‘Siguro bingi sila,’ Palace tells critics saying SONA lacks clear COVID-19 recovery plan
MANILA, Philippines — “Siguro po bingi sila.” (They must be deaf.)
This was Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s answer to critics who found President Duterte’s 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA) wanting in terms of providing the public a concrete and detailed action plan towards the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Siguro po bingi sila. Pero nakita ko po ‘yun. Nandiyan ‘yung Tax Reform Act, nandiyan po ‘yung Part 2 ng We Heal As One Act at nandiyan po ‘yung Stimulus Package. At nandiyan din po ‘yung pasalamat ni Presidente sa IATF, sa ating frontliners at sa lahat ng nagbibigay ng pagkain sa siyudad habang meron po tayong COVID-19,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
Duterte did ask Congress to pass a number of laws designed to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, including the proposed “We Recover as One Law” or the Bayanihan 2 which is seen to help speed up the country’s recovery from the pandemic.
However, majority of the bills Duterte mentioned on Monday are proposals and laws he had long been asking Congress to approve in his past SONAs. He also spent time calling out opposition Senator Franklin Drilon for supposedly blasting the President’s political dynasty and dubbing it a form of oligarchy.
Several lawmakers also pointed to the lack of priority to stamp out the coronavirus crisis during Duterte’s fifth SONA, but Roque said that such was to be expected as they are part of the opposition.
“Kanya kanyang pananaw po yan at siyempre galing sila sa oposisyon wala silang mabuting makikita sa sinabi ng Presidente,” he said.
The Palace official then explained why Duterte did not “go into details” during his SONA, saying that the specifics have been discussed in the pre-SONA fora held in the weeks leading up to Monday’s event.
“Meron na tayong pre-SONA na tinatawag kung saan ‘yung ating mga economic managers dinetalye po ‘yung mga hakbang na gagawin natin para tayo ay makabangon dahil nga po sa sigalot na dulot ng COVID-19,” he said.
It was Roque who promised that Duterte will “unveil” the COVID-19 recovery roadmap and discuss the pandemic “in much detail” during this year’s SONA.
“I think the difference will be, he will be presenting now a roadmap for recovery, which actually, if you’ve noticed the economic team has not unveiled yet. And I think the reason is they want to unveil it in the SONA itself and in many fora after the SONA,” Roque said in a television interview last week.
The novel coronavirus has so far infected 82,040 people nationwide, with 1,657 new cases reported on Monday. Meanwhile, 26,446 have recovered although 1,945 died.
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