President Rodrigo Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address will be chock full of achievement

The last of President Rodrigo Duterte’s state of the nation addresses (SONAs) is at hand. In his Inquirer column today, Peter Wallace is a bit profuse in his praise of the President. He went on to “preempt his Sona by listing some of the achievements he accomplished, some that previous presidents shied away from, or were unable to accomplish”, and then writes…

But probably one of his greatest and most long-lasting legacies will be the “Build, build, build” program. His government more than doubled the percent of GDP spent on infrastructure and elicited foreign government and private sector support for 112 major projects. An essential if you want business to grow, and people to have communities they can live in.

In my personal experience, on the other hand, the government bureaucracy continues to suck big-time. Digitization is not being adopted by government departments and agencies. Local government units (LGUs) are the same. The resistance from bureaucrats is intense because it threatens their livelihoods. But what I can truly say is the six years of Duterte flew by compared to the agony of waiting for the Aquino administration that preceded his to step down. That was mental torture. What Duterte will say in his last SONA is top of mind among political pundits. This is his valedictory address to Congress and to the Filipino people before the campaign season sets in.

As Wallace points out, there are more reform measures pending before Congress. There is still enough time to get these passed provided our lawmakers don’t fall into the trap of politicking. Their priority is not these measures but the election year budget. August marks the start of the budget season for government departments and agencies. The budgets will be submitted to the House Appropriations Committee for review then the budget hearings will commence. There is incentive for the Congressmen to pass the budget before the end of the year because the campaign period for the local elections begin in March.

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There is also the ban on public works spending to be mindful of. The President admitted to not knowing anything about the economy and left it in the hands of someone who does. If it were not for the pandemic, the President would have been able to report gains during his six-year term. As it is, the pandemic put the economy into a recession but Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has proven to be both adept and pro-active. Congress finally passed amended portions of the tax reform program he put forth at the beginning of the administration. There are still pending measures in Congress which are essential components of the economic recovery program. These should be passed before the administration bows out on June 30, 2022.

By far, the greatest legacy of the Duterte administration is infrastructure development as Wallace highlights. Big-ticket and small-ticket projects alike were completed within six years. Some of these were awarded during the tail end of the Aquino administration. What the Opposition fails to take cognizance of is the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center was only able to get its act together in the last two years of its tenure. What was announced as the flagship program of the Aquino administration turned out to be a dud. The symbol of the failure is the “magpapa-sagasa kami sa tren” remarks made during the speech announcing the LRT-1 extension from Baclaran to Cavite. This was in 2013. By 2016, groundbreaking on the construction hadn’t even begun. The Duterte administration had to twist the arm of the Ayala-MVP joint-venture which was awarded the operations and maintenance contract of LRT-1 to get the project moving. It is finally being built.

There is also the increased government spending on social services. Free tertiary education, universal healthcare and the Malasakit Centers constructed in the regions as well as the upgrade of government-owned hospitals. The upgraded “Build Build Build” (BBB) program now includes the expansion of existing government-owned hospitals and the construction of new hospitals where they are urgently needed as part of the effort to build up healthcare capacity in the midst of the pandemic.

The greatest threat to economic recovery is still the pandemic. The news yesterday that the Delta variant has been detected locally doesn’t bode well for the economy. The government will again be put to a serious test as the rest of the world has been grappling with a Delta-induced surge. This could also have an effect on the conduct of the 2022 election if the situation becomes as worse as it is in countries in the midst of this surge.

Duterte is the only post-Marcos President who has been able to maintain his approval rating from start to finish. Filipinos are generally satisfied with his performance. It wasn’t a perfect administration with not all of the promises being kept but the people felt the change that he promised during the campaign even if he had been hampered by the vilification and black propaganda campaign organized by the Opposition. The Mayor who did not do well academically has finally obtained a passing mark when and where it counted the most. Daghang salamat kaayo Manong.

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16 Comments on “President Rodrigo Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address will be chock full of achievement”

  1. Achievements:
    Illegal detention of millions of people, including foreigners, destroying the economy, high unemployment, killing people intentionally by not allowing people to get medical care unless it’s covid, increase mental illness especially with children, vaccinating people with an unproven gene therapy jab, tourism down the toilet…

    1. Looks like Jimmy here is busy with his… er… cyber wa_____ of non-existent issues (detention of foreigners, really? Search for currrent vlogger foreigners in the Philippines nowadays that live and thrive there and they lurrrvveee living in the Philippines now, haha).

      Look Jimmy, try not to show again your much maligned “shortcoming” again in the Internet, puhleez.

    1. Hey if YOU think you can do a better job than President Duterte, BE MY GUEST!!!

      But you would have to pry the Presidency out of my COLD DEAD hands first – because when I become President, I would not take any form of criticism lightly!!! I shall have all my dissenters and critics rounded up by my military – then I will PERSONALLY determine their method of execution!

      Say what Reporters Without Balls…oops, I mean Borders would say about Duterte being a Press Freedom “Predator”, I am going to be the Press Freedom TERMINATOR when I become President!!

      1. Then you’ll be nothing but a mad dictator. The “You think you can do a better job than President Duterte” is an invalid argument because it shows how you’re unable to defend him from his failures and shortcomings.

        1. That, my friend, is not an invalid argument but a defense of the Davao Mayor’s achievements over the past six years, Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get to your workplace from your cushy house in the suburbs?

          How about you? Nganga, just like that human flower-vase Leni Robriedo and that punch-drunk buffoon Manny Pacquiao whom you want to take over Malacanang. That is, if Yosemite Sam Trillanes does not pull an upset with his Camp Crame goon squad.

        2. @PETER by arresting or executing those who simply criticizes you, that’s already a human right violations. If you’re that kind of president, then be prepared to face sanctions from powerful countries like the US and EU.

        3. @NO DATA Oh yeah, if I become President, then I am immune from liability especially when I deal with my critics. After all, we Filipinos thrive best under an autocratic leadership instead of an American-style democracy that has not worked in our favour during the past twenty-odd years

          Do you think the USA and the EU can remove a duly elected head of state?

          THEY are the ones stepping out of line, not I, muchacho.

    2. Nothing is good enough especially with someone using a username “No Data”. Your name says it all… you’re clueless and lacking information on the achievements of the current government (look, lots of tangible infrastructures across the country, plus improved MRT and oh the rise of the PNR trains again are just samples of these achievements).

      Way better than the past administrations, especially from the one who just became “jaundiced” ashes (ahh, poor chap, used and abused by his political party mates till his death).

      1. What about TRAIN law then? It increased prices of commodities. Now, taxes are extremely high in Philippines yet you still think those so-called achievements you mentioned outweigh the negative impacts which are the extremely high taxes? Not to mention salaries are still low. The cost of living in Philippines is already parallel to the cost of living in 1st world countries yet the salaries are still far below the salaries than in 1st world countries.

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