Risa Hontiveros: No anti-corruption plans discussed in SONA

·2 min read
Senator Risa Hontiveros (left) and President Ferdinand
Senator Risa Hontiveros (left) refused to clap when President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. before delivering his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) (Photos: Hontiveros – Josefiel Rivera/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images; Marcos – Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros refused to clap when President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. was introduced before he started his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday (July 25), taking the attention of netizens.

One netizen quoted “The last man standing will be a woman,” likening her stance to the Tumindig artwork popularized in 2021.

“'The last man standing will still be a woman.' Si Senator @risahontiveros ang magpapatuloy dun (Senator Risa Hontiveros will continue that),” Twitter user @kristine_danica wrote.

The senator also said that she had hoped the president would mention anti-corruption measures as Marcos announces big-ticket programs and projects that are prone to corruption.

“One concern, going forward, is that, because these are big-ticket programs, these have the potential to be subject to corruption that should be monitored. [I was hoping he would talk] about anti-corruption efforts given the history of plunder and graft and corruption in our country in the past decades,” Hontiveros said.

Marcos Jr.’s mother, Imelda, was convicted of seven counts of graft back in 2018 and was sentenced to imprisonment of six years and one month to 11 years for each count, which is equivalent to a minimum of 42 years in prison. The Marcos matriarch, however, remains free.

Meanwhile, Hontiveros said she supports some of the plans mentioned by Marcos, such as the mention of renewable energy sources and social protection for vulnerable sectors like solo parents.

However, she noted that many of the programs Marcos mentioned in the address were already being implemented.

Moreover, the minority senator rejected Marcos’s call to institutionalize mandatory military training for students, saying this initiative has been proven to be “not optimal” for the youth.

“We should veer away from a military mindset towards a more democratic participation and citizenship expressed in various guises,” Hontiveros said.

Marcos has proposed that Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program be made mandatory for public and private senior high school students.

“This seeks to reinstitute the ROTC program as a mandatory component of senior high school programs grades 11 and 12 in all public and private tertiary level educational institutions,” he said.

Calls to abolish mandatory military training have been long sounding after a sophomore cadet of the University of Santo Tomas was killed after he exposed corruption in his school’s military training program in 2001.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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