Pangasinenses praise Duterte’s ‘visionary’ SONA

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By Hilda Austria

Pangasinenses on Monday commended President Rodrigo Duterte for focusing his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on his plans and mandate for the country for the remaining years of his administration, and not on previous accomplishments.

“He stayed with his text. He focused on casting a vision for the country to pursue through his administration. It was not a political speech, not trying to gain applause. He actually mandated the government officials under him and pleaded, especially to Congress to help out fulfil his vision. Most dignified, outdone the mayor Duterte to President Duterte. And praise God, he did not curse,” said Pastor Jun Malazo, senior pastor of Guiding Light Christian Church in Dagupan City.

Rey Bulatao, a former drug surrenderer from this town, who is now a teacher after undergoing community-based reformation programs of various government agencies, praised the President’s statement “human rights is your concern, but my concern is human lives”.

“For me, he (Duterte) got big points. Like me, I knew the value of life, family, the love of God, I had true changes in my life, I am now back in the community. I also have peace of mind with my family and that is the change President Duterte wants for all Filipino,” Bulatao said.

Emmanuel Lopez of Dagupan City, said he loved the President’s speech for many reasons.

“I guess what I really like is his war on drugs. For 25 years, we were affected by illegal drugs in our community, and finally we now have a good community since he became the president. I also agree that majority of taxes go to Manila and Mindanao was left behind, hence it is about time that they got their share of their own taxes,” he said.

Like Lopez, Norman Macaraeg, a government employee from Calasiao town, applauded the President for prioritizing the welfare of Muslim Filipinos.

Villa Macaraeg, a Human Resources employee in a private company and mother of two, commented that Duterte’s latest SONA is different from those of the former presidents’ because it is easy to understand. The President used simple and not much technical terminologies, she said.

“It also covers all relevant issues including war on drugs, criminalities, Boracay issue and he even urged the congress to pass the Universal Health Bill as well as the update on Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law,” Macaraeg added.

Bless Manzano Mallari from Alaminos City said, “He focused on endorsing laws or bills that would be very beneficial to his country, like the No Balance Billing Policy or the passage of the Universal Health Bill. I observed that he spoke with commitment to his people. I also like his endorsement of the creation of the Department of Disaster. This is something that should have been done by former administrations. With almost 30 typhoons we experience every year, I think it is about time that an independent agency that would handle it be created.”

However, she admitted her dismay that PRRD did not elaborate on the problem concerning the West Philippine Sea.

Harlene Matabang, a teacher from San Carlos City, said she expected the President to mention about the issues on education and agriculture, especially in disaster-affected areas in the country.

In education, she was particularly referring to suicide cases among students including of two teachers in Leyte province this year.

“He mentioned other important issues but I was expecting him to mention about the increased rate of suicide among teachers and the people affected by typhoon and southwest monsoon, but maybe on his next SONA he will,” Matabang said.

Vladimir Mata, former city administrator of Dagupan City, said, “As a planner I am happy to hear about the passage of the National Land Use Act, Department of Disaster Resilience and more aggressive action on the environment for sustainability”.

“The best SONA of President Digong, well prepared!” said Rowel Crisostomo, director of a college in this town.

Mark Anthony Andaya of Calasiao town could not believe the President followed his manuscript without much adlib.

“It seems he is not the President Duterte I know,” he said.

Meanwhile, some Pangasinenses were curious about what went through prior to the President’s speech concerning the speakership of the House of Representatives. (PNA)

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