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THE LATEST: President Duterte's final SONA

Published Jul 26, 2021 12:26 pm Updated Jul 26, 2021 4:57 pm

​​Duterte says he will not be a president ‘forever,’ but says his last SONA is not his ‘swan song’

Duterte said he will not be a president “forever,” even as he said that his sixth and final State of the Nation Address is not his “swan song.”

“I will not be forever the president,” Duterte said at the tail-end of his over two-hour long SONA.

But Duterte also said earlier in his speech that this is not his “swan song,” which denotes a final performance.

“Today is my last SONA. But this, by no means, is my swan song,” said Duterte.

“I shall never cease to implore Congress to pass vital and critical legislation as well as to push the entire government to ensure nothing less than the full recovery of the country.”

Duterte pushes for creation of a center for disease prevention and control

Duterte said he hopes to pursue the creation of public entities dedicated to managing emerging and reemerging diseases.

He also asked Congress to enact a law for the creation of a center for diseases prevention and control, and a virology and vaccine institute. 

“However poor we are, I think the Filipinos, given the proper support… I think the Filipino brain can process or make vaccines in the future,” he said.

Duterte jokes about contracting COVID-19, says he did not expect to be judged by his handling of the pandemic

Duterte said the country managed to make strides in job creation, poverty reduction, even as he said that COVID-19 was something he did not expect while cracking a joke about the deadly disease.

He claimed his radical reforms in the tax system helped lower wage earners and small businesses, increasing their net income. 

The tax reforms, he added, sustained the country’s economic growth from the third quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2019—one of the fastest growing economies in Asia until the pandemic, he claimed. 

Duterte also noted the signing of the Universal Health Care Act and Malasakit Center Act of 2019, as well as the passing of the Tertiary Education Act which provides free education for college students.

Duterte said he did not expect that he will be judged according to how he led the country during the global pandemic.

“Never did I imagine that my presidency won't only be judged by how I make good in my campaign promises -- fighting illegal drugs, criminality, corruption -- but how well I led our nation during a global pandemic,” said Duterte.

Even then, Duterte cracked a joke about contracting the disease that has claimed thousands of lives in the Philippines.

“Hindi ako maka-pronounce nang mabuti, baka meron na ako. May ambulansya ba diyan? I hope this is not a symptom,” said Duterte.

Duterte says he is proudest of standing up to vested interests in the water sector, slams ABS-CBN anew

Duterte said he is proudest of using his political capital to oppose “disadvantageous” contracts in the water sector for Metro Manila.

“If there's something I can tell my children what have you done for my country, sabihin ko sila [water concessionaires], inupakan ko sila,” said Duterte.

“I used my political capital to fight vested interests behind these disadvantageous water service contracts that burdened customers with unjustified price hikes,” said Duterte.

Both Maynilad Water Services Inc and Manila Water gave in to the government’s demand to renegotiate their concession contracts, which was approved by the previous administration.

Duterte also slammed again ABS-CBN for allegeldy not paying the right property taxes.

"They still owe government millions," said Duterte of the network.

Tax authorities, among other government regulators, have also cleared ABS-CBN of any wrongdoing during the hearings done in 2019. Congress, which is dominated by allies of the president, denied ABS-CBN's in July 2020 the network's petition to renew its franchise.

Duterte has long condemned in public ABS-CBN, a network he accused of campaigning against him in 2016 and for reportedly not airing a number of his political ads—allegations that the network both denied.

Duterte denies 2016 presidential campaign was funded by China, says he is no 'puppet'

Duterte denied that China helped bankroll his 2016 presidential campaign, as he stressed again that the country can not afford to go to war against the superpower.

“For some people to say that I was helped by China in being president, these idiots really,” said Duterte. 

“Di bale na hindi ako maging presidente. Hindi ko gagawin yan.”

Duterte again said his specious claim that standing up to China will be tantamount to waging war, something that the country can not afford. 

“Eto ngayon arbitral ruling, I do not want to insult these people pushing me for something more than what i can handle. At ano ang gusto nila na makapag-giyera, do you want war against China?” said Duterte.

“It could be a masacre if I go to war now.”

Duterte said he is also not “a puppet” of China and said he was “just being nice with them.”

Duterte banners foreign policy, says Filipino is ‘no slave to anyone’

Duterte said the country’s foreign policy has always been ”centered on the promotion and protection of our core national interest” while working with all nations and “partnerships that work.”

He also thanked the ASEAN nations for supporting the government, adding that the Philippines will remain “a responsible member of the international community.” 

“We will work with you to achieve our shared objectives,” Duterte said.

However, he added that “gone are the days when the Philippines decides and acts in the show of the great powers.”

“We will fight what is rightfully ours and what is due for the Filipino people,” Duterte said. 

He noted two instances of this: his order to “send back container vans of garbage” from other countries, “because our country is not a dumpsite”; and the return of the Balangiga bells in 2018. 

Duterte also called for the abolition of the kafala system—a system that requires a migrant worker to have a sponsor in the host country, particularly in the Middle East---which said is a system that exposes Filipino migrant workers to abuse. 

“The Filipino is no slave to anyone, anywhere,” he said.

Duterte says gov’t corruption can not be stopped

Duterte bannered his administration’s efforts to combat corruption, even as he said that the problem can not be stopped.

Duterte cited his executive order on the freedom of information and the efforts of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission. There is no enabling law, however, as of yet passed by congress on freedom of information.

“The Office of the President has demonstrated careful stewardship of the power by initiating reforms," he said.

“We’ve upgraded processes to ensure that it can provide the best service to the institution of the presidency and the offices under it, and ultimately the Filipino people.”

Duterte also praised the Ease of Doing Business Act for country’s 10-year passport validity and implementation of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys)

“I do not want people queuing under the heat of the sun,” he said.

Duterte, however, said that “corruption is endemic in government.”

“You can not stop corruption unless you overturn the government completely,” said Duterte.

Duterte says infra push yielded “tangible results all around”

Duterte said the government’s push to invest on infrastructure produced “tangible results all around.”

“We have taken away the misery of the public commuting,” said Duterte.

Duterte said the government was to decongest EDSA and other major roads with the completion of several major roads. He also claimed the MRT-3 no longer unloads passengers mid-rail.
He said more infrastructure projects will be finished before the end of his term next year, including “high-infra projects” outside of Metro Manila. 

“To sustain our momentum in infrastructure development, I have directed DPWH, DOTr, NEDA, DOF, and DBM to be on full speed to ensure that flagship projects will be completed within my term,” said Duterte.

Duterte cites country's illegal drugs problem, reiterates he will “kill” those who destroy “my country"

Duterte said he initially thought that solving the country's problem on illegal drugs was just like solving the problem in Davao.

"When I first said I will fight drugs in six months, I thought it was like in Davao where you can either coerce or intimidate them," said Duterte, who vowed to eliminate the problem in six months when he was still campaigning for president.

Duterte claimed that there are now about 1,000 Filipinos arrested everyday in connection with drug trafficking.

"That is why I go crazy looking at the situation. They are still around," said Duterte.

“Those who destroy my country, I will kill you. And those who destroy the young people in my country, I will kill you,” he said. 

He claimed that he received “statistics” saying that plenty of those in the middle class “have been released from prison despite the fact that they charged from trafficking,” which Duterte said is a non-bailable offense. 

He said drugs is a problem that has been hounding the country for years and that government is declaring war against those involved in the illegal drug trade—particularly those in the government who are part of it. 

“Our unyielding campaign led to the surrender of millions of drug dependents and the capture and neutralization of thousands of drug personalities,” he said.

Duterte touts gains of counter-insurgency group NTF-ELCAC

Duterte has touted the gains of the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) under his administration.

“With the creation of NTF-ELCAC, we have made strides in addressing the root causes of this conflict by empowering our kababayans who have been used by the communist forces in many decades,” said Duterte.

Duterte said that the NTF-ELCAC, which has figured in a number of red-tagging controversies, helped establish farm to market roads, school buildings, water sanitation, and livelihood programs.

Duterte said that around 17,000 former communist rebels have surrendered to the government.

“With the support of LGUs, I'm confident that support for communist movement will continue to erode in the next months,” said Duterte.

Duterte says he made it a priority to boost the morale of the AFP and the PNP

Duterte touted that he sought to beef up the capability of the country's armed forces and police to counter insurgent forces and criminality.

Duterte said asked the Congress to “pass a unified system of separation, retirement, and pension of military and uniformed personnel.” 

He also said he sought to provide free legal assistance for the armed services “to help them from charges arising from incidence related to performance of official duty.”

“The continuous upgrading of our defense capability shall ensure that we uphold our territorial integrity and sovereignty from external and security threats,” he said.

Duterte opens final SONA talking about reforms, says COVID-19 "stalled everything"

President Rodrigo Duterte opened his final state of the nation address by recalling about the reforms he sought at the start of his term, while ruing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Tday as I approach my term, my end of my term, I have less visions but more remembrances. But mine is not for you to second-guess what might have been, but to bear and respond with the urgency of the unforeseen events as they unfold," Duterte said in sixth SONA, which started at 4:13 p.m. today.

Duterte also expressed his thanks to the country’s healthcare workers for aiding in the COVID pandemic “that stalled everything.” 

“Allow me to extend my gratitude to those that selflessly gave their all in the fight against COVID-19: Healthworkers and other frontlines to risk their own safety,” she said.

He went on to thank the private sector for their assistance in the pandemic, such as securing vaccinations .

“I would also like to send my deepest appreciation to the private sector who gave to the aid of fighting COVID-19. I am profoundly thankful for your sustained assistance to fighting COVID-19.”

As of writing, the country has totaled over 1.55M cases of COVID-19.

Duterte arrives at Batasang Pambansa

President Rodrigo Duterte has arrived at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City to deliver his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA). 

The presidential chopper carrying Duterte touched down at Batasang Pambansa at 3:40 p.m.

He is now meeting with congressional leaders Senate Pres. Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

Malacañang expects the president to focus on the looming COVID-19 pandemic, peace and order, infrastructure, and the country’s foreign policies.


Lawmakers, gov’t officials arrive at Batasang Pambansa ahead of Duterte’s SONA

A few hours before President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), politicians, celebrities, and other guests have started arriving at Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

Among the guests include DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, actor Philip Salvador, action star Robin Padilla, PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Senator Francis Tolentino, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, among others.

The guests are advised to undergo health and safety checks at the North Wing of Batasang Pambansa before proceeding to the Plenary Hall. 

Duterte is set to deliver his sixth and final SONA at around 4:00 p.m.

Article photos from PTV

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año and Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Actors Philip Salvador and Robin Padilla

PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año and Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Actors Philip Salvador and Robin Padilla

PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion


Protesters gather to march for Duterte’s final SONA

Several progressive groups braved the threats of COVID-19 and unpredictable weather to express dissent ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Rallyists gathered early at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus before marching to protest ahead of Duterte’s final SONA.

Holding flags, effigies, banners, and streamers, protestors voiced out their concerns against the current administration. 

Members of the Gabriela partylist also joined rallyists in Diliman, while carrying artistic representations of the now-viral “Tumindig” collective movement.

Ahead of Duterte’s final SONA, Gabriela Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas donned a blood-red dress embroidered with the statement “Stop the Attacks.”

Actress and activist Juana Change expressed her dissent while posing as Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

The Alliance of Health Workers slammed Duterte’s crisis mismanagement of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Progressive group Kabataan also joined the SONA 2021 protest.

The rallyists were seen observing health protocols such as wearing of face masks and face shields and observing social distancing.

From UP Diliman, the protestors proceeded to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City at around 11 a.m.

Motorists told to avoid Batasang Pambansa today due to SONA rerouting

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Maj. Gen. Vicenta Danao Jr. said motorists should consider going for other routes in Quezon City today, July 26, in anticipation of traffic jams in areas near the Batasang Pambansa—the designated venue for President Rodrigo Duterte’s sixth and final SONA.

"Ngayon pa lang po ay humihingi na kami ng paumanhin sa ating mga kababayan na maaapektuhan ng traffic at re-routing para sa darating na SONA,” he said. “Konting tiis at pasensya lang po sana upang hindi tayo magkaroon ng problema at maayos na maidaos ang huling State of the Nation Address ng ating Pangulong Duterte.”

According to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), private vehicles won’t be allowed to enter Commonwealth Avenue (North Bound). A lockdown may likewise be imposed in IBP Road, should there be heavy traffic in the area. For that reason, the PNA has suggested the following alternate routes for those who might be affected by traffic and re-routing.

For those who are from QCMC: “Take North Ave., turn right to Mindanao Ave., or turn right to Visayas Ave. then turn left to Congressional or Tandang Sora Ave. then exit Mindanao Ave., turn right to Quirino Highway going to Commonwealth Extension passing thru right turn S&R Shopping Store landmark heading Southbound Lane.”

For those who are situated along Commonwealth Avenue to Fairview: “Take the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Libreng Sakay service traversing along the said routes.”

For those who may get re-routed from QCMC to Filinvest 1 and 2, Brgy Bagong Silangan and some inner portions of Brgy. Batasan Hills: “Take Maharlika St., then turn left to Mayaman St., then turn right to Maginhawa St., turn left to Masinsinan St., then turn right to C.P. Garcia to Katipunan Ave., then take U-turn Slot in front of Miriam College then turn right to H. Ventura St, turn left to Heizer St. then turn right to Katipunan Ext, then take the left turn to JP Rizal to San Mateo road to destination.”

For those from Filinvest 1 Subdivision who may get affected by the traffic lockdown at IBP Road: “Take Luzviminda St. to Cotabato St. then turn left to Sinagtala St. to Congressional St. leading to Batasan-San Mateo Road and exit to Marikina Road to Destination.”
For those from San Mateo Road to Filinvest 2 Subdivision/Bagong Silangan: “Take Doña Franceska St. then turn left to Doña Juliana St. to King St. turn right to Don Vicente to Bagong Silangan/Filinvest Gate 2.”

For those who are from Capitol Hills and Vista Real Executive Village going to QCMC: “You may counterflow using the inner lane of Commonwealth Ave. (Northbound) to Zuazeregui to Katipunan.”

Apart from the installation of signal jammers in some Quezon City spots for safety and security, Danao also revealed that the city government and the police have limited the area for expected rallies and protests to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. "Hanggang St. Peter's (Chapels in Tandang Sora, Quezon City) lang po maximum nilang puntahan. Unang-una, para 'di makaabala sa traffic, at pangalawa, dahil may kinakaharap na pandemic para magkaiwasan sa sakit na puwedeng makuha," explained Danao.

PNP to deploy 15k cops for SONA, vows maximum tolerance

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is set to deploy 15,000 of its personnel to ensure the security of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address today, even as the police chief vowed “maximum tolerance” toward possible protest demonstrations.

In a press statement, PNP chief Police General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar also urged rallyists to consider holding their activities online instead due to the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

“Hindi naman importante kung paano ginawa ang inyong aktibidad. Ang mahalaga ay naiparating ninyo ang mensaheng gusto ninyong mabatid ng ating mga kababayan” said Eleazar.

Apart from the suspension of all permits to carry firearms outside of residents from July 21 to 28 in the National Capital Region, the group is also using body-worn cameras (BWCs) that can help them document the situation in their assigned areas and figure out the posts that would need a more visible presence by the police.

“For Metro Manila, our different police stations were issued BWCs and as per arrangement, ito yung mga sinasabi natin na mga events na gagamitin natin sila,” Eleazar said, adding that they will also use other recording devices like cellphones as part of their measures.

The Presidential Security Group (PSG), which activated this year’s SONA task force in May, is also on heightened alert today.

“We will not let our guard down and we shall employ layers of security measures to neutralize any threat. PSG is prepared for any contingency. Thus we will implement our highest security protocols in 360-degrees, to secure our President and ensure the success of his SONA at all costs,” PSG Group Commander Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III said. 
President Duterte’s sixth and last State of the Nation Address will be held today, July 26 at the Batasang Pambansa at 4pm.

(Photo gallery from The Philippine Star/Miguel de Guzman.)

Members of the Philippine National Police-Civil Disturbance Management are stationed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for the SONA.

Members of the Philippine National Police-Civil Disturbance Management are stationed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for the SONA.

Members of the Philippine National Police-Civil Disturbance Management are stationed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for the SONA.

Members of the Philippine National Police-Civil Disturbance Management are stationed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for the SONA.

Members of the Philippine National Police-Civil Disturbance Management are stationed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for the SONA.

Members of the Philippine National Police-Civil Disturbance Management are stationed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for the SONA.

Members of the Philippine National Police-Civil Disturbance Management are stationed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for the SONA.

Members of the Philippine National Police-Civil Disturbance Management are stationed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for the SONA.

Members of the Philippine National Police-Civil Disturbance Management are stationed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for the SONA.

Members of the Philippine National Police-Civil Disturbance Management are stationed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in preparation for the SONA.


(This is a developing coverage. Check this page regularly for updates.)