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DUTERTE RAISES HOPES OF THE POOR
[SONA 2016: NATION MIRED IN POVERTY LOOKS FORWARD TO NEW LEADER’S SPEECH]
[RELATED: SONA to ‘awaken the patriot’ in Pinoys - Press Sec]


JULY 24 -President Duterte PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte sets the national agenda for the first time in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) today (Monday), confronted with the twin problems of poverty and unemployment despite record economic growth in the past few years. Duterte has heightened the expectations of businessmen and policymakers with his no-nonsense attitude towards governance and the fight against corruption, but as he takes the rostrum during the joint session of Congress at the Batasang Pambansa, Filipinos look forward to concrete measures that will provide better-paying jobs and reduce the ranks of the poor. But the emerging focus of policymakers and legislators is on political reforms such as a shift to a federal form of government and populist measures like the restoration of the death penalty to give teeth to the new government’s war against criminality and illegal drugs. The legislative agenda, so far, deals with the central problems of poverty and joblessness only indirectly, analysts told The Manila Times. “It is clear that the underlying philosophy behind the legislative agenda of the House is that once crime and law and order are addressed, poverty will follow,” political analyst Alfred Sureta of the University of Makati said. The challenge for Duterte’s economic team is to craft a new Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan that will effectively address these “systemic” problems and outline the legislative measures needed, said Edmund Tayao, political science professor at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). “We need to change the system and to come up with polices that will resonate. The previous administration had legislative priorities but they hardly made a dent,” Tayao said. The Aquino administration failed to reduce poverty. Official data show that 26.3 percent or one out of every four Filipinos fell below the poverty line in the first half of 2015, the latest available data, hardly changed from 28.6 percent in 2009 before President Benigno Aquino 3rd took office.READ MORE...RELATED,
SONA to ‘awaken the patriot’ in Pinoys...

ALSO: A different SONA (Monday, July 25, 2016 at 3 pm Manila time)
[RELATED: It’s Rody’s show  ‘Man-in-a-hurry’ Duterte breaks Sona tradition


JULY 24 -HOW will the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte be different from past SONAs? 
Known to ignore tradition, Duterte has expressed his desire to keep the event simple. Thus, there will be no parade of women in sumptuous gowns and bedazzling jewelry. There will also be no red carpet to walk on.The President will not be escorted by the welcoming committee into the session hall of the House of Representatives. However, a band will play a marching song when he leaves the event. Also, Duterte, the first president from Mindanao, will not run videos of testimonials during his speech. The annual practice of delivering a SONA began with former president Manuel Quezon in 1936. Most presidents after Quezon, except for Jose Laurel, followed the tradition, but not all SONAs were delivered the same way. As of 2015, 66 SONAs had been delivered. The longest speech was delivered by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1969 at 29,335 words. The shortest was former President Gloria Arroyo’s in 2005. Marcos also holds the record of delivering the most number of SONAs at 20. READ MORE...RELATED,
It’s Rody’s show: ‘Man-in-a-hurry’ Duterte breaks Sona tradition...

ALSO SILIPIN: Damit na isusuot at pagkaing ihahain sa SONA ni Duterte


JULY 24 -From fashion to food, Duterte SONA sets change -Watch also in iWantv or TFC.tv Handa na ang lahat para sa unang SONA ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte bukas. Inaabangan din ng lahat kung ano ang magiging laman ng talumpati ng Pangulo. Nagpa-Patrol, Raphael Bosano. TV Patrol, Linggo, Hulyo 24, 2016.VIDEO BELOW...


ALSO: National Security Council to meet Tuesday on top issues confronting PH


JULY 24 -President Rodrigo Duterte and National Security Adviser Hermoges Esperon Jr. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/EDWIN BACASMAS) DAVAO CITY – The National Security Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday amid pressing issues confronting the country. Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza told reporters here late Saturday that the meeting was being arranged by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and that “all important issues confronting the nation will all be discussed.” Dureza said “all living former presidents, heads of the different congressional levels, key officials of Malacañang’s security council and other leaders” have been invited to attend the meeting. It was not clear though if former President Benigno Aquino III will be attending the NSC meeting, which was set a day after Mr. Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA). The NSC meeting will be held on the same day that President Duterte will meet US Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry will be coming in from Vientiane, where he was scheduled to attend several meetings of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), during which, he would discuss the territorial disputes between some Asean members and China. During the NSC meeting, the territorial row between the country and China over the West Philippine Sea is expected to be discussed. “President Duterte will listen to the guidance, inputs, suggestions or recommendation of former presidents and other leaders of the government,” Dureza said.READ MORE...

ALSO EXCLUSIVE: Arroyo has no vendetta on enemies
[RELATED: GMA at home now - 'I won’t wish my fate on enemies']


JULY 24 -Arroyo makes first public appearance on ABS-CBN
Three days after being freed from detention, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo shared Sunday that she will start the next chapter of her life without any rancor on her enemies. Speaking with ABS-CBN News for her first public appearance and interview, Arroyo said, "I don't wish what happened to me on my worst enemies." The 69-year-old Arroyo, who is currently Pampanga representative, added that any resentment she has is not personal, but is directed at the country's flawed justice system. 
"You know, as I said earlier, I’m a devout Catholic, so any rancor I feel is not first hand. The rancor that I feel is precisely what I was saying earlier: the justice system, political persecution using the justice system that must stop," she said during the exclusive interview in her La Vista home in Quezon City. Arroyo insisted that the use of criminal justice system for political persecution must end with her. "Let me be the last victim of persecution during the justice system," she said. "A lot of injustice -- to begin with the detention itself -- was unjust... What I learned from that is this whole thing of political power to persecute political enemies, that must stop," she added. In 2015, Arroyo’s camp filed a case with a United Nations panel to complain of the alleged human rights abuses she suffered under the administration of President Benigo Aquino III, who pursued the filing of cases against her.Arroyo said she hopes that the government will establish a fair process for holding government officials accountable of alleged wrongdoing. "I must be the last victim, let me be the last victim. I’m not saying that political figures should be immune from prosecution. What I’m saying is that the process should be fair an even handed," she said. Arroyo's ordeal also affected her relationship with her friends, as well as the people around her. Some of those who were with her during better days were nowhere to be found during her low times. READ MORE.. RELATED, GMA: I won’t wish my fate on enemies...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Duterte raises hopes of the poor
[SONA 2016: NATION MIRED IN POVERTY LOOKS FORWARD TO NEW LEADER’S SPEECH]


President Duterte

MANILA, JULY 25, 2016 (MANILA TIMES) July 24, 2016 10:09 pm by LLANESCA T. PANTI - PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte sets the national agenda for the first time in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) today (Monday), confronted with the twin problems of poverty and unemployment despite record economic growth in the past few years.

Duterte has heightened the expectations of businessmen and policymakers with his no-nonsense attitude towards governance and the fight against corruption, but as he takes the rostrum during the joint session of Congress at the Batasang Pambansa, Filipinos look forward to concrete measures that will provide better-paying jobs and reduce the ranks of the poor.

But the emerging focus of policymakers and legislators is on political reforms such as a shift to a federal form of government and populist measures like the restoration of the death penalty to give teeth to the new government’s war against criminality and illegal drugs.

The legislative agenda, so far, deals with the central problems of poverty and joblessness only indirectly, analysts told The Manila Times.

“It is clear that the underlying philosophy behind the legislative agenda of the House is that once crime and law and order are addressed, poverty will follow,” political analyst Alfred Sureta of the University of Makati said.

The challenge for Duterte’s economic team is to craft a new Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan that will effectively address these “systemic” problems and outline the legislative measures needed, said Edmund Tayao, political science professor at the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

“We need to change the system and to come up with polices that will resonate. The previous administration had legislative priorities but they hardly made a dent,” Tayao said.

The Aquino administration failed to reduce poverty. Official data show that 26.3 percent or one out of every four Filipinos fell below the poverty line in the first half of 2015, the latest available data, hardly changed from 28.6 percent in 2009 before President Benigno Aquino 3rd took office.

READ MORE...

Translated into headcounts, the number of poor Filipinos in 2015 stood at more than 26 million, about the same as in 2010.

Data also show slow progress in the jobs picture: 2.6 million Filipinos were unemployed in 2015, or an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent. In 2010, 2.9 million Filipinos were unemployed, or 7.3 percent of the labor pool.

The quality of jobs remains an issue: of those employed in 2015, only 59 percent received salaries, and 10 percent worked without pay, figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority show.

The urgency of these issues was evident in the recent Pulse Asia survey taken from July 2 to 8, which showed that most Filipinos want the Duterte administration to prioritize three economic issues—controlling increases in prices (68 percent), creating employment opportunities (56 percent), and crafting new pro-poor programs (55 percent).

Other national concerns included loan grants to small entrepreneurs and the self-employed (23 percent), a program to address the government’s debt problem (17 percent), and pursuing peace negotiations with different armed groups (17 percent).

Curbing criminality was only the fourth top concern among Filipinos at 48 percent.

Filipinos meanwhile believe the least priority should be given to forging a government of national unity (9 percent), and amending the Constitution (7 percent).

Legislative agenda

Measures that will address poverty and create jobs are not reflected, at least not yet, in the emerging agenda of Congress.
Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez of PDP-Laban, Duterte’s choice to become House Speaker, wants three measures enacted into law within a year: overhauling the Constitution to shift to a federal government, restoring the death penalty, and lowering the age of criminal liability to nine years old from 15.

Under a federal government, each of the country’s 16 regions will be self-governing.

“That’s the three we have so far. We will work hard to ensure that this all can be done in a year. The majority coalition has a lot of members, and we expect them to support the bills that the administration wants passed,” Alvarez said.

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte of PDP-Laban shared Alvarez’s sentiments.

“The onset of the Duterte presidency is the perfect time to push for a Constitutional Convention because President Duterte has no political agenda and he is being trusted by more than 90 percent of Filipinos,” Villafuerte said in a statement.

Alvarez is committed to supporting the Duterte administration’s anti-crime stance through the restoration of the death penalty, amid an ongoing battle against illegal drugs that has claimed the lives of more than 300 suspects, killed by either the police or vigilantes.

“We need to put teeth in our criminal justice system, and I believe that this will deter crime,” the presumptive Speaker said of anti-crime bills set to be tackled by the House.

Tayao said the current legislative priorities did not mean that the Duterte administration won’t seek to address poverty and unemployment, however.

“I want to see what [Duterte] intends to achieve for the country six years from now,” Tayao said.

‘Reduce tax to reduce poverty’

Analysts have said constitutional changes could help create new jobs through the lifting of the 40 percent foreign ownership cap.

The move is expected to stimulate foreign direct investments, an area where the Philippines lags behind the rest of its neighbors in Southeast Asia.

But overhauling the 1987 Constitution could take at least two years, as Congress still needs to deliberate on a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention, whose work could be dragged by debates.

The new charter will also have to be subjected to a plebescite.

One House measure that could increase disposable incomes of low-income families in the short term is the proposed reform in personal income tax rates, which was rejected by the Aquino administration.

Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo said reducing poverty could start with reducing tax rates through restructured income tax brackets. The measure will amend the National Internal Revenue Code for the first time since its passage in 1997.

With the restructuring, a public school teacher earning P241,137 annually will pay P9,935 in taxes, instead of P14,231 under the current tax table.

Quimbo proposes seven tax brackets wherein those earning P21,613 and below annually will pay just a 5 percent tax rate; those earning P21,613 to P64,839 will pay only P5,402 plus 15 percent of the excess of P21,613; those earning P151,290 to P302,581 will pay P18,370 plus 20 percent of the excess of P151,290; those earning P302,581 to P540,323 will pay P48,628 plus 25 percent of the excess over P302,581; and those earning P540,323 to P1,080,645 will pay P108,063 plus 30 percent of the excess over P540,323.

Finally, those earning more than P1,080,645 annually will pay the highest rate – P270,160 plus 32 percent of the excess over P1,080,645.

“This will reduce the tax burden of more than six million Filipino workers. Under the current system, only 16 percent of 22 million workers serve as the milking cow of BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue),” Quimbo, a former chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said.

Department of Finance spokeswoman Paola Alvarez said in a recent television interview that the reduction in personal income tax rates, among other tax reform measures, has the backing of the Duterte administration.

The Finance department wants to raise revenues to fund new expenditures such as hiking the salary of the police and the military.

One such measure is the imposition of taxes on sweetened beverages, which will also help prevent obesity and diabetes.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd of PDP-Laban, who is expected to become Senate President, supports the tax reform plan.

“I am hoping to hear the President’s priority legislations in his SONA because this is where he would need Congress’ cooperation. I am hoping to hear his push for tax reform, as well as the continued fight against drugs, crime and corruption,” Pimentel said in an interview.

-------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

SONA to ‘awaken the patriot’ in Pinoys (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 25, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


President Duterte will deliver today his much-anticipated first State of the Nation Address (SONA), which Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said was so stirring it moved him to tears. TV5

MANILA, Philippines – It’s a 38-minute address written by the President himself, and he expects the speech to stir the patriotism of every Filipino.

President Duterte will deliver today his much-anticipated first State of the Nation Address (SONA), which Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said was so stirring it moved him to tears.

“The address of the President, personally written by the President, will be a very powerful speech that will awaken the patriot in every Filipino,” Andanar told a press conference yesterday in Davao City.

“I don’t want to exaggerate, but the first time I read the speech, it made me cry. That’s how good, that’s how emotionally stirring the speech of our President is,” Andanar added.

Using a teleprompter, Duterte practiced the delivery of the speech on Saturday night on the 18th floor of the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao.

Andanar did not elaborate on why the speech, which underwent review last Saturday, moved him to tears.

His subordinate, Assistant Secretary Ramon Cualoping II, told reporters last week that Duterte’s SONA would focus more on policy rather than drama.

“I think there will be less of the drama and more of the policies for action that he needs from Senate and Congress because he wants them to be his partners for change,” Cualoping said in a press briefing at the Batasang Pambansa complex last July 18.

Andanar revealed the draft of the speech underwent more than 10 revisions. He said Duterte found the drafting of the address “enjoyable.”

Andanar added the President is expected to announce the creation of a task force to investigate media killings and the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army in the effort to resume peace talks next month.

Other officials however were tight-lipped on the contents of the speech but based on previous statements by Duterte and his allies, the issues to be discussed include peace and order, the administration’s priority bills, the 10-point economic agenda and the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute.

National security

In a speech he delivered in Isabela City, Basilan last Thursday, Duterte said he would highlight the need to end the Mindanao conflict in his first SONA.

“Every Filipino life is precious. Regardless of what you think of yourself, I view you as my brother. I hope we can talk so we can attain peace,” the President, who won by a landslide during the May 9 polls with 16.6 million votes, said.

“We need to stop this war. I will repeat this in my SONA. Do not hate Moro. If we can’t stop clashes for now, do not add hatred in your heart,” he added.

Andanar confirmed yesterday the President would talk about a key national security pronouncement during his address.

He said Duterte, former president Fidel Ramos, peace adviser Jesus Dureza and national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. met last Saturday to discuss the issue.

“That meeting was so productive and led to a very important addition to the state of the nation address,” Andanar said

When asked if it was about Ramos’ acceptance of Duterte’s offer for him to become special envoy to China, Andanar replied: “More than that.”

Duterte asked Ramos to fly to China and talk to Chinese officials after the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague had voided Beijing’s territorial claim in the South China Sea. Duterte has said that he would take into account the interests of the Philippines’ allies in any negotiation.

A Malacañang source who spoke on condition of anonymity told The STAR in an earlier interview that Duterte would make an “official statement” on the arbitral tribunal’s landmark ruling.

Priority bills

Duterte, whose allies now constitute a so-called super majority in Congress, is also expected to discuss his administration’s legislative agenda.

Paola Alvarez, spokesperson for the finance department, told journalists last week that the President may unveil a “comprehensive tax package” in line with his 10-point socioeconomic agenda.

Alvarez said Duterte might also emphasize the need to revive the death penalty, which the President views as retribution rather than deterrent to crime.

The President may also push for amendments to the Constitution that would lead to the establishment of a federal type of government, she added. Duterte had said federalism would promote development outside Metro Manila and solve the problems plaguing Mindanao.

Duterte however, is not expected to blame previous administrations for the country’s problems.

“I think based on his personality, you don’t see him doing that and he is one who takes charge and he is accountable for his actions all throughout,” Alvarez said.

“I think it would be the same tone and there will not be any blaming game.”

Great expectations Lawmakers said the President should spell out the national agenda and the “nation’s aspirations.”

Sen. Ralph Recto said the SONA “presents a great opportunity for the President to expand his kill list, against the greater enemies that must be defeated like poverty, joblessness, poor public services like our clogged roads and crowded hospitals.”

“It will be the best time to unveil his battle plan on how to slay unemployment, exterminate poverty, and economic want, whose success will be measured in lives improved and not in lives ended,” Recto said.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said he expects the President to push for income tax reform in his SONA.

Preparations toned down Officials said Duterte’s first SONA would be a complete departure from the procession of glitz and glamour and lavishness that used to mark the event during previous administrations.

Malacañang has reminded lawmakers, their spouses and other guests to refrain from wearing long gowns but to just come in business attire.

Alvarez said the objective was to ensure that the public’s focus would be on the President’s message, not on the outfits of attendees.

“You have the option of wearing Filipiniana as long as, for the ladies, it will not be more than knee length. Yes, it was specifically asked of us to require the ladies not to have long dresses,” Alvarez said.

The number of lawmakers who will escort Duterte to the plenary hall will also be reduced.

“Instead of having a lot of congressmen there, we will be minimizing this to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House and afterward we will have the majority floor leader of both houses to escort the President,” Alvarez said.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, Bataan believes the simplicity of Duterte’s SONA would bring back the public focus on the administration’s plans and programs from the showdown of gowns and attires of lawmakers and their spouses.

“It’s very praiseworthy for our President that he reminds our elected officials that SONA is plans and programs of services for people, and not their fashion statements,” Santos said.

Award-winning independent film director Brillante Mendoza, who agreed to direct the SONA for free, said the event would be simple and would show Filipinos “the real Duterte.”

Security Security forces have geared up preparations for today’s SONA as thousands of policemen are to be deployed along areas leading to the Batasan complex in Quezon City.

Quezon City Police District director Sen. Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar said they are not expecting any immediate security threats but are ready for any situation that may arise from the more than 10,000 people expected to attend the event.

“We’re hoping for a peaceful SONA but we are prepared for all situations. We can’t take anything for granted. We are all prepared,” Eleazar said.

No rally permit was given by the Quezon City government but groups would still be allowed to stage demonstrations inside prescribed areas, which have been extended 600 meters in the northbound lane of Commonwealth Avenue.

Rallyists are allowed some 800 meters away from the Batasang Pambansa complex.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) went on full alert since yesterday as part of security measures for the SONA.

Col. Vic Tomas, acting commander of the AFP Joint Task Force-National Capital Region Command, said the security measures would still be the same as in past SONAs.

“The only difference is the early initiative to talk with rally leaders that there is designated area which I think they agreed,” Tomas said.

On the eve of the SONA, Duterte went to his favorite hangout After Dark Piano Bar in Davao City, where he met with some 50 Mindanao congressmen.

While in Davao, Duterte treated the Mindanao congressmen with a rendition of George Canseco’s “Ikaw” and other songs from his repertoire.

He left the piano bar early in the morning yesterday and flew back to Manila last night to prepare for his SONA.

The food preparations for the SONA, however, would not be that lavish as well.

Officials said the menu will include native chips and salted duck eggs with dressing; mongo soup paired with smoked fish with alugbati on grissini bread; fresh lumpia ubod in pouch; and chicken and spicy tuna empanaditas.

Other dishes to be served to guests are sotong goreng or deep fried calamares tossed in chili and bell pepper; crispy triangles of flaked chicken adobo and mushrooms; fried lumpia ubod; pandesal with kesong puti and beef steak served on the spot; penne with taba ng talangka sauce; balut pâté in profiteroles, and chicken skin crackling.

The menu will serve about 800 people, including the 293 House members and 24 senators.

Militants back SONA Thousands of militant workers will troop to Congress today not to stage a protest but to show support to the first SONA of Duterte.

The militant Kilusang Mayo Uno announced yesterday that their members will join the march to Congress to await Duter te's announcement against contractualization.

KMU said workers want to hear Duterte's plans to stop the illegal contractual employment scheme. – Alexis Romero, Edith Regalado, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Paolo Romero, Non Alquitran, Edu Punay, Romina Cabrera, Mayen Jaymalin


MANILA TIMES

A different SONA July 24, 2016 10:08 pm


HOW will the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte be different from past SONAs?

Known to ignore tradition, Duterte has expressed his desire to keep the event simple. Thus, there will be no parade of women in sumptuous gowns and bedazzling jewelry. There will also be no red carpet to walk on.

The President will not be escorted by the welcoming committee into the session hall of the House of Representatives.

However, a band will play a marching song when he leaves the event.

Also, Duterte, the first president from Mindanao, will not run videos of testimonials during his speech.

The annual practice of delivering a SONA began with former president Manuel Quezon in 1936.

Most presidents after Quezon, except for Jose Laurel, followed the tradition, but not all SONAs were delivered the same way.

As of 2015, 66 SONAs had been delivered. The longest speech was delivered by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1969 at 29,335 words. The shortest was former President Gloria Arroyo’s in 2005.

Marcos also holds the record of delivering the most number of SONAs at 20.

READ MORE...

The first time a SONA was delivered at the House of Representatives in Quezon City was in 1978.

Former President Elpidio Quirino was the only president to deliver an address via a radio broadcast, which was aired live in Congress while in session.

The only SONA delivered entirely in Filipino was that of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd on July 26, 2010.

There were two president who did not deliver SONAs because the constitutions during their time made no provision or requirement for a report to Congress — Emilio Aguinaldo and Laurel.

From 1942 to 1944, during the Japanese Occupation, there were no SONAs delivered. In 1986, upon her ascension to the Presidency, Corazon Aquino did not deliver a SONA.

However, on June 4, 1986, she gave a speech in Malacañang in the form of a panel discussion to mark her first 100 days in office.

-----------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

It’s Rody’s show: ‘Man-in-a-hurry’ Duterte breaks Sona tradition posted July 25, 2016 at 12:01 am by Christine F. Herrera and Sandy Araneta



PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte—always in a hurry to get things done—wants to prove he means business by breaking all traditions and protocols on Monday, from the moment he steps into the Batasang Pambansa to deliver his historic first State of the Nation Address at 4 p.m.

The President wants all eyes fully focused on him for 38 minutes as he issues orders and talks about his plans to steer the country toward progress and development in his first 100 days—an effort that he wants sustained for the next six years.

A Palace official said Duterte’s first Sona—expected to last 38 minutes—would inspire love of country in every Filipino.

“The address of the President, personally written by the President, will be a very powerful speech that will awaken the patriot in every Filipino,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

“I do not want to exaggerate but the first time I read the speech, it made me cry,” he said.

Drama and all other distractions have been removed. There will be no slideshows, videos or honor roll presentations that used to eat up more than an hour in previous presidential speeches.

Only four House and Senate officials—a departure from the usual 30-man entourage—have been assigned to meet Duterte at the rear entrance of the Batasan to save time, and to do away with the usual shaking of hands.

The escorts will include only the newly elected Senate President, House Speaker and their respective majority leaders, said outgoing House Secretary-General Marilyn Barua-Yap.

While this is the first time the President will formally meet the Senate and House members face-to-face, Duterte did not want them to delay his march up to the rostrum, so the usual meet and green with lawmakers lining the aisles will come after, not before his speech.

The usual red carpet arrivals that have become a fixture of past Sonas have been scrapped, and those attending have been advised to come in business attire, consistent with Duterte’s no-frills style.

Everybody must already be seated when he enters the session hall to avoid delays.

Award-winning film director Brillante Mendoza devised a way to install a light dimmer in the plenary hall so that all lights are focused only on the President. He said the public will feel like they are talking directly with the President when he delivers his Sona.

Some 3,000 guests have been invited to Duterte’s first Sona—including the past presidents.

This is the first time former Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III will be sitting together under the same roof since Arroyo was cleared by the Supreme Court of plunder charges that were filed during the Aquino administration.

Yap said all four former presidents would be seated side by side according to seniority or chronology of terms of office at the middle gallery, thus, Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo and Aquino.

But Arroyo, as a representative of Pampanga, has the option to join her colleagues on the session floor.

Aquino, who put Arroyo in jail for four years, has sent word that he would not be attending Duterte’s Sona.

Vice President Leni Robredo will be given a special seat with the senators on the floor but she is given a choice to sit in the VIP middle gallery, alongside the former presidents.

Yap said Duterte wanted simple arrangements at the House.

“The preparations were not really very difficult...for example, the President’s team wanted simple arrangements for the session hall, the lobbies, the reception areas and the cocktails. It’s all cut and dried,” Yap said.

Even for the President’s 30-minute speech, the Palace has not asked for provisions for a slideshow, Yap said.

“I expect the President’s Sona to be straightforward and would last for a maximum of 30 minutes unlike previous presidential addresses which usually lasted one hour and 45 minutes. The President will outline his program of government, probably focusing on the same things he has been talking about the last time, like law and order, national security, and the economic agenda. He has a strong economic team and his economic agenda has a good focal point, which is the agriculture sector, and there is also a balance between the agriculture sector and foreign investments,” Yap said.

From Friday to Sunday, the final preparations were made in the House.

“All security forces will be at the holding areas by that time. Our caterers are coming in Sunday so they are all in place when we open in the morning of Monday,” she added.

Yap advised invited guests to come early, bring their pass and invitation, and observe the proper dress code.

“Please come early because once the doors are closed, you won’t be able to enter the session hall… You will be escorted to some part of the building and you’ll have to wait until the Sona is over before you can get out of that place,” she said.

The three-level galleries at the session hall have a comfortable seating capacity of 1,750 while the plenary floor has a comfortable seating capacity of 350, Yap said.

The President is expected to arrive at the House at 4 p.m.

Once he arrives, Yap said he will be escorted to the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office by the Senate President and the House Speaker, and the two majority leaders of both houses of Congress.

Then the Speaker and Senate President will proceed to the plenary hall. The majority leaders will then escort the President to the main entrance of the session hall.

Bayang Barrios will sing the national anthem for the joint session.

The President is scheduled to deliver his Sona at 4:30 p.m.

Yap said she expects the Sona to also deal with foreign policy like how to deal about the West Philippine Sea, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement implications, the fate of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, a pitch for a Constitutional Convention and a shift to federalism, and climate change issues.

In the morning, the session would open at 10 a.m.

There will be a designation for an acting majority floor leader to be followed by a nomination for the position of Speaker. The election and oathtaking of the new Speaker will be followed by his traditional acceptance speech.

Lawmakers would also pass a resolution informing the President that the House has convened and organized, and is ready to receive the President and hear the Sona.

The morning session will last until 11:30 a.m.

In the afternoon, the doors of the plenary hall will open at 2 p.m. and will be closed at 3.30 p.m.

For the reception after the Sona, Yap said Via Mare restaurant was tapped to serve a heavy merienda buffet to at least 800 guests, including diplomats.

Senator Ralph Recto said Duterte could use his Sona to expand his “kill list” to poverty, joblessness, and poor public services.

“It will the best time to unveil his battle plan on how to slay unemployment, exterminate poverty, and end economic want, whose success will be measured in lives improved and not in lives ended,” he also said.

“Like any maiden Sona, I expect it to be more of a looking forward than a looking back speech, more of what to do and not on what has been done,” Recto said.

The Sona, he added was about setting the national agenda and the nation’s aspirations.

Neophyte Senator Risa Hontiveros said she hoped the President will elaborate on his government’s health policy framework.

She said Duterte’s decision to send health officials to Cuba to study its health care system is a step in the right direction.

Outside the Batasang Pambansa, military personnel will be deployed to support police, who will be deployed along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City to maintain order, Col. Vic Tomas, commander of Task Force National Capital Region said Sunday.

“The normal distance will be applied per rules of engagement, 50 meters away from the demonstrators. Our personnel are unarmed because they are also there to protect the demonstrators,” Tomas said.

Earlier, the militant group Alyansang Makabayan said it will gather some 10,000 people to march along Commonwelth to show support for Duterte.

Another group, Akbayan, said they will also conduct a separate rally near Batasan Pambansa to protest the planned burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Tomas said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will declare a red alert Sunday midnight in Metro Manila.

He said, however, that no threat has been monitored.

Duterte has ordered the AFP and the Philippine National Police not to exaggerate the troop numbers for his Sona.

Tomas said demonstrators will be given a demarcation line several meters away from St. Peter’s Church along Commonwealth Avenue. With Macon Ramos-Araneta, Florante S. Solmerin and Rio N. Araja


ABS-CBN

SILIPIN: Damit na isusuot at pagkaing ihahain sa SONA ni Duterte ABS-CBN News
Posted at Jul 24 2016 09:46 PM

Watch also in iWantv or TFC.tv
Handa na ang lahat para sa unang SONA ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte bukas. Inaabangan din ng lahat kung ano ang magiging laman ng talumpati ng Pangulo. Nagpa-Patrol, Raphael Bosano. TV Patrol, Linggo, Hulyo 24, 2016.VIDEO BELOW.

From fashion to food, Duterte SONA sets change ABS-CBN News Posted at Jul 24 2016 04:00 PM


President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech before the San Beda Law Alumni Association during the testimonial dinner reception at the Club Filipino on July 14. Toto Lozano, Presidential Photographers Division.

MANILA - From fashion and food to message, the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte is expected to divert from the glamour that marked the ceremony in previous administrations.

Malacañang on Sunday reminded legislators and guests to observe the business attire in the SONA on Monday, instead of donning long gowns and suits.

The Palace also confirmed that the menu for the event would include native dishes like salted duck eggs with dressing, mongo soup, smoked fish with alugbati on grissini bread, fresh lumpia ubod in pouch, and chicken and spicy tuna empanaditas.

Other dishes approved were sotong goreng or deep fried calamaris tossed in chili and bell pepper, crispy triangles of flaked chicken adobo and mushrooms, fried lumpia ubod, pandesal with kesong puti and beef steak, penne with taba ng talangka sauce, balut pâté in profiteroles and chicken skin crackling.

(READ: What's on the menu: SONA 2016)

An estimated 800 people will be served, including the 293 congressmen and 24 senators, whom the President will address on the opening of the Congress joint session every year.

SONA HIGHLIGHT

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said Duterte's speech will rouse love of country among Filipnos. Acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza has been tapped to direct the event, pro bono.

Leftist militants, for their part, have vowed not mount rallies during the SONA, but march instead in support of the new President.

Among the thousands expected at the march are delegates from lumad communities in Northern Mindanao and Caraga.

 

PAGASA: LPA namataan, pag-ulan sa SONA asahan ABS-CBN News Posted at Jul 24 2016 01:52 PM Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Posibleng ulanin ang State of the Nation Address (SONA) ng Pangulong Duterte sa Lunes, ayon sa PAGASA. Sa pagtaya ng ahensya, malaki ang posibilidad ng pag-ulan lalo na sa hapon hanggang gabi.

Isang low pressure area (LPA) rin umano ang namataan sa silangan ng Baler, Aurora. Sinabi ni PAGASA weather forecaster Obet Badrina na magdadala ang LPA ng hanggang katamtamang pag-ulan sa Cagayan Valley, Cordillera at mga lalawigan ng Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan at Quezon. Malabo anyang maging maging bagyo ang LPA dahil malapit na ito sa lupa.


INQUIRER

National Security Council to meet Tuesday on top issues confronting PH By: Allan Nawal
@inquirerdotnet Inquirer Mindanao 10:02 PM July 24th, 2016


President Rodrigo Duterte and National Security Adviser Hermoges Esperon Jr. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/EDWIN BACASMAS)

DAVAO CITY – The National Security Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday amid pressing issues confronting the country.

Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza told reporters here late Saturday that the meeting was being arranged by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and that “all important issues confronting the nation will all be discussed.”

Dureza said “all living former presidents, heads of the different congressional levels, key officials of Malacañang’s security council and other leaders” have been invited to attend the meeting.

It was not clear though if former President Benigno Aquino III will be attending the NSC meeting, which was set a day after Mr. Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The NSC meeting will be held on the same day that President Duterte will meet US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry will be coming in from Vientiane, where he was scheduled to attend several meetings of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), during which, he would discuss the territorial disputes between some Asean members and China.

During the NSC meeting, the territorial row between the country and China over the West Philippine Sea is expected to be discussed.


KERRY

“President Duterte will listen to the guidance, inputs, suggestions or recommendation of former presidents and other leaders of the government,” Dureza said.

READ MORE...

Dureza said the Duterte administration would be crafting a set of guidelines that former President Fidel V. Ramos would be referring to in his future dealings with China over the West Philippine Sea issue.

“These are to be crafted and presented to him before he starts his actual mission to represent the country in this engagement with China,” he said.

Dureza said initially, Mr. Duterte and Ramos discussed in general what the President would want to achieve in the talks with China “but these could not be publicly discussed yet.”

Mr. Duterte earlier said that he wanted the territorial row resolved diplomatically and that a joint venture with China could be among the solutions

He also said he would not give up the country’s sea rights in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea areas but he would want China to help in the country’s economic development.

“If we can have a settlement with them despite the arbitral judgment, I think that we will have many benefits,” he said during his visit to Buluan, Maguindanao on Friday.
SFM


ABS-CBN

EXCLUSIVE: Arroyo has no vendetta on enemies RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News Posted at Jul 24 2016 03:52 PM | Updated as of Jul 24 2016 09:23 PM


Arroyo makes first public appearance on ABS-CBN

MANILA -- (UPDATED) Three days after being freed from detention, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo shared Sunday that she will start the next chapter of her life without any rancor on her enemies.

Speaking with ABS-CBN News for her first public appearance and interview, Arroyo said, "I don't wish what happened to me on my worst enemies."

The 69-year-old Arroyo, who is currently Pampanga representative, added that any resentment she has is not personal, but is directed at the country's flawed justice system.

"You know, as I said earlier, I’m a devout Catholic, so any rancor I feel is not first hand. The rancor that I feel is precisely what I was saying earlier: the justice system, political persecution using the justice system that must stop," she said during the exclusive interview in her La Vista home in Quezon City.

Arroyo insisted that the use of criminal justice system for political persecution must end with her. "Let me be the last victim of persecution during the justice system," she said.


Three days after being freed from detention

"A lot of injustice -- to begin with the detention itself -- was unjust... What I learned from that is this whole thing of political power to persecute political enemies, that must stop," she added.

In 2015, Arroyo’s camp filed a case with a United Nations panel to complain of the alleged human rights abuses she suffered under the administration of President Benigo Aquino III, who pursued the filing of cases against her.

Arroyo said she hopes that the government will establish a fair process for holding government officials accountable of alleged wrongdoing.

"I must be the last victim, let me be the last victim. I’m not saying that political figures should be immune from prosecution. What I’m saying is that the process should be fair an even handed," she said.

Arroyo's ordeal also affected her relationship with her friends, as well as the people around her. Some of those who were with her during better days were nowhere to be found during her low times.

READ MORE...

"Oh, (I've) been there, (I've) been there. I was not surprised because remember, my father was president of the Philippines, and then (Ferdinand) Marcos came in, so especially when martial law was declared, we saw that exodus of friends. And then they came around when I became senator, and then especially they came around when I became president," she said.

"But you know, it happened to my father, I was not surprised that it would happen to me, especially because of the persecution. Not only was I persecuted, my allies were persecuted. People identified with me were persecuted," Arroyo added.

Arroyo was lapped by the Ombudsman in July 2012 with a P366-million plunder case in connection with the alleged misuse of funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

She was detained at the Veterans' Memorial Medical Center in the same year up until the Supreme Court (SC) junked the charges against her last Tuesday.

On the order of the high court, she walked free from VMMC on Thursday and proceeded to her Quezon City home.

Arroyo’s full interview will be made available soon on ABS-CBN and its various platforms.

TIMELINE: The Arroyo plunder case


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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

GMA: I won’t wish my fate on enemies By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 25, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Former president, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo poses with grandsons Diosdado Miguel (right), 9, and Ignacio, 4, during an interview with The STAR at her home in La Vista Subdivision, Quezon City yesterday. The boys are the children of her third and youngest child, former Camarines Sur congressman Diosdado Arroyo. BOY SANTOS

MANILA, Philippines – Home at last after four years in detention, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday said she was a “victim of political persecution.”

“Let me be the last victim of political persecution using the justice system,” Arroyo said in her first interview since she was released from detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City on Thursday.

The 69-year-old Arroyo, who is afflicted with a degenerative disease affecting her spine, described her detention as “a lot of injustice to begin with.”

Arroyo, along with several other former officials, was accused of misusing P366 million in funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the cases against her alleged co-conspirators.

The Supreme Court on July 19 acquitted Arroyo of charges of conspiracy to commit plunder as it granted her petition to drop the case against her before the Sandiganbayan.

Her chief jailer, former president Benigno Aquino III, slammed the ruling while Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is thinking of filing an appeal.

“What I learned from that is this whole thing of political power to persecute political enemies, that must stop,” Arroyo told The STAR in an interview at her home in La Vista, Quezon City.

“I’m not saying that political leaders should be immune from prosecution. What I’m saying is that the process should be fair and evenhanded, so let me be the last victim of political persecution using the justice system,” she added.

She said any rancor she may feel is not personal.

“I don’t wish what happened to me on my worst enemies,” she added.

She also lamented the persecution also included her political allies and even friends in the private sector.

But Arroyo thanked her police guards, doctors, nurses, nursing aides, and utility personnel at the VMMC who attended to her

“I can’t say enough how gracious they are,” she said. “My faith was very strong and when some (visiting) friends ask ‘would you want to pray with us for your pain?’ I would ask that we pray for my freedom because as far as my physical suffering, I offer it to Him.”

Another surgery?

While the VMMC doctors took very good care of her, Arroyo said there were new medical conditions that arose during her detention, including hypertension and possible liver trouble, and the constant pain in her arms and back refused to go away.

When she first entered the VMMC, she could not raise her left arm but with tedious physical therapy, she could now move it but the pain remains – which doctors attribute to degeneration of nerves.

Arroyo underwent three critical surgeries on her cervical spine in 2011 at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City, the last two being to correct the placement of titanium screws.

She was set to leave for abroad in 2011 for treatment after getting a nod from the SC but a tug-of-war ensued at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport where the Bureau of Immigration stopped her, claiming it needed to get the official hard copy of the high tribunal’s permission.

Over the years, one of the screws moved and was progressively pressing on her spinal cord that one specialist from the Makati Medical Center warned that she could succumb to “sudden death.”

“I hope to get a second opinion abroad,” Arroyo said.

Fair weather allies

Arroyo also said she was not surprised that her political allies started to leave her when she stepped down from the presidency, especially when the political persecution began.

She recalled the same thing happened to her father, the late president Diosdado Macapagal, when the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos succeeded him in 1965.

She said her father’s former allies renewed their ties with her when she became a senator and president.

Pet bills enacted into law

Despite being detained, Arroyo saw at least six of her bills enacted into law.

These include agricultural mechanization; rights of overseas Filipino workers and Filipinos with dual citizenships; ban on shark fishing and coral poaching; anti-drunk driving law; and Kasambahay law, which she co-authored with her son, then Camarines Sur congressman Diosdado Arroyo.

She credited her son for pushing for the passage of their bills.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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