Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar (File photo)

MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar on Wednesday expressed confidence that the successors of President Rodrigo Duterte will continue his legacy.

Andanar made the remarks, as he praised Duterte for citing in his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) the accomplishments of the current administration in the past five years.

He said the Duterte government will be remembered for maintaining peace and security, focusing on infrastructure development, championing good governance, pursuing an independent foreign policy, boosting the economy, and addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We want to ensure that the legacy of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will be remembered by the people and will continue with future administrations,” he said in a press statement.

Andanar bragged about the government’s “historic” achievements in ensuring peace and security in the country through several initiatives, including the issuance of Executive Order (EO) 70.

EO 70, inked by Duterte in December 2018, institutionalizes a whole-of-nation approach to attain inclusive and sustainable peace, and creates the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to oversee its implementation.

Andanar, also acting as the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Northern Mindanao, noted that in Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) alone, around 2,517 members of the communist terrorist groups (CTGs) have surrendered to authorities, 10 guerrilla fronts have been dismantled, 618 CTGs have been neutralized, and 77 villages have been freed from the influence of insurgents.

He also praised the government’s efforts to improve the country’s infrastructure, noting that it has been spending around 5 to 6 percent relative to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) from 2017 to 2020 on infrastructure “to usher in the 'Golden Age of Infrastructure.’”

The country’s current infrastructure spending is higher compared to the 1.6 percent of GDP from 2001 to 2010 and 3 percent of GDP from 2011 to 2016, Andanar said.

In Northern Mindanao, Andanar said the government has pursued “high-impact” infrastructure projects like Panguil Bay Bridge, Cagayan de Oro Coastal Road extension, Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric power plant rehabilitation, Bukidnon Airport, Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan de Oro River, and farm-to-market roads in support of Western Mindanao and Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network.

“We continue to amplify government programs and projects through the CORDS 10 Podcast, giving regional offices the opportunity to elaborate the strides of the region to safely allow economic activities, while ensuring that the health of the people are likewise safeguarded,” Andanar said.

Andanar added that the PCOO continues to highlight the best practices of local government units (LGUs) and showcase their agriculture and tourism sectors through the daily Network Briefing News.

“This is part of our goal to encourage more Filipinos to move and invest in the countryside, especially now that we have started the Balik-Probinsya Program (BP2). Just last year we have launched BP2 in the municipality of Kauswagan in Lanao del Norte as one of the pilot areas for the program,” he said.

Given the massive amount of projects that the national government has poured into the region, Northern Mindanao has posted a substantial reduction of poverty incidence dropping to 17.3 percent in 2018 from 32.3 percent in 2015, Andanar said.

Andanar also touted the signing into law of several bills under the Duterte administration, including Republic Act 10930 extending the validity of passport and driver’s license, RA 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act, RA 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, RA 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law, and RA 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act.

He noted that Malasakit Centers have been located in Norther Mindanao’s strategic areas.

“These include the Northern Mindanao Medical Center and JR Borja General Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City; Bukidnon Provincial Hospital in Maramag, Bukidnon; Kapatagan Provincial Hospital in Lanao del Norte; Gregorio Lluch Memorial Hospital in Iligan City; and the Mayor Hilario A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental,” he said.

He also said Duterte’s SONA further outlined the achievements and plans of the administration for our collective recovery from Covid-19 as a nation.

Andanar ensured that the government will continue to work hard even during its last year in office.

“Sa aming huling taon sa panunungukulan, makaaasa kayo na puspusan ang aming pagsisikap para maisakatuparan ang mga ipinangako ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte (In our last year in office, you can expect that we will strive hard to fulfill the promises of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte),” Andanar said. (PNA)