MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino people will judge and attest to the success of President Duterte’s leadership and the positive change his administration has brought to their lives, said Sen. Bong Go.
Go lauded the President for his well-delivered State of the Nation Address on Monday, as he expressed confidence that the realities on the ground speak volumes of the success of the Duterte administration as a whole to address the most important challenges facing the country.
The senator said the President has delivered on his campaign promises to tackle problems of corruption, criminality and illegal drugs while strengthening the competitiveness of the economy through rapid infrastructure development and other programs that aim to provide a more comfortable life to all.
“When he was still campaigning, this is what he promised – to fight government corruption, to fight crime and to fight illegal drugs. Those are the three big problems of our country, including insurgency. It was very difficult but people voted for him because they hoped for a change in their lives,” Go said.
“I would be biased if I say he did just that. Just ask the people if they can walk safely at night, our children if they can go home without being abused and hurt by addicts,” he said.
Go added that he had personally heard from Filipinos who are grateful for the administration’s continued emphasis on peace and order. He credited the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for their contributions to the campaign to address crime and violence in communities.
“When I go abroad, (overseas Filipino workers) thank the President. They said they have peace of mind while working. It is very difficult to work abroad, to be away from your family, especially if you are wondering if your children will be able to come home, ” he said.
“Many thanks to the police and military because without you, it will be difficult for President Duterte to fulfill his promises,” he said.
In addition to the President’s campaign promises, Go also highlighted the successes of the government’s Free Higher Education program which was created under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act which Duterte signed into law in August 2017.
The program has assisted nearly 1.6 million students as of May 2021, 1.3 million of whom are from 112 state universities and colleges nationwide.
The government has also sponsored the enrollment of over 500,000 primarily disadvantaged students in private institutions through the Tertiary Education Subsidy.
Other major legislative accomplishments are the Universal Health Care Law which provides affordable quality health care services to every Filipino; the Malasakit Centers Act which provides quick and convenient access to the government’s various medical assistance programs; and the Salary Standardization Law 5 which increased the salaries of government employees, including nurses and teachers.
“Our countrymen feel the change made by President Duterte. He is just increasing the free education in state colleges and universities, universal health care and Malasakit Center that we sponsor, ” Go added.
“And, of course, you can see the infrastructure projects. Left and right are the highways and skyways. It is difficult to do that without political will because there are many properties that can be exploited. In the past, our public works and highways (department) handed out injunctions. That cannot be done except with the political will of our President,” he said.
Under the Build Build Build program, the government has completed or is set to complete the Clark International Airport Expansion Project, Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, Light Rail Transit 2 East Extension Project, Metro Manila Logistics Network, Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road Project, North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway Connector Road Project and C5 South Link Expressway Project, among others.
Aside from the flagship projects, a total of 212 airport projects, 446 seaport projects, 10,376 flood mitigation structures, 26,494 km of roads and 5,555 bridges have also been completed, as of July 2021.
Another 102 airport projects, 117 seaport projects, 1,090.30 km of railway, 2,587 flood mitigation structures, 2,515 km of roads and 1,020 bridge projects are currently under construction.
The senator also hailed the Duterte administration’s efforts to ease the process of doing business in the country. In 2018, President Duterte signed the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, which streamlines the process of starting a business by mandating the creation of a central business portal to receive all business applications and the Philippine Business Databank to serve as a repository of information on all businesses registered in the Philippines.
He also signed the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act in the same year which directs the creation of the PhilSys Registry, an integrated identification system to consolidate all existing government-initiated identification systems.
Every citizen and the resident alien shall be assigned a unique and permanent identification number, thus eliminating the need to present other forms of identification.
“Even before I took my oath of office… I knew the gravity [and] enormity of the problems that the country was facing. And precisely because of that awareness, I was driven to hasten the implementation of changes which I believed the country needed,” the President said in his sixth and final SONA on Monday.
“I did not succumb to the attacks. And neither did I allow criticisms, however intense, to dampen my determination and initiatives because my purpose was pure and unpolluted… We have laid down the groundwork and are continuing to push for landmark reforms and key accomplishments until the last day of my term,” he said.