Jul 24, 2017

A year has passed since the first time the President addressed the Philippines for the annual State of the Nation Address. This year was no different from his first, brandishing his machismo and slipping into his candid nature. However, despite going off script countless times, he made some good points worth noting down.

Here are a few that we’d like to take into account:

1. Mining

President Duterte says to the mining industry, “You are not the enemy. You give the government P70 billion. But try to see [that] it is very hard for the poor communities.” The President is asking miners to mine responsibly and refrain from the destruction of natural resources (especially in watersheds) when extracting them. He compliments Gina Lopez for giving the country a clear picture of what is happening in the mining industry and even ABS-CBN’s Ted Failon for his documentary on mining. He also asks these mining companies to restore the virginity of the environment and threatening to “tax them to death” if they do not comply after asking them to declare and pay their taxes properly.

2. Agriculture

The President emphasizes that the Philippines is a rich country with a multitude of raw materials. Unfortunately, most of the Filipino people are still poor. President Duterte proposes to improve the processing of these raw materials to make them ready for both international and local consumption. In context, he hopes this will reallocate the profit from raw materials to the hands of the ones that farmed them, rather than to the hands of the wealthy business owner.

3. Traffic

The President admits that traffic in EDSA had been horrendous even before his term. He orders the MMDA to clear all obstructions to help ease traffic in Metro Manila. He also mentions that China has committed to building two bridges that will aid public transportation along Pasig River. He also takes into account the building of infrastructure including numerous road widening projects.

4. Cultural Heritage

Photo of Balangiga bells from indiegogo.com

President Duterte goes off script and recounts the Balangiga massacre in 1901 during the Filipino-American War. “Give us back those Balangiga bells. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our heritage.” The church bells were taken from Balangiga by US troops and shipped home as part of the spoils of war. In the early ‘90s, former President Fidel Ramos made serious efforts to recover the bells to no avail.

5. Martial Law

President Duterte explains that declaring martial law in Mindanao was the swiftest means to quell rebellion at the least cost of lives and properties. According to the President, martial law enables the military while questioning suspected member and sympathizers of the rebellion. He admits that he is fully accountable for its declaration.

6. RH Bill & Health

While the President does not agree with abortion and birth control, he respects each Filipino family’s freedom to decide its size. In the context of the Supreme Court issuing a Temporary Restraining Order on the Implementation of the RH Law, Duterte thinks the TRO is a “bane of our effectivity.” He pressures Sec. Ubial to expedite such procedures or else she will be replaced.

In terms of health, the President wants to minimize the access to tobacco products and help smokers quit for good.

All other photos taken from Inquirer.net

Read more:

We’ve broken down the President’s speech on martial law

President Duterte hits record-high net satisfaction rating

Ateneo holds a briefing on Duterte’s administration so far

TAGS: agriculture balangiga bells culture duterte administration health Mining rh bill smoking ban SONA 2017 sona points traffic