House Minority Floor Leader Stephen Paduano in his “contra SONA (state of the nation address)” delivered before the House of Representatives Wednesday, July 28, said the Philippines is in very bad shape and there is a need to act on its problems swiftly.
“We are suffering from terrible heartbreak due to the COVID outbreak. Whatever gains we have achieved cannot measure up to the pains we have endured. The loss of lives and livelihood, the economic collapse, and the hard climb to recovery tell us only a thing – this country is in a very bad shape,” Paduano (Abang Lingkod Partylist) said.
Filipinos need not have to choose to die in hunger or from the virus. Amid the pandemic, a balance between health and economy must be maintained, said Paduano, who is from Negros Occidental.
Inequitable distribution of vaccines must be corrected soonest, he said.
The presence of the Delta variant in the country calls for a more pro-active response, particularly through specific, targeted mass testing in the community, in order to generate relevant and accurate data, Paduano said.
Paduano also called on the President to call on the PNP chief to immediately conduct an investigation on the allegations of illegal drugs involvement of nine generals as highlighted in his SONA.
“I also call on the PNP hierarchy to instill discipline among its ranks to eliminate impunity. The police must strictly observe protocols in anti-illegal drug operations and must recognize and respect PDEA’s leadership, he said.
On food security and agriculture, Paduano called on the leadership of Congress to immediately convene the Congressional Oversight Committee to evaluate the utilization of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
He also called on the Bureau of Customs to publish collections on rice tariff.
On education, he said people committing grave offenses must not be left unpunished.
“The erroneous learning materials were proof of negligence and dereliction of duty. I call on the DepEd officials to identify the culprits, bring them to court and have them penalized under our laws,” he added.
Paduano also called on the officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways, leaders of Congress and government planners and implementers to put a stop to the decades-old tradition of investing and spending more in Metro Manila.
There should be equitable distribution of government resources in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, he said.*