Jul 23, 2018

This year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque will be unlike any other speeches the president has given before, in a sense that it will focus more on President Rodrigo Duterte’s plans for the next 12 months rather than on what he has accomplished so far.

nolisoli fixture news sona 2017 duterte
President Duterte addresses protesters after the SONA last year. Photo by Jhoanna Ballaran for Inquirer.net.

But in case you are wondering what the president has accomplished since his last SONA, the Malacañang on Saturday night released an accomplishment report in a form of pamphlets which lists down the administration’s key accomplishments from July 2016.

The 68-page report reiterates Duterte’s core priorities as per his last SONA such as putting an end to the “decades-old problem on illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption,”  as well as to address the issue of poverty and inequality across the country.

Divided into six parts, the report outlines the key areas of accomplishment such as Economic and Infrastructure Development, Human Development and Social Welfare, Good Governance, Justice, Peace and Security, Communications and Technology, and a primer on the Philippine outlook under the Duterte administration. However, it also includes a disclosure that the report excludes the achievements of other individual department and offices of the government.

Here are some of the accomplishments bannered by Malacanang in the 68-page report.

Budget

According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) of this year’s P3.767 trillion total budget, 90.6% has already been released as of the second half of 2018. The report also listed the Departments of Public Works and Highways, National Defense, Health, Education, the Commission on Higher Education as well as the Budgetary Support to GOCCs, as having a higher rate of released allotment.

Tax Collection

The Department of Finance (DOF) reported increases in the revenue collections of the following in the first five months of 2018 compared to the same period last year: the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected P827.9 billion, 14.76% up; the Bureau of Customs (BOC) collected P229.19 billion, up by 31%; and the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) income has increased by 18% and is 130% higher than target.

Foreign direct investments

As per the first quarter report by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), foreign direct investment (FDI) net inflows amounted to US$2.2 billion which equates to a 43.5% increase from US$1.5 billion in the same period in 2017.

OFW remittances

The same report by BSP states that personal remittances from Overseas Filipinos in the first quarter of 2018 which is at US$2.6 billion showed an increase of 4% compared to the same period last year.

More jobs

As of April 2018, 625,000 jobs in various sectors were created as reported by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). Majority of these jobs are in manufacturing and construction.

TRAIN Law

The report also highlighted the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act which was signed into law last December 2017. The measure is said to make tax collection in the country “simple, fairer, and more efficient,” with its revenues to be allocated to health care, free education for all Filipinos, as well as to fund the administration’s many infrastructure projects.

“Build, Build, Build”

Highlighted in the report as well are the administration’s various infrastructure projects which include the construction of the New Clark City-Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Access Road, Clark International Airport at the Clark Civil Aviation Complex in Pampanga, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Manila-Clark Project Phase 1, the South East Metro Manila Expressway Project (SEMME), the Taguig Integrated Terminal Exchange (ITX), and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2. These among 70 other projects aim to “increase the productive capacity of the economy, create jobs, increase incomes, and strengthen investment climate leading to sustained inclusive growth.”

Ease of Doing Business Act

The Republic Act (RA) No. 11032 or the “Ease of Doing Business Act”, signed into law last May 2018, amended the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2017, and aims to “shorten the number of days in processing permits and licenses for all business-related transactions.”

Tourism

The Department of Tourism (DOT) reported an 11.35% increase in the foreign visitor arrivals in June 2018 estimated at 528,747 compared to 474,854 arrivals in the same period last year.

Fighting Illegal Drugs

Basing on a report by the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drug consisting of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the National Bureau of Investigation, the Duterte administration has conducted a total of 102,630 anti-drug operations, arrested 147,802 drug personalities, and seized P21.29 billion worth of seized illegal drugs including drug paraphernalia.

GDP Growth

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is also cited in the report stating that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2017 grew by 6.7%.

Education

The Department of Education (DepEd) reported an increase in Participation Rate among both public and private school enrolments with enrolees from kindergarten increasing to 84% in 2017 and Junior High School from 74% in 2016 to 76% in 2017.

Free Tuition

Through the implementation of Republic Act 10931, signed into law August 2017, an estimated 900,000 Filipino students in 112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) for the academic year 2017-2018 benefitted from the P8 billion free tuition grant according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Boracay closure and rehabilitation

Last April, Duterte ordered the closure of Boracay following reports of the island’s degradation due to uncontrolled human development. The six-month shutdown, which began April 26, is expected to last until October. The measure aimed to rehabilitate the island’s wastewater management system and nearby forest and wetland easements.

Passage of laws

Included in the report is a list of 11 republic acts that Duterte has signed into laws. These include RA 10928 which extended the validity of Philippine passports to ten years, RA 10932 which strengthened the anti-hospital deposit law, RA 11036 which established a national mental health policy, and RA 11037 Expansion of the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act which established over 90 new national parks all over the country, among others.

While Executive Order No. 51 which amended the Implementing Article 06 of the Labor Code and aims “to protect the right to security of tenure of all workers based on social justice in the 1987 Constitution” banners 15 EOs Duterte have signed as reported.

Seemingly absent in the list of accomplishments, however, is the tally of deaths under the administration’s drug war, considering Duterte’s persistent anti-drug rhetoric.

With reportedly 35 minutes to spare to deliver a 16-page speech focusing on the next steps for the administration, one can’t help but wonder how Duterte, known to disregard official scripts, can squeeze in so much in such little time.

Last year, Duterte’s speech lasted for two hours, while his previous SONA in 2016 ran for an hour and thirty minutes.

 

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Photos courtesy of Inquirer.net

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TAGS: Duterte Malacañang PH government politics sona 2018