Dwell on ‘gut issues,’ not antidrug campaign, allies urge Duterte

/ 07:23 AM July 23, 2018

His allies in the Senate on Sunday advised President Rodrigo Duterte to focus on “gut issues” in his State of the Nation Address to a joint session of Congress on Monday afternoon.

“More jobs, less jabs,” Sen. Nancy Binay said.


“I hope the President focuses on addressing issues that are close to the stomach of the people, such as how to control inflation, create jobs and lower prices,” Binay said in a statement.

She said the President would do well not to dwell on his campaign against illegal drugs, which had been the flagship program of the administration since he took office in 2016.


“For those who continue to struggle in life, they no longer [want] more of the same war on drugs staple. Now, most people want to hear social policies and environmental policy direction, as well as the administration’s action plans for the next three years,” she said.

Suspension of TRAIN

Binay said she hoped the President would announce “solutions to issues that matter most to ordinary Filipinos,” including the suspension of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, as well as an end to contractualization, or short-term labor contracting.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said in a radio interview that the President should discuss measures to ease poverty and contain the impact of inflation.

“In June, inflation reached a high of 5.2 percent, but the poor felt as high as 5.7 percent. This means they are bearing the brunt because 70 percent of their [income] is spent on food,” he said.

Gatchalian, however, said he wanted to hold off any action about the TRAIN law until the situation had stabilized.

“If inflation continues to climb and the peso continues to depreciate, we will strongly recommend the suspension of the second round of TRAIN,” he said.


Gatchalian said he was also looking forward to hearing about the progress of the government’s infrastructure program.

“We want to know where the funds will come from, from whom we will borrow, and where we stand now. We also need to understand the problems so we can help the administration resolve them,” he said. —DJ Yap

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TAGS: Inflation, Nancy Binay, Poverty, Rodrigo Duterte, Sona, SONA 2018, tax reforms, Train, war on drugs
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