Senators generally ‘satisfied’ with President Duterte’s SONA

MANILA-- Several senators said they were generally satisfied with the accomplishments mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in his second State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

In general, I'm satisfied, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III told reporters in an interview after President Duterte delivered his SONA.

Sotto said that what he expected the President to mention such as continued efforts to eliminate illegal drugs was mentioned.

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said that he was glad that the President mentioned plans to strengthen the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the push for more government efficiency, and the free wifi act.

Senator Richard Gordon, for his part, said that he agreed with the President's decision to suspend peace talks with communists who he described as bullies.

The Left should listen to the President. We all want peace but don't push it. People should not be killed anymore, Gordon said.

Gordon also said that he supported the President's call to end illegal mining wholeheartedly.

However, Aquino said the President failed to mention the free tuition fee act as he was really waiting for it.

The measure was passed by the Senate during Aquino's stint as chair of the Senate Committee on Education. It now awaits the President's signature.

Meanwhile, the senators said the President's request to pass the comprehensive tax reform package would still have to be scrutinized. The House earlier passed the package which was considered by President Duterte as urgent.

Mahaba-haba pa yung debate sa tax reform package and we owe it to the Filipino people para kilatisin yun kasi at the end of the day tataas ang presyo ng ating mga bilihin (It looks like debates on the tax reform package are going to take some time. We owe it to the Filipino people to scrutinize it because at the end of the day, the prices of commodities will increase), Aquino said.

I don't think we can get it passed in total, Gordon said but noted that it will still undergo deliberations.

Sotto said that it was a controversial bill but vowed to tackle it as soon as possible.

As for the death penalty, Sotto said that although the Senate has not listed it as a priority measure, the institution will meet again to discuss legislations which need to be passed by end of the second regular session.

Source: Philippines News Agency