Duterte claims he ‘loves’ Bicolanos, looks for Robredo

President Duterte said during his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 26, that his administration prioritized the creation of the 5.52-kilometer Sorsogon City Coastal Bypass Road because he loves Bicalonas, proceeding to look for Vice President Leni Robredo after erroneously claiming she’s from Sorsogon.

Vice President Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang/File Photo)

“The Sorsogon City in Bicol. Inuna namin yan kasi mahal ko ang mga Bikolano (We prioritized it because I love Bicolanos),” he said before Congress at the Batasang Pambansa, then went on to admit that there is ”little politics” in prioritizing Sorsogon because of Robredo.

The vice president is a Bicolano but she is not from Sorsogon. She is a native of Naga City, Camarines Sur.

“That’s the territory of our Vice President Leni Robredo. Are you here, ma’am?” he asked as he looked for her in the audience.

Robredo was not physically present during the SONA because she has yet to receive the second dose of her COVID-19 vaccine. She was earlier asked only to attend via Zoom but Palace invited her again to attend in person.

However, health protocols require that only fully vaccinated individuals can attend the SONA. She would have attended in person, but her second dose is scheduled on August 11.

READ: Robredo in virtual SONA only; can't attend in Batasan due to protocols

The Chief Executive mentioned Sorsogon as he talked about his administration’s “high-impacted” infrastructure projects, which will be completed during his term “and perhaps, in the following years.”

Duterte noted that most of these are outside of Metro Manila.

The President boasted of the newly built passenger terminal building of the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, which is “equipped with the latest technology” and can accommodate eight million passengers.

The new terminal will “alleviate air traffic congestion of the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) airport, as well as serve as a major growth driver in Northern and Central Luzon.”

He also cited the completion of the Poro Point Freeport Zone and the Pagadian-Zamboanga City Road, which will “help promote equitable development” as these provided “access to prime spots for investment tourism” and “easier access to farms.”

READ: Duterte says 'gov't ended misery of public commuting’; tax reform funded infra expansion

“To sustain (the) momentum of infrastructure development, I have directed DPWH (Department of Public Work and Highways), DOTr (Department of Transportation), NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority), DOF (Department of Finance), and DBM (Department of Budget and Management) to be on full speed to ensure our flagship project will be completed within my term.”

Meanwhile, Duterte claimed that he specifically asked concerned agencies to make his home province Davao City last in the list of priorities because he’s from there.

“Why? Why is Davao last kasi sinabi ko sa kanila unahin nyo ‘yung buong Pilipinas (because I told them to prioritize the whole Philippines) during the initial years of my presidency. I told the economic passengers and the DPWH pati si Art Tugade sa Transportation, unahin nyo ang Luzon at ibang areas in Mindanao (even Art Tugade in Transportation, make Luzon and other areas of Mindanao a priority),” he said.