No No-el in SoNA

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President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) will disappoint his critics since it will not touch on the cancellation of the midterm elections, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Marie Rafel Banaag said.

Banaag added Duterte’s SONA will be, more or less, a normal speech, not as “exciting” as the first.

“Some may have been expecting an announcement coming from the President that there will be ‘no election.’ There will be no such pronouncements. Having ‘no election’ is a matter that is not within the President’s prerogative, it’s with Congress,” she said.

“But of course coming from a President who is very unpredictable, it does make it so exciting. What the President wants is (to deliver it) in 35 minutes. But of course, we would not know what would happen by then,” Banaag said.

Banaag admitted that tangible results, insofar as the government’s ambitious infrastructure projects in the Build, Build, Build program have yet to be realized.

Real numbers, however, can be seen in the campaign against corruption and illegal drugs, she said.

“There are major projects and of course it’s been only two years (into the Duterte administration)…so it’s too early to make judgment on that. But of course, we see how difficult it is also for our economic managers to manage and put into something that is tangible, for the people to see for themselves these infrastructure projects envisioned by our government,” Banaag said.

The difficulty lies in the fact that there are proper procedures that needs to be followed a well, she said.

Undebatable gains
Two years into office, the President had a number of accomplishments on anti-illegal drugs operations of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

“No one can question the numbers on the anti-illegal drugs campaign because it can be verified,” she said.

“There are very viable date from government,” Banaag added.

The President, unlike in his previous SONA, has been “rehearing” on the delivery of his speech, she said.

He does it whenever he has time to spare, Banaag said.

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