MANILA, (Mabuhay) — As the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic continues to grapple the country, President Rodrigo Duterte has enjoined Filipinos to help his administration build a “better and more prosperous” Philippines.

Duterte made the call on Wednesday ahead of his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.

“As we look to the future with much hope and positivity, let us continue to work together to build a better and more prosperous Philippines, and for ourselves and the next generation of Filipinos,” he said in a video message shown during the first of three pre-SONA fora.

Despite the challenges Filipinos are currently facing due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Duterte remained optimistic that the country would win the battle against the novel coronavirus.

Duterte said the unity and teamwork among Filipinos would make the country’s fight against Covid-19 successful.

“Numerous trials have tested our resolve these past few years but we always emerge victorious because of our unity and bayanihan (teamwork) as a people,” he said.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has logged 47,873 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 12,386 recoveries and 1,309 fatalities.

Duterte guaranteed that his government would continue to exhaust all efforts to achieve “real and lasting” change in the country.

Overcome challenges

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the pre-SONA forum intends to give Filipinos the “clear picture” of how the government plans to make their lives better.

Nograles ensured that the current administration would be transparent by providing data, figures, and even “intricate” details about its Covid-19 response efforts.

“If the numbers tell us we have challenges to overcome, we are here to provide you figures to assure you that these challenges will be overcome,” he said in his closing remarks during the pre-SONA forum.

Recovery plan

To mitigate the impact of Covid-19 crisis on the Philippine economy, the government already crafted plans to ensure the country’s quick recovery, Nograles said.

“The President and your government have long laid the groundwork for the economic recovery of the country. And the government [is] doing what is needed to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in the continued implementation of its various programs and projects,” he said.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno delivered the report of the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) during the first pre-SONA forum.

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, on the other hand, presented the report of the Infrastructure Cluster (IC).

Nograles noted that the EDC sees the need to provide a “conducive” environment and promote “rapid, inclusive, and sustained” economic growth in the country, while the IC highlights the need to ensure that economic activities are “sustained, cohesive, and inclusive”.

“Patuloy pa rin ang pagbibigay ng lubos na atensyon, pondo at panahon sa mga programang kailangan upang maitaas ang kalidad ng buhay ng lahat ng ating mga kababayan (We will continue to provide attention, funds, and time for programs that are necessary to improve the lives of all our fellow Filipinos),” he said. (MNS)

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