This afternoon President Rodrigo R. Duterte will deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) before a predetermined lean audience of lawmakers and guests at the Batasang Pambansa Hall in Quezon City.
There is no doubt as to what the President will be reporting to the people. It will all be about the efforts of the government to tame down the galloping spread of the deadly Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) that has already infected closed to 80 thousand Filipinos and killed about two thousand.
We are also certain that he will be humble enough to admit to the Filipinos that the country’s economy, like that of the rest of the world, is down on its knees because of the impact of the deadly pandemic.
We, too, can imagine that the President will be emotional in admitting that the country will be in hard times during the remainder of his term and which economic difficulty will be carried over to the administration after him if the deadly virus will not be stopped on its track the soonest possible time.
The President however, will definitely be proud telling the nation that despite the sudden plunge of the country’s economic growth his administration has not abandoned his big ticket infrastructure projects under his “Build, build, build” program. And he’ll surely admit that if at all there are some delays in the completion, it will only be temporary and that the remaining two years of his term is still enough time to realize some of his big dreams.
Of course his critics will disagree. They will see nothing but the opposite of whatever the President will say during his SONA.
Whatever he reports as accomplishments in the fight against COVID-19, the President’s critics, the health emergency “management “experts” from the academe and from the ranks of the opposition will be there ready to contradict. The militants will be out there again in their protest grounds to present their version of the State of the Nation under the Duterte administration.
And they will be doing all these under a regime they claim to be depriving them of the freedom of expression and assembly!
Of course we agree with the critics that we are indeed in dire straits; that we lack this and that services and materials in our battle against the unseen enemy. But we have to open our eyes and refuse to be myopic. We should take notice how people and health service providers in countries like the United States, Brazil and even leading members of the European Union are harshly complaining of the shortcoming of their own governments in dealing with the global health pandemic. Yet, their governments have all what it takes to battle the scourge.
Even in terms of discipline our own government has somehow made a mark in getting people to comply with health protocols being laid down – one on the wearing of face mask. The President can surely make mention of the result of a survey conducted by a United Kingdom polling firm that says the Philippines is second to Singapore in terms of making its population comply the wearing of face mask mandate. That is one big achievement that the government can claim.
So, amid all speculations as to what the President will be reporting to the nation hours from the time this paper reached your table this morning, let’s keep our hands crossed and hope his statements will present what the people have really felt and seen, and not what his critics would want it figured out.
In Davao City we have noticed that from the present council there is one councilor that has been consistent with the performance desired by the constituents.
We are referring to Third District Councilor Jocelyn Villafuerte. Towards the end of 2019 she caused the passage of an ordinance creating a facility to house and to provide medical interventions to people suffering from mental disorder and who are seemingly abandoned by their families. They are those who have become street denizens wandering aimlessly dirty and hungry. They are those who make some sane people squirm when they come near them.
The facility was inaugurated and ready to accommodate the unfortunate ones early this year. But COVID-19 came and the attention of the local government was temporarily shifted to the fight against the pandemic.
And here again came councilor Villafuerte with a resolution she introduced in last Tuesday’s council session. The third district lady dad authored yet another high-impact resolution urging the local finance committee to consider granting hazard pay to barangay health workers in Davao City in pursuance to a national order of giving hazard allowance to health front liners.
No amount was given as to how much. But the resolution seeks to get the mayor’s approval for such money and her authorization to have the same put into an ordinance.
We are certain that this Villafuerte resolution will go a long way for barangay health workers and their families. These workers are definitely in the forefront of the CoViD war at their level. They certainly deserve the hazard pay whatever may be the amount given.