Opposition solons: Duterte should have focused on policies, not enemies
President Rodrigo Duterte should have focused on public policy instead of bullying “enemies of the state” during his second State of the Nation Address, opposition members of the House of Representatives said on Tuesday.
In a press conference, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said he would have preferred it if the President stuck to his prepared speech instead of deviating from it.
“Okay na sana kung nag-stick siya dun sa prepared speech dahil mga public pronouncements because sa akin ang SONA is paglalahad mo ng iyong mga public policy,” Baguilat said.
He said the President should have refrained from cursing and criticizing his critics, the Sona being a “sacred” event.
“Sagrado yan. Ang kausap mo diyan is taong bayan, yung legislative agenda sa Kongreso. Of course, andiyan ang diplomatic core,” Baguilat said. “Pero kapag lumilihis siya dun sa kaniyang prepared speech, diyan na pumapasok yung mga pagbibiro, pagmumura. Hindi ko alam kung karapat-dapat yan sa isang Sona.”
(“That’s sacred. You’re talking to the about the legistlative agenda of Congress. Of course, the members of the diplomatic core are there. If he deviates from his prepared speech, that’s where the jokes and curses come it. I don’t know if that’s appropriate in a Sona.”)
Baguilat agreed with some of Duterte’s pronouncements. But he noted that the President should have used the time to tackle more public policies instead of using his SONA speech as a tool to blast his critics.
“Sana nga mas malaki yung panahon na idinulog niya dun sa paglalahad ng kaniyang public policy instead of using Sona as a platform to attack and criticize all his critics – media, NGOs, human rights champions. Pati yung mga senador nabatikos,” Baguilat said.
(“I wish he had given more time presenting his public policy instead of using the Sona as a platform to attack and criticize all his critics – media, NGOs, human rights champions. Even the senators were criticized.”)
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano also chided the President for using his Sona to criticize his enemies.
“Ang nakita ko doon mukhang opportunity niya na bumatikos ng kaniyang kalaban instead na mag-focus dun sa kaniyang mga programa,” Alejano said.
(“From what I saw there seems, it seems he took the opportunity to criticize his enemies instead of focusing on his programs.”)
He said the Sona should be seen as an opportunity to assess whether or not the President fulfilled the promises he stated in the previous nation address.
“Ang Sona ay tingnan dapat natin dun sa mga pangako ng nakaraang Sona. And then from here on, ano ba yung mga pwede niyang ipangako para tuparin yun for the coming year,” he said.
(“The Sona should give us a chance to see if the promises in the past Sona were fulfilled. And then from here on, we can see what else he could do to fulfill promises for the coming year.”)
Duterte’s speech lacked the “significant report” recounting his past promises, Alejano said.
“Pero sa akin walang significant report nung kaniyang mga pangako noong nakaraan, at nagdagdag pa siya ng maraming pangako,” he said.
(“But for me there was no significant report about his past promises, and he even made more promises.”)
Alejano lauded, however, the President’s focus on strengthening the Armed Forces of the Philippines
“On the positive side, ang pagbibigay emphasis doon sa pagpatibay ng Armed Forces, suportado ko yun… Gusto natin ma-increase ang capabilities ng ating Armed Forces para ma-address ang different threats sa ating bansa,” he said.
(“On the positive side, I suppor the emphasis on strengthening the Armed Forces. We want to increase the capabilities of our Armed Forces so we could address the various threats to our country.”)
Alejano dared Duterte to “walk his talk” about his independent foreign policy and anti-mining stance.
He cited the President’s call for the United States to return the Balangiga bells, which Duterte mentioned in his Sona to show his anti-American stance.
“Si Presidente kasi mahilig siyang magsalita ng bagay na gusto mong marinig. Pero iba yung nagagawa… Kaya nga kung matapang ka na i-demand sa United States yung Balangiga bell, ganun din dapat katapang si Pangulo na sabihin sa China na ‘wag niyo naman kunin yung isla namin,’” Alejano said.
(“The President is fond of talking about things that you want to hear. But’s different from actually doing something… If you’re so brave to demand the return of the Balangiga bells from the United States, the President should just be as brave to tell China not to take our island.”)
For his part, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said Duterte succeeded in at least using his Sona to “entertain” the public.
“The State of the Nation Address of the President was quite successful in entertaining the Filipino people,” he said. “Mukha naman nagustuhan ng marami, na-entertain.”
(“It seems a lot of people liked it. They were entertained.”)
Erice said the President fell short in stating his policy direction in his Sona.
“Para po sa akin ang pinaka-mahalaga sa Sona na makapagbibigay ng solusyon sa marami nating problema bilang isang third-world country – yung policy directions ng ekonomiya at imprastruktura. Palagay ko kulang na kulang yun,” Erice said.
(“For me, what’s really important in the Sona is to give solutions to our many problems as a third-world country – the policy directions of the economy and infrastructure. I thinks that was really lacking.”)
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said Monday’s Sona was a “classic Duterte showtime.”
Villarin said Duterte only showed his “authoritarian” tendencies in his Sona.
“We merely have to distinguish kung ano ba talaga yung policies, and I think yung policies na yan mas makikita natin kung saan nanggagaling yung values at mindset ni Pangulong Duterte,” Villarin said.
“We merely have to distguish what the policies really are, and I think those policies will make us see where Duterte’s values lie and what is mindset is.”)
“Sad to say, that his set of values and mindset is based on being anti-democratic, anti-human rights, and we could also say he is basically an authoritarian,” he added. –With a report from Airei Kim Guanga, Inquirer.net intern /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.