SONA 2020 ‘disappointing, frustrating’ to Albay solon as it ‘barely touched’ gov’t response on COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Monday said it was “disappointing” and “frustrating” that President Rodrigo Duterte “barely touched” in his fifth State of the Nation Address the administration’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the country.
He added that the President only mentioned his endorsement to Congress of the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, dubbed as the “Bayanihan 2” bill, which is a supplement measure to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
“I was expecting the President to make a pronouncement and discuss this administration’s roadmap in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that was barely touched in his speech,” Lagman said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
Under the Bayanihan 2 measure, Filipinos would be provided with various forms of relief during the public health crisis, which include an emergency subsidy to displaced workers, cash-for-work programs, prevention and control of other diseases, support programs for impacted sectors, and support for the agricultural sector.
Lagman pointed out that the proposed P140 billion budget under the Bayanihan 2 is a “very miniscule amount” and “could not properly respond to the health and economic emergencies.”
Lagman said he was disappointed how President Duterte did not make a clear discussion of the administration’s stimulus package and make a detailed plan on possible funding sources.
“It was frustrating that he did not actually discuss the roadmap of how the country is going to respond to the pandemic and the people were expecting him to say this and nothing was said about it,” he added.
Threat to telcos
President Duterte warned telecommunication companies Smart and Globe of expropriation if they do not improve their services by December.
This warning, however, was only a “threatening rhetoric” used by Duterte against “perceived oligarchies,” Lagman said, as Duterte cannot take the law into his own hands.
Supposed violations or shortcomings of delivery of service should be brought to courts, he added.
“I think the President was just using his threatening rhetoric against his perceived oligarchies, and then he can’t take law in his own hands,” the Albay lawmaker said.
“If there are violations, any shortcomings in delivery of service of these utility companies, then these violations should be brought up before a court and it’s for the court to resolve whether there are violations and what punishment should be imposed,” he added.
He noted that such rhetoric is consistent with Duterte’s “populist pronouncements” which he said are “palatable” to the public. He added, however, that the Sona is not the proper venue or time to make such rhetoric.
“I think the Sona was not the proper venue or time to make these threatening rhetoric and populist statements but if there are violations then let proper judicial authorities make the necessary decisions and impose the corresponding penalties,” he said.
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