SONA to spotlight Duterte’s legacy, plans for final year

Published July 2, 2021, 12:30 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

In three weeks, President Duterte will deliver his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) as his administration battles a pandemic and strives to complete an unfinished task to end drugs and corruption in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte (File photo/Malacañang)

The forthcoming public address will be a chance for the President to put a spotlight on his achievements of his presidency as well as lay down his plans for the final year in office, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. A rough draft of the President’s SONA is currently in the works.

Duterte, who scored a landslide victory in 2016 on a promise to stop drugs and corruption, will end his six-year term on June 2022.

“This year’s SONA will be discussing all the administration’s accomplishments and legacies on multifaceted governance,” Andanar said when asked by the Manila Bulletin about the SONA preparations.

“It will cover economics, social services, infrastructure, peace and security, and our independent foreign policy. It will further include where we are currently in these aspects to provide the Filipino people a clear picture of our current situation,” he said.

Andanar said the President was “currently working on the first draft of his speech.”

Apart from the administration’s gains, he said the President’s upcoming SONA will likewise include his plans for the remainder of his term. Among the priorities of the President in the final year are sustaining pandemic response, economic recovery, as well as the fight against drugs and corruption.

“The address will also be an opportunity for him to set out the directions and plans of the government for the remaining year as we continue to be a source of change while addressing the impacts of the COVID-10 pandemic,” Andanar said.

READ: Final year: Duterte faces uphill battle vs drugs, corruption, pandemic

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his 5th State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives Complex in Quezon City on July 27, 2020. (Malacañang)

Drafting the President’s annual address usually takes some time and many revisions. It begins with government agencies being asked to submit their accomplishment reports to the Palace. The speech undergoes several drafts with inputs from the President.

In the past, Duterte read parts of the prepared speech and inserted extemporaneous remarks. His 2020 SONA lasted almost two hours.

“With President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address to be delivered this year, we will highlight the ‘tatak ng pagbabago’ that he will leave behind for all the Filipinos,” Andanar said.

“Given that the promise of change has been inculcated within us, it is up to us to continue this initiative in the administrations that will follow,” he added.

READ: Palace prefers SONA guests to be fully vaccinated vs COVID; Private media not allowed inside Batasan

With the lingering coronavirus threat, the President is expected to deliver his 6th SONA at the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City under stricter safety and health protocols. The preparations include limiting the number of guests to abide by health regulations against the virus spread.