Senators praise SONA for tackling key issues | Inquirer News

Senators praise SONA for tackling key issues

/ 02:31 AM July 26, 2022
Senate convenes for 19th Congress

Facade of the Senate of the Philippines building. (FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Eight senators, issuing separate statements, praised the first State of the Nation Address (Sona) that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivered on Monday for tackling key issues that they said need to be addressed.

These senators are Grace Poe, Christopher Go, Ramon Revilla Jr., Joel Villanueva, Jinggoy Estrada, JV Ejercito, Lito Lapid, and Sonny Angara.

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“We laud the president’s Sona for being pointed, forceful, and aggressive,” Poe said . “It confronted gut issues head-on such as hunger that puts at the center the continuation of the feeding program for children and boosting the agricultural sector.”

Go, who is poised to retain his post as chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, commended Marcos for recognizing the need to strengthen the healthcare system.

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“I am delighted that President Bongbong Marcos, Jr. has also recognized the continuing need to strengthen further our healthcare system through the establishment of more specialty hospitals nationwide,” Go said.

Revilla said the Sona “lived up to expectations, and even exceeded them.”

“More than the usual rhetoric of presenting common statistics and broad stroke statements, the president’s Sona has become an open book of strategic plans and targeted policies the government is determined to take in order to bring the nation back on its feet,” Revilla said.

“His message is an assuring testament that our nation is led by a visionary who has a concrete plan for steering the government to effect positive changes for the Filipino people. Sincerity is overwhelmingly felt in his message rooted in his genuine and earnest desire to serve the country,” he added.

Villanueva is expecting the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council to be convened immediately to work on the 19 measures that Marcos laid out in his speech.

“As Senate majority leader, we will pay close attention and prioritize these proposed laws. It is clear that these proposals are rooted in the experience and lessons from the crises — from the pandemic, in the economy, energy, and education. These give the proposals a sense of urgency,” Villanueva said.

Estrada shared his view of a “doable and reassuring future” ahead for the country.

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“The assurance that there will no longer be any lockdown is an indication of the Marcos administration’s strong resolve to bring back to pre-pandemic level our economic activities,” Estrada said. “I’m glad to hear the president underscoring the need to protect workers from the creative industry to address among others, their working conditions, rights, and welfare.”

Estrada is the incoming chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development.

Ejercito, Estrada’s half-brother, said the healthcare system “will finally get the attention it deserves.”

“True to his words when we met before his inauguration, he made an important commitment to fully implement the provisions of the Universal Healthcare Law, which I principally authored during my first term in the Senate: from the protection of healthcare workers and their welfare to the expansion of community-level medical services in remote areas,” Ejercito said.

“Moreover, the president highlighted the need to establish specialty healthcare centers in different parts of the country in an effort to ‘bring medical services closer to people,’ the very purpose of the Specialty Center Bill that I filed before the start of the 19th Congress,” Ejercito went on.

As education is one of his priorities, Lapid agreed with the chief executive’s plan to fully open in-person classes in November.

“It is important that we allow our students to fully experience face-to-face classes again, provided that safety protocols and measures are put in place to prevent another surge of Covid cases,” Lapid said. “Moreover, the F2F setting has been proven to promote the physical and mental health and well-being of our students. As a result, this shall also ease the burden on the part of our teachers as well as the parents.”

Noting the clear delivery of the Sona, Angara expressed support for Marcos’ plans.

“The president‘s list is quite long, and this will be supported in unity by the two chambers of Congress, especially since he mentioned his plans for agriculture, health, tourism, energy, infrastructure, education, and many others,” Angara said.

Earlier, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, an opposition lawmaker, shared that she was hoping for anti-corruption issues to be included in the Sona.

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TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos Jr., senators’ reactions to Marcos SONA, SONA 2022
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