SOME officials in Negros Occidental lauded the country's economic gains under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte after he delivered his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City on July 24.
However, some sectors hit the President for his supposed failed promises.
Bacolod City Representative Greg Gasataya said the country's top executive addressed the "core issues and concerns" of the Filipinos on peace and order, drugs, economic growth, and development.
"It was another typical President Rodrigo Duterte show -- clear, forceful, authoritative, witty, comprehensive and many more," Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said of the President's speech.
The mayor added: "His stance against illegal drugs was clear as daylight. Surely, he has public approval and support on this, and that is why he continues to get high approval ratings."
Leonardia said that when Duterte "talked about martial law and the defense of the state, the welfare of the military and police, plus fighting insurgency and terrorism, he was a picture of authority and defender of the nation."
"Overall, it was comprehensive as it covered many major aspects of the state of the nation," he added.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran said the President stated the present situation of the country.
"His future plans with emphasis on peace and order, tax reform law, health, corruption, and charter change for federalism I think are doable and achievable before his term ends," he said.
Councilor Caesar Distrito said the two-hour speech was a comprehensive one, giving emphasis on massive infrastructure known as "build, build, build" as well as the lifting of the temporary restraining order for reproductive health, and the effort to run against tax evaders like cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp., among others.
Councilor Wilson Gamboa said the Sona was the usual Duterte style of rhetoric.
"He was sincere, straightforward, brutally frank, pissed off, disappointed, dared, and was not backing off which endeared him more to the people," he added.
Second district Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr. said Duterte "gives hope to the people" like any other past presidents.
"But what separates him (Duterte) from the rest is when he admitted that he fell short of his expectation being the president," he added.
Business leader Frank Carbon gave Duterte's performance a passing rate.
"He said he is the president of the majority and the majority are the masses and he is not bound to please everybody, only the majority," he said.
Carbon said Duterte "hit the right chord asking for good governance, no corruption and better (government) service, unrelenting war on illegal drugs and terrorism, and food for the poor which are the majority. Everything that have been neglected in the past."
However, not all sectors were happy with the performance of the administration, pointing out that the President failed to deliver his campaign promises.
Labor leader Wennie Sancho said there were some good points in Duterte's Sona, "but it was marred by unnecessary adlib and remarks."
Sancho added that Duterte is "like a gunslinger on a horseback up to eliminate the enemies of the state."
He noted that Duterte has "totally forgotten" to mention the labor sector in his Sona, and the labor sector is giving him a failing grade.
For his part, former Bayan Muna partylist representative Neri Colmenares, who also joined the protest in Bacolod, expressed his disappointment on the Duterte administration.
Colmenares questioned the promises of Duterte that he failed to fulfill.
"Where are now his promises?" he asked. "The big problem of the president is that he has no report on the comfortable life of the people because there is still poverty."
Duterte has no major achievements yet, adding that even the peace and order situation did not improve because the problem on illegal drugs still exists.
"We support his pro-people policies but oppose the anti-people policies," Colmenares said, adding that the President can be lauded for the P1,000 increase in the Social Security System pension.
Bayan Negros spokesman Michael de la Concepcion also rated Duterte's administration a disappointing one.
He said the President's performance on the three main issues -- peace talks, wage and job security, and land reform -- is a failure.
Clarizza Dagatan, secretary-general of Karapatan-Negros, echoed the sentiment.
She said Duterte failed to bring change, adding that the state of human rights is worsening especially with the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on July 25, 2017.
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