SONA 2022 Promise Tracker


With only one of his 17 promises to improve the government’s delivery of social services fulfilled, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. admitted that he deserves a grade of “incomplete” for his first year in Malacañang.

Four of Marcos’ proposed pieces of legislation to improve the administration’s health response, especially against COVID-19, have not been enacted into law. These include the creation of a Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a Virology Institute of the Philippines, and a Medical Reserve Corps. He also asked for new specialty hospitals in various parts of the country — similar to the Philippine Heart Center and Lung Center of the Philippines — that will be accessible to Filipinos living outside Metro Manila.

Marcos continues to improve the government’s social protection programs for Filipinos heavily affected by poverty, calamities and disasters. In January, inflation reached an all-time high of 8.7% since November 2008, which was the last time a global financial crisis occurred.

On Jan. 31, Marcos ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to continue improving the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). He asked Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian to provide relief goods even before calamities strike.

As Marcos completed his first year in office, VERA Files looked into how he fared in the 17 promises on social services he made during his inaugural State of the Nation Address:

Strengthen VAWC programs, fund centers for vulnerable sectors

Pagtitibayin natin ang programa sa Violence Against Women and Their Children, kabilang na ang counselling para sa mga biktima, katuwang ang ating mga LGU. Tiyakin natin na sapat ang pondo sa halos 70 residential care centers at pitong non-residential care centers para sa vulnerable sectors at persons with disabilities na sumisilong dito.”

(SONA 2022)
  • In a July 6 email, the DSWD told VERA Files that its Program Management Bureau is developing an online monitoring information system for victims of violence and trafficking, and children in need of special protection.
  • From April 24 to 27, the DSWD trained social workers and local government workers in Luzon on managing gender-based violence cases.
  • It conducted capacity-building activities and organized fora for people’s organizations, national government agencies, and local government units.
  • The DSWD’s budget for centers and residential care facilities in 2023 and 2022 were P3.25 billion and P2.11 billion, respectively. The P1.14 billion increase is attributed to inflation, repair costs and salary increases.
Provide quick disaster response

Utos ko sa DSWD ang mabilis na pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng mga biktima ng kalamidad at mga iba’t ibang krisis.

Ang mga field office nila ay inatasan na maagang maglagak ng family food packs at non-food essentials sa mga LGU, bago pa man manalasa ang  anumang kalamidad. 

Magdadagdag tayo ng mga operations center, warehouse at imbakan ng relief  goods, lalo na sa mga malalayong lugar na mahirap marating. Titiyakin natin na maayos ang koordinasyon ng DSWD at Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) ng sa ganun, madali ang  pagpapatupad ng Emergency Shelter Assistance program para sa mga biktima ng kahit anong kalamidad.”

(SONA 2022)
  • The DSWD reported on May 25 that it prepared over a million family food packs in anticipation of Super Typhoon Betty.
  • The agency provided P65.72 million worth of food and non-food assistance to families affected by the Mayon Volcano eruption as of July 12, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Evacuees in Albay have an allocation from the 200,000 family food packs stockpiled by the department while Mayon and Taal volcanoes remain restive.
  • New warehouses for storing relief goods were built in Virac, Catanduanes; San Luis, Aurora; La Trinidad, Benguet; and Tabuk City, Kalinga from October 2022 to last June.
  • A technical working group was formed to discuss the transfer of implementing the emergency shelter assistance (ESA) program from the DSWD to the DHSUD, according to a July 6 email the DSWD sent to VERA Files.
  • The DHSUD, through the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the DSWD, jointly implemented disaster shelter assistance programs for victims of Typhoon Odette. The NHA handled the ESA’s implementation in Regions IV-B and VII, while the DSWD handled regions VI, VIII, X, and CARAGA.
Strengthen Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program

Pagtitibayin pa natin ang komprehensibong programang ‘Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations’ o ang ating tinatawag na AICS, para maiparating ang tulong sa mas maraming biktima.

Hindi natin papahirapan ang mga biktima ng krisis na dudulog sa ahensiya — gagawin nating simple ang proseso ng paghingi at pagpaparating ng tulong.”

(SONA 2022)
  • An amendment to the circular implementing the AICS in August 2022 simplified the application forms, allowed same-day-release of cash assistance or guarantee letters, and lengthened the validity period of documentary requirements.
  • The DSWD opened satellite offices in Monumento, Caloocan City; Pasig City; Baclaran, Paranaque City; and, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. Another DSWD satellite office will soon be opened in Rodriguez, Rizal.
  • Two Senate bills and 13 House bills seeking to institutionalize the AICS program are pending at the committee level.
Cleanse list of 4Ps beneficiaries

Upang matiyak na mapupunta sa kwalipikadong mga pamilya ang tulong ng pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng 4Ps o Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, titiyakin natin na malilinis ang listahan ng benipisyaryo. Inutusan ko ang DSWD na pag-ibayuhin pa ang pagrepaso ng listahan upang maitutok ang pamimigay ng sapat na ayuda sa mga lubos na nangangailangang pamilya.”

(SONA 2022)
  • Around 800,000 people–not 1.3 million as initially planned–will be removed as beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps), Social Welfare Undersecretary Eduardo Punay said on Jan. 14.
  • The DSWD’s delisting of beneficiaries will provide room for more people in need to benefit from the 4Ps program.
Sustain and widen supplemental feeding program for Child Development Centers and Supervised Neighborhood Play

Magpapatuloy ang supplemental feeding program para sa mga bata sa Child Development Centers at Supervised Neighborhood Play, at lalo pa nating palalawakin sa taong 2023.” (SONA 2022)

  • The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) allocated P3.7 billion for the DSWD’s Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) in 2023.

With this budget, the program aims to provide hot meals to 1.8 million children aged 2 to 5 years old and milk to 157,968 toddlers.

  • As of March 31, the SFP had served 1,799,575 children. In 2022, it benefited 1,993,377 children.
Ensure capacity of health care system to prevent sudden rise in COVID-19 cases

Nakikipagtulungan ang iba’t ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan sa pag-monitor sa mga COVID-19 hospital admission upang makatiyak tayo na may sapat na kapasidad ang ating health care system at maiwasan ang pagsipa ng bilang ng nagkakasakit.

  • The DOH coordinates with the Department of Interior and Local Government to ensure that government hospitals provide data on COVID-19 cases and hospital occupancy and utilization, the health department told VERA Files in a July 14 email.
  • The DOH recorded the lowest utilization percentage of ICUs and hospital beds for COVID-19 cases in March 2023 at 11.72% and 15.00%, respectively.
  • The highest rate of ICU and hospital bed occupancy for COVID-19 cases was in August 2022 at 26.89% and 30.27%, respectively.
Encourage everyone to get booster shots vs COVID-19

“We continue to encourage everyone to get their booster shots in preparation for the resumption of in-person classes.

This is one of the reasons I have directed the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to undertake another rollout of booster shots.”

(SONA 2022)

Patuloy din ang ating vaccine booster rollout para sa ating pangkalahatang depensa.

Sa ganitong paraan, kahit pa tumaas muli ang bilang ng mga COVID cases, mananatiling mababa ang bilang ng mga maospital at bilang ng mga namamatay.”

(SONA 2022)
  • In a July 7 response, the DOH told VERA Files it launched various campaigns to encourage more Filipinos to receive COVID-19 jabs such as the Bakunahang Bayan: Special Vaccination Days and Bakunahang Bayan 2.
  • Of the 79.16 million Filipinos fully vaccinated  against COVID-19, only a third (approximately 24.178 million) received booster shots, based on the latest data from the DOH as of March 19.
Pass a bill creating a Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Sa pakikipagtulungan ng Kongreso, itatatag natin ang ating sariling Center for Disease Control and Prevention …”

(SONA 2022)

“[Create a] National Disease Prevention Management Authority. This bill seeks to create the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), attached to the DOH.”

(SONA 2022)
  • The administration failed to meet its goal set earlier this year to pass a bill creating the CDC by June 2.
  • While a measure in the House was approved on third and final reading last December, its counterpart in the Senate was stalled on second reading.
Pass a bill creating a National Virology Institute of the Philippines

“[C]reate the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) as an attached agency of the DOST. All offices and units under the DOST with functions related to virology shall now be transferred to the Virology Institute of the Philippines.”

(SONA 2022)
  • The administration missed its goal to pass by June 2 a bill creating the Virology Institute of the Philippines, meant to boost the country’s capability to develop vaccines.
  • HB 6452 was passed on third and final reading in December but 13 counterpart measures in the Senate remain at the committee level.
Establish specialty hospitals like Heart Center and Lung Center in regions outside Metro Manila

Napakinabangan natin nang husto ang malalaking specialty hospitals gaya ng Heart Center, Lung Center, Children’s Hospital at National Kidney and Transplant Institute … Maliwanag na hindi lamang dapat dito lamang sa National Capital Region kundi maging sa ibang parte ng bansa kailangan magdagdag ng ganitong uri ng mga pagamutan. (SONA 2022)

  • Marcos is yet to sign a law mandating the DOH to put up at least one specialty center in each of the country’s 17 regions within five years. On May 31, the Senate and the House  approved a consolidated version of bills creating specialty hospitals, but this has yet to be transmitted to Malacanang for the president’s signature.
  • On June 1, the DOH said it plans to establish 231 specialty centers based on each region’s top burden of disease and special needs. The specialty centers will be put up as a unit or department in DOH-managed hospitals.
  • On July 17, construction of a multi-specialty hospital (Philippine Heart Center annex) in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga will begin. Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said the hospital will initially serve as a general hospital then build its capacity for specialized treatment of children, cardiac and kidney diseases.
Create new Rural Health Units and clinics

[U]pang mailapit natin ang health care system sa taumbayan nang hindi sila kailangang pumunta sa sentro ng kanilang bayan, lalawigan o region, ay maglalagay tayo ng mga clinic, mga RHU na pupuntahan ng mga doktor, nurse, midwife, medtech, isang beses, dalawang beses sa isang linggo … 

(SONA 2022)
  • Three bills in Congress providing the assignment of at least one nurse in every barangay are pending at the committee level. Five bills in the House and two in the Senate providing for a dental unit in every rural, city or municipal health unit are also pending at the committee level.
  • VERA Files requested data from the DOH on the number of rural health units and clinics established since July 2022, but it has yet to receive a response as of publishing.
Improve welfare of health care professionals

“One of the cornerstones of a strong healthcare system is the provision of competent and efficient medical professionals. We will exert all efforts to improve the welfare of our doctors, our nurses, and other medical frontliners.”

(SONA 2022)
  • The DOH is pushing to  standardize the salaries of healthcare workers in the public and private sectors. It calls for the inclusion of private health workers in the coverage of RA 7305, or the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers.
  • Five House bills and four Senate bills are seeking to amend RA 7305 by creating a new salary scale and increasing allowances and benefits for government medical professionals such as dentists and midwives. House Bill 3194 proposes a housing program for government nurses.
  • Eight bills in the House and three in the Senate push for salary increases for government and private nurses. In particular, HB 4599 seeks a minimum wage of P50,000 per month for both public and private nurses.
  • Eight bills in the House  and one in the Senate provide for an increase in the salary of government doctors from salary grade 21 (P36,619 to P39,367) to salary grade 22 (P71,511 to P79,349) or salary grade 23 (P80,033 to P89,281). One Senate bill and six counterparts in the House also propose tax incentives for doctors who provide services to poor patients.
  • In December 2022, the House passed its version of the “Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers” to professionalize and provide compensation, and benefits for barangay health workers. The Senate is deliberating on six similar measures.
Pass a bill establishing a Medical Reserve Corps

“Establishes a Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) under the Health and Emergency Management Bureau (HEMB) of the DOH. The MRC shall be composed of licensed physicians, medical students who have completed their four (4) years of medical course, graduates of medicine, registered nurses, and licensed allied health professionals.”

(SONA 2022)
  • This is another priority measure that failed to meet the June 2 goal.
  • Eleven bills providing for the Medical Reserve Corps are pending at the committee level in the Senate.
  • The House passed a version of a medical reserve corps bill in December. HB 6518 seeks to create a Health Emergency Auxiliary Reinforcement Team (HEART), composed of volunteer medical professionals and health care workers and graduates of medicine and allied health courses, that will help in times of disaster and public health emergencies.
Order Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to remove cartels among pharmaceutical companies to lower prices of medicine

Inuutusan ko naman ang Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) na pantay pantay dapat at walang kartel sa hanay ng mga pharmaceutical companies. Dahil kapag bukas ang merkado, bababa ang presyo ng gamot para mapakinabangan ng ating mga mamamayan.” (SONA 2022)

  • The PCC told VERA Files of an ongoing investigation on procurement activities in the pharmaceutical sector for possible violations of Sections 14 and 15 of the Philippine Competition Act.
  • The commission regularly conducts market studies in the pharmaceutical sector to find potential anti-competitive agreements and abuses of market dominance.
  • The Barcelona School of Economics is assisting PCC in training other government agencies and regulators on competition issues in the pharmaceutical sector “to help correct a policy environment that may be incentivizing the operation of cartels.”
Condense 240-section handbook for migrant workers into a pamphlet

Aatasan din natin ang kagawaran [DMW] na gawing simple ang kumplikadong handbook ng mga tuntunin at regulasyon para sa mga OFW, nang sa gayon ay maging maalwan ang mga transaksyong may kinalaman sa kanilang pangingibang-bansa.

Mula sa handbook na may dalawang daan at apatnapung (240) seksyon ay gagawin nating pamphlet na lamang na hindi hihigit sa isandaang pahina. ” (SONA 2022)

  • Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople approved last June 9 the revised rules and regulations for the recruitment and employment of land-based migrant workers. From 246 sections and 71 pages, the revised rules now have 194 sections and 44 pages. The DMW told VERA Files on July 15 that it has yet to revise the rules for the recruitment and employment of sea-based migrant workers.
  • In a July 15 email, Director Maria Bernardine Madamba, chief of staff of the DMW Undersecretary for Licensing and Adjudication Office, said the revised land-based guidelines now contain “all the basics and policies,” because other bureaus under DMW will issue separate operational guidelines on OFW recruitment and employment.
  • Madamba said the DMW will produce simplified handbooks for sea-based and land-based OFWs, revising the handbooks produced by the previous administration.
Enroll children of OFWs in programs on financial literacy, mental wellness, sports, arts and culture

Ngayon, para naman sa mga anak na naiwan sa Pilipinas. Titiyakin ng Department of Migrant Workers, sa pamamagitan ng OWWA, na sila ay maipapasok sa magagandang paaralang magtuturo sa kanila ng financial literacy, mental wellness, sports, sining at kultura. Ito ay mangyayari sa pakikipagtulungan ng iba’t ibang ahensiya ng pamahalaan. ” (SONA 2022)

  • The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration formed the OFW Children’s Circle (OCC) program 10 days before Marcos’ 2022 SONA, following his directive as president-elect.
  • The program’s activities aim to help kids “cope with the negative effects and social costs of migration”. A total of 13,339 children of OFWs have registered in the program as of May 2023 in its pilot areas: Metro Manila, Ilocos region, the Southern Tagalog region, Central Visayas, and Southern Mindanao.
  • OWWA continues to offer three educational and social assistance programs for children and siblings of OFWs, started by previous administrations, with 20,104 individuals availing of the programs in 2022.
  • There were 259 beneficiaries from January to May 2023 of the Education and Livelihood Assistance program for dependents of the deceased, based on data OWWA sent to VERA Files.
  • Applications are on-going for the Education for Development Scholarship Program (for college students; P60,000 maximum per school year) and OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (for college students; P20,000 per school year).
Protect the creative industry

“We require an institutionalized creative industry that will advance the interests of its stakeholders — sila na nagbibigay ng kaluluwa at [pagkakilanlan] sa ating pagka-Pilipino. Protektahan natin sila.” (SONA 2022)

  • The Philippine Creative Industries Development Act  or RA 11904 lapsed into law three days after Marcos’ last SONA. Its implementing rules and regulations were signed in December 2022.
  • Under the law, a Creative  Industries Development Council is tasked to create opportunities and employment for creative workers, ensure financial-enabling mechanisms, and incentivize excellence in the industry.
  • The Department of Trade and Industry allotted P20 million this year for a “creative venture fund” meant to jumpstart startups in the creative industry.
  • A memorandum of understanding with Indonesia was signed in September 2022 to exchange information on market research and policy trends in creative industries, and facilitate co-production, co-branding, and marketing of creative products and services.
  • Marcos appointed film and TV director Paul Soriano, creator of his campaign ads for the May 2022 elections, as presidential adviser on creative communications. The president said Soriano is tasked with promoting the local creative industry to the world.

Find out how Marcos Jr. fared in other sectors

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Presidential Communications Office, Media Interview by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. Following the Cebuana Lhuillier Kanegosyo Center Launch, June 29, 2023

Philippine Statistics Authority official YouTube channel, Press Conference on January 2023 Inflation, Feb. 7, 2023

Bank for International Settlements, The impact of the global financial crisis on the Philippine financial system – an assessment, accessed July 7, 2023

Presidential Communications Office,​​ Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the 72nd Founding Anniversary Celebration of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Inauguration of the New Multi-Purpose Building, Jan. 31, 2023

Philippine News Agency, DSWD puts up warehouse in Aurora for quick disaster response, Oct. 17, 2022

On strengthening VAWC programs 

On providing quick disaster response 

On strengthening the AICS 

On cleansing the list of 4Ps beneficiaries 

On sustaining and widening supplemental feeding program 

On ensuring capacity of healthcare system 

  • Department of Health, Personal communication (email), July 6, 2023
  • Department of Health, Personal communication (email), July 14, 2023

On encouraging everyone to get booster shots vs COVID-19

  • Department of Health, Personal communication (email), July 7,2023
  • Department of Health official website, ​​Vaccination tracker, accessed July 2, 2023

On passing a bill creating a Center for Disease Control and Prevention 

On passing a bill creating a National Virology Institute of the Philippines

On establishing specialty hospitals like Heart Center and Lung Center in regions outside Metro Manila

On creating new Rural Health Units and clinics 

On improving welfare of health care professionals

On passing a bill establishing a Medical Reserve Corps

On ordering Philippine Competition Commission to remove cartels among pharmaceutical companies to lower prices of medicine 

  • Philippine Competition Commission, Personal communication (email), July, 4, 2023
  • Philippine Competition Commission official website, Republic Act No. 10667, accessed July 2, 2023

On condensing 240-section handbook for migrant workers into a pamphlet

  • Department of Migrant Workers, Personal communication (email), July 3, 2023
  • Department of Migrant Workers official website, Land-based OFW handbook, accessed July 2, 2023
  • Department of Migrant Workers official website,  Sea-based OFW handbook, accessed July 2, 2023

On enrolling children of OFWs in programs on financial literacy, mental wellness, sports, arts and culture 

On protecting the creative industry

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)