Duterte’s first year in office

 

I have lived long enough to see presidents come and go in this country but I have never seen the likes of President Rodrigo Duterte who hit the ground running at a considerable speed upon assumption of office.

While Duterte may have been ready with his administration’s 10-point socio-economic agenda that included among other things the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices and family planning, he, however, entrusted the execution of all these to his social and economic mangers while he took it upon himself to lead his much vaunted campaign promise to fight the proliferation of illegal drugs , corruption and criminality.

As an unconventional politician whose approach to solving problem has been described as ‘out-of-the-box’, not to mention the colorful language he uses especially when piqued, is what has endeared him to the Filipinos which is why he was overwhelmingly voted to the presidency.

I am not going to discuss here Duterte’s defining moments individually which includes among other things his running after and eventually putting Sen. Leila de Lima in police custody for using drug money to finance her senatorial bid, his alleged killings and human rights violation stemming from his bloody war on drugs that has been harshly criticize here and abroad by international human rights agencies and advocates, his antagonistic stance towards the U.S., his shift from a U.S. dictated foreign policy to an independent foreign policy, his open arms policy towards China despite the latter’s incursion and militarization of the West Philippine Sea, his diplomatic sortie to Russia, and last but not least of his controversial decisions is the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

For me what is important in Duterte’s 365 days in office is putting into context how the country and the Filipino people are today having Duterte as our president.

I do not know about you, but it makes me wonder, if not guessing, how it would have been for the Philippines and the Filipinos had we had Roxas, Poe or Binay as the president.

Knowing what we know now about the wide-ranging prevalence and gravity of illegal drug use in the country, could any of the other presidential aspirants, had they won, had the political will or the gumption to declare war against it, as Duterte has done, knowing that you are up against ruffians and monsters?

Could they have had the guts to discover and say that we are now a narco-political country?

Would talking to just the MILF, passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law and establishing a new autonomous political entity known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, prevented the Islamic State-inspired Maute group from storming and creating havoc in Marawi City.

Would they have the potency to declare martial law?

Perhaps Divine Providence determined the course that Duterte be president, warts and all, for he has what it takes to lead and fight for the Filipinos in preserving the integrity of the country and having it respected.

This in essence is what is Duterte’s presidency about one year after and in the next 5 years, God willing.

 

Duterte, ICC and the NYT

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

I don’t know but the timing by which the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the New York Times have issued their acrimonious/fault-finding statements against President Rodrigo Duterte, when the Philippines is hosting the 30th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings, smacks of pure interference and arrogance.

There is no doubt that both the ICC and the NYT wants to generate negative feelings of dislike or distrust among the leaders of the member nations toward Duterte and his bloody war on drugs, alleged extrajudicial killings and even his unpredictable foreign policy, but all these will surely fall on deaf ears and come to naught.

The reason why I am saying this is because there is nothing but sheer respect and recognition for one another in their style of leadership and governance and meddling in the affairs of another state is definitely a no-no.

Thus, for entities like the ICC and the NYT to interfere in the affairs of the state is even worse because first and foremost they have to make sure that what they are saying or implying is factual.

Take the case of the NYT, for instance, where in its editorial, “Let the World Condemn Duterte”, it described the Philippine president as a “man to be stopped” and is urging the ICC to conduct a preliminary investigation on the spate of extrajudicial killings being linked to Duterte’s war on drugs.

There may be a “spate of extrajudicial killings” but how sure is the NYT and the ICC, for that matter, that the killings are state sanctioned? Because jailed Sen. Leila de Lima has been harping about it even as nothing materialized during the investigation she conducted against Duterte when she was still chair of the commission on Human Rights (CHR) and Justice Secretary?

Why has Duterte won overwhelmingly for president despite his alleged notorious past as mayor of Davao City, even when he did not have the political machinery?

Duterte won because many Filipinos looked up to him and believed in his promise to wage serious war against drugs, corruption and criminality.

What this means is that Filipinos were tired having ordinary and traditional politicians who had been ineffective running this country and who, in many ways than one, abetted in hindering the growth and development of the country.

What I am simply saying is that one has to live here and experience what it has been like for the country having one president after another for decades that did not have the political will and the spunk to make an impact in the lives of many poor Filipinos.

Fighting a war against people corrupted by drugs that include policemen, judges and other government officials masquerading as public servants is no easy task.

Duterte was not only able to unmask who the culprits are but has also discovered the enormity of the drug menace in the country and for this he continues to have the people’s trust and approval of his governance.

Other ASEAN leader recognizes the competency and authority of Duterte and has showed their high regard for his brand of leadership and this augurs well for the country’s future with him at the helm.

This is what matters most and not what the NYT, the ICC, and for that matter, the Amnesty International (AI), have been negatively blurting about against Duterte.

 

Duterte orders occupation of SCS islands belonging to the Philippines

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

It was reported that President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to occupy all islands of the Philippines in the South China Sea (SCS) to strengthen the country’s claims to the area.

I would presume these are the islands, reefs, shoals, and other features within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) over which, according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind. The EEZ stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its coast.

Whether or not this is the new code of conduct for the SCS among claimant nations in the region vis-à-vis China, which has laid claim to almost all of SCS simply because it bears its name, one can only surmise that, indeed, this must have the blessing of China leadership.

Obviously China does not want to appear as a despotic neighbor for as long as the small claimant nations let them be where they are now and whatever else it is going to do in the future.

This seems to be a nascent ‘modus vivendi’ approach of China towards some members of the ASEAN, like the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam, now that they are well entrenched in the area with their seven man-made militarized islands.

What else can the Philippines do except to take advantage of the ‘benevolent act’ of China giving us the situation and occasion to lay emphatic claim of our own with the following statements by Duterte:

“We tried to be friends with everybody but we have to maintain our jurisdiction now, at least the areas under our control. And I have ordered the armed forces to occupy all these.”

“It looks like everybody is making a grab for the islands there, so we better live on those that are still vacant. At least, let us get what is ours now and make a strong point there that it is ours.”

China knows that it has gotten us by the “cojones” (balls) already. Our subservience to them cannot be denied and this was manifested when Duterte hinted that going to war against China is nothing but a suicidal act. It is simply a classic case of the saying: “if you cannot beat them, join them.” And that is what we are doing with China.

But ours in not the first case of having islands, reefs, shoals and other features occupied.

I am sharing with you this link for better appreciation of the subject:

http://thediplomat.com/2016/05/south-china-sea-who-claims-what-in-the-spratlys/.

Duterte’s soaring influence in the world

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

One has to be a Filipino to understand fully what President Rodrigo Duterte stands for as a leader of this country in this day and age.

We have seen presidents come and go in the past but there never has been one who caught the fancy of the Filipinos for the transformation he did to once lawless Davao City as mayor into a safe and livable place so that when the opportunity arose that he was being considered a presidential timber, the majority of the people simply embraced him warts and all and the rest is history.

The popularity of Duterte among Filipinos is not about who he is, but rather about what he has to offer as a leader – not beholden to anybody but the Filipino people.

It is therefore Duterte’s unorthodox and unconventional style of leadership which exudes political will that has endeared him to the people and has influenced many to rally behind him despite criticisms aired against him here and abroad for his bloody war against illegal drugs.

Past presidents also had their share of fighting illegal drugs, corruption and criminality but it simply lacked the conviction and the resolve to do it relentlessly because of political self-preservation.

Needless to say that while the past presidents were more concern about their own political future, Duterte on the other hand has made his war on illegal drugs, corruption and criminality the linchpin of his administration to help sustain the development of the country and ensure better life for the Filipinos.

Duterte’s out-of-the-box leadership is making such a positive impact to the Filipinos that the hope for a better and brighter future has never been this high and promising as it is now.

Unfortunately articles are being published and videos are being shown that are critical of Duterte’s administration and this does not surely sit well with the people.

Check this link and see if it is doing justice to the country:

http://nyti.ms/2nYjDfO

Like I said at the onset, one has to be a Filipino and has to live in the country to appreciate what the Duterte government is doing. To write and show a video of something that the authors themselves have not seen, fact checked or experience history is simply doing an injustice to most Filipinos that are aspiring for a better place and life to live.

That Duterte has been considered an influential person in the world today is definitely an honor.

Duterte doing an injustice to Robredo


Vice President Leni Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo

The resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo as chairperson of the cabinet-level Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) did not really come as a surprise to me.

Since I first learned a few months ago that the 2017 proposed budget for the office of the vice president was reportedly slashed from P500 million to P428 million, this after her travel allowance for this year was reduced to P37 million from the nearly P60 million allotted to her, I thought it would just be a matter of time before she raises up her hand and give up her Cabinet position.

What made it sooner was apparently the dismaying and disappointing slashing further of the 2017 budget for all key shelter agencies, which included the HUDCC, by a devastating amount of more than P19 billion.

It is bad enough that one’s travelling expenses are curtailed, but how can one perform an efficient job managing housing projects and the amenities that goes with it for the needy when one barely have enough resources?

On top of all these, Robredo also lamented saying, that “all her key shelter appointment recommendations have not been acted on” and that “the Executive Order designed to make HUDCC effective was not signed”.

One can only understand, therefore, the frustration Robredo has been putting up with all these restrictions and impediments thrown at her by the Duterte administration despite the impressive accomplishment HUDCC has done in barely five months under Robredo’s leadership.

Thus, when Robredo reportedly received a text message from secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco relaying President Rodrigo Duterte’s instruction telling her “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings” beginning Monday, Nov. 5, she did not hesitate filing her resignation as well as Housing secretary for this was the God-given graceful exit she was waiting for.

While it is true that Duterte and Robredo have diverging views politically and morally on various issues plaguing the country today, it cannot be denied, however, that Robredo has been supportive of Duterte’s programs when it comes to development and improving the lives of Filipinos, this, even as the former has been at the receiving end of the latter’s sexist remarks as perceived by the womenfolk and the most telling blow of all which is Duterte’s bias for Bongbong Marcos who continues to contest Robredo’s victory.

What a waste of talent of a decent, intelligent and productive person – a pure public servant that Duterte is eliminating in his Cabinet.

 

Whichever way one looks at it Duterte is not only gravely erring in his decision but more painfully Duterte is also doing injustice to Robredo and to the country.

Duterte and martial law

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

For the life of me, I cannot understand why some people are resorting to evil machinations against President Rodrigo Duterte purporting that, because of what is going on relative to the latter’s continuing bloody war on drugs, bomb threats from extremists and the recent military offensive undertaken by the government against the Maute group in Lanao del Sur, who are trying to impress the leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by terrorizing residents and flying  its most recognizable black and white flag adorned with Arabic lettering, he will declare martial law.

I presume the opposition, the opportunists and the unscrupulous simply does not want Duterte to succeed.

Why would Duterte do it when everything is under control and he gets things done accordingly and the way he sees fit with the support not only of majority of Filipinos , but most specifically by the business sector and by the  members of Congress?

By support I mean that most Filipinos trust him and his courage and political will simply stands out for he is seen to be doing the things he wants done because it is for the good of every Filipino, regardless of belief and ideology, and for the interest of the country.

Actually one cannot separate Duterte from martial law or to distinguish Duterte apart from martial law for what he is doing in this country today, imposing his will, is a moderate or a measured martial law.

The iron-fist rule and the no-nonsense governance Duterte was practicing in Davao, that turned the big city into a safe and livable place, is simply being replicated in a much bigger scale now and if he is succeeding, where no other past presidents achieved in less than a year of his assumption to office, one can only give credit to the person for who he is and his conviction of what and how a president should serve the Filipino people.

The good thing is that Duterte knows his law and the prohibitions and consequences of declaring martial law, though I seriously believed that he erred in his indifference and not giving a damn to the feelings and sentiments of the martial law victims still crying for justice to this day when he granted the Marcoses permission to have the dictator buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

Thus, Duterte was right when he chided the scaremongers, saying, he did not need martial law despite ongoing security threats in Mindanao.

“Martial law for what? Killing people? I would rather empower every mayor,” said Duterte, adding that it would work as long as local executives didn’t abuse their power.

That is leadership and his faith in the Filipino people that things can be done lawfully when everyone is incorruptible.

 

Marcos secret burial provoked sensitivities of Filipinos

 

The Marcoses during the secret burial of the dictator: Irene, Bongbong, Imee, Imelda

The Marcoses during the secret burial of the dictator: Irene, Bongbong, Imee, Imelda

The Marcoses has done it again!

Today, November 18, 2016, just like the fearful day when martial law was furtively declared by a minion of the dictator Marcos, the nation is once again aghast by the brazenness of the Marcos family in disrespecting and disregarding with impunity the sensitivities of the Filipino people by slyly burying the remains of the dictator at the hallowed grounds of the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

There is no doubt that people were expecting the dictator to be ultimately interred at the LNMB as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte. It even became a grim reality when the Supreme Court en banc voted 9-5 in favor of having Marcos buried at the LNMB.

But why make it so hush-hush?

This is what got the goat of the Filipinos and Duterte should understand why the people are once again demonstrating because the Marcoses pulled a fast one and victimized us again.

Didn’t we hear the Marcoses saying that they would confer with the Duterte first so that the burial date could be announced later.

There is no use debating anymore whether the dictator was a hero or not, or was deserving of a hallowed space the LNMB or not.

For where else in the world is a plunderer, a murderer and a despot hailed as a hero and gets to be interred in the consecrated grounds where the dead has all done serving the nation and the people with honor, loyalty and dignity?

Yes, you guess it right! Only in the Philippines!

Alas, to be buried at the LNMB today is no longer about exemplary deeds and creditably in the manner you served the country and its people. The important qualification considered now is whether you were once a soldier or a president, period.

But that is neither here nor there now.

The dictator Marcos buried at the LNMB is fait accompli.

A soldier turned president turned tyrant has been acclaimed and the biggest losers are the people Marcos has been sworn to humbly serve.

As retribution against the unrepentant Marcoses for the grievous wrong this disreputable family has inflicted on us, there is only one thing we, Filipinos, can do now. It is making sure that Duterte will not appoint the dictator’s son and namesake, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, to any position in his administration in any manner, shape and form, and that he should never be supported in his aspiration to become the leader of this nation and the Filipino people in years to come.

I hope Duterte’s love for the Marcoses ends where his love for the country and his desire for better quality lives of Filipinos, first and foremost, starts to prevail.