MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 27) fulfilled one of his most important tasks as head of the country despite the risks of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
He opted to deliver his SONA personally at the Batasang Pambansa despite heavy rain and several reports of COVID-19 positive test results among some of the event’s supposed attendees.
The ceremony was obviously a deviation from the Congress’ decade-long tradition: no prior meet-up with the Senate and House leaders, no fancy welcoming rites, no live performers and no handshakes.
The President went straight to the plenary upon his arrival and after the opening numbers, he went on to deliver his report to the nation.
His speech lasted for about an hour and 40 minutes.
During his SONA, President Duterte asked the Congress to pass significant legislation that he believes are necessary in helping his administration propel the country even amidst the ongoing challenges.
One of which is the revival of death penalty for drug-related crimes.
“I reiterate the swift passage of reviving the death penalty by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Acts of 2002,” he said in his speech stressing the dangers illegal drugs cause to an individual and families.
Likewise, he asked Congress to immediately enact the Bayanihan Two so that assistance to sectors most affected by the pandemic will be delivered right away and funds will be made available for the procurement of additional medical equipment that will augment the country’s healthcare system.
“I hope that we can get some or the same treatment of clarity, purpose and the fastness to support the passage of the Bayanihan [to Recover as One Act], which will supplement funds for recovery and response against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Aside from these two priority bills, the President enumerated several legislation which he wants Congress to deliberate and pass soon.
These include the passage of the:
- Corporate Recovery And Tax Incentives For Enterprises (Create) Act
- Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Or Fist Act
- Establishment of the Department Of Overseas Filipinos
- National Land Use Act
- Coconut Farmers and Industry Fund
- Advanced Nursing Education Act
After his SONA, the President immediately left the Batasang Complex and went back to Malacañang. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)