PRESIDENT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. delivered Monday, July 25, 2022, his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.

He arrived at the venue around 3:30 p.m.

The country’s 17th President was joined by newly elected Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Below is the summary of this year's Sona.

3:30 p.m. -- Marcos arrived at the Batasang Pambansa onboard a helicopter.

3:57 p.m. -- Marcos is welcomed at the plenary where he will deliver his Sona before hundreds of lawmakers and guests.

3:59 p.m. -- Joint session was called to order.

4 p.m. -- Singing of the Philippine national anthem by singers of Ilocos Norte

4:01 p.m. -- Nation’s Prayer

4:05 p.m. -- The Senate and House of Representatives formally welcomed Marcos.

4:05 p.m. -- Marcos started his Sona by greeting the officials and guests.

Below are the highlights of the President’s Sona:

ECONOMY -- Marcos vowed to create a fiscal management tax administration reform that will increase revenue collection. He also said that expenditure will be realigned and eco-zones will be fully supported. He said the country’s tax system will be adjusted in order to catch up with digital economy.

In line with this, Marcos said he tasked the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) to come up with a development plant for 2023 to 2028 and submit the full blueprint not later than yearend.

FOOD CRISIS -- Marcos said the Department of Agriculture, which he heads, will come up with solutions to the rising prices and lack of supply of food. One way to address this, he said, is by increasing the production of farmers in the planting season by providing them financial and technical assistance. The government will also strengthen the value chain.

Marcos also vowed to provide subsidies for farmers amid the soaring prices of fertilizers and pesticides, among others.

“Farmers and fisherfolk will be the priority of my administration,” he said.

FARM-TO-MARKET ROADS -- The government vowed to establish a national network of farm-to-market roads that will help improve the delivery of goods to markets.

MORATORIUM ON LAND AMORTIZATION -- Marcos ordered a one-year moratorium on the payment of land and interest rates to help “unburden the farmers of their dues and be able to focus on improving farm productivity,” saying this has been included in Republic Act 11469, or the Bayanihan to Health As One Act and has been supported by civil society organizations. He said he will issue an executive order for this initiative.

“A moratorium will give the farmers the ability to channel the resources in developing their farms maximizing their capacity to produce and propel the growth of our economy,” he said.

AGRARIAN REFORM BENEFICIARIES’ LOANS -- In his first Sona, Marcos asked Congress to pass a law that will condone the loans of agrarian reform beneficiaries. He said this measure will amend Section 26 of Republic Act 6657.

“In this law, the loans of agrarian reform beneficiaries with unpaid amortization and interest shall be condoned. Layunin ng batas na ito na burahin ang hindi mabayarang utang ng ating mga magsasaka na benepisyaryo ng agrarian reform,” Marcos said.

TOURISM -- Marcos acknowledged the “abundance of opportunities” that the tourism sector creates. With this, he said his government, together with the Department of Tourism and Department of Public Works and Highways, will work hard to boost the tourism industry by improving roads and tourism spots, upgrading airports and seaports to make going around the Philippines more convenient to tourists.

CALAMITY RESPONSE -- Marcos said he tasked the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to immediately respond to victims of calamities by ensuring that field offices can deliver assistance, such as food packs, to local government units (LGUs) affected by calamities.

He said the government will strengthen the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), while he tasked the DSWD to make sure that qualified families are given assistance through 4Ps. He said the 4Ps list of beneficiaries will be reviewed to ensure that it is “clean.”

VIOLENCE VS WOMEN, CHILDREN -- Marcos said the government will not forget the welfare of solo parents, women and children, as his administration vowed to strengthen the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act. He said the government will provide counseling, among other services, for VAWC victims with the help of LGUs.

HEALTH, COVID-19 PANDEMIC -- Marcos said the country cannot afford another lockdown, thus there is a need to balance the health and safety of the public and the economy. He said he had asked the help of several agencies, particularly the Department of Health (DOH), to make sure that the country’s healthcare system has capacity to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases.

“Sa ganitong paraan, kahit pa tumaas ang Covid-19 cases, mananatiling mababa ang maospital at mamamatay...Unti-unti rin tayong masasanay na nariyan ang virus pero hindi na seryoso ang banta sa ating buhay,” he said.

He added that they will align protocols and strengthen the cooperation with the private sector to increase confidence, “so that we can go back to full capacity for our businesses.”

Marcos said information and communication campaign against Covid-19 will also be strengthened along with vaccination.

MORE HEALTH CENTERS, HOSPITALS -- Marcos asked Congress to pass a law that will create the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as a vaccine institute. He also said that his administration will build more health centers and hospitals not only in Metro Manila but also in other areas in the country.

“The need for a stronger healthcare system is self-evident... We will bring medical services to the people, not wait for them to come to centers,” he said.

CHEAP MEDICINES -- Aside from building more health centers and hospitals, Marcos vowed to bring prices of medicines down and ensure enough supply of it. He said he had started talking to pharmaceutical companies to lower the prices of medicines.

He added that he ordered the Philippine Competition Commission to ensure equality and that cartel among pharmaceutical companies is removed. He said an open market would lead to lower medicine prices and health benefits for more Filipinos.

FULL FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES -- Marcos reiterated in his first Sona that it is now time for students to return to full face-to-face classes.

He said the Department of Education (DepEd), headed by its secretary Vice President Sara Duterte, has already been preparing for its implementation in the upcoming school year “with utmost consideration of the students and teachers’ safety.

He appealed to the public to get booster shots to strengthen their defense against Covid-19 now that students will go back to schools. Marcos tasked the DOH and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to undertake another rollout of booster shots.

“The condition and available of school rooms must also be addressed in coordination with DPWH,” he added.

K to 12 -- The President also said that the government’s K to 12 program has been reviewed. “All inputs are now being considered,” he assured.

“As for the horror stories that we have heard about the poor quality of education materials and supplies, this must end,” Marcos added.

DIGITALIZATION -- Marcos vowed that the government will push for digitalization to help improve the government’s services. “We cannot stand idly by...We have to identify these innovations to improve governance.”

He said the National Identification System (ID) will play a part in digital transformation. As such, the government targets to distribute 30 million physical ID cards and 20 million digital IDs by the end of 2022. In the middle of 2023, Marcos said they target to accomplish 92 million IDs for the Filipinos.

He also said that he has tasked the Department of Information and Communication (DICT) to deploy digital connectivity across various islands in the country. “This will be done through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, the common tower program, connecting our Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) via our ‘Broad Band ng Masa’ project,” he said.

“All relevant modes of digital transport should be utilized. These may be through a combination of terrestrial or submarine fiber optics, wireless and even satellite technology,” he added.

INFRASTRUCTURE -- Marcos stressed that infrastructure is the backbone of the economy. He vowed to continue and expand the infrastructure program of the Duterte administration.

“We shall confidently build on this firm foundation established by my predecessor, as it is in building an edifice. We must keep the momentum, and aspire to build better more... Once again, I will not suspend any of the ongoing projects as those have already been shown to be of benefit to the public that they serve,” he said.

He said that infrastructure development will remain a very high priority of his administration.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP -- Marcos said the government will continue to encourage public-private partnerships (PPP) as it plans to expand the infrastructure projects.

He said PPPs “hold great potential for that expansion, for infrastructure development and for innovation.”

RAIL TRANSPORT SYSTEM -- Marcos vowed to modernize the old railway systems, as he acknowledged that a railway is the cheapest way of transporting goods and passengers.

He mentioned railways projects, which he said his administration will commit to finish. These include the North-South Commuter Railway System; 33-kilometer Metro Manila Subway Project; 147-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway System; 12-kilometer LRT-1 Cavite Extension; 23-kilometer MRT-7; Common Station that will connect LRT-1, MRT-3 and MRT-7; 102-kilometer Mindanao Railway Project; Panay Railway Project; and the Cebu railway system.

He said he will also improve the roads and transportation systems in the Philippines through projects such as the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit, Davao High Priority Bus System, Ilocos Norte Transportation Hub, and the El Nido Transport Terminal.

“My order to the Department of Transportation or DOTr is really very simple: Full speed ahead,” he said.

CHEAP, RELIABLE ENERGY -- Marcos said the country must increase the level of energy production by expanding the present power supply and building new power plants.

“Our search for new power sources should always be with an eye to improving the mix of the energy supply between traditional and renewable sources,” he said.

NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS -- In his first Sona, Marcos said it is time to re-examine the government’s strategy toward building nuclear power plants in the country.

He assured that the government will comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations, stressing that “in the area of nuclear power, there have been new technologies developed that allow smaller scale modular nuclear plants and other derivations thereof.”

RENEWABLE ENERGY -- Marcos stressed that the use of renewable energy is at the top of his climate agenda. He said the government will increase the country’s use of renewable energy sources such as hydropower, geothermal power, solar, and wind.

DISASTER RESILIENCY -- “Capacity building for our natural disaster resiliency is therefore a must,” said Marcos, thus he added that investment in science and technology is imperative to enable the Philippines to have accurate weather forecasts and on-time disaster alerts.

FRESH WATER SUPPLY -- The government will also look into the “precarious fresh water supply situation” especially in urban areas. Marcos said the water supply systems, which date back to the 1950’s, must be rehabilitated and improved.

OFWs WELFARE -- Marcos said the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), which was established by the Duterte administration, will serve as the refuge especially of distressed migrants workers and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). He said his administration will eliminate red tape in the system by automating the verification of contracts.

“I call on the Department of Migrant Workers and the DICT to make this a top priority,” he said.

He also vowed to establish One Repatriation Command Center for Filipinos outside the country who need to repatriated due to conflicts and other reasons.

FOREIGN POLICY -- “I will not preside over any process that will abandon even one square inch of territory of the Republic of the Philippines to any foreign power,” said Marcos, receiving a resounding applause during his Sona.

He said the Philippines will continue to be a friend to all, an enemy to none, but he stressed: “We are very jealous of all that is Filipino.”

LEGISLATIONS -- Marcos has proposed 19 measures for Congress to pass in support of his administration plans. These include the National Government Rightsizing Program; budget modernization bill; valuation reform bill; Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act; E-Government Act; Internet Transaction Act; Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery; Medical Reserve Corps; National Disease Prevention Management Authority; Virology Institute of the Philippines; Department of Water Resources; Unified system of separation, retirement, and pension; E-Governance Act; National Land Use Act; National Defense Act; Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and National Service Training Program; enactment of enabling law for natural gas industry; amendments to Electric Power Industry Reform Act; and amendments to build-operate-transfer law.

‘SOUND’ -- Marcos appealed to Filipinos to “endure,” stressing the government has “assembled the best Filipino minds to help navigate us through this time of global crisis that we are now facing.”

“We will endure. Let our Filipino spirit ever remain undimmed. I know this in my mind. I know it in my heart. I know it in my very soul... The state of the nation is sound.”

5:19 p.m. -- Marcos ended his Sona.