Young Roots

Here comes his SONA

Johanne R. Macob

By Johanne R. Macob


TOMORROW, Monday, July 25, we will all be hearing and seeing a very fresh take of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) event. This is not merely because we have a new president, but more so, because the new president apparently wants a ‘fresh’ take on things. For starters, SONA will no longer be a fashion show. I look forward to hearing President Rodrigo Duterte’s plans for the country given what he promised during the campaign. I want to know which ‘path’ he wants to lead us to.

In last 20 days since his assumption as President, his “no nonsense” way of dealing with drug offenders has certainly caught everyone’s attention. I like the fact that his method encourages drug pushers and users to surrender. Just like everyone else, I’d love to see and experience a crime-free/drug-free Philippines, but it has to be done while protecting of human rights, particularly that of the innocent. I am an advocate of restorative justice. I wouldn’t be pursing law if I think otherwise.

However, beyond the crime and peace and order which appear to be the main focus of the President today, I hope to hear him address other issues that will promote the well-being and progress of the nation. I hope to hear less of GNP or GDO statistics and more about realistic plans to better the quality of life of the Filipinos.

Specifically, I want to hear reports and plans on health, i.e., will the PhilHealth for indigents continue? On education i.e., problems besetting K to 12, and will there be a focus on ICT?; and on employment and livelihood, i.e., how to promote just compensation for all workers, not only for police or teaching force.

Moreover, I need him to describe how communities in far-flung areas will be improved. On agriculture, how do we achieve self-sufficiency in rice and what can be expected to improve irrigation of Pangasinan’s farmlands. What about the proposed Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources? On tourism, will there be a focus on ecotourism and how do we project our image in the international arena? On environment, what can we expect in the improvement of our disaster-preparedness system?

As much as I respect Pres. Duterte’s ‘local’ views on domestic affairs being a former mayor, as our president, he also has to consider strengthening the country’s foreign relations. His ‘unique’ and unconventional manner of speaking have already offended personalities here and overseas so, I hope to see a “new” Duterte when he delivers his first SONA.

These are among the many other things I know that my fellows are hoping to hear and see. I hope promised real change has really come. Whatever and whoever was our personal preferences in the last elections, let us all pray, unite, and be part of the movement to pursue a better Philippines.

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