• What lawmakers expect from SONA

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    Lawmakers expect to hear a straightforward speech from President Rodrigo Duterte when he delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) today.

    “From how I personally know President Duterte, a no-nonsense, no-frills, action man, I expect that his SONA would be concise and straight to the point. It will cut to the matter of most pressing concerns facing our nation such as questions on Federalism and the issue of the West Philippine Sea in relation to China,” Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco said.

    Senate President Franklin Drilon said the President may say how he wants the legislative branch to help him fulfill his 10-point socio-economic agenda.

    “In his 10-point socioeconomic agenda are measures to improve the social protection programs, which include the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program or the 4Ps or the conditional cash transfer. We would like to hear how he intends to improve this particular social-protection program,” Drilon said.

    He added that lawmakers would like to hear how Duterte intends to fund his promised P50,000 minimum salary per month, as well as the planned pension raise for Social Security System retirees.

    “We would like to hear in the President’s SONA if there are any specific powers he would wish to be granted to the executive branch in order to improve our transportation system and alleviate the traffic conditions. So, these are some of my expectations on the President’s SONA,” Drilon said.

    Davao Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles meanwhile anticipates the naming of public officials suspected to be linked to illegal drugs.

    “I believe the President will spell out the State of the drug menace and the state of criminality and corruption in our country,” Nograles said.

    For his part, Bohol Rep. Rene Relampagos wants to hear about programs and projects for the improvement of lives in the provinces.

    “We need jobs for our people in the provinces. This is the best way of keeping them here and providing them a better life,” Relampagos said.

    Senator Risa Hontiveros hopes that Duterte will elaborate on the government’s health policy framework, assert the country’s sovereignty with the guidance of the recent ruling of an arbitral tribunal on the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), and cover human rights in his speech as well.

    REINA TOLENTINO

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