2 opposition solons air expectations on 2nd Sona
Two opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives are urging President Rodrigo Duterte to focus more on his administration’s poverty alleviation program than on his bloody war on drugs when he delivers his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) Monday afternoon.
In separate statements, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat and Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin – members of the independent minority bloc “Magnificent 7” – called on the chief executive to resolve poverty instead of boasting about his crackdown on drugs.
Baguilat and Villarin cited claims that Duterte’s drug war had killed thousands of poor people.
“I hope the President talks less about the ascendancy of his drug war (which has terrorized the poor) and instead put more emphasis about his socio-economic programs for poor families,” Baguilat said.
Villarin said Duterte should not boast of his drug war for which the President would be liable in the courts after his term in office.
“I hope that the President focuses more on addressing poverty issues than just rambling on his endless, bloody war on drugs for which he will be criminally accountable in the courts of law, if not now, definitely in the near future,” Villarin said.
Baguilat said he hoped Duterte would not boast of the extension of martial law granted to him by Congress as a cure to the societal ills of Mindanao, urging the President instead to push for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“I hope he will not brandish his martial law as the panacea for Mindanao’s ills but instead expound about his peace agenda for the island including making a pitch for the BBL,” Baguilat said.
Villarin said Duterte should “highlight the primacy of peace over war in Mindanao” instead of flaunting the extended Mindanao martial law as his “weapon.”
“With the overwhelming grant of martial law powers for the next five months by Congress, it is incumbent upon him not to turn it into a weapon of mass destruction,” Villarin said.
Villarin said Duterte should put primacy on the need to respect human rights.
“The President must recognize that human rights are intrinsic to our values as Filipinos, not the law of the jungle where only the fittest survives,” he said.
“For a refreshing change, I hope he doesn’t bad mouth human rights defenders, any other country on earth or her leader,” Baguilat added.
Baguilat expressed hope Duterte would use his political capital to push for the passage of the freedom of information bill, the proposed National Land Use Act, a new mining law, logging ban on natural forests, and an expanded Maternity Leave Act.
Baguilat and Villarin both hoped Duterte would also use his Sona to push for an end to contractualization and for the release of the coco levy funds to farmers.
The President will deliver his second Sona at the House of Representatives at 4 p.m. Monday. CBB
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