Cabinet clusters to hold Pre-SONA forum this week
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - July 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s economic and infrastructure teams are set to present the government’s post-pandemic recovery plan at the first Pre-State of the Nation Address (Pre-SONA) forum of the year to be held this week, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.

In a statement, DOF said the Economic Development and Infrastructure Cabinet Clusters (EDC-IC) of the Duterte administration will conduct a virtual Pre-SONA forum on July 8, with the theme “Regaining Momentum, Accelerating Recovery in a Post COVID-19 World.”

“This year’s Pre-SONA forum will be different, as our audience will be purely virtual. We do hope that our citizens will be able to tune in as the country’s top decision makers discuss our path to a quick and strong recovery from this crisis,” Finance assistant secretary Antonio Lambino said.

In the forum, the country’s top economic and infrastructure officials are expected to report on the state of the Philippine economy, as well as the government’s ongoing efforts to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar will present performance updates and priority plans on the economic and infrastructure fronts, respectively.

“The audience can expect Secretary Dominguez to delve deeper into the challenges we’re facing right now, the accomplishments in the previous year that we can build on, and the legislative proposals that the economic team submitted for Congress to consider,” Lambino said.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua will also speak on the Philippine Economic Recovery Program.

Meanwhile, updates on the monetary, external, and financial sectors will be discussed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno.

Pre-SONA forums will be held ahead of the President’s SONA on July 27 to discuss the achievements of the government in the previous year and its priorities.

Lambino also invited the Filipino public to raise any questions about the Philippine economy during the Pre-SONA forum.

“The Pre-SONA forum also presents an opportunity for the citizens to address their questions directly to the Secretaries of the EDC and IC. We are taking advantage of existing technologies to continue our engagement with the public, while observing proper health protocols,” he said.

“The mechanics for sending questions are simple: you just have to record yourself asking your question and post it on your personal Facebook account. Afterward, tag the DOF and DPWH Facebook pages on your post and use ‘#PreSONA2020 #AskYourCabinetSecretaries’ so we can see your entries,” Lambino explained.

Lambino asked the public to keep the maximum duration of their submissions to 45 seconds and to ask only one specific question per video.

“Please also set the privacy of your post to ‘public.’ We will be retrieving all questions from July 1 to July 5, 2020. Selected videos will be answered by the Cabinet Secretaries during the Pre-SONA forum on July 8. But questions that will not be featured because of the limited time will be answered on another platform,” Lambino said.

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