Press Release
July 22, 2023

Koko calls for focus on daily struggles of Filipinos in SONA, asks PBBM to present the real situation

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said the Filipino people deserve unfiltered truth during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr's 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Pimentel leaves no room for sugarcoating or glossing over the harsh realities facing the entire nation and expects the President to do the same when he faces the nation on Monday.

"During the President's SONA, it is my hope that he will discuss the real situation of the Filipino People at the household level," Pimentel said on Saturday.

Among the issues that Pimentel said should take the spotlight during SONA are the high cost of living, inadequate income, problems on education, unemployment and underemployment, and ballooning national debt.

While macroeconomic figures are important, Pimentel said the SONA should concentrate on microeconomic matters which concern and affect the lives of the ordinary Filipino. of the ordinary Filipino.

"The cost of living is very high. The income of the typical Filipino family is not enough for their basic needs and for their decent existence as a family of human beings. Those who are employed are not paid "living wages". Many are unemployed and many more are underemployed," Pimentel stressed.

The 1990 bar topnotcher also highlighted the importance of education as the great equalizer and suggested bigger budgetary allocation as well as inclusion of computer-coding in the school curriculum.

"We should also go out of our way to help those with mental health conditions or problems. Many of them were born with this condition. This was not and never was self-caused," Pimentel said.

Pimentel also stressed the significance of focusing on agriculture to generate jobs, food, and fight inflation. Moreover, he advocates for better support for micro and small entrepreneurs, mental health initiatives, and attracting long-term foreign investments.

He also encouraged Marcos to support the establishment of an apex geriatric hospital which will develop expertise among our doctors on the unique age-related illnesses and health concerns being experienced now by our aging population.

He also underscored the importance of enacting laws to improve trust in and the reliability of online transactions, citing the Internet Transactions Act (ITA) as an example, saying that the measure has the added value of protecting our delivery riders from hoax orders and other scams.

"To help attract long-term foreign direct investments, there should be a one-stop shop established to guide and assist these long-term foreign investors," he said.

"To generate jobs for the Filipino People, we should make the Philippines an entrepreneur-friendly place," he added.

The minority leader also expects the President to provide explanations for various issues that have raised concerns among the Filipino people such as the scandal that rocked the Sugar Regulatory Administration and the reason why the prices of sugar and onion reached P138 and P800 per kilos, respectively, during the first year of the President's term.

There should also be an explanation why POGOs continue to operate in the country, he said.

"The Philippines faces a lot of problems and challenges. The Filipino People have different difficulties and varied interests," Pimentel said.

"We need to get our acts together as problem-solvers. We need to act in good faith out of love for country. We need to want a just, fair, and safe society," he stressed.

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