President Rody Duterte has finally presented his first “report card” to the Filipinos.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, the feisty president echoed his campaign promises — the “bloody war” against illegal drugs and criminality, his economic and legislative agenda, social justice and his staunch campaign to solve the bloody communist and Moro insurgencies.
Here’s a quick guide on what Duterte has promised, with the majority of the Filipinos expecting him to “fulfill most, if not all, of his promises.”
1. War vs. drug
Recalling his promises during the election campaign, he reiterated his unrelenting support for an all-out war against drugs and criminality in the country. Unfazed by criticisms amid the spate of extrajudicial killings, Duterte said that “there will be no let-up in this campaign.”
“We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or been put behind bars or below the ground if they so wish,’’ he claimed.
2. Ceasefire with Reds
Underscoring his commitment to lasting peace, Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels, at the early part of his historic speech, in a bid to end the nearly half-century long Maoist insurgency. The ceasefire on the part of the government means the military will suspend offensive operations against rebels.
3. No demolition without relocation
In his first SONA, the president reiterated his promise that he will not allow the demolition of informal settlers’ dwellings unless there are relocation sites. “Provide relocation and I will be glad to tell the people: ‘Go. The land is not yours,’’’ he said.
4. Lower income tax
Unlike his predecessor, Duterte has promised that he will lower personal and corporate income taxes. “My administration will pursue tax reforms towards a simpler and more equitable tax system that can foster investments. We will lower personal and corporate income tax rates,” he said.
5. Solve traffic woes
Duterte has requested the Congress to grant the government “emergency powers” to untangle worsening gridlocks in Metro Manila, which is costing the economy roughly P2.4 billion daily.
According to him, the government would intensify its crackdown on unlicensed or “colorum” public utility vehicles. “To address the lack of road infrastructure in Metro Manila, usage of existing roads will be maximized,’’ he explained.
6. Improvement of public transportation
He enumerated his plans to improve commuting, which includes increasing the number of trains of MRT and making them run faster, with the speed of 60 kph from the current 40 kph. Duterte also vowed to extend the operating hours of the LRT by an hour. He also expressed his plans to revive the Pasig River ferry, to serve as an alternative mode of transport.
7. Streamline processes in gov’t
Hating to see Filipinos lining up and waiting, Duterte vowed to streamline the processes in getting business permits and licenses, and other government applications, as part of the crackdown on red tape.
To lessen the burden of OFWs, the validity of driver’s licenses will also be extended from the current three years to five years. While passport will be made valid for 10 years from the current five.
8. Provide subsidies to poor
Focusing on his agenda to uplift the lives of the poor, Duterte ordered the Social Welfare Department to provide rice subsidies to the country’s poorest families. The measure aims to expand the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
9. Accessible and free internet
For the tough-talking Duterte, free Wi-Fi access must be available in more places. He said the government would provide free wireless internet in parks, plazas, public libraries, schools, hospitals, train stations, airports, and seaports.
10. Fight terrorism
Duterte vowed to use the full force of government in order to crush terrorist group Abu Sayyaf and put an end to their criminal activities, including kidnappings. ”We will strengthen our counter-terrorism programs by amending various laws on human terrorism, terrorism financing and cybercrime.’’ (Rose Ann Gonzales)