Imee: Duterte Critics Missed Sona’s Clarion Call – Change Now, Transform Or Die!

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Senator Imee Marcos has lambasted the critics of President Duterte’s Region of the Nation Address (SONA), calling them “deaf and numb quibblers who failed to hear the clarion call for transformational change.”

“President Duterte’s message to the nation is loud and clear: Change now or forever hold your peace, transform or perish! His government will lead the charge against the multiple viruses that beset our country – Covid-19, all manner of corruption, criminal syndicates, and an almighty historic oligarchy,” Marcos said.

“Truly, every crisis posits an opportunity. May this dreadful pandemic give us the chance to finally expunge all that rots and festers in the bowels of the nation, provide us reason and strength to remove the ancient oligarchic networks of oppression, and in the process transform our country and ourselves. Let’s get to work and save the country!” Marcos added.

Duterte’s critics have complained that his penultimate SONA lacked a so-called roadmap to recovery, as he ranted against the oligarchic stranglehold on crucial public utilities, persistent corruption even within his government, and the pervasive illegal drug trade that called for the revival of the death penalty.

“Many decry the lack of an elaborate and all-encompassing economic plan in the President’s SONA. If you were looking for tedious micro-economics, then you damn well missed it. The specific bills he urged Congress to pass form parts of the roadmap that we have already been working on even during the lockdown,” Marcos said.

Marcos authored or co-sponsored some of the bills President Duterte mentioned in his SONA – recruiting a medical reserve corps, creating FISTCs (financial institutions strategic transfer corporations) to raise revenue from the sale of non-performing state and private assets, increasing interest-free loans to MSMEs through government banks, reducing corporate taxes to attract foreign investments, establishing an agency for disaster management, and ensuring a trust fund for coconut farmers.

Marcos warned that the country has two years left under President Duterte’s strong leadership to get its act together.

“It is our job, both the economic managers and the legislature, to hammer together the details of effective social protection, genuine healthcare modernization and quick and universal economic recovery,” Marcos said.