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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, July 26, 2016
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Letís support president, guv says;
Local officials laud SONA sincerity

          Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’sdeclaration of a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist rebels, and said he  hopes they respond positively to his call for a permanent and lasting peace before his term ends.

          The governor, reacting to the president’s State of the Nation Address, called on the public to support his bid for lasting peace and campaign to rid the country of drugs and corruption.

          Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon said the president is  admirablein his sincerity and determination to rid the country of drugs and corruption which affect the poor the most.

          Bacolod Mayor EvelioLeonardia said “It was a SONA like no other. Comprehensive, relevant policies, clear directions, serious and also very human.”
 “It tackled details especially on the war on drugs, criminality and corruption which are closest to the heart of the Filipino today,” said the mayor, who called the  SONA  “inspiring”.

        The mayor said  thatwith Duterte’strack record, “we know that definitely positive things will happen,  and  we look forward to a very bright future for the Philippines.”
“What you see is what you get,” was the reaction of  Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) to the SONA.

          He said Duterte’sout of the box speech wassincere, “which is very important for a leader to inspire hope".
On Duterte’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist rebels, Benitez said  he agrees with the president on the need to start the peace effort immediately.

   Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (Neg. Occ., 6th District) said the president's speech was very interesting and entertaining.
"At least the president imparted his legislative agenda though he missed out about our education like the K to 12 implementation, but of course in general he almost covered everything", she said.

Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya said that he felt the sincerity of the President  in his commitment to address the many problems of the nation from drugs, the economy and a shift towards federalism.

“Duterte’s  speech was very inspiring, we can feel that the change that he has been espousing is already happening,” he added.

Negros Occidental Vice Gov.  Eugenio Jose Lacson said the SONA could have been delivered better, but that's the way the president is.

  “His speech focused on his fight against illegal drugs, criminality, corruption. He did give some solution to the MRT/LRT problem, traffic, promised job creation, how to prevent long lines in government agencies, lower income/corporate tax,” Lacson noted.

          Marañon  commended the president for his candor during his SONA  as he outlined the road map of his administration.

“But what struck me was his unilateral declaration of ceasefire against the CPP-NPA-NDF whom he called  to put an end to decades of ambuscades and skirmishes against government forces,” he said.

It is noteworthy that he echoed anew his strong stance against the rising criminality, including illegal drug use and proliferationand  the fight against corruption,  but at the same time set the tone for a reconciliatory leadership that will not waste time finding faults of his predecessors, the governor added.

      “It is, therefore, imperative that we rally behind the President as the multifaceted concerns besetting the country are no ordinary challenges. He deserves all the support he can muster to attain a more lasting peace and a stronger, more stable economy,” the governor said.
He also said it is worth looking into Duterte’s advocacy to shift into the federal form of government.

Former Negros Occidental Gov. Rafael Coscolluela said Duterte’s SONA had some good hits: no "finger pointing", promise of clean government, military camps for drug rehabilitation, unilateral ceasefire, hotline versus corruption, anti-colorum campaign, use of military versus illegal logging/mining, waste-to-energy projects, faster and  even free internet, and the Constitutional Convention.
“My rating: Sincerity – 95 percent, firmness – 100 percent, inspiration – 80 percent, comprehensiveness – 85 percent, cohesiveness – 80 percent, Sense of Strategic Vision – 80 percent, Delivery – 80 percent. Overall -  85.7 percent,” Coscolluela said.

“We welcome the President’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire as a confidence building measure for the resumption of the peace talks, the lowering of income tax and other measures to aid the people,”ChristianTuayon, Bayan Negros secretary general, said.

 However, he said they  remain critical of the killings  that have become part of the campaign against drugs. We are against extrajudicial killing whether they may be politically or criminally motivated, he said.*CPG




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