President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his first State of the Nation Address. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Negros Oriental residents on Monday lauded President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for laying down a clear direction for the country and its people in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City.

“I am amazed and proud that President Marcos emphasized in his SONA improving the English language skills of our students, because as a teacher, I have seen how much this area in our education has deteriorated,” said Dr. Vicky Dinopol, a former Vice President of Academic Affairs of the Negros Oriental State University here.

The students need this global language for the country to be competitive internationally, said Dinopol who has a doctor’s degree in Linguistics.

Dinopol believes that Marcos is sincere in his plans for the country, describing him as a visionary who “knows what the needs of the people are”.

Dr. Adolf Aguilar, the Department of Education superintendent of schools of the Bais District Office, also commended the President for including education as a priority agenda of his administration.

“Education has a special spot in the heart of the President, having mentioned various initiatives to better the quality of the Philippine Education System,” Aguilar said.

Meanwhile, the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) members are happy to hear that many of the President’s plans, programs, and projects for the country are aligned with their own, some of them being in place and just need additional support and funding.

“We are happy to note that the President mentioned many things of interest to us, such as improved Internet connectivity and free Wi-Fi, e-commerce, e-governance, ease of doing business, investment promotion, tax incentives, and even the plans for the agriculture sector to increase productivity, and providing more opportunities to micro, small, and medium enterprises,” said Edward Du, former NOCCI president.

Du said the President gave more of an “inspirational speech” and not just the typical “motherhood” address, without so much fanfare but giving the people so much to look forward to.

“It was very meaty, very specific and for him to specify 18 or more priority bills, I am sure that Senate and Congress will have to work double time as that will be a tall order,” he said.

Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, hoped for the amendment of the National Defense Act of 1935, which the President had included as one of his priority bills for Congress to amend.
 
 

“I fully agree with that proposal so that we might institutionalize the professionalism of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Peña said, pointing out that most of the improvements now in the military and other law enforcement services are no longer in that old Act.

He is hoping to see in this administration “the institutionalized collaboration of the government, security sectors, Philippine National Police, and other law enforcement agencies through that (new) defense act because the sovereignty of the Philippines is everybody’s responsibility”.

Meanwhile, retired Commission on Human Rights investigator Jess Cañete said while the President’s vision is inspiring and encouraging, he needs to get the full support of the different sectors.

“We know that the President cannot do this alone and so it is now the right time to set aside political differences, give him the chance to prove his worth, and support him so that all these dreams and aspirations for a better country may come to fruition,” he said.

Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion said she is elated to hear of the President’s pronouncements regarding the health sector.

“What attracted me the most in his speech was when he said to take care of the front-liners,” she said, noting that these are the people who have played a big role, especially during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

She also stressed the need for the availability of more medicines, which the President said in his SONA. (PNA)