10-point economic agenda to highlight President Duterte’s first SONA



By Joann Santiago

Content rather than fashion.

This will be the focus of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s no frills State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the next six years, the first one of which is set on July 25, 2016, where he will expound on his 10-point economic agenda.

Lawyer Paola Alvarez, who is the Department of Finance (DOF) spokesperson, said the President will discuss, among others, his administration’s comprehensive tax package.

”He will be mentioning on how DOF will be giving the proposals and how the Congress will address this as a whole,” she said in a briefing at Malacanang Monday.

Among the goals of the Duterte administration is the implementation of more infrastructure projects, both small and big, to ensure the sustained and more inclusive growth of the domestic economy.

These projects will be funded both by improved tax collection and borrowings.

Aside from the economic agenda, the President is also expected to discuss plans on how the current administration will proceed on its bid for a Federal type of government to be able to inform the public on their participation on this, Alvarez said.

On the planned implementation of the death penalty, Alvarez explained that this is allowed under the Philippine Constitution “but some people are not fully informed on what the death penalty will be.”

”So what he (the President) wants is for heinous crimes,” she said, clarifying also issues raised by some lawmakers on the timing of this plan.

Alvarez said the death penalty and lowering down of age of criminality are two separate issues “because children should never be under the death row.”

”That’s for sure because the law does not allow that. Now for the death penalty it will only be for heinous crimes. What are heinous crimes? These are going to be addressed by the Congress,” she said.

Asked whether the President will mention things he questions from the past administration, Alvarez said no specific details have been discussed yet.

”As of the moment we have no confirmation on what the President’s speech is about. I think based on his personality we don’t see him doing that. He is one who takes charge and he is accountable for his actions. All through naman di ba (He has been like that all throughout). I think it will be the same… there will be no blaming game,” she said.

The SONA will be directed by award-winning Filipino Director Brillante Mendoza, who, Alvarez said, will be doing the service pro bono or for free.

Alvarez said Mendoza’s service should not be questioned since past SONA’s had its directors for matters like pacing of topics and others.

And the administration’s goal of putting more importance on the President’s speech rather than on dresses of SONA attendees will be supported by Mendoza’s request that women wear knee-lengthed Filipiniana dresses and for men to wear business suit or barong.

”It will be different in a way that we will be minimizing the entourage and downplay the event so it will turn into a fashion show. We want to center on what our President will say because it will be his his first SONA,” she said.

“We want to bring back the real essence of the State of the Nation. If you would compare it with other countries these countries do not actually look on the gowns of the guest but more on the message of the President. So this is what we want to do,” she added. (PNA)

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