Marcos: The state of the nation is sound

by Samantha Macabit || Photo Credit: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Batasang Pambansa Complex last July 25 at 4 p.m. He set forth the government’s agenda for his six-year term in office, while the country continues to face the crippling effects of the pandemic and the economic crisis.

“We live in difficult times brought about by some forces of our own making, but certainly, also by forces that are beyond our control—but we have, and we will continue to find solutions,” he said.

To strengthen the country’s economy, Marcos vowed to implement a sound fiscal management, with one of the main components being the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy (MTFF) which will serve as an “anchor” for the annual spending and financing plan of the Congress and National Government when it comes to the annual budget preparation.

Additionally, he stated that the Philippines must become an investment destination, maximizing the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law and the economic liberalization laws.

“Hindi ito magagawa sa isang araw, hindi magagawa sa isang buwan, o isang taon lamang. Ngunit kailangan na natin simulan ngayon [It can’t be done in just a day, a month, or a year. But, we need to start now],” he emphasized, referring to the urgency of solving problems in the agricultural sector.

Under the Marcos administration, loans and financial assistance to farmers and fishermen will become an institution and a policy, alongside the intent to prioritize the modernization of farms through innovative technology and the use of science to increase agricultural production.

“As for the Filipino brand, ours is deeply rooted in our rich cultural heritage, and the tourism sector plays an invaluable role in the promotion of the Filipino brand,” he said.

To boost the country’s tourism, Marcos declared to first focus on making road improvements for convenient access to tourist landmarks and building more international airports to dissolve the congestion in the Manila International Airport, also referred to as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“Pero hindi na natin kakayanin ang isa pang lockdown. Wala na tayong gagawing lockdown [We can’t handle another lockdown. We will not be implementing lockdowns anymore],” he highlighted, in accordance to the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines.

Marcos also asserted that students should finally return to full face-to-face classes, and classrooms must be safe for the entire academic community when they resume in-person classes.

In the matter of continuing the K-12 Program, he stated that it is currently in the process of a careful review, considering all the necessary inputs and points of view.

According to Marcos, he won’t suspend any of the ongoing infrastructure projects from the Duterte administration as they have proved to be beneficial to the public.

“My order to the Department of Transportation or DOTr is really very simple: full speed ahead!” he added.

Aside from that, Marcos mentioned that the level of energy production must be increased since he intends to re-examine the strategy of building nuclear power plants in the country.

Regarding the climate agenda, he said that renewable energy is the administration’s focus, with the aim to increase sources such as hydropower, geothermal power, and solar and wind energy.

Marcos called on the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Department of Information and Communications (DICT) to prioritize the digitalization of employment papers and certifications for OFWs. Moreover, he announced the future launch of One Repatriation Command Center (ORCC), which will serve as assistance to OFWs facing harm and abuse.

“On the area of foreign policy, I will not preside over any process that will abandon even one square inch of territory of the Republic of the Philippines to any foreign power,” he stressed.

Lastly, Marcos proposed multiple programs up for legislation, including, but are not limited to, the Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and National Service Training Program (NSTP), which aims to bring back the ROTC program as a requirement for senior high school in all educational institutions.

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