President Rodrigo Roa Duterte reported to the nation, in his 4th State of the Nation address on July 22, 219, the significant accomplishments made by his administration aimed at reducing poverty, fighting graft and corruption, and improving peace and security.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte takes a bow before the legislators and other guests before delivering his Fourth State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on July 22, 2019. ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) he delivered at the House of Representatives, among the accomplishments he mentioned include the signing of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, a legislation that aims to improve service delivery and fight corruption.
He admitted, however, that much has to be done to ensure government’s responsiveness to the people’s needs. The President wanted top government agencies— Transportation Office (LTO), Social Security System (SSS), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Land Registration Authority (LRA), and Home Development Mutual Fund (PAG-IBIG)— to drastically improve their services.
“I reiterate my directive to the government and instrumentalities, including the LGUs and the government corporations: simplify. Nandito ba kayo? Simplify. Just like the others. You can do it electronically,” he said.
The administration’s Build, Build, Build Program has already gained momentum through the efforts of the economic team led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade have also made major improvements in the country’s infrastructure.
The government has also recently paved the way for the entry of the third telecommunications provider that is expected to break the duopoly of the existing telecommunications companies in the Philippines.
“I challenge this new player to fulfill its commitment to provide fast and reliable telecommunications services to our people, especially in the underserved areas. DICT Secretary Honasan will be the lead man in this endeavor. I hope he is here,” the President said.
To attain national peace and reconciliation, the President said that after almost two decades of peace negotiation, the Bangsamoro Organic Law was finally passed and ratified.
“It is my hope that the Bangsamoro Transition Authority will fast-track the establishment of regional government that will secure a comfortable life for Muslim brothers and sisters, and all indigenous communities in the Bangsamoro Region” he noted.
And to address communist insurgency, the President said that he has taken the helm of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and assigned a Cabinet member to each region to harmonize government efforts in attaining national development and security.
The administration also made major strides in the education sector, President Duterte said, commending the efforts by Education Secretary Leonor Briones and the Department of Education (DepEd).
This year, more Filipino learners have received basic education with over 27 million enrollees from Kindergarten to Senior High School. Out-of-school youth and adult learners were able to access non-formal education through the Alternative Learning System.
To prop up the economy, he reported that almost 86,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have received over P3 billion worth of loans since 2017, thanks to the efforts of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The government was also able to pursue tax reforms to fund poverty reduction programs, the President said, asking Congress to immediately pass Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, or the TRABAHO Bill, which shall gradually lower corporate income tax, and rationalize and improve fiscal incentives.
Government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), infamous for high salaries and bonuses paid for their executives and employees, have started to shape up, he said.
As of July 9, 2019, the national government collected more than P61 billion from GOCCs, 32 percent of which, or P16 billion, from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), the President said in his address. GOCCs remitted more than the P36 billion posted in 2017.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC), known as a corruption-ridden agency, managed to collect P585 billion in 2018, according to the President.
The President also raised the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila. With estimated economic losses of P3.5 billion a day due to traffic congestion, the President asked the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and all concerned local officials in the National Capital Region to undertake immediate action to ensure the speedy and smooth flow of vehicular traffic.
He wanted the government to reclaim all public roads that are being used privately. (PCOO/PND)