Senators Mark Villar and Sonny Angara praised President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
Villar said the President was able to tackle all the pressing issues in the country including economic gains, increased employment rate, the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), and “Build Better More” projects,
Angara said he considers the SONA “very comprehensive and covered all the important issues facing the nation.”
In his SONA, the President said the country made economic and employment strides, citing a 7.6% growth in 2022 and a 95.7% employment rate this year.
“The growth of our economy and increase in employment rate are good signs that the President is doing his job in terms of prioritizing economic recovery and making sure that Filipinos are given ample opportunities to succeed,” Villar said.
As former DPWH Secretary, Villar also commended President Marcos for the continuity of big-ticket projects.
“I am also grateful to President for continuing major infrastructure projects such as the Luzon Spine Expressway Network and Mega Bridge Program. These will play a vital role in our economic recovery and uplift the plight of all Filipinos nationwide.” Villar added.
Hearing the wish list of the President for the legislature, Angara meanwhile said that most of these were “not that complicated and doable.”
He cited key points raised by the President in his SONA including the importance of science, technology, and innovation in driving the quality and competitiveness of the local workforce, as well as, the manufacturing, export, creative, and service industries.
In particular, he thanked the President for including the Tatak Pinoy bill in his list of priority measures that he asked for Congress to support.
“Tatak Pinoy has been an advocacy of ours since 2019 and we have been working non-stop in the past year to craft the current bill, which we are now in the process of hearing in preparation for its deliberation in plenary,” Angara said.
The Committee on Finance, headed by Angara, has conducted three hearings on the Tatak Pinoy bill already and is set to hold its fourth hearing tomorrow, July 26.
Tatak Pinoy calls for close collaboration between the government and the private sector to achieve a common goal of equipping and enabling Filipino industries and services to become more productive and competitive, produce more complex and higher quality goods, becoming an integral part of the global supply chain and consequently, providing high-paying, quality jobs for Filipinos and making the economy more vibrant.
“We hope to sponsor the bill in plenary before we begin deliberations on the 2024 national budget. Now with the backing of the President, we are optimistic that this measure will receive the support of both our colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Angara said.
Tatak Pinoy also hews closely to the Philippine Economic Development Plan 2023 to 2028 and the new Philippine Export Development Plan, which Angara said are the building blocks to achieve strong economic growth.
“These along with what the President mentioned about the need for continuous reskilling and upskilling training programs are key components of Tatak Pinoy and will ensure that our workforce will have stronger chances in securing quality jobs,” Angara said.
The Senator also cited the initiatives being undertaken by the administration to bring in more investors, including, expediting business processes, ensuring the digitalization of all government offices, and instituting a progressive and rationalized system of taxation.
On the healthcare front, Angara thanked the President for the release of the COVID-19 emergency allowances due to qualified health workers.
Angara and former Senator Richard Gordon authored Republic Act 11712 or the Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Health Workers Act.
As a long-time advocate of ensuring quality education in the country and as a Commissioner of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2), Angara said the plans of the President for the education sector, including the hiring of more teachers and the recalibration of the curriculum for schools also stood out in the SONA.
“It was a very comprehensive SONA. It covered a lot of the important issues being faced by the nation and outlined his legislative agenda. We will continue to work closely with the Executive to implement its policies and programs while working on our own advocacies and priorities,” Angara said.