State of nation sound, improving; Bagong Pilipinas is here — PBBM

At a glance

  • Marcos' speech lasted one hour and 10 minutes.

  • Marcos lauded the people for stepping up and uniting for the country, saying their efforts contributed to the nation's "sound" state.

  • The President asked for the people's continued support, saying the peace and progress the country enjoys would not be possible without them.

"Dumating na po ang Bagong Pilipinas (The new Philippines has arrived)."

This was the confident remark of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. as he delivered his second State of the Nation (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday, July 24.

President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. (Malacañang photo)
President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. (Malacañang photo)

In his speech that lasted one hour and 10 minutes, the President lauded the people for stepping up and uniting for the country, saying their efforts contributed to the nation's "sound" state.

"Every Filipino have unanimously risen to the challenge that we have made to them to be part of the nation’s future. Handa silang maghandog ng tulong, dahil mahal nila ang kanilang kapwa-Pilipino, at mahal na mahal nila ang Pilipinas (They are ready to help because they love their fellowmen and they love the Philippines)," he said.

"With this in my heart, I know that the state of the nation is sound and is improving. Dumating na po ang Bagong Pilipinas (The new Philippines has arrived)," he added.

The President asked for the people's continued support, saying the peace and progress the country enjoys would not be possible without them.

"Nagsisimula pa lamang tayo. Ang pagbangon ng ating bayan ay magpapatuloy pa. Hinihiling ko ang inyong tiwala at pakikiisa (We are just getting started. Our country's recovery will continue. I just ask you for your trust and cooperation)," Marcos said.

"Sa ganitong paraan makakamtan natin ang ating hangarin — ang maginhawa, matatag, at panatag na buhay para sa lahat ng Pilipino (With this, we can achieve our goal of a comfortable, resilient, and tranquel lives for every Filipino)," he added.

Looking forward

According to Marcos, the past year signified a bright future for the Philippines.

"The initial results of our efforts inspire confidence. Let us continue to be relentless in our aspiration of peace and progress," he said.

"This has not been the work of a single person, neither a single branch of government nor even the whole government acting alone. This is the collective synergy achieved by all Filipinos working together," he added.

"It took a whole-of-nation effort to achieve this immediate recovery from our pandemic slump. Unity was what made us rise once more," he continued.

With this, the President said it was now up to the government to provide good leadership and guidance to support the enormous pool of highly competent and dedicated workers serving the country.

"I have stated before that my confidence in our future was grounded in our world-class quality workforce— be they the farmers in the field, corporate giants, government officials, school teachers, health workers, or employees. That confidence has been further buoyed by the demonstration of love for the Philippines," he said.

Highlight 1: Economy and Food Security

President Marcos started his speech by talking about the country's economic status. He noted  how the Philippines was able to revive and rejuvenate the economy. He said that despite the good numbers, the government would continue prioritizing public infrastructure and giving people food, education, healthcare, jobs, and social protection to increase their capacity.

According to the President, the government aims to boost local agricultural production through consolidation, modernization, mechanization, and improvement of value chains. He said the country's methods are now more guided by science balanced with nature, so production is both sustainable and responsible.

Marcos vowed to go after smugglers and hoarders who manipulate the prices of agricultural products.

"Hinahabol at ihahabla natin sila (We are going after them, and we will prosecute them)," he said.

"Sadyang hindi tama ang kanilang gawain, at hindi rin ito tugma sa ating magandang layunin. Pandaraya ang kanilang ginagawa (What they're doing is not right and is not aligned with our ambition. What they're doing is cheating)," he added.

Meanwhile, Marcos said they continue coordinating with Congress to pass a law that would create the Department of Water Resource Management.

"Ang tubig ay kasing-halaga rin ng pagkain. Kailangan nating tiyakin na may sapat at malinis na tubig para sa lahat at sa mga susunod na salinlahi (Water is as important as food. We need to ensure that we have enough and clean water for everyone and for the succeeding generations)," he said.

Highlight 2: Infrastructure

According to President Marcos, his Administration will continue to "build better, and more" as infrastructure development is one of the keys to continuing economic growth.

"Our P8.3-trillion 'Build Better More' Program is currently in progress and being vigorously implemented," he said.

He said the government's infrastructure spending would be five to six percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). The entire country would benefit from the 194 projects under his infrastructure program.

Highlight 3: Maharlika Investment Fund

President Marcos said the Maharlika Investment Fund would be used to make high-impact and profitable investments, such as his Build-Better-More program.

"The gains from the Fund shall be reinvested into the country's economic well-being," he said.

To ensure sound financial management, the President said a group of internationally recognized economic managers will oversee the operations of the Fund.

"This guarantees that investment decisions will be based on financial considerations alone, absent any political influence," he added.

Meanwhile, Marcos assured the people that funds for social security and public health insurance of the people shall remain intact and separate.

Highlight 4: Energy

Since assuming office, President Marcos said that almost 500,000 homes were given access to electricity. He vowed to "spare no effort" to achieve full household electrification by the end of his term in 2028.

According to Marcos, they are aggressively promoting renewable energy so that it provides a 35-percent share in the power mix by 2030 and then on to 50 percent by 2040.

"We finally have a Unified National Grid, with the interconnection of the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao grids. The 'One Grid, One Market' will enable more efficient transfers and more competitive pricing of electricity throughout the country," he said.

"However, 68 grid connections are much delayed, according to the ERC's count. We are conducting a performance review of our private concessionaire, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines," he added.

Highlight 5: Uniformed personnel

In his speech, President Marcos assured the country's uniformed personnel that efforts were underway to make their pension system fully functional and financially sustainable. He said their pension is as important, urgent, and humanitarian as civilian employees.

"We are once again working closely with Congress to ease the transition from the old system to the new one so as to be able to guarantee that no effects are felt by those in the uniformed services," he said.

Highlight 6: Education

President Marcos said that learning recovery will be at the forefront of his education agenda, beginning with addressing the shortage of classrooms and facilities.

"Aside from new construction, schools and facilities are being retrofitted to become ready for the future—ready for hybrid and high-tech learning, and also climate-ready and disaster-proof," he said.

The President said they are also recalibrating the K to 12 curricula to ensure it is always relevant, responsive, and at par with international standards.

To keep the youth away from "sinister influences," Marcos said they are making available to them their participation in formal schooling, alternative learning, non-diploma courses, or technical-vocational education and training (TVET).

"We will not let a student's financial constraints be a hindrance to his or her education. We have activated social safety nets, such as skills development training and youth employment programs," he said.

"Deserving and talented students without the financial capacity to attend school will not be left behind in this education agenda," he added.

Meanwhile, to address the challenge of staying at cutting-edge technology, Marcos said 44 renowned Filipino scientists in diverse areas of expertise have returned home under the Balik-Scientist Program and will undertake research in various priority fields. Upgraded facilities and research and development funding will support them.

Highlight 7: Health

According to President Marcos, healthier communities and lifestyles remain his advocacy.

He said the government had launched convergent programs to address hunger and nutrition-related issues among the people, especially the children, like stunting and wasting. He cited the recently launched Food Stamp Program (FSP), which seeks to supply the nutrition needs of the million most food-poor Filipinos.

The President called on parents to complete their children's vaccination and head to the nearest health centers for free vaccines.

Aside from the maximum retail price regulation being implemented, Marcos said strategic VAT exemption lowered the prices of 59 essential medications, such as those for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and mental illness. The improved Konsulta Package of PhilHealth made free 21 kinds of drugs and 13 different laboratory services.

President Marcos said that dialysis is now free for most Filipinos and that 156 dialysis sessions are free.

Meanwhile, to pay back the sacrifices of health workers during the pandemic, Marcos assured them that the government would now give them their health emergency allowance and other benefits that are still pending.

Highlight 8: Foreign policy

President Marcos said the country maintains an independent foreign policy.

"We will continue to forge more of these international partnerships that will lead to a more balanced trade strategy and a healthier economic position," he said.

"We will protect our sovereign rights and preserve our territorial integrity, in defense of rules-based international order," he added.

With the national interest paramount, Marcos said the government would continuously pursue constant dialogue and diplomatic approaches to resolve any issue.

Highlight 9: Investments

To create investment opportunities, Marcos said they would ensure the country has an enabling business environment, peace and order, and the rule of law.

"We will solidify our country's reputation as an attractive and reliable investment destination," he said.

Highlight 10: Digitalization and Internet

Marcos lauded the recently launched eGovPH application, which offers all key government services for the convenience of the general public.

He ordered all government offices to ensure their vital services were digitalized immediately.

Meanwhile, Marcos said that as of June this year, the country's fixed broadband speed ranks 47th among 180 countries. This ranking is 11 places higher than it was last year.

"Our mobile internet speed is now ranked 83 out of 142 countries, which is eight places higher than last year," he added.

Highlight 11: Migrant workers

President Marcos said they are engaging with partners in the international community to ensure a safe working environment for Filipinos. They are also implementing responsive mechanisms for the social welfare, repatriation, and reintegration of returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) into the Philippine economy.

He noted that OFWs continue to send in historically high remittances, solidifying their role in transformative economic growth. In 2022, OFWs contributed $32.5 billion, or roughly P1.8 trillion, to the economy.

Highlight 12: Housing

Marcos vowed to expand the country's housing program to benefit poor Filipinos. Citing data from Pag-IBIG, he said that over 100,000 Filipinos have availed of the housing loan amounting to P117 billion.

He likewise promised to build over a million houses for the people across the country.

Highlight 12: BARMM

President Marcos said he was proud of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)'s progress.

"Former adversaries are now partners in peace. Its functions have been defined, and its basic laws are now being written," he said.

"Through the BARMM, we have strengthened the nation's prospects for finally achieving sustainable progress anchored on a true and lasting peace in Southern Philippines. We will continue to support the progress of the BARMM, apace with our singular vision for all Filipinos," he added.

Highlight 13: Refocused drug war

After making no mention of it last year, President Marcos said that the country's fight against illegal drugs continues but is now feared towards treatment, rehabilitation, education, and reintegration.

He noted that law enforcers were involved in the drug trade and that he would accept their resignation.

"We cannot tolerate corruption or incompetence in government," Marcos said.

Highlight 14: Insurgency

Through community development and livelihood programs, President Marcos said the Barangay Development and Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs have effectively addressed the root cause of conflict in the countryside.

He said he would issue a Proclamation granting amnesty to rebel returnees to complete this reintegration process.

Highlight 15: Priority bills

President Marcos enumerated his 16 priority bills:

  1. Excise tax on single-use plastics
  2. VAT on digital services
  3. Rationalization of mining fiscal regime
  4. Motor vehicle user's charge/road user's tax
  5. Military and Uniformed Personnel Pension
  6. Amendment of the Fisheries Code
  7. Amendment of the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act
  8. Amendment of the Cooperative Code
  9. New Government Procurement Law
  10. New Government Auditing Code
  11. Anti-financial accounts scamming
  12. Tatak-Pinoy law
  13. The Blue Economy law
  14. Ease of paying taxes
  15. LGU income classification
  16. The Philippine Immigration Act