Estrada: PBBM should tackle PH’s foreign policy, WPS concerns in his SONA

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada on Sunday, July 23 said he is looking forward to hear from President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. his programs for job creation, poverty reduction, economic growth plans and his plans to address the current security tension in the West Philippine Sea. 

As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment and the Committee on National Defense, Estrada said he is hoping for the inclusion of some of his priority measures, such as the proposed E-Government Act (SB 455), Philippine Coast Guard Modernization Act (SB 2016), and Apprenticeship Training Act (SB 1083) in the President’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 24. 

He also hopes the President will prioritize the proposed amendments to the antiquated National Defense Act of 1935 which seeks changes in the military structure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and make it more responsive to current and future non-conventional security threats to the country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

“Aside from outlining the administration’s policy priorities, including the legislative agenda and plans to address pressing national issues, I am looking forward to hearing the President’s plans for job creation, poverty reduction, measures to stimulate economic growth, and matters concerning security threats, particularly on the issue of China’s aggressive actions within the West Philippine Sea,” Estrada said in a statement.

“By and large, I expect the President to touch on issues concerning the country’s foreign policy, international engagements, and diplomatic initiatives; updates on infrastructure development and projects that contribute to the nation’s growth and connectivity program; initiatives aimed at improving healthcare, education, labor and employment, poverty alleviation, and other social services; efforts to maintain peace and security within the country; and issues of corruption and the government’s commitment to transparency and good governance,” he said. 

Estrada is one of the senators who have also expressed support to a Senate resolution filed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros that calls on the government to seek the United General Assembly’s (UNGA) action on China’s continued harassment of Philippine vessels within its maritime territories.

“If that is the only way to stop China’s bullying, then go ahead. Let’s see what they (UNGA) can do to help us,” the lawmaker said in a recent forum at the Senate.