‘We shall be the hump’: House minority leader delivers counter-SONA

Published July 26, 2022, 7:44 PM

by Seth Cabanban

House minority leader and 4PS Party-list Rep. Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan gave his customary response to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Rep. Libanan delivers his acceptance speech before the 19th Congress (Screencap from House of Representatives livestream)

Traditionally, after the President concludes his or her SONA, the Minority delivers its response, or a “counter-SONA”.

The Minority bloc tends to be composed of opposition lawmakers critical of the administration; vocal in defending the voice of the minority and critical of the initiatives of the majority.

“Let me reiterate our role in the Minority: We shall support the initiatives of the Majority for as long as they are geared towards national prosperity; but we shall be the hump along the roadways when the welfare of our constituencies are threatened by organized silence,” Libanan said in his counter-SONA during the session Tuesday night, July 26.

“But I do submit, Mr Speaker, that our present dispensation calls for collaboration and solidarity with the Captain of the ship, our President. As a nation, we’re but sailing on one and the same ship. To reach our destination and achieve our aspirations, it is exigent that we collaborate and work with our Captain, roll our sleeves, drive oars, and weather the storm with him,” he continued.

President Marcos and Minority Leader 4PS Rep. Libanan share the stage during a Marcos 2022 campaign sortie (Photo from 4Ps Party-list Facebook page)

In his address, while he described Marcos’ SONA as “reasonably clear in what he intends to do,” the Minority leader pointed out Marcos’ perspective on the agriculture industry, which Libanan and the Minority found lacking.




“Those who dismally failed to address large-scale agricultural smuggling–the same officials who dismally failed to effectively contain the African Swine Fever that nearly wiped out the P300-billion swine industry, the same people who failed to advance the fishery sector, and the same quarantine inspectors who refused to establish a first border inspection facility at the ports, are reportedly the very same people whom the Secretary of Agriculture [Marcos] has tasked to operationalized the agriculture roadmap of the Marcos Jr. administration,” Libanan said.

“That he did not mention the ill-effects of large-scale agricultural smuggling disconcerts us. Even the President’s sister at the Upper Chamber expected some heads to roll, and some smugglers arrested. Yet, the SONA was quiet about it. The SONA was comprehensive but did not make an issue of the unabated economic sabotage that is almost of judicial notice,” he lamented in his address.

Read: https://mb.com.ph/2022/07/25/presidential-sister-imee-to-ask-pbbm-to-name-agriculture-smugglers/

Libanan also said that the minority had “reservations” about how Marcos’ plans mentioned in the SONA would be funded, given the P13-trillion national debt,

“The President postulated that his plans are consistent with the ‘guiding principles of coherence of strategies, policy, discipline, and fiscal sustainability.’ But, we can’t fail to still yearn for the attainability or ‘doability’ of such plans—lest they simply remain as plans,” Libanan explained.

Read: https://mb.com.ph/2022/07/26/libanan-elected-as-house-minority-leader/