Traffic and automotive taxes discussed during SONA 2017

What did you make of the speech?
by Drei Laurel | Jul 25, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City yesterday, once again showing his penchant for drifting off script and his frank albeit unconventional speaking style.

Addressing the traffic situation on EDSA, Duterte said that it was already "horrendous" even before he stepped into office, describing it as the "horror of the other administrations."

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Duterte also took a moment to praise current Department of Transportation (DOTr) head Arthur Tugade, calling his "billionaire" classmate a "bright boy" and "talagang mahusay." The president also pointed out that Tugade was the valedictorian in his law class.

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Regarding funding (for what we presume was infrastructure), Duterte said he had trouble getting it in the Philippines, so he turned to China. He also thanked the Chinese ambassador for his nation's assistance. "But anyway since I could not get any funding. I traveled to China and made friends with them, and the ambassador is here, Ambassador Zhao, thank you for the help." According to Duterte, China has committed to funding two bridges crossing the Pasig River, too.

He continued by ordering the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and local government units to clear roads of obstructions and undisciplined drivers to "ensure the free flow of traffic."

On taxes, Duterte thanked the House of Representatives for passing the first Comprehensive Tax Reform Program package earlier this year. The package include an increase in automotive and fuel excise taxes. "The fate of the tax reform is now in the hands of the Senate. Ano bang gustong ninyong gawain, mag-luhod ako niyan?" he said.

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Duterte proceeded to call on the Philippine Senate to pass the tax reform, and jokingly called out Senator Sonny Anagara for not applauding his statement. "Ayaw man magpaklakpak—ah pati si ano wala, they are not clapping so. Si Angara ayaw rin mag-clap."

The President pointed out that the aforementioned tax program is meant to be pro-poor, adding that it is need to fund his administration's proposed 2018 budget. "The poor and vulnerable are at the heart of my tax reform. Your full support will ensure that the benefits of the tax reform can be felt immediately by them," he said, adding that the Department of Finance (DOF) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will continue running after tax evaders in the meantime.

This is just a short part of Duterte's nearly two-hour long SONA speech. If you want to read it in its entirety, you can visit the Presidential Communications Operations Office website. So, how do you think our President fared addressing our country's traffic situation? Let us know in the comments.

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