Duterte's last SONA a 'dud,' but Hidilyn's win the 'real thing' – Hontiveros

Duterte's last SONA a 'dud,' but Hidilyn's win the 'real thing' – Hontiveros

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Monday described on Twitter President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA) as a “dud” while she lauded the effort of Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz to win as the “real thing.”

“Hidilyn = ginto [gold]. Pres = tanso [bronze],” the senator said in her tweet.

News of Diaz’s historic win broke as Duterte wrapped up his last SONA, which got mixed reactions from senators.

For Hontiveros, Duterte’s speech showed the urgent need for “some willing and able government officials, members of the private sector and civil society leaders to step forward and work together in the next 10 months to prevent our country going into a downward spiral.”

She was referring to the 2022 national elections, which will take place 10 months from now.

“In summary, the President seems to be unwilling and unable to lead the country in reducing corruption, alleviating poverty, healing us from the pandemic, asserting our national sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea and attending to other major concerns of Filipinos,” she said.

The senator also said she felt there was still no extensive plan for the country’s economic recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

“At this point, it’s clear that the government will not be able to achieve its promise of a Merry Christmas this 2021. How can we invest in our future if we always start from scratch? This is not even one step forward, two steps back,” Hontiveros said in Filipino.

“We are crawling, inch by inch, towards a new and better normal, only to be dragged back by a mile because of incoherent and unclear policies,” Hontiveros further said.

She also touched on the subject of corruption, which the president said he was adamant to get rid of.

But Hontiveros called Duterte’s crackdown on corruption “selective, inconsistent and unjust.”

“What it hits hard, even in the pastillas scheme that my office exposed, are mere foot soldiers,” she said.

“Fighting corruption is not a zero-sum game. Saying that the government would have to be toppled for corruption to vanish is the chant of a leader who is lazy and without imagination. That is a mark of surrender and an admission that he can do nothing — that by his own admission his government is a failure in stamping out corruption,” Hontiveros went on.

Further, she said the speech “proved” Duterte’s treatment of China as a “special friend.”

“He boasted that his administration reinforced the historic win of the Philippines at The Hague, but prior to the SONA, it was he who led in downplaying our win in international law in 2016. Does he think we will forget that he said the award was just a piece of paper that can be thrown in the garbage can?” Hontiveros said.