The Duterte administration has faced criticism for the past 3 years and most of the issues thrown at the government are about the incessant killings and disregard for human life, the non-stop increase of the price of oil, utilities, and basic commodities, and the most controversial would be the issue on China and their harassment to our 22 fishermen at Reed Bank recently.

The Filipino people have been waiting for this day and are expecting answers to these important issues. Now the question is, did the recent State of the Nation Address of president Duterte addressed the state of the nation?
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The president has been well-known not just in the Philippines but all over the world due to his bloody ‘war on drugs’. Many world leaders have made a remark on this, including Columbia’s president where he mentioned that president Duterte is “making a huge mistake”.

Human rights organizations all over the world are opposed to the war on drugs of this administration but this did not seem to dishearten the president. He said in his address, “I am aware that we still have a long way to go in our fight against this social menace. Let the reason why I advocate the imposition of the death penalty for crimes related to illegal drugs. I respectfully request Congress to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes related to drugs, as well as plunder.”

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Veronica A. Duterte and Honeylet Avanceña.
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Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte President Dutertes 4th State of the Nation Address.

The issue on the massive fraud perpetrated against the public health insurance system was also mentioned. The president expressed his dismay and disappointment and said that “the government is conned of millions of pesos which could be used to treat illnesses and possibly save the lives of many”, which is why he appointed a new president to rid PhilHealth which according to him is “a military person who is man of integrity” to rid the agency of corruption.

The president has also mentioned the rehabilitation program made on the island of Boracay. He stated that “We cleaned and rehabilitated the island and I allowed it to heal naturally. I am proud to say that it has been restored close to its original pristine state.” The president, however, did not mention anything about the Chinese establishments that miraculously appeared near the beach right after its 6-month rehabilitation. The rehabilitation of Manila Bay was also mentioned, leaving this question at the back of our minds: will this rehabilitation be a front so that the Chinese can build their establishments near the bay?

The approval of the third telco was also mentioned. Along with this, other accomplishments of the government such as the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Bilateral Labor Agreement with Kuwait in which is a testament of the government’s commitment to stop the abuse inflicted on our overseas workers, and the acquisition of new fighting ships.

However, when it came to the most controversial issue, the president implied once again that the only way to protect our seas is by means of ‘war’. He also said that we will stand up and stop those who are illegally fishing in our exclusive economic zone ‘in due time’, without clearly expressing when and how the government might do it. He also mentioned that President Xi Jin Ping of China mentioned that if they will not be allowed to dig oil in our seas, “it could mean trouble”.

It can be remembered that the Philippines won in the arbitral tribunal which leaves the people asking “why aren’t we expressing our right to sovereignty over these islands?” President Duterte also mentioned the incident concerning the 22 fishermen and the Chinese vessel who left our citizens floating at sea right after ramming into their fishing boat. He said “It was just nagbanggaan, wala naman”. There was no mention of any concrete course of action with regards to this incident.

Do you think that the TRUE state of the nation was addressed in the recently held SoNA?

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