No political plans in Duterte SONA
“Perhaps his political plans will not be included. What is important is the roadmap for his last year in office,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said at a press briefing.
Simeon Celi Jr./Presidential Photo, File

No political plans in Duterte SONA

Evelyn Macairan, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 23, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte is not expected to talk about his political plans during his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26, Malacañang said yesterday.

“Perhaps his political plans will not be included. What is important is the roadmap for his last year in office,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said at a press briefing.

Administration allies have asked Duterte to seek the vice presidency next year, to which he said he was “somehow sold” to the idea of continuing his accomplishments.

However, the 76-year-old leader also raised the possibility that he might become “inutile” if his successor is not an ally.

Last week, Duterte said his frequent mention of a possible vice presidential bid was just meant to scare off his critics. But he also expressed readiness to seek the post “if it is good for the country.”

Last Wednesday, Roque said Duterte would look back at his last five years in office and focus on the country’s development, social and infrastructure programs, peace and security, and foreign policy.

In an interview with radio station dzRH, Roque said the President would also talk about the government’s pandemic response and vaccination program.

Yesterday, Malacañang expressed hope that the administration’s priority bills would be passed within the year since next year may be too busy for legislators because of the elections.

“If there are priority bills, they should be passed as soon as possible. If they remain pending next year, we all know that everyone is busy with politics,” Roque said.

Roque said the administration is optimistic that the urgent bills would be approved because of its cordial relationship with Congress.

To date, at least 19 of the President’s priority bills have been enacted into law.

The latest legislative priorities to become law include the measure extending the period for the provision of lifeline rates to the poor, the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or CREATE, the act expediting the procurement and administration of vaccines for the protection against COVID-19;

The coconut farmers trust fund, Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer or FIST Act, the proposed amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, the act extending the availability of the 2020 appropriations to Dec. 31, 2021;

The measure extending the effectivity of Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the 2021 budget, the measure further streamlining the processing of government permits and other documents, the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Data from the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office show that more than 40 of Duterte’s priority bills remain pending.

They include the bill creating the department of overseas Filipinos, the rural agricultural and fisheries development financing system act, the bill creating the disaster resilience department, internet transactions act, expansion of the solo parents act, amendments to the public service act;

The passive income tax and financial intermediary tax reform bill, amendments to the retail trade liberalization act, proposed amendments to the foreign investments, proposed National Land Use Act, creation of a water resources department, the government rightsizing bill;

The proposed magna carta for barangays, the measure reimposing the death penalty and the bill restoring the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Bill.

Roque previously said the anti-ENDO bill remains a priority of the administration. Malacañang is also studying whether or not to seek the passage of the third tranche of Bayanihan, a law that supported the government’s pandemic response.

“I can’t think of anyone who would object if there is a decision to seek Bayanihan 3,” Roque said.

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