Gut issues vie for Sona focus, Duterte told

SENATOR Nancy Binay on Sunday expressed hope that President Rodrigo Duterte will take today’s State of the Nation Address as an opportunity to gut issues that matter most to ordinary Filipinos.

“I hope the President focuses on addressing issues such as controlling inflation, the creation of jobs, and lowering prices,” Binay said in a mix of English and Filipino. “More jobs, less jabs.”

The senator also said she hopes the President will call for the suspension of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law and finally puts a stop to abusive contractualization.

“We heard the intense clamor of our people to suspend TRAIN and to stop contractualization that the President should hastily act upon,” she said.

“For those who continue to struggle in life, they no longer want more of the same war on drugs staple,” she said, referring to the President’s bloody war on drugs.

GATEKEEPER. A member of the Presidential Security Group  on Sunday mans the gate of the Batasan Complex gate where a giant tarpaulin hangs to welcome officials and dignitaries attending President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s delivery of his third State of The Nation Address on Monday. MMDA map (inset) shows possible alternate routes to guide motorists. Manny Palmero
“What everybody wants to hear are the social policies and environmental policy direction, also the action plans of fhe administration in the next three years,” she added.

People would also want to get an update on the rehabilitation of Marawi as well as the results of a mining autit.

“These are aside from updates of the Build Build Build program and the Bangsamoro Organic Law being signed into law anytime soon,” she said.

The signing of the BOL, she added, can remind members of the government peace panel to forge ahead with peace talks with communist rebels.

Senators Juan Edgardo Angara and JV Ejercito, meanwhile, said they hope the President will urge the passage of the Universal Health Care bill.

Angara also urged the President to turn his attention to improving the quality of education by giving higher pay to teachers in public schools.

He also called on the administration to give priority to creating high-paying jobs as a way of reducing poverty faster.

“The country’s economic gains must lead to the creation of more high-paying and stable jobs,” Angara said. “Jobs are still the key in the fight against poverty. If people earn enough from decent, stable jobs, the quality of life of Filipino families will improve,” he said in Filipino.

He said the government’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program should be paired with a Jobs, Jobs, Jobs program that will attract overseas Filipino workers to return home and work here.

“The push of the administration to fast-track infrastructure development to create jobs while ramping up social services like free education and better health care services is moving in the right direction. These efforts must be sustained so as to improve the lives of Filipinos,” Angara said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said he wants the President to put greater focus on economic issues amid growing concern over the steady rise in the prices of basic commodities.

“I hope President Duterte will outline in detail the government’s concrete plan-of-action to shield poor Filipino families from the rising prices of basic commodities, especially food,” said Gatchalian, the chairman of the Senate committee on economic affairs.

House Secretary General Cesar Pareja, meanwhile, said his staff has been coordinating with the Quezon City police and the Armed Forces to prevent any clash between pro- and anti-government groups near the Batasan Complex.

On the eve of Duterte’s third Sona, Amnesty International said the President has presided over “a disturbing regression on human rights that has left the Philippines a more perilous place than when he came to power.”

“President Duterte came to power on the back of a ‘strongman’ image and a promise to be tough on law and order. The reality is, just two years into his presidency, his disastrous policies have made the country a more dangerous place, particularly for the poorest Filipinos,” said Rachel Chhoa Howard, Amnesty International’s Philippines researcher.

“Instead of combatting a difficult social problem, his ‘war on drugs’ has caused untold damage and misery. President Duterte’s policies—which include directly encouraging unlawful killing—have seen thousands of people murdered with total impunity amid growing lawlessness, with extrajudicial executions in homes and on the country’s streets still happening on a daily-basis.

Meanwhile, the Quezon City Police District advised motorists to take alternate routes as certain sections of Commonwealth Avenue will be closed in line with the Sona.

QCPD director, Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel Jr., said heavy traffic is expected, particularly on roads leading to and from the Batasang Pambansa Complex.

“As in previous Sona experiences, we have identified alternate routes for motorists who will be most likely be affected by the traffic congestions due to activities and mass demonstrations of cause-oriented groups particularly along Commonwealth Avenue,” Esquivel said in a statement Sunday.

He said there will be zipper or counterflow lanes on some portions of Commonwealth Avenue to give way to vehicles of government officials and foreign dignitaries entering and exiting the Batasang Pambansa Complex.

The following roads will be closed in line with the Sona on Monday and motorist are advised to take the following alternate routes:

By 12:01 a.m. Monday, Commonwealth Avenue, north bound shall be partially closed from Toyota Commonwealth to Sandiganbayan U-turn slot.

South-bound lanes of Commonwealth Avenue will remain open. Starting 6 a.m., motorists coming from Quezon Memorial Circle going to Fairview will take the zipper lane at the island breaker in front of Home Depot U-turn slot and take inner lanes. The end and exit point of the zipper lane is at the island breaker at Sandiganbayan U-turn slot.

Motorists coming from Fairview going to QMC will take the usual southbound route.

On Monday noon, the entire westbound lane of IBP Road (from Litex to Sandiganbayan) will be closed to motorists.

Vehicles coming from Filinvest 1, Sinagtala, San Mateo Road, and Filinvest 2 going to Fairview and Commonwealth Avenue may take the east-bound lane of IBP Road and exit to Litex.

At 2:30 p.m., light vehicles coming from QMC going to Fairview may take North Avenue, turn right at Mindanao Avenue, turn right at Old Sauyo Road, turn left at Chestnut Street, turn right at Dahlia Street, turn left at Fairlane Street, then exit at Commonwealth Avenue.

Topics: President Rodrigo Duterte , State of the Nation Address , SONA
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