SONA 2019: Highlights of President Rodrigo Duterte's 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivered on Monday, July 22, 2019 his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) in front of around 3,000 lawmakers and guests at the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City.



President Duterte SONA 2019 highlights, review for reaction paper
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The 4th SONA laid down the plans of the Duterte administration for the next three years and highlighted the President’s legacy.
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As expected, the president is on 'lecture-mode' in his speech as a father to the nation.

Same with previous year, the key policies, programs and initiatives of the government were discussed separately in the three-part pre-SONA called “Tatak ng Pagbabago 2019” held in Pasay, Cebu, Davao this month. This is to give way for the discussion of achievements instead of incorporating in the SONA.


SONA 2019 delivery was delayed by 1 hour as he waited for the go-signal for the chopper to depart MalacaƱang due to bad weather condition. His speech started at exactly 5:15 in the afternoon and concluded at 6:49 pm or longer in the originally declared 45-minute speech, due to some off-the-cuff remarks of the president.

Be guided with our summary and review of President Duterte's SONA 2019. Students may use this as reference in making a reaction paper:

Duterte started his speech by extending hand in gratitude to all who kept faith with him in most trying times. He highlighted the result of the latest survey by Pulse Asia.

"Numbers speak a thousand words, tell a hundred tales, but the landslide victory of the administration candidates as well as the latest survey results show that my disapproval rating is 3 percent."

Duterte emphasized that illegal drug problem persists and corruption continues but promised to continue fighting until his term ends.

Duterte wants to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes related to drugs and plunder.

The president said Bureau of Customs, though corruption-ridden, managed to collect P585 billion in 2018. "Imagine how much more could have been collected had the BOC been cleaned and less corrupt."

Duterte also revealed the way some government officials work. "We in government talk too much, act too little, and too slow. We are long on rhetoric but short of accomplishments."

The iron-fist leader tasked the agencies with poor services to simplify the process and improve it electronically. "You don't have to go to the office. 'Pag hindi pa ninyo nagawa 'yan ngayon, papatayin ko talaga kayo."

Duterte also mentioned the rehabilitation made for Boracay Island, which was now "restored close to its original pristine state." He added that it's just the beginning. He also plans to declare the whole of the island a land reform program and give piece by piece to the Aetas.

On Manila Bay rehabilitation, the administration will relocate informal settlers along the waterways and shut down establishments that continue to pollute and poison the waters.

Speaking on the entry of third telecommunications company in the country, Duterte ensured "there is no corruption at all." He challenged the player to fulfill its commitment to provide fast and reliable telecom services to people.

Duterte hopes that the Bangsamoro transition will fast-track establishment of regional government that will secure comfortable life for our Muslim brothers and sisters and indigenous people in all of Bangsamoro region.

The president praised DepEd Secreatary Leonor Briones as more Filipino learners are receiving basic education with over 27 million enrollees from kinder to senior high school. He shared approval on the proposed measure to create the National Academy for Sports for high school students.

On West Philippine Sea dispute, Duterte said the avoidance of armed conflict and protection of our territorial waters and natural resources compel us to perform a delicate balancing act.

"I am not ready or inclined the occurrence of more destruction, more widows, more orphans, should war even on a limited scale, breaks out," Duterte emphasized.

Duterte asked Congress to pass the remaining packages of administration's tax reform program, and excise tax.

Duterte also instructs to pass the Trabaho Bill and the Salary Standardization Law.

The president also urged Congress to hasten the creation of Department of Water Resources, Department of Disaster Resilience and fire protection program. He even joked that an earthquake should strike the Session Hall at that moment. 

Duterte said he wants the National Land Use Act to pass this year. This is one of administration's priority legislations to resolve land use conflicts, mandate the formulation of land use plans at the national and local levels.

Duterte also instructed government offices that business permits should be released within three days.

On dispersion of economic activities to Visayas and Mindanao, he said that it is not just a campaign promise but an economic imperative.

Duterte also mentioned Land Bank should help the coconut farmers.

Duterte also urged Congress to pass the National Defense Act and revive the mandatory ROTC.

"A comfortable life for the Filipinos in the next three years... I dream the Philippines better than I grew up with," Duterte ended his speech.

Reactions on President Duterte's 4th SONA

Thousands of anti-Duterte protesters and militant groups rallied near the Batasan asking the government to uphold sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea, better labor conditions, an end to the bloody war on drugs and lower prices of goods.

Duterte explained his view on maritime dispute and wants no war against Chinese. "There are guided missiles in West Philippine Sea...should we stand up and stop those who fish in our economic zone. We will do in due time," he said.

Recently, the administration earned outrage on his claim that Manila cannot bar Beijing from the West Philippine Sea despite winning the United Nations-backed ruling. Political analysts said the president should have strong power like China to enforce our rights.

Analysts also said the president should "iron out" a measure that aims to lower corporate income taxes and rationalize incentives as the market expects updates on tax reform.

Charter Change and federalism were not mentioned in SONA 2019. According to Duterte, it is not the proper time to talk about it and these should be discussed not on the public.

On the other hand, latest Pulse Asia survey revealed that majority of Filipinos (8 out of 10) believe the chief executive. The high trust rating according to Palace is an indication that "for every issue that is thrown at him with such negative force...the more they say that, the more it [rating] goes up."

Watch President Rodrigo Duterte's #SONA2019



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