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.



Duterte and Marcos top latest opinion polls


Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

With the latest survey conducted by Pulse Asia for the giant network ABS-CBN showing Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the preferred candidate for president and vice president, respectively, are we seeing the writing on the wall as to who our set of leaders will be?

We have practically less than a month to go before election and the timeliness of the survey seem to indicate that the people have started making up their minds.

Like I have often said, except for Vice president Jejomar Binay, I could care less anymore who wins the presidency.

If Duterte can sustain his lead up to the end then it is the people’s will that have spoken and assured him of a presidential victory despite the fact that he has no political machinery to rely on nor ample monetary resource to depend on.

Beating an administration candidate in the person of Mar Roxas is no easy feat, but it looks like the Filipinos really want a change in how government is run and Duterte seems to fit the mold of the kind of leader being ascribed.

Not even Sen. Grace Poe has that audacity and dogged determination to make change happen the way Duterte had made a promise to the Filipinos he will do. Except for Duterte, nobody else came out with specific plans how to go about stopping corruption, drugs and criminality. Also, compared to Poe, Duterte has the knowledge and experience to run government.

I wish I can say the same thing about Marcos, but why he is able to titillate the young voters to support him is beyond me.

Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo

Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo

The only consolation I have now, and I am sure many people appreciate it too, is that Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo has finally climbed up and is now ranking second to Marcos in the latest survey.

At this stage, this is very encouraging and reassuring, and I hope that people, especially the womenfolk, will realize that Robredo is a much better choice for the vice presidency than Marcos is – anytime.

Robredo has no issues against her integrity and competence and she seems to have the better reading of the pulse of the Filipino people as to what is needed for them and the country in general.

PNoy should let go of Binay and Purisima now

President Benigno Aquino

President Benigno Aquino

Now that President Benigno Aquino (PNoy) has regained the approval and trust of the Filipinos for the way he is running the presidency, what he should do next is strive harder to sustain it and convince the people even more that reforms in government could only succeed further if those leading the country and heading different government agencies have the moral ascendancy to occupy their positions.

I am more referring about today and until we get ourselves involved again in the 2016 presidential election.

No doubt PNoy has proven himself worthy of the presidency by virtue of his competence and leadership that, even, the world community recognizes. But what mars his ‘tuwid na daan’ (straight path) advocacy, which appears to be the center piece of his administration, is the perception by people that he keeps two sets of principles against those committing corruption – one for his enemies and another for his friends.

We all know how PNoy went after former Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona which resulted to the latter’s shameful ouster after the Senate acting as an Impeachment Court convicted him for corrupt practices, among other things.

Everyone knows also that in his drive to stump corruption, PNoy was instrumental in having Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, JinggoyEstrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla investigated by the Ombudsman for corrupt practices where the charges against them are now being tried by the Sandiganbayan or the government graft court.

Vice President Jejomar Binay

Vice President Jejomar Binay

But, why, for crying out loud, has PNoy continue to keep Vice President Jejomar Binay in his fold, in his cabinet, when his name and reputation has been badly tainted from alleged corruption practices, while still the mayor of Makati City, that is so mind boggling in scope and amount?

Most recent results of the nationwide survey by Pulse Asia from November 14 to 20 showed a 21-percentage point drop in Binay’s approval score, from 66 percent in September to 45 percent.

Accordingly, Binay’s trust ratings also tumbled, from 64 percent in September to 44 percent in November. The Vice President’s distrust score gained 15 points (from 11 percent to 26 percent) while those undecided went up six points (from 24 percent to 30 percent).

Now if the Filipino people are starting to doubt and distrust Binay, and obviously these numbers show and will slip down some more still, I believe, what could convince PNoy that the man is corrupt and should not be in his cabinet?

PNP Chief Alan Purisima

PNP Chief Alan Purisima

The same goes also with the way PNoy is keeping Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima, who together with several other police officials, has been placed under preventive suspension by the Ombudsman for their alleged involvement in an anomalous contract between the PNP and the Werfast Documentary Agency, a courier service, in 2011.

Note that Purisima is also facing two plunder complaints before the same office over allegations of hidden wealth and questionable deals, including the renovation of his official quarters in Camp Crame.

Even political allies, Senators Serge Osmeña and Grace Poe, have suggested that Purisima should resign because he already has lost the high moral ground to command such a vital organization.

Yet, PNoy seems to be hanging on with him.

Definitely, PNoy’s handling of Binay and Purisima does not augur well with his resurgent approval and trust as he looks forward for somebody to succeed him in 2016.

If PNoy truly has the country in mind, then he should let go of Binay and Purisima now.

Pulse Asia probable senatorial winners

Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto

Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto

Recent Pulse Asia survey for 2016 senatorial bets, which showed comic-trying-hard-to-be-an-able-politician Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto topping it, only shows how shallow, unsound and ridiculous our preferences are for candidates tasked to legislate laws in Congress.

What is even more demoralizing is that you have the likes of Jamby Madrigal (again?), Manny Pacquiao and Vilma Santos being mentioned as probable winners.

Others are recycled candidates, but far better than the incarcerated movie actors turned senators and I am talking about Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.

Like Sotto, some are reelectionists and that is where the similarity ends, because unlike the stooge Sotto, who seem to have lost his tongue and bearings ever since his mentor, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, has been incarcerated, too, the others have shown their worth before.

Being worthy, though, cannot be said of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, a reelectionist, who has a different agenda – that of being able to follow his father’s footsteps without ever saying “sorry” for the dark days in the history of our nation. Surely he is there because, again, of our idiotic preferences, but no one can deny that he is there, too, because he wants to bury his despot father at the Libingan, ng mga Bayani, prevent the auctioning of the his mothers collection of jewelries and paintings (if ever the originals are found by the PCGG and Sandiganbayan) and making sure that what remains of the hidden stolen wealth continues to stay in a safe and secured place until the day the PCGG is abolished and governments that follow will no longer be interested in recovering the looted wealth.

I hope to God he is not reelected, but knowing the Filipinos, it is all wishful thinking. But don’t get me wrong. I am not saying here that, in his stead, let us elect another actor, another clown or another notorious individual. What I mean is that let us be more discriminating this time.

We can only hope that more qualified and competent candidates will surface in the near future for our consideration.

Then again what is dismaying in this country is the fact that a person may be qualified and competent many times over, but if he does not have millions to fund his campaign, he will be at the tail end in the list of losers.

So one does not have to wonder anymore why Congress gets filled up with actors, recycled politicians and members of political dynasties every election time. They are the ones who have the money.

Binay tops presidential survey

Vice President Jejomar Binay

Vice President Jejomar Binay

Pulse Asia survey once again shows that Vice President Jejomar Binay is the man to beat in the 2016 presidential elections.

Is Binay the best there is?

Is  the Binay political dynasty here to stay?

While it is true that Binay easily goes where the wind blows and has never gotten himself embroiled in controversies, partly because he is simply playing it too safe for political expediency, one can’t help but think, however, if his style and personality is what is needed to lead this country in 2016.

The closest that I can remember Binay getting politically scalded is when he tried to play hero and thought that because of his friendship with Nur Misuari that he could end the Zamboanga Siege sooner than if government were to continue fighting the dismembered Moro National Liberation Front. Realizing that no one was pleased with his self-serving move, Binay backed off from his plan.

It only confirmed Binay’s belief that in order to protect his political integrity he just have to continue being less critical, less opinionated and less vociferous. All these have served Binay in good stead all these years.

But is Binay truly the kind of leader that could sustain the straight path that PNoy is trying hard to establish, no matter how pockmark the way is?

The problem with Binay is because of his desire to be popular and be in good graces with the people all the time, he would rather be mum on controversial issues dividing the country.

How could we gauge then his strength of character and resolve?

Have you heard Binay take a stand, for instance, on the controversial Reproductive Health Law?

I still have to hear whether or not he was in favor of former chief justice Renato Corona’s impeachment.

How about his views on the PDAF and/or the incarceration of Enrile, Estrada and Revilla?

Yet, for political expediency he minced no words that he wouldn’t mind at all having Jinggoy Estrada as his running mate in 2016.

What I am afraid is that with Binay at the helm and with the kind of dubious allies and traditional politicians he surrounds himself with, the advances the country has made and the respect it has gained from the world community will only come to naught.

So, if Binay is not the best there is, who?

Not Joseph Estrada again, for Chrissake!

Neither are the Grace Poes, the Chiz Escuderos, the Mar Roxases, the Alan Cayetanos, the Bongbong Marcoses (God forbids!) and the Bong Revillas.

I am more talking about the Rody Dutertes, the Gibo Teodoros, the Artemio Panganibans, the Hilario Davides and the Manny Pangilinans.

Either one of them is the best bet.



Popularity of RH bill should be accepted by the Church


The popularity of the RH bill in the recent Pulse Asia survey, where it showed that 69 percent of Filipinos favored responsible parenthood, should not be interpreted as win-loss situation for the state and church, respectively.

Rather, it should be construed as recognition by the state of the dire need to curve the country’s burgeoning population which is being supported by the people and which feelings and beliefs should be accepted by the church.

Responsible parenthood, which is the essence of the RH bill, is simply giving the Filipino people the right to be informed and disciplined and the freedom to choose what birth control measures to adopt in raising a family.

The church should not condemn the survey nor continue to put a wedge between government and the populace putting them asunder for reason of religious beliefs and teachings.

Where there is government to help and be importantly instrumental in improving health, well being, and lives of people, in general, then let them exercise it to the fullest for it is what they are mandated to do and we can only be appreciative of it.

Where there is government that acts on things and issues beneficial to the country and its people, such as the RH bill, allow them to pursue it and prove they are going in the right direction.

There are so many evils in this world that are destroying lives and alienating people from God. There are so many homeless children roaming around, so many broken homes, so much hatred and much love lost. This is where the church servants should make their presence felt.

Family planning measures is in the realm of experts belonging to the state.

It could never be under the jurisdiction of the church.