Duterte outlines accomplishments in fourth SONA
Three years under the Duterte administration, President Rodrigo Duterte said in his fourth State of the Nation Address ( SONA) presented some of his accomplishments and identified some agencies that need to improve their services.
“We, in government, talk too much, act too little, and too slow. I recall saying that before the Congressional hearing when I was mayor of Davao City. I say that again to emphasize how little we have changed since then,” Duterte said in his speech.
“We are long on rhetoric but short on accomplishments. It’s either you Congress or --- even the Executive Department and maybe me. So I am here to rectify my own error,” he added.
Duterte mentioned the rehabilitation of Boracay Island, the Build, Build, Build projects; the third telecommunication provider, the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the basic education overhaul and the loans given to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The president said equipped with political will, the government ordered the closure of Boracay Island for six months to prevent its deterioration.
“We cleaned and rehabilitated the island and allowed it to heal naturally. I am proud to say that it has been restored close to its original pristine state,” he said.
Duterte thanked all government officials who supported this movement and added that Boracay Island is “just the beginning”.
Duterte then recalled the declaration placing the island under a land reform program.
“And I gave the island piece by piece to the Atis, the natives of the place so that they will not say anything. There are people who are saying that I clean the island for my friends,” he said.
He then warned those who are violating environmental rules.
“I am giving due notice to the LGUs and other stakeholders, of tourist destinations to take extra steps in the enforcement of our laws and the protection of our environment,” he said.
He also warned establishments near the Manila Bay to stop polluting the waters.
“Make a choice… I’m going to dismantle your burning --- ah building or just simply burn it down so that we can have a new set-up of environmental friendly, whatever that means,” he said.
“On January 27, 2019, we officially started the Manila Bay rehabilitation. Though we have a long way to go, we are encouraged by the test results of the waters near Padre Faura. We will relocate informal settlers --- I hope it can happen during my time --- along the waterways and shut down establishments that continue to pollute and poison our waters,” he said.
Duterte then said the Build, Build, Build Program swiftly gained ground in emerging economic hubs outside Metro Manila.
“Thanks to the efforts of the economic team led by Secretary (Sonny) Dominguez. Hard at work in the interconnection of our islands and cities by air, land, and sea are Secretaries (Arthur) Tugade and (Mark) Villar,” he said.
On the entry of the third telecommunications provider, Duterte told the public not to worry as it will be free from corruption.
“We also paved the way for the entry of third telecommunications provider. Do not worry about this. There is no corruption at all. I guarantee you, upon the grave of my father. I do not allow --- I do not talk to them. I just say: Just do your work. And if possible, according to what the specifications are required by this government,” he said.
He then challenged the new player, Dito Telecommunity, composed of Davao tycoon Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp and China Telecom, to fulfill its commitment to provide fast and reliable telecommunication services to the people, especially in underserved areas.
Duterte said Information and Communication Secretary Gregorio Honasan will be the lead man in this endeavor.
After almost two decades of peace negotiation, the president said the Bangsamoro Organic Law was finally passed and ratified.
“For decades, our Muslim brothers in the ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao)have been mired in poverty… It is my hope that the Bangsamoro Transition (Authority) will fast-track the establishment of regional government that will secure and comfortable life for Muslim brothers and sisters, and all indigenous communities in the Bangsamoro Regions,” he said.
He reiterated the importance of maintaining law and order for developmental gains to be felt by the people in the countryside.
“However, developmental gains will not be felt by our people in the countryside if we cannot maintain law and order. The peace and security, (will be nothing)… We need to enforce the law,” said Duterte.
“Additionally, I have taken the helm of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and have assigned a Cabinet member to each region to harmonize government efforts in attaining national development (and) security,” he added.
On education, Duterte praised the exceptional leadership of Education Secretary Briones and her agency.
“I am proud to say that this year more Filipino learners are receiving basic education, with over 27 million enrollees from kinder to senior high school. Out-of-school youth and adult learners were able to access non-formal education through the Alternative Learning System,” he said.
He expressed his support on the proposed measure to create the National Academy of Sports for High School students.
Duterte also praised the Department of Trade Industry under Secretary Ramon Lopez for almost 86,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises or the MSMEs that have received over P3 billion worth of loans since 2017.
And though corruption-ridden, Duterte still praised the Bureau of Corruption for collecting P585 billion in 2018.
“Imagine what more could have been collected if the BOC had been clean and less corrupt,” he added.
Duterte also saluted the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation for collecting P16 billion out of the P61 billion from government owned and controlled corporations ( GOCCs).
He made a jest, telling Pagcor chairperson Andrea Domingo to encourage more gaming.
"Our GOCCs, infamous for high salaries and bonuses being paid for their executives and employees have started to shape up," Duterte said.
Duterte also mentioned the bills filed by Senator Bong Go which will give additional benefits for solo parents, assignment of health workers in all barangays, and expansion of the Malasakit Centers.
“This Administration’s care and service program has, of course, reached the Filipinos who labor in foreign lands. The milestone signing of the Bilateral Labor Agreement with Kuwait in 2018 is a testament of my commitment to stop abuses inflicted on our overseas Filipinos,” he said.
“To ensure their welfare, protection and their access to government services, the establishment of the Department of Overseas Filipinos will sufficiently address this particular need,” he added.
Though they made accomplishments, Duterte did not fail to mention agencies that needs improvement.
“Last year--- I signed the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, a significant piece of legislation to improve service delivery and fight corruption, still until now,” he said.
“However, much (has) to be done in ensuring our responsiveness to the people’s needs. Based on complaints received by the Contact Center (ng) Bayan--- that’s in my office --- the Land Transportation Office, SSS (Social Security System), BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), LRA (Land Registration Authority), and PAG-IBIG are the top five agencies that need to drastically improve their service,” Duterte added.
Duterte reiterated his directive to government and instrumentalities, including local government units and government corporations to simplify their documentation process.
“Simplify. Just like the others. You can do it electronically. You do not have to go to the office. I’ve been asking that from you since three years ago,” he said.
Duterte then warned on killing them if they still refuse to do his order.
“Simplify and make your services responsive to --- client-friendly. Your client is the Filipino, our employer --- from where the money in our pockets come from, from our salaries,” he said.
Duterte said Malacanang is open 24/7 for corruption complaints.
“Our accomplishments for the past three years and the plans for the next three are discussed in detail in my mid-term report to the people, copies of which shall be made available before the day ends,” he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS