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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Different views on PRRD's 5th SONA aired

Mixed expectations noted on President Duterte’s 5th SONA tomorrow

MANILA – Businessmen, religious and ordinary folks expressed mixed expectations for President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address tomorrow as required by the 1987 constitution.

“I hope (and pray) President Duterte can articulate a clear strategy for opening up the economy in the light of the restrictions imposed by the IATF,” said former Ambassador Benedict V. Yujuico, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president.

As far as former Philippine Special Trade Envoy to China and president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dr. Francis Chua, he said he would like to listen to President Duterte’s agenda for the next two years as well as the legacy he hopes to leave behind.

“I expect a candid assessment on COVID-19 is expected. How will the government balance the need of the economy and the need to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.

He added President Duterte should also disclose what he expects from the private sector to address the growing unemployment as well as how the private sector can help the government address the requirements of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“President Duterte should also air his expectations from financial institutions how to help the large borrowers,” he added. Dr. Chua said on the assumption a vaccine would be made available, he expressed optimist the government will have enough resources to buy the vaccines for everyone in the Philippines. Dr. Chua also served as President of the Federation of Filipino – Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc.

Cardiologist and public health advocate Dr. Tony Leachon said President Duterte should focus on two important issues, health and the economy.

“Solving these two major issues will define President Duterte’s presidency and legacy as an authentic leader. He has to answer this question: How can I solve COVID-19 crisis and reopen the economy?” he said. He suggested several points for consideration, a change in leadership in the IATF and health agency, hew action plans which include testings, isolation and contact tracing, Communication plan and inspired shared vision.

He suggested local government units should executive their plans in unison as well as the setting of a monitoring tool, timeliness and metrics of success.

“Once these measures have been accomplished, President Duterte can reopen the economic and partner with the business sector and ultimately regain the trust and confidence of the people,” he added.

The Apostolic administrator of Manila, Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo said he expects the chief executive to speak about the problems faced by the Filipino people from the spread of the virus, joblessness, hinger, lack of transportation facilities and schooling of the young.

“I hope he can give concrete and doable solutions to these concerns,” the 65-year-old prelate said.

Legazpi Bishop Joel Z. Baylon said he does not expect President Duterte to say “anything meaningful because has limited his audience to just a handful – his ‘choir.’”

Community leader and teacher Jalilah Sapiin said she hopes President Duterte to speak of concrete plans to address the prevailing health crisis.

“Most importantly, I want to hear his opinion on the appeal of the Bangsamoro regarding the Anti-Terror Law because it is an insult to the peace process that we aimed to achieve in our region,” she said.

She added they have been waiting for the Compensation Bill to be passed and that they are “still waiting for the true Marawi Rehabilitation.”

“When will we go home? They better focus on delivering basic social services to the people,” she added.

San Carlos (Negros Occidental) Bishop Gerardo A. Alminaza said they appeal to the President “not to turn a blind eye on the dire state of the people.”

“Today, the spate of deaths continues not only through state-endorsed killings, but also through rampart hunger, loss of livelihood and environmental degradation, among many others. We are tired of hearing unwarranted jokes and threats in his speeches; we call on the President to listen to the cries of the people, present concrete solutions in his SONA, and serve in the interest of the public,” the 60-year old prelate said in his statement. (Melo M. Acuña)

House of Representatives, site for President Rodrigo Duterte's 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) tomorrow. File photo shows local disaster officials disinfecting the House of Representatives recently. (HOR File Photo)

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