MANILA, July 25 — Two senators on Tuesday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s giving importance to several issues particularly security concerns and disaster resiliency in his second State of the Nation Address last Monday.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, in a press statement, said that it was “timely” for President Duterte to devote airtime on the violent extremism in Mindanao considering its current peace and order situation.
Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, said that ending the conflict in Mindanao would also “encourage strong foreign investments” and foster “long-term inclusive growth” in the area.
He said that he also liked the President’s proposed initiatives to enhance the defense capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The neophyte senator also commended the President’s hardline stance against communist rebels noting that it showed that the government is committed to ensuring that it is in control of peace negotiations.
However, Gatchalian said the President could have presented a more concrete plans concerning government efforts to rebuild war-torn Marawi City.
“The hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who have been displaced by this conflict are still clamoring for detailed assurances from the government regarding how it will help them rebuild their lives,” Gatchalian said.
Sen. Loren Legarda, in a separate statement, said she agreed with the President noting that issues of terrorism and drug menace should never be underestimated.
Legarda, who is also chair of the Senate Finance Committee, vowed to ensure that law enforcers, soldiers, and the intelligence community will be adequately supported.
She said that it was “about time” that disaster resiliency is given a prominent role in the President’s SONA.
“I support the strengthening of existing institutions to give them the authority and the wherewithal to effectively deliver DRR (disaster risk reduction) measures,” Legarda said.
Legarda also welcomed the President’s mention of climate change and the urgency of implementing measures to mitigate its impacts noting that it should be part of the “change agenda.”
She also lauded the President’s statement that the “protection of environment ahead of mining” will be observed in dispensing action on mining applications, that more attention will be given to the agriculture sector, and that he asked for the immediate passage of the National Land Use Act, which was one of the first 10 bills she filed at the opening of the 17th Congress last year.
Sen. Grace Poe, in an interview, said that she had hoped that the President could have also tackled the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill and that he would certify his request for emergency powers to solve Metro Manila’s traffic woes as a priority.
“Oo sana nabanggit niya. Sana ginawa niyang prayoridad ang emergency powers kasi kung prayoridad yun, maipapasa agad iyon at yung kailangan niya para sa programa niya na imprastraktura (Yes, I hoped he would mention it. I hope he makes emergency powers a priority because if it’s a priority, it can be passed immediately and we would need it for his programs on infrastructure),” Poe told reporters.