Marcos to deliver 1st SONA, is expected to discuss economic recovery, classes, pandemic
The Filipino people are all ears this afternoon as President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is set to unveil his plans for the country in the next 12 months during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Marcos will deliver his SONA on Monday, July 25, at the Batasang Pambansa, exactly 25 days since he took his oath as the 17th President of the Philippines.
Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez on Friday revealed that Marcos wrote his own speech for the event, with the weekend and Monday morning devoted to finishing the piece.
The chief executive also wanted his first SONA to be simple, according to House Secretary General Mark Leandro Mendoza.
More than 1,300 personalities were invited to attend the SONA, including Vice President Sara Duterte, former presidents, vice presidents, speakers, Senate presidents, diplomatic corps, justices, and members of the Marcos cabinet.
For the general public, lawmakers, and progressive groups, much is expected from the SONA especially in a time when fuel and commodity prices continue to soar, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still linger.
Rodriguez had earlier floated that Marcos’ SONA will cover the administration’s agenda for economic recovery, resumption of face-to-face classes, and COVID-19 response.
The President is also expected to talk about the digitalization of the government, according to Rodriguez.
For her part, Senator Loren Legarda said she is looking forward to hearing Marcos' specific measures on the transition to a better normal, hoping that this will be "aligned and attuned to the climate path."
She is also hoping to hear Marcos' plans on strengthening the country's education system and his response to the running national debt, which is at P12.495 trillion as of May of this year.
Senator Sonny Angara, meanwhile, wants to hear Marcos' plans for the country's economy amid the pandemic, while Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said he wishes to hear that the new administration will continue the achievements of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Aside from pandemic response and recovery plans, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go said he hopes that the new administration will improve the country's healthcare system, food supply, and disaster response measures, among others.
Go also wishes that the Marcos administration would continue the Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte administration and intensify the campaign against corruption, criminality, and illegal drugs.
Senator JV Ejercito also earlier said Marcos should focus on discussing his plans for the economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of the Universal Health Care law, plans on infrastructure, and food security.
Senator Nancy Binay, for her part, wants Marcos to tackle the measures on how the country will recover from the ill effects of the pandemic as well as with the soaring prices of petroleum products.
Meanwhile, Senator Robinhood Padilla said he wants to hear the President discuss his plans for the sectors of agriculture, energy, and infrastructure.
On the other hand, women's group Gabriela, represented by Jom Salvador, said the new administration must provide opportunities for women, noting that many of them have no source of income.
Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura called for major policies in the agriculture sector, while Kilusang Mayo Uno called for the passage of bills institutionalizing a national minimum wage and ending contractualization employment practice.
Transport group Piston said the government must address the high prices of fuel and review the public utility vehicle modernization program, while Health Alliance for Democracy sought to raise the wages of healthcare workers who have been at the frontlines at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eufemia Domingo of Kadamay also appealed to the Marcos administration to provide additional housing programs to resolve the backlog during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte which she said has reached 6.7 million.
On education, Raymond Basilio of ACT urged the new administration to increase the budget of the education sector and ensure the safety of the students and teachers during the opening of face-to-face classes.
Jigs Clamor of Karapatan also said rights groups will continue to pursue justice for victims of human rights violations. He also called for a stop to red-tagging of activists.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday said it has already activated the Task Force Manila Shield as part of its security preparations ahead of the SONA.
Some 21,000 security personnel will be fully deployed on Monday morning at all checkpoints around the Batasang Pambansa to maintain peace and order during the SONA.
A gun ban has also been imposed in Metro Manila from July 22 to July 27 for additional security.
At least nine individuals were arrested and six firearms and deadly weapons were confiscated due to the gun ban, according to PNP spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo.
The “State of the Nation Address 2022,” GMA News and Public Affairs’ special coverage on Marcos’ first SONA, will be simulcast on GMA and GTV.
GMA Regional TV and Super Radyo dzBB will also have special coverage.
The livestream of the SONA will also be available on GMA News Online via www.gmanews.tv as well as GMA News and Public Affairs’ accounts on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. —KG, GMA News