Tell it to SunStar: Marcos Jr.’s first Sona

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 25, 2022 skirted civil and political rights issues such as extrajudicial killings, political prisoners, press freedom, disinformation, peace talks, death penalty, failed domestic accountability mechanisms, and justice for victims of human rights violations during the Duterte administration that are under the International Criminal Court’s investigation, among others.When there’s eerie silence on these issues, we surmise that there are no significant shifts in the draconian policies of the previous Duterte administration. The impact is a more threatening environment that encourages further closing of democratic spaces.A large part of Marcos Jr.’s speech dealt with promises on economic issues, but failed to address the essential and urgent needs of the impoverished Filipino amidst the economic crisis. He dangled grandiose plans for farmers, migrant workers, wage earners and health workers and yet glossed over the most basic calls to control or lower prices of basic commodities, increase wages, create decent domestic jobs, ensure social protection and meaningfully address landlessness. There is likewise no mention of the use of his family’s ill-gotten wealth and estate tax liability while additional taxes are in the offing.Marcos Jr. remains in favor of big corporations, foreign businesses and local allied politicians, as seen in planned infrastructure projects, further opening of the country to foreign business through more investment, adding new agencies to the bureaucracy only to push for more labor export.There is a reason to be more vigilant on Marcos Jr.’s plans as outlined in his first Sona.