SONA 2023: Cebu officials, allies laud Marcos Jr. admin’s efforts in revitalizing economy

By: Futch Anthony Inso, Mary Rose Sagarino, Morexette Marie B. Erram, Wenilyn Sabalo - Multimedia Reporters and Multimedia Correspondent - CDN Digital | July 24,2023 - 09:49 PM

PBBM Sona 2023

CEBU CITY, Philippines – As far as some local officials and allies in Cebu are concerned, President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. (PBBM) has accomplished a lot in terms of revitalizing the country’s economy.

During President Marcos Jr.’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 24, officials here lauded the accomplishments his administration has so far achieved.

At the same time, they looked forward to the implementation of the President’s plans which he introduced during his SONA on Monday.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia

For Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, the SONA was a “comprehensive report of the gains” of the Marcos Jr. administration.

“The President gave a very comprehensive report on the gains of the PBBM administration in just one year. And considering that he started with an economy ravaged by the pandemic restrictions, I must say he has done admirably well,” Garcia told reporters in a text message.

The governor, who is among the President’s political allies, also lauded the conclusion of his SONA.

“This is a President who, by word and by deed, is leading our country and all of us Filipinos to genuinely and truly Love the Philippines,” she added.

Representatives Frasco & Ouano-Dizon

Representatives Duke Frasco and Emmarie ‘Lolypop’ Ouano-Dizon, of the 5th District and the lone district of Mandaue City respectively, also shared the same sentiments.

Frasco, in a separate statement, said he was elated when President Marcos Jr. made mention of Pier 88 in his SONA.

“I (also) express my sincerest gratitude to our President for recognizing the efforts and dedication of each and every Filipino, especially the workforce — our farmers, our private partners, our government officials, school teachers, and health workers,” he added.

Ouano-Dizon also said she was happy for the President to report on providing free healthcare services, particularly dialysis.

“Nalipay ko nga ang atong advocacy for free dialysis and dugang specialty government medical centers nasugdan na,” she said.

“I look forward to doing my part in helping his legislative agenda in Congress,” Ouano-Dizon added.

Mayor Cortes: Empowering

Like Garcia, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes commended President Marcos Jr. for baring his administration’s plans in reviving the country’s economy.

For Cortes, the President’s second SONA was empowering to leaders of local government units (LGUs) like him.

He also said he was glad the President vowed to strengthen education and health in the Philippines.

“Gawas sa pagpalig-on sa ekonomiya, isip Mayor akong gikalipay ang mga programa sa Presidente sa pagpalig-on sa kahimsog ug edukasyon tungod kay importante kini sa kadaghanan,” he explained.

Mayor Rama: Sweet and clear

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, for his part, said PBBM’s presentation and discourse were “sweet and clear.”

“With the data being presented, it brings a very hopeful tomorrow. It was a combination of very good Tagalog and very clear English. So at the end, the message was delivered impressively that our country is not only sound on the point of view of all especially economics. It covers man gud, daghan kaayo ang discussion, emphasis on agriculture, infrastructure, education, health, [and] even international positioning, housing,” he said in a statement.

Mayor Chan & Congresswoman Chan

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan also commended the President’s second Sona.

In a statement, Chan said he lauded President Marcos Jr.’s dedication to addressing social issues and his commitment to providing free education to financially disadvantaged but deserving talented students. Chan also appreciated the President’s efforts to address the shortage of classrooms and facilities, as well as his focus on tackling hunger and nutrition-related problems among Filipinos.

“I am also delighted that the president’s agenda aligns with the vision of the local government unit, which aims to provide free essential services, including free dialysis sessions, to Filipinos,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lapu-Lapu lone district Representative Cindi King-Chan extended her gratitude to the President for delivering his Sona which she described as comprehensive and thorough.

“The President was able to articulate the country’s gains for the past year of his administration and offered realistic and reliable solutions to pressing issues. Dako natong kalipay nga ipatuman sa atong halandong presidente ang free dialysis. Dili ikalimod nga usa sa akong mga advocacies ang mahatagan ug pagtagad ang mga dialysis patients,” Cindi said.

The congresswoman said that soon, the city will also be opening its very own dialysis center. Cindi was also pleased to hear about the President’s plans against corruption and criminality in the country.

“All in all, his speech gave us hope and confidence that better days are in store for us. And by that, he truly meant all of us, with no one being left behind,” she added.

2nd Sona

President Marcos Jr.’s second SONA ran for an hour and 11 minutes. He opened his speech by pointing to the biggest challenge he thought the country faced: inflation.

“One year ago today, I stood here before you, setting forth the plans we have to improve the economy, bring jobs to our people, improve the ease of doing business, recalibrate our educational system to adapt to our new economy, lower and rationalize energy costs, boost agricultural production, enhance healthcare, and continue social programs for the poor and the vulnerable,” he said in his opening statement.

“Let me now report to the people on the successes we can now claim to and also the challenges we continue to face,” he added.

According to Marcos, the situation was further exacerbated by lessening oil production from countries that the Philippines imported from, which triggered the domino effect on other sectors.

However, Marcos said in his SONA that economists could craft policies that will serve as baselines for the economy in the coming years, as indicated in the medium-term fiscal framework.

Other highlights in his SONA included his administration’s push to embrace digitalization, agrarian reform, foreign relations, and a request to Congress to reform the country’s tax system.

The Chief Executive explained these measures are needed to be passed to make the country progressive.

He enumerated the legislative pieces he wanted to be enacted into laws.

Priority legislations

“Once again, I appeal to Congress for its support for the following priority legislations:

The essential tax measures under our medium-term fiscal framework such as excise tax on single-use plastics, VAT (value added tax) on digital services, rationalization of mining fiscal regime, motor vehicle users charge, the military and uniformed personnel pension, amendment of the fisheries code, amendment of the anti-agricultural smuggling act, amendment of the cooperative code, new government procurement law, new government auditing code, anti-financial account scamming, Tatak Pinoy law, the blue economy law, ease of paying taxes, LGU income classification and the Philippine immigration act,” he said.

Several of the bills Marcos mentioned have yet to reach final readings in Senate and House of Representatives.

One of these is titled ‘Unified System of Separation, Retirement, and Pension for Uniformed Personnel’ that is up for committee deliberations in the House.

Another one is a measure titled ‘Tatak Pinoy’ or ‘An act mandating the formulation, financing, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of a comprehensive Tatak Pinoy (Proudly Filipino) strategy.’

The bill was filed in Senate on May 23, shortly before Congress closed its first regular session. / with reports from


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