and last SONA of President Duterte:

  • DUTERTE: ‘Mine is not to rue but to bear and respond with urgency
    • “To offer free education – it’s there already – the Universal Health Care, nandiyan na po; the fight against illegal drugs,  criminality and corruption; and the development of infrastructure, including free irrigation and other big ticket projects, which I thought I did now have the funds to do it, but per chance, among others, they were done in my term”
    • “Today as I approach the end of my term, I have less visions but more remembrances. But mine is not to rue or to second guess what might have been, but to bear and respond with urgency [to the impact] of unforeseen events as they unfold”
  • The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to everything.
    • “Due to the brilliant programs and excellent work of our economic managers and the extraordinary cooperation between the executive and the legislative branches of government, our economy, with investor confidence, was poised to leapfrog into the company of the world’s fastest growing economies until the COVID-19 pandemic stalled everything.”
  • Approval of a measure to restructure military pensions
    • “In 2018, we raised the salaries of our military and uniformed policemen and personnel to a level commensurate to the critical role they play in upholding national security and maintaining order.”
    • “With the creation of the National Task Force to End [Local] Communist Armed Conflict or NTF-ELCAC, we have made great strides in addressing the root causes of this conflict by empowering our kababayans who have been used by the communists for so many decades. We have worked towards the sustainable rehabilitation of communities where communists used to operate.”
  • To Communists
    • “So that my orders to the – to you, if you see them walking around, kindly shoot them dead. I would be happy. Anyway, you are already charged in the ICC together with me. So what is the problem of adding another one? Another idiot Filipino who has caused great damage to our country.”
  • Restoration of Marawi.
    • “Our victory in Marawi is also a testament to how the Filipino’s patriotism is far stronger than any extremist group. As I have said before, many times, there is no room for lawlessness in this country. “
    • “Rebuilding a better Marawi remains today, still not completed. To Task Force Bangon Marawi, we need to race against time. And you have to finish the necessary work to rehabilitate the war-torn city and bring back its [displaced] families back home.”
  • Drug War
    • “Our unyielding campaign led to the surrender of millions of drug dependents and neutralization, capture, and prosecution of thousands of drug personalities.”
  • On achieving tangible results
    • “Thanks to the comprehensive tax reform program that enabled us to fund critical infrastructure projects”.
    • “Today, we can see the tangible results. MRT3…was a horror for the daily commuters to endure in the past.”
    • “The waiting time between trains has been significantly reduced…. We have taken away the misery of public commuting.”
  • Infrastructure Projects
    • “Beyond Metro Manila, we are pursuing several high-impact projects that will be completed within my term and perhaps in the following years. It’s a question of money. We have brought equitable development.”
    • “Why is Davao last? Sabi ko, unahin ninyo ang buong Pilipinas. I told the economic managers and the DPWH, pati si Art Tugade, unahin ninyo ang Luzon at ibang areas sa Mindanao. To the Davaoeños, you must understand, we cannot really – kasi taga-diyan ako eh. Sabi ko, ‘Make Davao the last priority.”
  • Corruption
    • ‘Yung pastillas [scam] sa airport, there were 43 personnel involved. I fired them all. Talagang pinaalis ko sa gobyerno.”
    • “You cannot stop corruption. Nobody can stop corruption unless you overthrow government completely.”
  • Sovereignty
    • In international arena, we have rigorously pursued an independent foreign policy, centered on the promotion and protection of our core national interest.”
    • “We continue to work with all nations and seek partnerships that work.”
    • “To our friends in ASEAN and around the world, thank you…. I assure you the Philippines will remain a responsible member of the international community and we will work with you to achieve our shared objectives.”
    • “But make no mistake, gone are the days when the Philippines decides and acts in the shadows of the great powers.
  • Arbitral Ruling
    • “Ito bang arbitral ruling. America and some Filipinos, brilliant Filipinos I would say, keep on pushing for something which I do not know. Ano ba ang gusto ninyo? What will I do with a document that does not bind China because they were never a part of that arbitration? Ano gusto nila, makipag-giyera, do something? Do you want war against China?”
  • Industry Trust Fund Act
    • “My administration has worked with Congress to pass the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act. We have returned also the coco levy fund to its true and rightful owners, our coconut farmers.”
  • On ABS-CBN Issues
    • “Wala akong problema sa ABS-CBN. They got my money, they wanted to return it…but they printed all the garbage, including my daughter as a drug trafficker. Nilamon ko na lang lahat ‘yun…. But itong ano, they are cheating government, billions in taxes, and they still want that frequency because ‘yan ang pinag-aawayan. I will give it to a Filipino na gustong mag-gawa ng tama and will pay.”
  • COVID-19 Facilities
    • We ramped up our testing capacity. We now have more than 260 accredited laboratories nationwide which are capable of conducting at least 50,000 tests daily. All regions now can conduct their own COVID-19 tests.”
    • “We established over 9,000 temporary monitoring and treatment facilities across the country.”
    • “For our severe COVID cases, our tireless health workers will continue to ensure that you are provided with the best care round-the-clock.”
    • “We have spent enormous amounts of resources to build our capacity to overcome this pandemic. We cannot afford more lockdowns.”
  • COVID-19 Delta Variant
    • “Today is my last State of the Nation Address, but this is by no means my swan song. I will never cease to implore Congress to pass vital and critical legislation.”
    • “It is necessary for us to overcome the crippling fear and anxiety caused by the threat of the COVID-19 virus. But I really do not know what to do. I have to listen to the task force…. Sila ang magsabi. We’re just waiting for word, I am referring to the COVID-19 [variant], Delta. It’s rampaging now in Indonesia, Thailand, India, and many parts of Asia. Ang sabi doon sa western medicine, it is far more aggressive, far more dangerous, and it can cause death easily than the COVID-19 original…. If something wrong happens, I have to be strict…. Maybe we just have to pray for salvation.”

In his final SONA on Monday, July 26, President Duterte urged that the 18th Congress pass 12 priority laws that will benefit the whole country before his term ends in June 2022.

  • The passing of a unified system of separation, retirement, and pension for uniformed personnel
  • Free legal assistance for police and soldiers
  • Foreign Investments Act
  • Public Service Act
  • Retail and Trade Liberalization Act
  • Creation of a department for overseas Filipinos
  • E-governance act
  • Creation of the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Creation of the Virology Institute of the Philippines
  • Creation of a department of disaster resilience
  • Law mandating evacuation centers in provinces, cities, and municipalities mandatory
  • Bureau of Fire Protection modernization

“Together, let us rise as a nation,” Duterte said at the close of his last SONA, which lasted more than three hours.

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