Duterte’s socioeconomic agenda and trust rating

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

Every time a Social Weather Station (SWS) and Pulse Asia survey on the satisfaction and trust ratings of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte comes out people always wonder why the president has been able to maintain a high mark of approval despite the brouhaha raised by some group of people and organizations, both local and international, about his controversial war on drugs, extrajudicial killings, etc.

It must be confusing and frustrating to Sen. Antonio Trillanes and his ilk in the senate and in our society, in general, why even as they hurl a fuselage of personal accusations against the president and his family, still it does not make a remarkable dent on his popularity and approval ratings.

But for the people who were inspired by Duterte’s candidacy and continue to support his presidency there has been a noticeable change in the kind of leadership the country needed which could have never happened had the Roxases, the Binays and the Poes won.

Duterte’s war on drugs, criminality and corruption are in itself big changes toward better future for country and people which can only be fought and sustained by somebody with political will to carry it out.

Events have shown that Duterte is no rubber stamp or a stooge of anybody, either here or abroad, and to the consternation of many that wants to meddle in his governance.

Duterte’s declaration of independent foreign policy had silently earned the ire of some friendly nations at first but is being accepted now as he saw the realities of the times where China has become the major regional power in Asia and the importance of improving relations with non-traditional including Russia, Japan and India.

This is a paradigm shift in our geopolitical relations that perhaps only Duterte could have thought of and it is earning him the respect of the whole world.

Duterte should be credited for where we are now as a nation, especially in having discovered earlier, rather than later, that narco-politics have engulf the country already. He is doing everything possible that this country will not go to the dogs.

What should make everybody hopeful, however, is that Duterte, while relentless in his war against drugs, corruption and criminality, is also making sure that his 10-point socioeconomic agenda listed below will continue to be followed through. This program in his presidency being implemented now is what is helping Duterte also earn his high satisfaction and trust ratings.

  1. Continuing and maintaining current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary and trade policies;
  2. Instituting progressive tax reform and more effective tax collection while indexing taxes to inflation;
  3. Increasing competitiveness and the ease of doing business, drawing upon successful models used to attract business to local cities such as Davao, as well as pursuing the relaxation of the Constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership, except with regards to land ownership, in order to attract foreign direct investments;
  4. Accelerating annual infrastructure spending to account for 5 percent of the gross domestic product, with public-private partnerships playing a key role;
  5. Promoting rural and value chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and rural tourism;
  6. Ensuring security of land tenure to encourage investments and address bottlenecks in land management and titling agencies;
  7. Investing in human capital development, including health and education systems, as well as matching skills and training to meet the demands of businesses and the private sector;
  8. Promoting science, technology and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity toward self-sustaining and inclusive development;
  9. Improving social protection programs, including the government’s conditional cash transfer program, in order to protect the poor against instability and economic shocks; and
  10. Strengthening the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices on financial and family planning.

 

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Duterte is wrong in going easy on Imee, Bongbong

 

The dictator addressing his supporters from a balcony in Malacañang before his ouster.

This is about two of the despot’s children, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos whom Pres. Rodrigo Duterte have always shielded from the clamor to  “prosecute” and/or “punish” them for the atrocious sins committed by the father.

“What’s their fault?” Duterte asks, claiming they were still young during the dictatorial regime and that the only adults were their parents, Ferdinand and Imelda.

Well, it really depends on what year and which photo is one looking at.

As a reminder let me just point out the following salient events:

Ferdinand Marcos became President in 1965.

Imee Marcos was born in 1955, while Bongbong was born in 1957.

In 1972, when their father declared martial law, Imee turned 17 and Bongbong 15.

Marcos lifted martial law in 1981 and he ruled until February 1986, when he was ousted in a popular revolt after a rule marked with human rights abuses and plunder of the country’s coffers.

At that time, Imee was 30 going on 31, and Bongbong 28 turning 29.

And when one looks at the iconic picture taken in 1986 when the dictator was emphatically addressing his supporters from a balcony in Malacañang, whom do you see flanking him but his wife and grown-up children Imee, Irene and Bongbong – he with his contemptible fatigues seemingly showing approval of the despot’s military minions protecting their family.

And now Duterte is telling the people that Bongbong and Imee were innocent of what was going on at that time?

I am an avid supporter of Duterte, but this is an instance where I totally disagree with him, especially in going easy on both Imee and Bongbong for the simple reason that his father was a member of the Marcos Cabinet.

The Marcos siblings are not really unsullied, uncensurable and likable for that matter, as they want the Filipino to believe they are, but their continuing admission and affirmation that their despot father did nothing wrong and is in fact considered a hero make them just as guilty as the man who sired them.

 

The oddity of Sen. Trillanes

 

Senator Antonio Trillanes

You will notice that the word oddity here is describing the person Antonio Trillanes in his capacity as senator of the realm and not as an individual.

As an individual there are many who are like him – arrogant, pompous, swollen-headed, and feeling high and mighty all the time.

You will never miss this kind of persona because it exudes in their appearance and stance and in the way they talk.

But then you will probably ask me, why, aren’t all the senators like Trillanes?

Well, I could not agree with you more, to tell you the truth.

There is just something in the elective position that makes one a different person after a while – an adverse person, to be more specific.

Perhaps you can blame it to the fame, power and wealth that one possesses now.

There is only one person I know who has not changed at all despite all the trappings he has in his position and that is President Rodrigo Duterte.

But this is not about Duterte. Rather it is about Duterte’s arch-enemy, Trillanes.

So there is no disagreement that the rest of the senators are like Trillanes and Trillanes is just like all the senators when they metamorphose from being ordinary citizens to becoming elected official, although for Trillanes, he made it more glaring.

Lamentably, this is not the oddity I am talking about when referring to Trillanes as senator.

The oddity I am talking about is Trillanes’ penchant of making enemies out of his colleagues in the Senate.

I had been around long enough and saw and heard senators of old making speeches, debating one another on important topics and doing Senate hearings, yet none has come even close to what and how absurdly Trillanes performs in the Senate floor.

His lack of prudence, wisdom, maturity, and the like, almost always does him in. It is his arrogance and intimidating stance that make him repulsive, antipathetic and ineffective.

In the not too recent and recent past, Trillanes had altercations with former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who is now the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

Presently, Trillanes’ pet peeve is Sen. Richard Gordon whom he wants replaced as chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee.

Not contented with having Gordon replaced, Trillanes also is setting his sights at no less than Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III to have him toppled.

How more presumptuous can Trillanes get?

Duterte wants feisty daughter Sara to succeed him

 

President Rodrigo Duterte and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte

We have not even reach half way yet in President Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential term of office and he is already suggesting his feisty daughter Sara to succeed him.

Is this being rational that this early Duterte is trying to show dynastic tendency in perpetuating themselves in power?

Whether this pronouncement by Duterte sits well on the Filipino people or not, it is vintage Duterte who is always steps ahead in political thoughts and ideas as to what is good for the country and its citizens.

I had been always against political dynasties (https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/tag/elitist-political-families/) especially those identified already as traditional politicians (trapo).

But one cannot say this of President Duterte who definitely is not a ‘trapo’, but an out-of-the-box politician and it is for this reason that he was elected overwhelmingly as president because the people wanted change in the leadership from one who works in government mostly for their own vested interests to one who cares to serve the people and who has the political will to wage war against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality.

If this early Duterte is seen and perceived to be conditioning the minds of the Filipino people that he wants her daughter Sara to succeed him, it is for no other reason than to make all and sundry feel and understand that the enormity of the problems tearing apart the social fabric of this country is so overwhelming that one term of the presidency could not just wrap it up and declare the problems solved.

What this simply means is that Duterte has come to realize that whatever inroads he has done against his war against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality and whatever successes he has attained in making reforms in government, he did not want these gains compromised, but rather he wants them sustained.

By being compromised I surmise to say that Duterte did not want somebody who might be a ‘trapo’ to succeed him and who might only have to promote his or her own selfish agenda. This will only get us back to the hell-hole we came from.

In the same manner that by being sustained, Duterte can be assured that the only way his mission and vision for the country and its people can continue, the way he is charting its course now, is to have somebody who has the same mentality or mindset in running a government, be it local or national, and the same selfless attitude as him, and to his mind there could not be any other person he could trust and have full confidence but her own daughter, Sara, a well-liked and  respected politician herself.

“I couldn’t find any other better candidate than Sara to become the next president,” Duterte reportedly said, and added further that his daughter is a strong woman, who is also a lawyer and knows the law very well.

Talking about silver lining at the horizon for the country.

Duterte and martial law

 

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

For those of us, peaceful and law abiding citizens, who have experienced the dark days of martial law under the dictator Marcos, we say, never again.

And for a good reason, because we did not only see the abuses, disappearances and killings committed by the zealots and blind adherents of the Marcoses, but we also saw the plunder committed and how the country retrogressed that until now we are still recovering from the misfortune.

When we hear, therefore, some sectors of society, and especially the staunch critics of President Rodrigo Duterte, mentioning and fearing that the latter have plans of declaring martial law in the entire country, we can’t help but liken it to a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and how perilous it would be for the people and the country if that strand of hair breaks and the sword drops and pierces once more the very core of our mental faculties and sensibilities as human beings.

But, would Duterte really have the gumption to do it? Think about it.

The reason why to this day Duterte continues to have the support of the people is because many believe that his out of the box leadership is what is needed in this country.

Marcos had his unique brand of leadership, but never had he promised, as Duterte did, that he would die for the country in his fight against drug, corruption and criminality, if it means improving the lives of its citizens.

Both Marcos and Duterte are decisive leaders and both have known that the only way for the country to go forward is when its people are disciplined.

Wasn’t this Marcos’ mantra “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan” (For the country to progress, discipline is needed.)?

Duterte is doing the same thing now, instilling discipline, and where Marcos has failed, Duterte is succeeding for the simple reason that latter does not have the ravenous Imelda for a conjugal partner.

The Marcoses tried all their power to tighten the rein of discipline on their people while loosening with impunity the same regimen on themselves which made them the corrupt and evil persons that they were.

At least with the Dutertes we don’t see raging abuses going on.

Other than the fact that Duterte is well secured in his presidency and does not need to impose martial law to bring about positive and qualitative changes in the lives of the Filipinos, which he promised he would do, most importantly he would want to see that history will speak highly of him in continuance to what he has done in making Davao City a peaceful and preferred city in the country to live while still the mayor and, hopefully, until his presidential term is over.

 

 

Yes to martial law in Mindanao

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

The writing on the wall was there. It was coming. It was just a matter of time.

Coming from Mindanao, President Rodrigo Duterte has always longed for peace in the war turned  region.

He has always made it clear that he identifies himself with the Muslims, openly stating that he has their blood flowing in his veins from his maternal side of the family.

But as then mayor of Davao City he could only do so much and with limited impact.

Thus, when Duterte got overwhelmingly elected president he worked hard to make Mindanao what it is suppose to be – the land of promise, among other things.

Duterte realized that peace in Mindanao will not come easy not because of the much talked about Muslim-Christian conflict, but more serious is the enmity and hostility among the different Moro rebel themselves.

As Duterte showed ardor and determination in his fight against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption in the country, his sincerity and passion also manifested in his quest to pacify the warring Moro rebels in Mindanao so lasting peace in the region could be attained. I am referring here to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Alas, while peace talks, agreements and even unavoidable occasional skirmishes between government troops and the Moro rebel have been ongoing, another radical Islamist rebels known as the Maute group made known of their existence with impunity.

The Maute group who are based in Lanao del Sur is also known as the Islamic State of Lanao led by their founders Omar and Abdulla Maute. It is said that this local terrorist group has already pledged allegiance to international terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS), carrying and raising ISIS black flags and insignia.

The Maute has been blamed for a bomb attack that killed 15 people in southern Davao city last September and a number of attacks on government forces in Lanao, although it has faced setbacks from a series of military offensives.

With events going bad and spiraling out of control in Marawi City, as the Maute group mounted violent attacks when government forces tried to capture their leader Isnilon Hapilon, Duterte deemed it timely to declare martial law for the whole of Mindanao.

I think Duterte knows what he is doing and if putting Mindanao under martial law is what it takes to prevent the enlisting and widening the control of the Maute terrorist group so that the country could go on developing its national interest then the president should be commended for exercising his much appreciated guts and political will.

 

War with China not an option

 

President Rodrigo Duterte with China President Xi Jinping

Much have been said about whether or not China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, had really warned the Philippine government not to rock the boat over the country’s maritime dispute with them at the West Philippine Sea (WPS) or else  there will be war.

Some politicians and political pundits are saying this is bullying in its highest form to keep us silent, and the best remedy, as they suggested, is to bring the matter up again to the UN tribunal, the same body that declared China’s build-up in the WPS as illegal.

Again I have to ask: what for?

Even Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the Chinese leader’s threat, if true, is a gross violation of the United Nations (UN) charter. Then he cited Article 2, Section 4 of the UN Charter that states “all members shall refrain in their institutional relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purpose of the United Nations.”

While this may serve as basis for another related complaint we will be raising against China before the UN tribunal, what good will it do the country if China do not give a hoot about what the arbitral court says?

Like I said many times before, what China has claimed at the South China Sea is China’s and what belongs to the Philippines at the WPS is still China’s and if the most powerful nation on Earth, the US, was not able to prevent China from its military build-up in the area and the UN tribunal’s decision favoring the Philippine’s claim of its own territory just brazenly and utterly disregarded and disrespected by China, then who are we to think, much less believe, that elevating the war threat against us by China will stop China from doing what they are there for – militarizing the area.

President Rodrigo Duterte knows very well that war with China is not an option, but he is intelligent enough to understand that if he plays his cards well he can make the most out for the country and the Filipino people.

We are in a new geopolitical situation forced upon a third world country and we just have to be thankful that Duterte is one leader who thinks out of the box, has political will and has the support of the people to make things happen for the interest of the country.

Duterte is left with no other alternative but to make deals and pacts with China to benefit the country, like when sought closer ties with Beijing to win billions of dollars of Chinese investments and loans.

Duterte is doing the same thing with Russia now finally putting into practice his serious shift in foreign policy that all these years have been dictated and dominated by the US government.