Now in the second year of his term, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City
During the speech, the President laid out his priority measures for the future, as well as provided an overview of his administration’s first year.
Here are the highlights of Marcos’ second SONA.
Economy and business
- Marcos on the economy: “Our economy posted a 7.6% growth in 2022 – our highest growth rate in 46 years.”
- Marcos on the economy: “On matters of the economy, there are many things over which we have no control, but over those where we do have control, we are doing everything we can.”
- Marcos on road network plans: “Our road network plans must link not only our 3 major islands, but all prospective sites of economic development. The 1,200-kilometer Luzon Spine Expressway Network Program will effectively connect Ilocos to Bicol from 20 hours to just 9 hours of travel. Under the Mega-Bridge Program, 12 bridges totaling 90 kilometers will be constructed, connecting islands and areas separated by waters. The Program notably includes the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge and the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges, each spanning 32 kilometers, and the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Bridge. We initiated several railway projects, with a total length of more than 1,000 kilometers. Notably, the southern leg of the North-South Commuter Railway System is now in full swing. In a few years, travel from Pampanga to Laguna will be reduced from 4 hours to just 2.”
- Marcos on Maharlika Fund: “The Fund shall be used to make high-impact and profitable investments, such as the Build-Better-More program. The gains from the Fund shall be reinvested into the country’s economic well-being. To ensure sound financial management, a group of internationally recognized economic managers shall oversee the operations of the Fund, guided by the principles of transparency and accountability. This guarantees that investment decisions will be based on financial considerations alone, absent any political influence.”
- Marcos on renewable energy: “Renewable energy is the way forward. We are aggressively promoting renewables, so that it provides a 35% share in the power mix by 2030, and then on to 50% by 2040.”
- Marcos on power grid: “We finally have a Unified National Grid, with the interconnection of the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao grids. The ‘One Grid, One Market’ will enable more efficient transfers and more competitive pricing of electricity throughout the country. However, 68 grid connections are much delayed, according to the ERC’s count. We are conducting a performance review of our private concessionaire, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines. We look to NGCP to complete all of its deliverables, starting with the vital Mindanao-Visayas and the Cebu-Negros-Panay interconnections.”
- Marcos on tourism sector: “From January to June this year, we have received 3 million international visitors. This number is already 62% of our 4.8-million target for the entire year. Mga kababayan, ang lahat ng mga ginagawa nating ito ay magbibigay bunga sa libo-libong hanapbuhay para sa ating mga bansa.
- Marcos on PH as ‘investment destination’: “To create…investment opportunities, we must ensure that an enabling business environment is in place; that there is peace and order, and that the rule of law governs. We will solidify our country’s reputation as an attractive and reliable investment destination.”
- Marcos on internet connectivity in PH: “As of June of this year, our fixed broadband speed ranks 47th among 180 countries. This ranking is 11 places higher than it was last year. Our mobile internet speed is now ranked at 83 out of 142 countries, which is 8 places higher than it was last year.”
- Marcos on housing: “Papalawigin pa natin ang ating programa sa abot-kayang pabahay, lalo na para sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan…. Mahigit isang milyong kabahayan ang maiaalay natin sa ating mga kababayan sa buong bansa.”
- Marcos asks Congress for new procurement law: Marcos asks Congress for a new procurement law. The current one is 10 years old, and has apparently not prevented major questionable contracts from being awarded to favored suppliers.
Environment and agriculture
- Marcos on Kadiwa: “Our aim is to boost our local agricultural production – through consolidation, modernization, mechanization, and improvement of value chains – augmented by timely and calibrated importation, as needed.”
- Marcos on smugglers and hoarders: “Sadyang hindi tama ang kanilang gawain at hindi rin ito tugma sa ating magandang layunin…. Napapahamak hindi lamang ang mga magsasaka, kundi tayo na ring mga mamimili. Kaya hindi natin papayagan ang ganitong kalakaran. Bilang na ang mga araw ng mga smugglers at hoarders na ‘yan.”
- Marcos on New Agrarian Emancipation Act: “Isang taon mula noong aking unang SONA, naisabatas na ang bagong Agrarian Emancipation Act. Dahil dito, ang 57 bilyong pisong utang na pinapasan ng mahigit anim na raang libong benepisyaryo ay tuluyan nang nabura. Sa ngalan ng mga magsasakang ito at ang kanilang mga pamilya, maraming salamat muli sa ating mga mambabatas.”
- Marcos on Department of Water Resource Management: “Ang tubig ay kasing-halaga rin ng pagkain. Kailangan nating tiyakin na may sapat at malinis na tubig para sa lahat at sa mga susunod na salinlahi…. Nakikipag-ugnayan tayo sa Kongreso upang maipasa ang batas para sa pagbuo ng isang Department of Water Resource Management.”
- Marcos on climate change: “Climate change is now an important criterion. We have learned many painful lessons from past disasters, but we continue to be alert and prepared in all disaster response…. We are reorganizing our response teams to make them more adaptable, agile, and effective in times of calamities and crisis, with a clear unity of command.”
- Marcos on learning recovery: “Ang ating butihing Bise-Presidente, na Kalihim din ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon, ay tumutulong upang tiyakin na ang bawat batang Pilipino ay mabibigyan ng nararapat at kalidad na edukasyon. We have renewed hope in giving the best to our next batches of students, especially the 28.4 million learners who returned to school this year. Learning recovery will be at the forefront of our education agenda.”
- Marcos on shortage of classrooms: “The shortage of classrooms and facilities is being addressed. Aside from new construction, schools and facilities are being retrofitted to become ready for the future – ready for hybrid and high-tech learning, and also climate-ready and disaster-proof.”
- Marcos on basic education curriculum: “We are recalibrating the K to 10 curriculum to ensure that it is always relevant, responsive, and at par with international standards.”
- Marcos’ education agenda: “We will not let a student’s financial constraints be a hindrance to his or her education. We have activated social safety nets, such as skills development training and youth employment programs. Deserving and talented students without the financial capacity to attend school, will not be left behind in this education agenda.”
- Marcos on Filipino seafarers: “The question about the European Union’s recognition of the standards of training of Filipino seafarers has, after 17 years, finally been resolved.”
- Marcos on nutrition, Food Stamp Program: “We have launched convergent programs to address hunger and nutrition-related issues amongst our people, especially the children, like stunting and wasting. Lately, we introduced the pilot Food Stamp Program (FSP), which seeks to supply the nutrition needs of the million most food-poor Filipinos.
- Marcos on health care: “Sa pinagandang Konsulta Package ng PhilHealth, dalawampu’t isang klase ng mga gamot at labin-tatlong laboratory services ang ibibigay nang libre…. Upang mas lalo pang makatulong sa mga pasyente, ang dating siyam-napung libreng dialysis sessions ay inakyat na natin sa isandaan at limampu’t anim. Mga kababayan, libre na po ngayon ang dialysis para sa karamihan ng Pilipino.”
- Marcos on health workers: “Upang masuklian ang naging sakripisyo ng ating mga health workers sa pribado at pampublikong na mga ospital noong nakaraang pandemya, ipapamahagi na sa kanila ang kanilang COVID health emergency allowance at iba pang mga nabinbing benepisyo.”
- Marcos on OFWs: “It is our wish that one day, foreign employment will be driven by choice, not by necessity…. We are engaging with our partners in the international community to ensure a safe, working environment for our countrymen. And as we do so, we are also putting in place responsive mechanisms for the social welfare, repatriation, and reintegration of our returning OFWs into the Philippine economy.”
- Marcos on OFW deployment to Saudi Arabia: “The deployment issue in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been resolved. And as of today, 70,000 of our OFWs have already been deployed to Saudi Arabia for employment.”
Justice, peace, and order
- Marcos on Bangsamoro transition: “We are proud of the progress that the BARMM has taken…. Former adversaries are now partners in peace. Its functions have been defined, and its basic laws are now being written. Through the BARMM, we have strengthened the nation’s prospects for finally achieving sustainable progress anchored on a true and lasting peace in Southern Philippines. We will continue to support the progress of the BARMM, apace with our singular vision for all Filipinos.”
- Marcos on campaign vs illegal drugs: “The campaign against illegal drugs continues – but it has taken on a new face. It is now geared towards community-based treatment, rehabilitation, education, and reintegration, to curb drug dependence among our affected citizenry…. We will relentlessly continue our fight against drug syndicates, shutting down their illegal activities and dismantling their network of operations…. Unscrupulous law enforcers and others involved in the highly nefarious drug trade have been exposed. I will be accepting their resignations.”
- Marcos on granting amnesty to rebel returnees: “Through community development and livelihood programs, the Barangay Development and Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs have been effective in addressing the root cause of conflict in the countryside. To complete this reintegration process, I will issue a Proclamation granting amnesty to rebel returnees. And I ask Congress to support us in this endeavor.”
Foreign affairs and security
- Marcos on military pension: “The pension of the military and uniformed personnel is as important, urgent, and humanitarian as that of all other civilian Filipino employees. Efforts are underway to make it fully functional and financially sustainable. We are once again working closely with Congress to ease the transition from the old system to the new one, so as to be able to guarantee that no effects are felt by those in the uniformed services.”
- Marcos on foreign policy: “Our independent foreign policy – a friend to all and enemy of none – has proven effective…. We have embarked on foreign trips to promote the interests of the country, for peace-building and for mutually beneficial purposes. These economic missions have yielded an estimated total investment value of 3.9 trillion pesos or 71 billion US dollars, with a potential to generate 175,000 jobs.”
Overall, Marcos said that he knew “the State of the Nation is sound.”
“Every Filipino have unanimously risen to the challenge that we have made to them to be part of the nation’s future. Handa silang maghandog ng tulong, dahil mahal nila ang kanilang kapwa-Pilipino, at mahal na mahal nila ang Pilipinas. With this in my heart, I know that the state of the nation is sound, and is improving…. Dumating na po ang Bagong Pilipinas,” Marcos said.