15 + 15: Du30’s actions and our expectations
For the past year, the Duterte administration has initiated numerous actions to most of its major promises. But as he’s bound to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) later today at the Batasang Pambansa, there’s still a list of predicaments we hope he addresses—because after a year of the “change is coming” mantra, change shall continue.
15 OF HIS ACTIONS DONE
1. Education – From P200 million, the allocated budget for Alternative Learning System program has been increased to P600 million for the prospect of inviting 4 million young out of school youths into the program.
2. Environment – The commitment to Paris Agreement on Climate Change has been settled, provided that there is international assistance.
3. Drugs – A mega drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija has been inaugurated, in pursuance to his promise to prioritize “rehabilitation of drug users.”
4. Drugs – The commitment to the drug campaign has been reiterated, leading to the surrender of more than 1 million users and pushers, and also more than 7,000 deaths in police operations.
5. Terrorism – Martial Law has been declared in all of Mindanao—and extended until December—in line with his plan for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to enhance “its capability to search and engage these rogue and lawless elements [terrorists],” neutralizing approximately 565 terrorists.
6. Economy – Former President Aquino’s economic policies have been maintained as promised, with the goal to attain the status of having high middle-economy by 2040.
7. Public service – The order to minimize processing days for permits and licenses to only two days has been signed by three departments namely Trade and Industry, Interior and Local Government, and Information Communication Technology.
8. Health – In an attempt to implement full force RH Law, President Duterte initially signed the Executive Order No. 12 to provide the Filipino household their family-planning needs.
9. Health – The Philippines Facility Development Plan 2017-2022 was signed leaving an expectation for the construction of mega hospitals.
10. Health – The Executive Order No. 26 was signed, which limits smoking to designated areas while also banning minors from using and selling tobacco products starting on July 24.
11. Transportation – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board gave the signal to start the Mindanao Railway, setting the construction to begin in the second quarter of 2018.
12. Transportation – The Metro Manila train congestion has been addressed by advancing the opening time and extending the Light Rail Transit (LRT) operating hours.
13. Technology – A deal with Smart free Wi-Fi was signed for 21 transportation hubs including NAIA; free Wi-Fi along EDSA was also launched.
14. Welfare – There has been an additional P600 grant for rice subsidy as promised to the 4Ps beneficiaries who complied to the education and health conditions of the program.
15. Agriculture – The National Color-coded Agriculture Guide Map (NACCAG) which guides farmers what to plant in their farms was launched.
15 OF EXPECTED ISSUES TO ADDRESS
1. There’s been a huge budget cut for Disaster Risk Reduction Management for 2017—P23 billion less than the 2016 budget—leaving a big hole in the promise to prioritize agriculture in the budget.
2. The Congress already signed the bill to lengthen the validity of driver’s license to 5 years, and only the President’s sign is needed to push this change through.
3. The health care system remains to be “fragmented”, as the World Health Organization described it. And while the medical resources are short, the budget for Health Facilities Enhancements Programs was decreased by 10% for the 2017 budget.
4. When the first batch of K12 completers steps into college next year, there are total doubts on how this will turn out—and the question remains, will they be equipped enough as concerned by the K12 critics of the country?
5. The implementation of RH Law is still hanging, frozen in the Supreme Court’s Temporary restraining order that affected two contraceptive products; after the TRO, nothing’s still clear with where the RH Bill will lead.
6. The Philippines started settling the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) dispute in May, but after a supposed war threat from China, there has not been any further move about the issue.
7. In his speech in Cambodia, he reassured that the Philippines shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the effects of scourge of illegal drugs to the youth. As the war on drugs continues to be apparent, there hasn’t been any clear settlement about what happens to the young drug users themselves.
8. The Bangsamoro Transition Commission now has a new draft of Bangsamoro Basic Law and lately, Duterte said he would support the draft as it goes through legislation for its consideration saying, “there shall be a Bangsamoro country”.
9. Grab and Uber drivers appealed to Duterte to step into the yearlong moratorium by Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to the acceptance of franchise applications for the vehicles of the app-based drivers—but there has been no response yet.
10. Duterte promises to implement an “independent foreign policy” which directly strikes to Philippines’ “overdependence on traditional partners” (America). At the same time, he vows to close ties with Russia, giving a vast space for doubtful remarks about this vied connection.
11. Senator Risa Hontiveros filed a bill against catcallers and harassment, but the issue with the worsening culture of women perversion has not yet been further addressed by the President.
12. Contractualization has always been a big drawback to the workers of the country and as much as Duterte stands to end endo, it will take time. After the executive order he signs, the next move is still in pending.
13. Forecast for inflation continues to surge as per the expected higher oil prices and weaker Peso; and according to a poll Filipinos want Duterte to address other than crimes, this threat to economy should be of attention as well.
14. The ambitious P8-trillion plan to build new roads, railways, bridges and airports effectuates a tax reform bill, seeking new duties on petroleum products and sweetened beverages—highlighting a contrary to the nation’s desire to lower tax.
15. After the declaration and extension of Martial Law in Mindanao, one of the greatest questions Filipinos seek answers for is: will it expand throughout the Philippines?