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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is known for his macho persona and his deviation from the norms. His State of the Nation Address is no different.

On July 24, Monday, the nation was glued to their television and mobile phone screens and witnessed the President’s 2nd SONA–an annual report of sorts presenting the administration’s achievements in its first year.

What started out as a formal speech later turned to a lengthier version of every Digong speech: a couple of exaggerations, rants (noticeably against media outfits and human rights advocates), and a few spicy expletives here and there.

I’d like to say I’m shocked with this type of speech coming from a head of state, but I am not. Never mind proper decorum, never mind the standard, Duterte’s brand of leadership is centered in authoritative machismo. A year on, many are still hard at work adjusting despite having seen him do whatever heck he wanted.

But setting aside the unnecessary (and quite frankly, the inappropriate remarks), the president was able to radiate yet again what has probably won the nation over in the national elections last year: championing the masses, their welfare, and nationalism.

In his speech, PDU30 expressed his desire to make “government services people-friendly.” He wants to “trim excess fat” and “rightsize the government.”

From affordable internet in over 400 cities in the country to a ‘no balance billing policy’ in hospitals, the President so far was consistent with his theme,”A Comfortable Life for All.” This is a feat considering the many times of confusion and ‘misinterpretation’ in his statements in the past year.

He also used the pedestal wisely–and with sincerity–to call on various government officials and the agancies they represent and plea for their support and consideration.

The Supreme Court, for instance, was called for issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law and therefore, depriving Filipino families of family planning choices. He said TROs like these prevent the government from effectively serving the public.

He also called on the health secretary to look into the procurement procedures of medical equipment after citing delays in some of the hospitals he visited.

*insertPDU30machism* “To Secretary Ubial, change the procurement procedures or I will change you.”

A few words some of us would’ve wanted to hear more were about the country’s solid stance in the West Philippine Sea claim.

However, the least he could have done is elaborate on his actions regarding China. His only other mention of the giant neighbour was their financial provision of building connecting bridges in the Pasig River to ease terrible traffic, which appears to be like a trade. “I give you candy. Let’s be friends.”

With everything taken into consideration, however, we can say that the good outweighed the bad in #SONA2017. While most of us hate the unnecessary blabbering and even though it’s difficult to admit, he did successfully present his plans for the country. He was not blatantly bragging of his administration’s achievements, either, saying instead that much needs to be done in the coming years.

Photo from Manila Bulletin


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