Marcos told to detail plans for pandemic, economic recovery in next SONA

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2022 05:56 PM

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MANILA — A former Finance Secretary on Thursday urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to detail his pandemic response plan and economic recovery strategy during his first State of the Nation Address
(SONA).

Roberto de Ocampo, who was Finance chief during the term of President Fidel Ramos, said Marcos must prioritize the government's plan in responding to COVID-19 amid the local presence of more transmissible variants. 

The President earlier in the day named Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire as the officer-in-charge of the health department.

"Ang pagtuloy ng proteksiyon against the pagsulong pa rin ng COVID upang mayroon tayong mga healthcare capability kapag bumabalik ang mga variant ng COVID. Sa palagay ko nagagawa na iyon at puwedeng maging priority," said De Ocampo in a televised briefing. 

He also noted that economic recovery and the administration's plan to lower the prices of fuel and basic goods must also be discussed. Marcos, who temporarily heads the Department of Agriculture, promised food self-sufficiency and food security in the country to prevent the negative impact of crises.

Fuel cost has continued to increase in the past few months, while prices of food have also spiked due to supply woes.

"[Number 3 sa priorities] ay 'yong mga hakbang na gagawin ng administrasyon upang maharap ang pangkasalukuyang kahirapan na nagdudulot ng pag-akyat ng presyo ng krudo at ang epekto niyan sa presyo ng ibang bilihin," he said. 

"Mag-a-announce siya ng iba’t ibang mga hakbang ng administrasyon upang lalong matulungan ang pinakamahihirap sa ating bansa para hindi naman sila masyadong maapektuhan at mabigyan sila ng tulong ng gobyerno habang mayroon tayong sitwasyon na ganito."

Among the former finance chief's proposals were the strengthening of public-private partnerships, proper implementation of TRAIN Act and Public Service Act, and the safe reopening of in-person classes this year.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier said they plan to tax digital services and continue the P6,500 fuel subsidy to "targeted" beneficiaries to help revive the economy. 

Marcos will hold his first SONA on July 25.