House officials divided on SONA assessment: 'Superspreader of truth or lies?'

Published July 26, 2021, 8:20 PM

by Ben Rosario

President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address has been described as a “super-spreader” not of COVID-19 but of “lies and half-truths”.


Makabayan lawmakers aired this reaction to the sixth SONA of Duterte which they mocked as “Joke of the Nation Address.”

In contrast, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, chairman of the House Committee on Environment, lauded Duterte for “bringing meaninful change to the Filipino people” particularly in peace and order and in his war against illegal drugs.

Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda congratulated Duterte for highlighting the success of his administration in leaving “historic legacies” in socio-economic development, peace and order, countryside progress and in making a big push to end local armed insurgency.

Senior Deputy Minority Leader Isagani Zarate contradicted Salceda’s assessment of the SONA, saying that what the nation witnessed was three hours of monologue that merely swept under trhe rug Duterte’s ‘legacy of monumental failures.’

“Noong sinabi na naihaon niya sa kahirapan ang mga Filipino (When he said that he saved Filipinos from poverty), this is a big lie. Philippines experienced a contraction of the economy that was the lowest since World War II,” said Zarate.

Barzaga blamed the 2019 coronavirus pandemic as the culprit in intercepting the success of the Duterte administration.

“We were on the way to a better future when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and threw a monkey wrench to some of the administration’s economic achievements, something that other nations have also experienced,” said Barzaga, president of the National Unity Party.

He added: “Despite this, we cannot discount the fact that the Duterte administration did all that it could to safeguard the public, cushioning them from impact of this health crisis through various measures.” Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said that under Duterte the youth no longer have to pay for tuition fees in state colleges.

“His government doubled infrastructure spending, and launched more than 20,000 infrastructure projects with 6.5 million jobs scattered across the country. His government instituted universal health care – the foundation for equitable medical care for all Filipinos,” stressed Salceda.

The veteran administration solon also cited Duterte’s “comprehensive tax reform program, the most ambitious tax reform program in the country’s history since the codification of tax laws in 1997” as being hailed across the world as a “model for public resource management and public investment.”

Meanwhile, Asst. Minority Leader and Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas described the SONA as a “drunkard’s speech with same threats, misogynist quips” but had failed to detail a plan to get out of the pandemic problems.

“It is totally untrue that the Duterte regime is addressing the roots of armed conflict through the piecemeal projects of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC),” she stated.

She pointed out: “Duterte’s tribute to health workers is more of an insult, especially as many of our frontliners remain underpaid and overworked.”