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Senators want to hear Duterte’s goals in Sona

MANILA, Philippines — Senators are hoping that President Rodrigo Duterte would set goals for the next three years as well as enhance the administration’s antidrug campaign when he addresses the nation on Monday.

The President’s speech, which would mark the beginning of the second half of his term, may last 45 minutes to one hour unless he decides to go off script, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

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Andanar said the Chief Executive’s main themes would focus on poverty alleviation, infrastructure program, and peace and order.

The President may also discuss the issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea, he said.

“It’s possible that he would mention that because the President said in an ambush interview in Malacañang that he would give a lecture,” he said in a radio interview.

The President had drawn flak for his deal to allow Chinese fishermen in Recto Bank, which is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. But he had defended it by saying it was not unconstitutional.

Gameplan for second half

At the same time, Sen. Sonny Angara said he hoped the President would spell out his gameplan for the second half of his administration and list the things he wants to achieve in that timeframe.

“It would be better if it is a goal-setting speech. More looking forward than looking back. He should list the urgent things to do,” he said in a statement.

Angara also hopes the President would be “candid in telling his countrymen the problems which have not been solved and the areas where the government has performed poorly.”

“The Sona (State of the Nation Address) cannot be all roses. People are mature enough to hear the real score. And I think the President will not shirk from telling it as it is,” he added.

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Angara, who will chair the finance committee that would tackle the 2020 budget, said the administration’s proposed spending measure should have “20/20 vision.”

“Of all the bills he will send to Congress, I think the most important is the 2020 national budget. It will set the direction for the next 10 years,” he said.

For his part, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he hoped the President would discuss an “enhancement” to his war on drugs.

Sotto, a former chair of the Dangerous Drugs Board, said he was excited about the President’s Sona speech as he was the only Chief Executive that tackled the issue of illegal drugs.

No-fly zone

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Saturday said it would be enforcing a no-fly zone over the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City on Monday.

The CAAP said the no-fly zone would be enforced from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday within a four nautical mile radius from surface to 10,000 feet above mean sea level of the complex.

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TAGS: 18th Congress, Rodrigo Duterte, Senate, Sona2019
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