With due respect to former President Fidel Ramos’ military and political leadership, I beg to disagree with his recent pronouncement implying that the Philippines is a sinking ship under the Duterte presidency.
Perhaps as a true-blue Amboy, being a product of the famed US West Point Academy, Ramos seems to be worried, at best, and, at worst, devastated, that his protégé, President Rodrigo Duterte, has turned bellicose against the US and is seriously embarking on an independent foreign policy that will likely lead to establishing closer relationships with China and Russia.
But just because Duterte has shown utter displeasure over the way US has been showing the ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude towards his administration relative to his bloody war on drugs, not to mention the ‘little brown brother’ treatment Filipinos have been getting from their imperious ‘big white American brother’, and is turning now to the Chinese and Russians for better deal and understanding does not mean that the country is now in dire state of disrepair and is sinking for that matter.
Why, was the ship of state, as Ramos described it, ever floating even during his time and until the Aquino administration of last?
We must remember that Duterte just completed his 100 days in office and what he has done in fighting drugs is no small feat for a man and a politician from Mindanao catapulted to the presidency by the mandate of majority of Filipinos who trusted him and believed in his strong-fist, no-nonsense leadership.
Everybody now agrees that what got this ship of state sinking in the first place are the presence of unscrupulous people involved in the outrageous, if not heinous, drug business that mainly included convicted inmates in the New Bilibid Prison, who are more known as the drug lords, from where illegal drugs are being pushed to victimize millions of Filipinos from all walks of life.
In identifying and solving brutally the drug plague which is fortunately being supported by the citizens themselves and by many sectors of our society including the businessmen, we are now seeing for the first time that the ship of state is being refloated successfully.
But you see, not until Duterte starts full swing his promise to wage relentless fight also against corruption and criminality in order to get rid of the equally deleterious scourge that is trying to sink the ship of state as well, will we see the same ship of state fully afloat and sailing towards progress and prosperity.
I find it, therefore, somewhat unfair and self-serving Ramos’ comments, saying, that what stands out in Duterte’s first 100 days are the following: first, a vicious and bloody campaign against illegal drugs and its users and dealers; second, a hardening of presidential policy statements against longtime ally and mentor, the US; and three, failure to cut red tape and corruption in the bureaucracy.
Come on, for chrissake! Give it more time!
For a man and a leader who has repeatedly made it known wherever he goes that he has his life, his honor and the presidency at stake in his quest for a better Philippines, it only means that what he is doing now and the things he still has to do before his term is over will ensure not only the sustained growth and development of the country but also guarantees the well being of every Filipino.