Negros, Bacolod officials outline SONA wishes

Bacolod City and Negros Occidental officials are hoping President Rodrigo Duterte outlines concrete plans versus COVID-19 and for the economy in his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, July 26.

The president is scheduled to deliver his annual speech before both houses of Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City at 4 p.m., Malacañang announced.

Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya said he hopes the President provides not just updates, but concrete plans of action versus the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in terms of vaccine rollout and utilization of the Bayanihan funds.

“The sooner we recover from or mitigate the health impacts of COVID-19, the sooner we will be able to act to help our brethren who have lost loved ones and sources of income in the past year,” Gasataya said.

“More than ayuda (assistance), our countrymen are now in need of long-term solutions such as employment amid the pandemic. As much as we want to provide ‘ayuda’, we have limited resources. We are now at the phase where we need more sustainable means to address the issues at hand,” he added.

Rep. Francisco Benitez (Negros Occidental, 3rd District) said hopefully the president will discuss his plans for the country’s economy and education.

Rep. Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod Partylist) said he hopes the president provides COVID-19 updates and specific policies, especially on vaccinations, the war on drugs, insurgency issues, and public safety.

He also hopes that under the “build, build, build” program, the president ensures the equitable distribution of the infrastructure budget for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said “the vaccines are coming and the Mandanas ruling is being implemented next year, so there is nothing more I hope he will say.”

The 2018 Mandanas ruling of the Supreme Court states that local governments are entitled to a share of all national taxes, not just the internal revenue taxes.

Frank Carbon, executive director of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he hopes the president briefs the nation on when COVID-19 herd immunity will be reached, and on efforts in the remaining months of his presidency for economic recovery.

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza wants the president to end contractualization , red tagging and , extra judicial killings, push for renewable energy to address the worsening climate emergency, and listen to communities affected by mining.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said a maximum of 400 guests are expected to attend the final SONA.*

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