Negros Occidental and Bacolod City officials cited President Rodrigo Duterte for an extraordinary presidency amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and gave him a 7 to 8 rating as he outlined his achievements in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 26.
Duterte, in his nearly three-hour speech before the joint Houses of Congress, said he does not consider his sixth and last SONA his “swan song” as he has less than a year left to continue providing Filipinos with his promise of a comfortable life amid the prevailing pandemic.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said he would give the Duterte presidency a rating of eight, on a scale of one to ten.
He pointed out that it has been very difficult for the country’s economy with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lacson said 2019 was a good year as far as the Philippines’ economy was concerned, unfortunately, the pandemic came that affected all countries worldwide.
The governor, who watched the SONA via Zoom, said he joins the President in his earnest plea for every Filipino to get vaccinated.
“At this point, getting vaccinated has gone beyond the question of choice, it has now become our moral obligation,” Lacson said.
On the COVID crisis response, Lacson said the call of the President for rebound and recovery programs, the retooling and upscaling of workers for better job opportunities is decisively pivotal.
For while we are in the midst of battling the COVID-19 virus, we also need to make provisions for the recovery of our economy, Lacson said.
Lacson said he is with the president in his plan to pursue the creation of the Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines.
The president’s call for the creation of a department dedicated to the welfare and concerns of migrant workers and OFWs is a welcome development, the governor added.
The governor noted that while Duterte’s abhorrence of lawlessness, criminality, corruption, and illegal drugs was apparent, he was pleased with the gains of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said Duterte has had an “extraordinary presidency, buffeted by extraordinary problems and difficulties”
Given the problems brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, “I think we can give the President high marks for his achievements such as the universal health care, free tertiary education and in the areas of anti-insurgency, drugs, criminality and the campaign against Covid-19,” Leonardia said.
Bacolod has been one of those that markedly benefitted from the President’s attention, the mayor also said.
“Aside from the infrastructure and social services projects, we have one of the most vigorous anti-COVID vaccination programs in the country because the President has been quick to respond to our calls for additional vaccines”, Leonardia said.
Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya said it was humbling to hear the president mention the law he authored establishing the Bacolod City General Hospital in his SONA.
Gasataya said it is a huge honor for him to have been able to contribute to the efforts of the national government in the realization of its priorities and agenda within Bacolod.
Rep. Steven Paduano (Abang Lingkod Partylist) said he hopes the availability of vaccines and massive infrastructure of the Duterte administration would be equitably distributed around the country.
Cadiz Mayor Salvador Escalante, United Negros Alliance secretary general, said Dutere cannot be compared to other presidents because these are abnormal times amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He gave the president’s performance a rating of 7 ½ to 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Former Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, Negros Occidental provincial economic consultant, said among the landmark achievements of the president are the universal health care program and free tuition for tertiary education.
Benitez said he would give the president a 7 to 8 rating.*