GENERAL SANTOS CITY: Officials here and in nearby South Cotabato province have expressed satisfaction over the national government’s direction in addressing the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic as cited in President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, in an interview, said the government is on point with its assertive strategies in containing the spread of the disease while ensuring that economic activities, especially in the countryside, are sustained.
Rivera said local government units, like the city, were so far properly empowered with their responses to the problem, as guided by the national inter-agency task force and its implementing body.
“We’re seeing the positive impact of these directions on the ground, especially with our economy,” he said, referring to the resurgence of economic activities in the city in the past two months following nearly three months of slowdown due to the heightened community quarantine as triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The city has not yet recorded any case of local transmission of Covid-19 as of Monday, with all its recorded infections coming from returning residents who were stranded in other areas.
Meanwhile, South Cotabato 1st District Rep. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles gave an “excellent” rating to the President’s SONA, especially with the government’s response initiatives against Covid-19.
Nograles lauded the balancing act being made by the President with the country’s economy and in protecting the people amid the outbreak.
“Overall, he (Duterte) was able to meet our expectations and answered questions regarding the Covid-19 crisis and other problems being faced by the country,” she said in an interview.
Nograles specifically cited the President’s firm yet diplomatic stance on the West Philippine Sea issue and efforts to weed out corruption in the bureaucracy.
She expressed satisfaction with the resumption of the pending infrastructure projects in Mindanao, including the province and this city, despite the current health crisis.
Vicky Serag, a street vendor here, gave the President a high mark for always striving to make the lives of the poor better.
“Dili nato ma-deny ang iyahang political will. Siya lang ang pangulo nga nakig-away para undangon ang pag-abuso sa mga adunahan nga kaniadto mga untouchable (His political will is undeniable. He was the only President who had the courage to fight the abuses of the rich and the untouchables of our society),” Serag said.
Tailor Harold Dionson said the President also passed his “standards” in terms of accomplishments, especially in the continuing fight against illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption.
“Mas nindot ang atong sitwasyon karon sa peace and order ug daku na nga tabang sa mga katawhan (Our city is safer and more peaceful than before and these are (a) huge relief for us ordinary citizens),” Dionson added.