President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to hammer on the need to pass a Freedom of Information (FOI) measure and stopping media killings when he addresses Congress and reports on the state of the nation today.
Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said although the President’s “powerful” speech will not last an hour, it covers a great number of issues, including the need to legislate an FOI law, Andanar said.
“The formation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Killings will also be included,” he said.
Duterte had earlier announced the creation of a super panel that will tackle the problem on media slays but he has yet to disclose the group’s composition.
In a press briefing in Davao City on Sunday morning, Andanar said the President had revised his speech 10 times.
“Well, I’d like to tell you the story that yesterday was a very productive day for the President as usual. But the hours that RTVM (Radio TV Malacañang) and the people around the President spent last night in reviewing the speech of the President and the President found it very enjoyable and the President after more than 10 revisions,” the official told reporters.
“So this is what I can say: The address of the President, personally written by the President, will be a very powerful speech that will awaken the patriot in every Filipino,” Andanar said.
He said Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) will appeal to the people’s convictions and give insights to what he wishes for the coming generations of Filipinos.
“The speech will make one appreciate that our president thinks beyond you and me and the 100 million Filipinos today. The president thinks larger than anyone of us combined. He thinks for the next generations of Filipinos to come,” Andanar told The Manila Times in an interview.
“This made me cry,” he added.
Andanar did not say if Duterte will make public the drug matrix that is now in his possession. The matrix contains a list of suspected big time drug syndicates and their protectors and will show the extent of the drug problem in the country.
Today’s event will not be as glitzy or extravagant as in past SONAs since Malacañang has asked lawmakers and other attendees to dress simply.
From fashion to food to message and messenger, Duterte’s first SONA will be a complete departure from the lavishness that used to mark the ceremony in previous administrations.
Even the menu is a feast of native dishes: native chips, salted duck egg with dressing; mongo soup paired with smoked fish and alugbati on grissini bread; fresh lumpia ubod in pouch; and chicken and spicy tuna empanaditas. There will also be crispy triangles of flaked chicken adobo and mushrooms; fried lumpia ubod; pandesal with kesong puti and beef steak; penne with taba ng talangka sauce; balut pâté in profiteroles; and chicken skin crackling.
Acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza has been tapped to direct the event, pro bono.
Leftist militants have vowed not to march in protest as their tradition, but in support of the new President. Expected to join them are a thousand delegates, including the lumad from Northern Mindanao and Caraga.
JOEL M. SY EGCO