Presidential daughter should heed call to lead the country

 

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte

I am of course talking about Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, the president’s daughter.

I could not agree more with Senator Panfilo Lacson who recently said that his choice for the next leader of the country is Sara.

For one who had been supporting President Rodrigo Duterte, warts and all, all these years, and acknowledge and recognizes his good intentions of making the whole country a safe and livable place, like what he has made Davao City to be one such place, I could not think of anybody else who could be more apt and adept to take over the reins of leadership than his own daughter, Sara.

Sara, in her own right, is also a lawyer and a successful politician.

Sara has been able to sustain what the father has started in Davao City, and she is her own person.

In totality Sara is what her father is – an out-of-the-box thinker, strict, tough and a heart especially for the poor. Cusswords? Well, she may likely utter them, too, but perhaps covertly, and I cannot blame her.

But over and above her character or attributes she has inherited from her father, what is important and significant is that she knows who her father is and what he is doing for the country and the Filipino people in general.

What I am driving at is having a continuity in the mission and vision of President Duterte for the country and its people. There could not be anybody else reliably better than Sara, the daughter herself.

It takes somebody like Sara, who is very close to the president, and who serves sometimes as a presidential confidant, to understand how things are done and to have no other selfish motivation but to move the country forward, help alleviate the lives of the people and establish a country that is respected and well spoken of.

Like Lacson, I am not saying that there are no emerging young leaders in the country to take over the helm of government after Duterte.

In fact how I wish Lacson, who himself is strict and straightforward, could take over after Duterte, but his past, as we all know, will just be used to haunt him.

But the truth is that I could not imagine having a Cayetano, a Trillanes, a Sotto, an Ejercito, a Poe, or an Escudero to succeed President Duterte.

Surely their motivation and aspirations will be different, as will be their sense of direction for lack of political will.

We had been there before and for a long time having traditional politicians as leaders and it got us nowhere.

With President Duterte at the helm there are favorable differences happening in the country that are welcomed by many Filipinos, thus Duterte’s high satisfaction ratings in the polls.

It will take another Duterte, hopefully Sara, to fulfill her father’s dreams for the country and its people.

 

Advertisements

Duterte’s decision to close Boracay

Perhaps one can say that this piece is already water under the bridge since President Rodrigo Duterte has already approved the recommendation of the three government agencies, namely, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism (DOT), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to close the resort island of Boracay for six months.

The description by no less than the president of the famed place as “cesspool” indeed decidedly put a halt to the influx of tourist to the place.

“You go into the water, it’s smelly. Smells of what? Sh*t,” he had said.

Pretty strong and unfavorable words for the local government and stakeholders, but they all had it coming.

I am not writing this to discuss the inadequacies and ineptness of those governing and running their private entities while thinking only of the windfall of earnings they can make at the expense of the tourist who simply wants to experience fun in the Philippines, and the much talked about Boracay in particular, for this issue has received quite a beating already.

But it is perhaps proper and timely to mention here that the shortcomings, the myopic vision, and the vested interests of their own concerns took a toll on the environment, which is an important facet of tourism.

What I want to talk about, therefore, which certainly is not water under the bridge, is in the context of the urgency and necessity of the Boracay closure.

We must admit that the problems that caused embarrassment to Boracay, famous for its powdery white sand and shallow azure water, did not happen overnight, or to put it straightforward, during Duterte’s presidency.

It has been reported that Boracay’s degradation has been blamed on the failure of the local government to enforce ordinances on marine conservation, garbage and sanitation, and zoning and construction, among others.

Also, that at least 300 hotels, resorts and inns have been ignoring an ordinance that requires them to build their own sewage and wastewater treatment facilities. They have instead been dumping waste into canals meant only for rainwater and surface overflow.

Another upsetting revelation is that four of the nine wetlands on the island, meanwhile, are occupied by a shopping mall, a hotel and around 100 illegal settlers.

Talking about impunity by both the governing body and the governed!

While past administrations acted like the three proverbial monkeys exemplifying the proverbial principle of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, Duterte used his leadership and political will to make a difference in Boracay.

After all, it is the long range plan of sustaining the grandeur of Boracay for the country’s tourism industry that matters most.

 

Duterte’s 50 days in office

 

50 daysI have seen Philippine presidents come and go and got a little excited in two, namely, Ferdinand Marcos and Cory Aquino as prospects who could make a difference and propel this country to greatness.

Alas, what we saw and witness in their presidency is that one was successful in destroying democracy and the other was hailed as having triumphantly restored the same.

The others after Cory, well, I don’t think they really had the interest of the country and the welfare of the Filipinos in mind for one can only see where we are until today. Recent history will surely tell that not only had we been electing the wrong people, but corruption, drugs and criminality were allowed to flourish because of lack of political will.

Thus as the nation observes President Rodrigo Duterte’s 50 days in office one cannot help but feel encouraged, cheerful and optimistic that this time the Filipinos have finally elected a leader who is showing the character  and the supremacy that could make this country turn around towards growth, progress and respectability.

One can only feel admiration and awe that so much have been done in so short a time that is no doubt benefitting the larger number of Filipinos.

The world is watching us after Duterte declared war against drugs, criminality and corruption and while some human rights advocates here and abroad are complaining about the drug related killings, many are, however, applauding it for it was on this promise to end the ills of society that Duterte was given the overwhelming mandate to lead the country and he has walked the talk.

Duterte even came out with the name-and-shame list of government officials linked to illegal drugs, the latest casualty of which is former justice secretary and now senator, Leila de Lima.

It takes one to have real balls to do this and thank goodness Duterte has them!

One can only wonder if the Roxases, the Poes and the Binays could have generated the same excitement, comfort and upbeat feeling for the country and its people in just 50, if any of them were elected president.

To Duterte’s credit he has also been able to appoint leftists in his Cabinet, establish the much needed one-stop shop for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), implement the freedom of information (FOI) in the executive branch that has been badly sought by the people, put into use the RH law for good, resume peace talks with the communist  and Muslim rebel groups, sustain a robust economy, initiate salary increase for the police and military personnel, clean up and administer new guards at the New Bilibid Prison, etc.

All these and more in just 50 days!

Unimaginable?

You bet it is and we will just wait with greater expectations what the next 50 days will bring.

 

 

Dismaying Duterte’s pro-Marcos decisions

 

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte

If president-elect Rodrigo Duterte was given a land-slide victory by the Filipinos it is simply because they were convinced that it is only the cuss word spewing and fearless Davao City mayor who could get rid of corrupt government officials, bring down criminality and root out the proliferating evils of drugs thereby giving hope to better lives for the people under a promising peaceful, stable and progressive country.

Even if Duterte has not assumed office at the moment, yet the wind of change, as promised, is already palpable in the air, what with the iron-hand leadership and political will decisions he has been showing and exercising.

Unfortunately, however, some of Duterte’s pronouncements lately have been unpopular, at best, and very dismaying, at worst.

One does not have to wonder now why Duterte is not giving vice president-elect Leni Robredo a position in his Cabinet. Not only did he reasoned out that Robredo belongs to the opposite side of the political fence, but the political reality is that Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr,, whom Robredo defeated in the vice presidential race, is Duterte’s friend and he does not want to hurt his friend’s feeling by making Robredo a Cabinet member.

Apparently, to the consternation of many, not only has Duterte promised the young Marcos to allow the burial of his father, the dictator, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (heroes’ cemetery), but even more dismaying is the big possibility that Marcos will be given a Cabinet post in the Duterte administration in the near future.

Nobody is questioning Duterte’s prerogative in making such statements and/or decisions, which in both cases Marcos have already expressed his gratitude, but certainly Duterte should also have considered the sensibilities of those aggrieved during the dark years of the despot’s regime.

Both Duterte and Marcos are talking about closure of hurt feelings and moving forward, but sad to say that anything stated or decided that favors the disreputable Marcos family cannot bring closure. The cry for justice is simply overwhelming!

For as long as the nation continues commemorating Ninoy Aquino’s death anniversary and the EDSA Revolution, there will be no closure.

For as long as the living half of the conjugal dictatorship and her offspring continue to walk like peacocks in the corridors of power without ever apologizing for the atrocities committed by the despot, there could never be closure.

Duterte’s dismaying pro-Marcos decisions have only fan the flames of hate against him and the Marcoses.

 

National day of prayer and exercise of political power

 

President Benigno Aquino

President Benigno Aquino

I do not know what difference would Malacañang’s call for a national day of inter-faith prayer on January 20 makes compared to the daily prayers that are being faithfully said by concerned individuals and the religious sectors of our society for the interest of this country and for the well-being of its people.

I do not know if God would allot special time listening to an orchestrated inter-faith prayer dubbed ‘One Nation in Prayer’, more than what is and has been being sincerely uttered by many already, especially after a series of killer disasters have struck our country.

Though a lot has still to be done in ways of rehabilitating the community and individual lives of the victims, the fact, however, that many of the afflicted are up and about, and even with smile on their faces, can be attributed to their strong faith in God.

In welcoming the New Year during the annual vin d’honneur, President Benigno Aquino captured the essence of what a Filipino is when he told his audience, especially the foreign diplomats,  “Some of you have marveled at the resilience of our nation, a people who’s fate though challenged remain constant and only deepened. Our unbreakable spirit and ability to recover find root in our firm belief in a benevolent God who has the perfect plan for all of us. These tragedies tell us that despite all our efforts, we are indeed powerless without God.”

This is the part that bothers me because even in our quest for a progressive country, better future and improved quality of life for its citizens, we seem to leave it up to God still.

This was confirmed by no less than Aquino’s Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., when he urged all sectors, saying, “The National Day of Prayer and Solidarity with the theme ‘One Nation in Prayer’ is going to be held in accordance with the Filipino people’s recognition of the guidance of Divine Providence in our forward movement towards a more progressive future.”

This is short of telling the people that if government fails in delivering good governance and stopping corruption, thus stagnating the progress of the nation, as it has always been, that it has been willed by Divine Providence.

What crap!

That is simply lack of political leadership.

Political leadership is about political power and the political will to use it and inspire even your political opponents with it, such that it will make a positive impact in the state of the nation and the lives of its people.

Calling for a national day of prayer is not enough to move us forward.

What is needed is a prudent exercise of political power by a political leader geared towards the holistic approach of public welfare and interest of the country.

Moving out squatters from waterways a laudable move

squattersThe plan of the Aquino government to move about 100,000 squatters from important waterways in Manila by the middle of this year to be able to control flooding much better and have them stay in safer shelters, which they can call there own, can only be describe as very laudable, indeed.

It may be late in coming, but to think that government is doing something and spending money for the right reason – that of saving lives and properties from destruction, which could very well be the trend now, year after year, when we have weather disturbances caused by global warming – is enough to make you feel that this government has the welfare of the poor people in mind, too.

There is no denying that the waterways, especially the major ones, are the most convenient places to erect shanties. They have the area below open for their disposal, including their wastes. So what is there to worry about?

The number of people keeps on adding up and garbage of all sorts increase exponentially and starts sinking and filling up the waterways. A little rain will probably carry some rubbish downstream, but most will just get stuck somewhere. In due time nothing moves anymore.

And so when the country is hit by heavy rainfall, the local government units (LGUs) have their hands full saving lives amidst all the garbage strewn everywhere.

We could not really just heap the blame on the poor people living the way the live on top of waterways. They are eking out a living to support a family and they are eking it in poverty – the only way they know how.

Most to blame, no doubt, are national and local officials in government, those whom we call public servants, for looking but not seeing, for hearing but not listening and for being so insensitive to the plight of these sector in our society. Politics have made them all callous to the ugly and worsening situation happening right in their midst. One can lose an election even at the slightest hint that you are moving them out far and to an uncertain place.

It is, therefore, more than a whiff of fresh air to know that the Aquino government has already allocated 10 billion pesos ($246 million) for the project this year and is preparing “medium-rise buildings” as new homes for the squatters. It is hope. It is light at the end of the tunnel. It is a dream come true for the poor.

Relocating them to an area familiar to them and near where their work would not be disrupted has been and is good strategy by government.

According to Interior Undersecretary Francisco Fernandez there are more than 11.8 million people living in the capital and as many as 20 percent could be squatters who build shanties in empty lots, under bridges, on waterways or any vacant place they can settle.

Moving out those on waterways is a good start. We have to start somewhere, anyway.

Perhaps, the sin tax bill is doing wonders already. But, more than this, political will is what is needed. As the saying goes, when there’s will, there’s a way.

This project by the Aquino government and the other laudable projects that will follow, aimed for the good of people and country, sets a trend that whoever wins the presidency in 2016 shall have to carry the programs to completion during his incumbency.

This is Aquino’s legacy worth looking forward to.

The certainty of it happening, however, is if and when the electorate overwhelmingly supports the Liberal Party come 2016 presidential elections.

Otherwise, we will have another fellow running this government, who, like a dog, will simply start peeing all over the place trying to leave a scent of his being and the country sliding back.