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Duterte SoNA described as heart-rending

Philippines – Love of country will be the central theme of the first State-of-the-Nation Address of President Duterte today amid his administration’s intensified efforts to combat illegal drugs, crime, and corruption in the country.

The President has written a “very powerful” speech that will revive the sense of patriotism among Filipinos and will include a call to unity, according to Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Martin Andanar.

As of Saturday night, the President’s speech went through more than 10 revisions and ran 38 minutes, Andanar said in a press conference in Davao City.

Sans the glitz, glamor, and drama, the President is expected to lay down his plans for the country, including policies on peace and order and priority legislations, before a joint session of Congress. Palace officials earlier said the President’s speech will be devoid of blaming his predecessors of the country’s problems and instead focus on government action and public cooperation to address these challenges.

“The address of the President, personally written by the President, will be a very powerful speech that will awaken the patriot in every Filipino,” Andanar said.

“When I read the speech, ayoko pong mag-exaggerate, pero the first time I read the speech, it made me cry. Ganon po ka – ganon po kaganda, ganon po makabag-damdamin ‘yung speech po ng Pangulo po natin,” he aded.

In keeping with his simple lifestyle, the President’s first SoNA will not be as lavish as the previous SoNAs.

This year’s SoNA would be different since it would no longer be a fashion show and instead focus on the President’s message, according to Department of Finance spokeswoman Paola Alvarez.

The Palace has changed the dress code to business attire, reminding ladies to avoid the glamorous long gowns usually worn in past SoNAs.

“During the previous SoNAs, most people see that this is an occasion where people tend to flaunt their gowns, their dresses. We want to step away from this norm,” said Alvarez, who is part of the Palace group organizing the SoNA.

“We want to bring back the real essence of the State-of-the-Nation,” she added. “We want to center on what the President’s message is to our people, especially it’s his first State-of-the-Nation Address.” (Genalyn D. Kabiling)