A handful of President Rodrigo Duterte’s priority legislation to tweak the economy, which he highlighted during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last year, have been approved by the Senate.
These are the laws on the use of the coconut industry fund, economic provisions for banks and other financial institutions, and granting the President powers to cut red tape in regulatory offices.
Legislation to face the economic challenges posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic likewise earned the Senate’s nod – Bayanihan 1 and 2 that granted the President additional authority to respond to the crisis, including the release of funds; and the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act.
Not all long-standing priorities, however, were granted, among them the push for the return of capital punishment that remains pending.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, one of eight senators who will physically attend the sixth and final SONA at the Batasang Pambansa on July 26, previously said he prefers prevention and rehabilitation on the war on drugs.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, the first to confirm his presidential bid with Sotto as his running mate, has the same sentiment and would rather focus on anti-drug education.
Sotto will be joined by Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Ronald dela Rosa, Sherwin Gatchalian, Christopher “Bong” Go, Imee Marcos, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Francis Tolentino.
Go said it would be the Filipino people who would judge the legacy of Duterte.
“Alam n’yo, mga pinangako n’ya, ang laban sa korapsyon sa gobyerno, kriminalidad, at iligal na droga … napakahirap po sugpuin totally ng iligal na droga pero talaga pong sinisikap ng Pangulo ang lahat ng makakaya niya (All the President’s promises – fighting corruption in government, criminality, and illegal drugs. It is extremely difficult to eradicate illegal drugs but the President did his best),” he said.
Go also listed some of the major accomplishments of the Duterte administration, some of which the Senate helped achieve: big-ticket infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program; reduction of poverty incidence among Filipinos, programs and policies that stimulated the economy to grow above 6 percent before the pandemic; tax reform to address inequality; the Malasakit Center Act that provides nearly zero hospital fees for indigents; free college tuition; the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; and improving the ease of doing business in the country or the anti-red tape law.
“Let the people be the judge. Tanungin n’yo ang inyong mga anak, ‘yung mga OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), tanungin n’yo ang mga anak nila. Kayo na po ang humusga sa ginawa ng Pangulo (Ask your children, the OFWs and their children. Let the people judge him),” he added.
Go said Filipinos who have felt and experienced the changes brought by the Duterte administration are the rightful judge of his accomplishments.
Lacson will not be at Batasang Pambansa but he said he would be interested to hear the President talk about the vaccination program and the fight against corruption.
“Are we better off than when President Rodrigo Duterte started his term in 2016? What can be done in the last year of his term? We want to hear what happened in the last five years and moving forward for the last year of his administration, what can still be done?” Lacson said in a statement.
Source: Philippines News Agency