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Robredo ‘happy’ with Duterte’s Sona but finds it ‘inadequate’

/ 10:37 PM July 24, 2018

Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday said she was “happy” with some parts of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona), but she still finds it “inadequate.”

“Iyong bahagi na sinasabi niya iyong mga panukalang batas na sinusuportahan niya at tinutulak, masaya tayo doon. Halimbawa iyong National Land Use, iyong Coco Levy Fund. Marami siyang—iyong Security of Tenure. Marami siyang mga panukalang batas na sa matagal na panahon, parang iyon na iyong adbokasiya natin,” she told reporters in an ambush interview.

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(We are happy with that part where he enumerated the laws he is supporting such as the National Land Use, the Coco Levy fund, Security of Tenure. He mentioned many laws that have been part of our advocacy)

“Wala pa ako sa pamahalaan, noong miyembro ako ng 16th Congress, tinutulak na natin iyong mga panukalang batas na iyon, at umaasa tayo na makakatulong iyong pagtulak ng Pangulo… Masaya tayo na finally nabigyan siya ng atensyon, at pinagdadasal natin na iyong Kongreso, papahalagahan iyong pakiusap ng ating Pangulo,” she added.

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(When I was a member of the 16th Congress, we were already pushing for those laws and we were hoping that the President’s push will help. We are happy that they were finally given attention and we are praying that our Congress will prioritize them.)

“Pero ito lang nga, iyong kulang doon, iyong hinihintay natin na hindi naisabi, doon tayo nakulangan (But what we were hoping to hear from the President wasn’t mentioned. It’s the part we find lacking),” she added.

Duterte’s speech on Monday was his shortest Sona to date at 48 minutes. He took the opportunity to defend his controversial policies like his war on drugs in his unusual profanity-free speech.

Right to life is first human right

“May mga bahagi na hindi tayo sang-ayon. Halimbawa iyong sinabi niya na ‘kung kayo pinaglalaban niyo iyong human rights, ako iyong pinaglalaban ko iyong human life.’ Hindi tayo sang-ayon doon kasi ‘di ba iyong karapatang mabuhay, iyon iyong pinaka-pangunahing karapatang pantao. Hindi naman iyon magkasalungat, hindi naman iyon magka-kumpitensya. Para sabihin na pinapahalagahan iyong human life pero iyong human rights hindi, mali yata iyo,” Robredo said.

(We do not agree with the President on some issues such as his statement on human rights. The right to life is the first human right. I think it’s not correct to say that you value human life but not human rights.)

President Duterte’s war on drugs and campaign against criminality have been criticized by human rights advocates.

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“If you think that I can be dissuaded from continuing this fight because of (your) demonstrations, your protests, which I find, by the way, misdirected, then you got it all wrong,” he said.

The war on drugs, which he promised  would only last for six months during his election campaign, has left thousands killed.

“Alam natin na sa kaniyang anti-drug war, napakarami nang namatay. So parang mahirap sabihin na pinapahalagahan iyong buhay ng tao, na marami na ngang buhay iyong namatay dahil lang sa anti-drug war. So doon hindi ako doon sang-ayon,” Robredo said.

(We know that his anti-drug war has killed thousands. So it’s difficult to say that we value life. I disagree with him.)

The Vice President said the Sona is also supposed to be a report of the government’s accomplishments, which the President did not elaborate in his speech.

“Nakulangan tayo sa maraming bahagi kasi inaasahan sana natin, una, parang report, ano ba iyong status ng mga bagay na ito? Halimbawa iyong inflation, parang iyong discussion sa inflation, to a large part nag-concentrate lang sa mga rice cartels, pero walang discussion masyado kung ano pa ba iyong ibang factors na nag-contribute sa inflation: Bakit tumaas nang ganito kataas iyong presyo ng bigas, maliban sa pagkakaroon ng mga cartel? Ano ba iyong ibang plano ng pamahalaan maliban sa pagbuwag ng mga cartel? Hinintay natin iyon,” she said.

(We find the speech lacking because we were expecting a lot of things. First, we expected to hear a report, for example, on inflation. But a large part of the President’s speech focused only on the rice cartels. The  factors that contribute to inflation weren’t discussed in detail. What’s the reason behind the increase in rice prices? What were the government’s plans other than to say that they dismantle the cartels?)

The rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi was also not mentioned, according to Robredo. The five-month gunbattle between government forces and the IS-linked terrorists not only left hundreds dead, but destroyed the city almost entirely.

“Maraming nag-aabang doon; hindi siya diniscuss. Hinihintay natin iyong mga plano sa susunod na… sa mga hakbang na gagawin ng pamahalaan (Many people expect the President to discuss the Marawi issue and to know the government’s plans for Marawi),” she said, adding that the President also defended the tax reform law but did not discuss the government’s plans on its effects such as the rising prices of commodities.

“Tayo, alam natin na ito ay contributory sa inflation na nangyayari. Alam natin na napakalaking target pa ng bibigyan ng Unconditional Cash Transfer, hanggang ngayon hindi pa din nabibigay, pero iyong hindi pa nabibigyan ay nag-suffer na ng effects ng TRAIN Law—mula pa noong first half of the year, pero hanggang ngayon, nasa second half na tayo, wala pa ding natatanggap. Iyong Pantawid Pasada program, hindi pa din naro-roll out, kahit pinagdadaanan na iyong lahat na problema brought about by the high fuel prices. Napakarami pang iba,” she said.

(We know that this contributes to inflation. We know that we need to target more beneficiaries for the Unconditional Cash Transfer, but those who haven’t received the financial assistance continue to suffer from the effects of the Train law. We are already into the second half of the year, the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pasada program have not received the assistance from the government because the program hasn’t been rolled out. There were so many others). /ee

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TAGS: Sona, sona2018, Vice President Leni Robredo
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