Philippines

President Duterte’s fifth SONA will offer compassion, comfort to the nation

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo Duterte will offer “compassion” and “comfort” to the nation when he delivers his fifth and penultimate state of the nation address (SONA), Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said Monday.

Andanar made this assurance, stressing that Duterte’s fifth SONA will be more than just summarizing his administration’s accomplishments and goals for his remaining two years in office.

“It will speak from the heart of a battle-tested, battle-engaged, and battle-spirited chief executive who continues to fight hard against corruption, against illicit drugs, and now presently against the pandemic of Covid-19,” he said in a taped speech.

Without preempting the content of the President’s SONA, he said it will tell the nation about where the country currently stands as the world continues to grapple with the prevailing health crisis.

“There will be words of caution and of censure, in as much as there will be words of compassion and comfort,” he said.

According to Andanar, the fifth SONA will also speak of the country’s “destiny” which involves “leading forward” amid the challenges in relation to the pandemic

“The address will speak of our destiny, what bodes before us, what imminent future we face, what anticipated hereafter is prospected, what in God’s good time we can expect a sooner or later release from the sufferance of this quarantine period,” he said.

He, meanwhile, urged the public to watch Duterte’s fifth SONA as it is meant to harmonize the discord, doubts and disappointments felt by those significantly affected by the pandemic.

“Leading forward may well be the destiny of our nation, for only by taking the lead from the ground to the seats of power can there be a future deserving of the nation,” he said.

In a separate taped speech, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director-General Ramon Cualoping III appealed to the public to trust in the Duterte administration’s efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

“As the world waits for a vaccine, we ask for every Filipino to persevere and keep our faith with the government in our most trying times. We assure you that the government under President Duterte, is doing everything to mitigate the effects of this Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Earlier, Andanar said Duterte may also discuss resolutions and bills pushed by the administration, such as the Malasakit Act and the Salary Standardization Law.

He said the President is also expected to talk about the government’s fiscal management and plans to stir the economy towards socio-economic recovery.

Duterte may also discuss his legislative agenda during the SONA, he said.

However, he doubted that Duterte will mention constitutional reforms during his SONA since it is “not a priority” at the moment.

Duterte is scheduled to deliver his fifth SONA at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City on Monday afternoon.

However, in case one of those invited to attend the annual event tests positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), he said Duterte might deliver his SONA at Malacañan Palace in Manila instead.

Currently, a total of 50 seats are reserved for Cabinet members and 15 seats for lawmakers if Duterte delivers his SONA at the Batasang Pambansa. (PNA)

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