Wages, prices, jobs top Pinoy concerns

Published July 19, 2019, 3:59 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Alexandria San Juan and Hannah Torregoza

Workers’ salaries, prices of basic commodities, and job opportunities topped the list of issues Filipinos want to hear during President Duterte when he delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22, 2019.

A woman walks past a tarpaulin placed at the entrance of the House of Representatives on Friday, July 19, 2019, announcing the upcoming 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, July 22, 2019. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)
A woman walks past a tarpaulin placed at the entrance of the House of Representatives on Friday, July 19, 2019, announcing the upcoming 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, July 22, 2019. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)

In the latest Pulse Asia Research survey released on Friday, at least 17.1 percent of Filipinos said they would like the President to discuss issues on the pay of workers, and another 17.1 percent want the President to tackle on the reduction of prices of basic goods.

These were followed by 15.2 percent who want to hear Duterte’s plans on creating more jobs or livelihood opportunities during his term.

Apart from these, 9.2 percent of Filipinos also want Duterte to tackle issues surrounding the relationship between the Philippines and China.

In particular, 6.1 percent believed that the President should assert Philippine sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea while 3.1 percent said he should explain the country’s policy in relation to China.

Other issues cited by Filipinos that should be discussed by Duterte in his upcoming SONA are the fight against illegal drugs (7.8 percent) and improvements on the agriculture sector (5.9 percent).

Other concerns mentioned by the respondents during the survey are poverty eradication (2.5 percent), fighting corruption (1.6 percent), infrastructure development (0.5 percent), and respect for human rights (0.3 percent).

In the same survey fielded from June 24 to 30, it was also revealed that majority of the 1,200 respondents are aware of Duterte’s previous SONAs.

At least 75 percent said they have heard, read, or watched something about any of the past SONAs delivered by the President.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo had earlier said that the President will only have a short speech on his upcoming SONA contrary to his lengthy speeches in the past years.

Similar to his previous SONAs, President Duterte is expected to boast his administration’s accomplishments in the past three years as well as his legislative agenda for the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said President Duterte should outline his long-term plans for the country in his fourth SONA.

“For the 4th SONA, the President must outline his plans, not only for the next three years, but for the next decade,” Angara said.

Angara, who is poised to take over the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee, also said the proposed 2020 national budget should lay down the framework for the 10-year development plan for the country.

“This should result in the next administration building on what the President has achieved and what he started during his term and not the perennial focus on going after its predecessors,” he said.

“Of course we would also like to hear the President fulfilling his promise of raising the salaries of our teachers,” he said.

“We want to see the creation of more jobs and opportunities for the Filipino people so that they are able to improve their lives and no longer see the need to go abroad in order to make ends meet,” added the senator.

As far as he is concerned, Angara said he believes the Duterte administration has the political will and capability to get things done.

“We now have the Free Tuition Law, Free Irrigation Law and Universal Healthcare Act, all of which will improve the lives of the people, particularly the poor. We would like to see them building on these gains,” he stressed.

Angara also said the administration is on the right track as far as putting up the infrastructure needed to move the country forward in the next decades.

“The people are eagerly awaiting the results of these projects and how they will benefit from them,” he said.

“If the President can address the traffic problems faced by the country’s major urban areas and give the commuting public the efficient transportation system that they deserve, then I believe a great deal of the criticisms hurled against him on various fronts will be set aside,” added the senator.

Angara, likewise, said that based on his assessment, the President has been generally successful in fulfilling his promise to rid the Philippines “of the scourge of illegal drugs,” saying this can be seen in the people’s perception on how he is doing on this front based on the surveys.

“Peace and order was the thrust of the first half of his term in office. Now it is time to build on his legacy,” he stressed.

 
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