IN his first State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, President Duterte outlined his plans for the country in the next six years.
For peace and order and national security, he declared a unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army which has been in rebellion for decades. He said he will also seek to correct a historic injustice against the Moro people; thus he was for giving them the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) without the contentious constitutional and legal issues.
For national economic development, he called for lower corporation taxes and a relaxation of the bank secrecy law. He called for greater ease in doing business – to attract more investments and to provide for more employment for the people. More infrastructures will be built to help ease the transportation problem in Metro Manila and the rest of the country.
For a stronger political structure for the country, he proposed a federal system of government with a president, like that of France. If this is ratified by the people three years from now, he said, he is willing to step down and the people can elect a new leader.
For the common people of the country, he would give them preference in fishing areas in lakes and other areas. He called for one-stop shops so applicants for passports, driver’s licenses, and other government papers do not have to keep returning to government offices to submit so many requirements. He called for strict implementation of the Magna Carta of Women. The Reproductive Health Law will be implemented in full. There will be no demolition of squatter homes without a relocation site ready for them. He declared he would not condone media killings.
All these, we must do, he said, because it is the right thing to do. This was the recurring theme in all these plans and actions.
There was one other theme which the nation totally welcomes. “This will be a clean government,” President Duterte vowed.
Many leaders have made this promise over the years but corruption in government does not seem to have abated despite the best intentions of so many of these leaders.
President Duterte vows that he will lead a clean government. He will seek to achieve its goals for national security, for economic development, for political stability, and with a heart for the common people. And, we are confident, he will strive mightily to do it all with a clean government.