Duterte asked to tackle illegal foreign workers in ‘legacy’ Sona
The President’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday may dwell on the administration’s programs to alleviate poverty, build infrastructure and restore peace and order—the “Duterte legacy” that he would like to work on during his last years in Malacañang, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said on Friday.
The government’s poverty alleviation program seeks to lower the poverty rate, which was 21 percent in the second quarter this year, to 14 percent in order to raise the country to an upper-middle-class economy by the time Mr. Duterte’s term ends in 2022.
The “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, on the other hand, aims to raise infrastructure projects to a “gold standard” to “pressure” the next President to do better, Andanar said in a radio interview.
To reestablish peace and order, the particular focus would be given to the work of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in quelling the 50-year-old insurgency to usher in progress in the provinces.
Asked whether Mr. Duterte would make good on his promise to “lecture” his critics on the West Philippine Sea dispute, Andanar said: “If the President does that, then that’s something to look forward to.”
Critics of the President say he was being tolerant of Chinese incursions into Philippine waters and that he had violated the Constitution when he entered into a “verbal agreement” with China’s President Xi Jinping to allow the Chinese to fish inside the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Pogo effect on prices, jobs
Sen. Joel Villanueva said he was looking forward to hearing Mr. Duterte’s next directives to protect the interests of Filipino workers.
Villanueva also expects Mr. Duterte to tackle other issues concerning the labor sector, such as the influx of illegal foreign workers and the Philippine offshore gaming operations (Pogo) sector, which have affected real estate prices and the local job market.
Sen. Sonny Angara, in a separate statement, urged the President to tackle the country’s mounting traffic congestion in his Sona.
“If the President can address the traffic problems faced by the country’s major urban areas and give the commuting public the efficient transportation system that they deserve, then I believe a great deal of the criticisms hurled against him on various fronts will be set aside,” he said.
Angara also urged the President to outline his long-term plans for the country in his Sona on Monday.
“For the fourth Sona, the President must outline his plans, not only for the next three years, but for the next decade,” Angara said in a statement.
In particular, the incoming Senate finance committee chair said the proposed 2020 national budget should detail the framework for the country’s 10-year development plan.
Mr. Duterte’s fourth Sona may only take 45 to 50 minutes to deliver if he sticks to his prepared speech, Andanar said.
He said Mr. Duterte makes ad libs so it might take longer, the communications secretary said in a radio interview.
The President was scheduled to be briefed on Friday on what he was to say when he addresses the opening of the 18th Congress. The President himself will edit his speech and that film director Joyce Bernal, who will direct the event for the second time, will attend the briefing, according to Andanar.
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