Tomorrow’s SONA is PRRD’s report card

NEWS NOTES

Just as everybody was talking about the Pacquiao -Malaysse fight last Sunday ,the topic today will be the SONA tomorrow. SONA is the annual report to the Filipinos by the President (a tradition since Quezon) about his deeds and mis-deeds during the past year. It will be his self-addressed report card of sorts.

For sure, Duterte will have a passing grade regardless of who will rate him, be it his friends or foes. It is because Duterte is an old man in a hurry to get things done and fixed in this country. He is seventy and he has no time for a second term. So he wants to do and fast, the things that other presidents have neglected or failed to do. And what are these?

The frontal and brutal attack on criminality and lawlessness in this country; the frontal war on drugs; the brutal fright against graft and corruption; and the much-delayed buildx3 program.

Let’s admit that Duterte plays favorites and who does not? While over 100,000 were arrested for illegal drug issues, 4000 have been killed. Unless done, who will clean up the mess? Our brand of due process is known to take forever via dilatory tactics. Until now the Marcos hidden wealth has not yet been proven, they are now starting to return or stop pursuing the money trail.

But the truth about the drug problem is that there are less drug lords who are busted except a handful of at least five among the hundreds of drug financiers.

Duterte’s anti drug campaign is not yet and cannot become successful unless the drug sources are busted. There will always be drug users and peddlers solong as supply lasts. And Duterte’s anti drug campaign has not yet crippled the sources of drugs , we don’t know why.

So Duterte has made a good start on anti-drug campaign which no other president in the past has done. Although far from finished, at least the man started the fight . We just wonder if his successor will fight the menace the way PRRD has done.

The President’s welcoming committee will include Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and the secretaries-general of both chambers. They will then escort Duterte to the Legislators’ Lounge, where he will be paid a courtesy call by Congress leaders. He will then proceed to the plenary hall to deliver his speech.

Shorter speech. The President promised his speech would last not more than 35 minutes. If he keeps his word, this year’s address will be his shortest. His first SONA was an hour and a half long while his SONA in 2017 stretched to two hours. He still held a press conference right after.

No more list of achievements. This year, Duterte has asked for the accomplishments to be reported in pre-SONA briefings so that he has more room in his speech to convey his personal sentiments. The Office of the Cabinet Secretary has been organizing pre-SONA briefings, where department heads in each Cabinet cluster present their accomplishments.