Opposition bares Sona wish list
MANILA, Philippines — Ahead of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III sought an explanation of what the government intends to do with the prices, unemployment, and corruption.
In a statement on Saturday, Pimentel said Filipinos deserve the “unfiltered truth” during Marcos’ address with “no room for sugarcoating or glossing over the harsh realities facing the entire nation.”
“The cost of living is very high. The income of the typical Filipino family is not enough for their basic needs and for their decent existence as a family of human beings,” he said.
Explain sugar scandal
“Many are unemployed and many more are underemployed, and those working, though employed, are not paid ‘living wages,’” Pimentel added.
The opposition leader demanded an explanation for the “scandal that rocked” the Sugar Regulatory Administration.
According to Pimentel, the President’s second Sona should spotlight the high cost of living, inadequate income, problems with education, unemployment, and underemployment, and the ballooning national debt.
“The Philippines faces a lot of problems and challenges. The Filipino people have different difficulties and varied interests,” he said.
While macroeconomic figures are important, the president’s Sona should concentrate on microeconomic matters, which concern and affect the lives of the ordinary Filipino, Pimentel said.
“We need to get our acts together as problem-solvers. We need to act in good faith out of love for the country. We need to want a just, fair, and safe society,” he said.
‘Take stance vs red-tagging’
For House Deputy Minority Leader Rep. France Castro of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list group, Marcos should make a “clear and unequivocal statement” against red-tagging.
Castro stressed that it was “high time” that those engaging in red-tagging should be held accountable.
“Red-tagging has serious consequences for individuals who are unjustly targeted. It creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, stifling dissent and critical voices,” she said on Saturday.
Castro added: “The President must take a strong stance against red-tagging and ensure that all government entities actively work to put an end to this practice in his second Sona.”
The lawmaker also pressed her colleagues in Congress to support legislative measures that will criminalize Red-tagging and protect individuals who are victims of Red-tagging.
There are two House bills on criminalizing red-tagging that have been pending before the House justice committee since 2022.