PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is set to stick to his campaign battle cry of “change is coming” as he renews his commitment to his fight against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) today.
“As the Father of the Nation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will once again articulate the people’s desire for genuine and meaningful change,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in his statement.
“Traditionally, the SONA is a highlight of achievements of the previous year, but this year’s SONA is all about the essentials on what [the President] intends to do in the next 12 months of his administration,” Roque said.
The President is expected to deliver a 35-minute speech during the SONA but it could take longer once he makes his usual adlibs.
“Two years into President Duterte’s term of office, this administration remains dedicated to putting an end to the decades-old problems on illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption in government. It also continues to initiate efforts to address poverty and inequality across the nation,” Roque said in a 68 page report, in pamphlet form, released Saturday evening, which covers key achievements of every department from July 2016 to July 2017.
Roque said that this year’s SONA would be different from the past two presidential addresses in that the Palace held three pre-SONA forums – “Tatak ng Pagbabago” – during which the administration’s accomplishments were spelled out.
Among the administration’s achievements are:
* Of the P3.767-trillion budget, 90.6 percent, or P3.414 trillion, was released as of first half of 2018. This year’s rate of release is higher than the 84.3 percent recorded in the same period of 2017 with P2.824 trillion releases out of P3.350 trillion. The Departments of Public Works and Highways, National Defense, Health, Education, the Commission on Higher Education as well as the Budgetary Support to GOCCs were among those that recorded to have higher percentage this year in terms of released allotments.
* The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), and the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) increased their revenue collections in the first five months of 2018. The BIR collected P827.9 billion as of end-May, up to 14.76 percent, or P106.5 billion, better than during the same period in 2017. The BOC collected P229.19 billion as of end of May – up to 31 percent, or P54.3 billion, more during the same period last year. The BTr income as of May was P56.58 billion, up to 18 percent year-on-year and 130 percent higher than the programmed target.
* The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) recorded a P195.7 billion worth of investment approvals for the January to April 2018 period, an increase of 28 percent compared to the same period last year where it posted P153.1 billion.
* The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) reported that, as of April 2018, 625,000 more jobs were created. Of this number, 605,000 Filipinos were employed in manufacturing and construction.
* Boracay was closed for six months starting last April to pave the way for a massive cleanup there.
* The more than 100 key measures signed into law by the President included the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act (Republic Act No. 10963; the Ease of Doing Business Act (RA No. 11032), “which shortens the number of days in processing permits and licenses for all business-related transactions; and the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 which provides free tuition and other school fees in state universities and colleges.
The President also signed last May Executive Order No. 51, Implementing Article 06 of the Labor Code, as amended, to protect the right to security of tenure of all workers based on social justice in the 1987 Constitution.