SONA2018: ‘Soupy but devoid of meat’ says BAYAN Bicol

By Reynard Magtoto

LEGAZPI CITY – “Kung sa ulam masabaw pero salat sa laman (In a dish its soupy but devoid of meat),” this was the statement of BAYAN Bicol after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday delivered his over-an-hour delayed third State of the Nation Address (SONA) before the Congress.

According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Bicol, Duterte did not states his concrete accomplishment and only emphasized the priorities of his administration in its remaining four years – war on drugs, criminality, terrorism and corruption.

In its 3rd SONA, Duterte also emphasized the passage of Bangsamoro Organic Law despite the protests of all sectoral groups.

“When the approved version is transmitted and received by my office… The law has been passed actually and I intend to… Give me 48 hours to sign it and ratify the law,” Duterte said.

Bangsamoro is particularly unfortunate for Mindanao according to Dan Balucio of BAYAN Bicol. “Its only purpose is to drive the Lumads away from their ancestral domain and provide the vast land to large companies in plantation and mining,” he said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) all-out war continues in Mindanao resulting in the evacuation of Lumads, murder of their leaders, and occupation in schools due to intensive military operations and aerial bombing.

Duterte was also proud that more than 300,000 workers as of early this month were regularized under his administration. On May 1 of this year, he signed Executive Order 51, which sought to protect the workers right to security of tenure.

However, Balucio explained that those more than 300,000 contractual workers were regularized not in their principal employers instead from their labor contracting agencies only which remains them still under contractualization.

“Read my lips, I understand that this does not satisfy all sectors. I share their sentiment; I truly do. Much as I would like to do the impossible, that power is not vested upon me by the Constitution. And neither will I make both ends meet even if I violate the laws to achieve that purpose. Simply, it is not part of my territory,” Duterte said in his 3rd SONA.

Balucio expressed that Duterte clearly stated that only the illegal contractualization was targeted by his administration in the ENDO campaign and not the legal contractual workers. “His order to Congress to make law against contractualization is acceptance of the failure to end the ENDO.”

BAYAN Bicol remains its stand against TRAIN Law. In the 3rd SONA, Duterte said that TRAIN is already helping poor families and senior citizens cope up with rising prices.

Balucio said it was again a false claim of the administration since more poor families are getting poorer under the influence of TRAIN Law.

Duterte applauds Congress for the timely passage of the TRAIN law.

“You have made funds available to build better roads and bridges, and improve health and education, and strengthen our safety and security. Some have incorrectly blamed our efforts toward a fairer tax system for all the price increases in the past months, and some irresponsibly suggesting to stop TRAIN’s implementation. We cannot and should not,” Duterte said.

“Duterte is just using tax payers’ money to fund its anti-people policies, ‘Build, Build, Build’ program and his independent foreign policy that allows his imperialists bosses, US and China, control the country,” Balucio said.

Balucio added that Duterte categorically pushing for Charter Change in the gist of federalism even the president said not asking for another term beyond what the constitution states.

“It is clear in the proposed Charter Change, there’s a precise term extension of Duterte. First under its transitory provision, and in regular elections he may run two consecutive terms with four years per term. Charter Change will ensure the consolidation and centrality of ‘Estado Poder’ to Duterte to become a full dictator,” Balucio said. (

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