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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Church protection for EJK witnesses

 

We had been hearing and reading in the news lately that the Catholic Church is offering protection to policemen and other characters that are willing to testify on extrajudicial killings (EJKs) they have witnessed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Actually it was Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates “Soc” Villegas who first offered the sanctuary of the church to the policemen whom he described as “conscience-stricken” because of their participation in the war of drugs. Now this move is being supported by other ranking officials of the church.

Why these policemen are “conscience-stricken” and fearful of their lives is something that we still have to fathom and I don’t think the church is the right place for us to be able to understand and extract the truth about what their real involvement is.

I understand that the church is a universal refuge for the oppressed and the maltreated, but for a scourge of epidemic proportion that the government is relentlessly fighting to eradicate to save the country and its citizens from perdition, what could the church do to competently determine whether or not the church officials are just being used for the ‘refugees’ hidden agenda?

What I am just saying here is that the fight being waged by government against drugs, corruption and criminality are all state functions and the policemen are members of the civil authority tasked to run after the criminals. The police organization has its own parameters to follow in law enforcement and the church just has to respect it.

In other words the church officials have the responsibility to tell and enlighten the policemen and others seeking refuge that they could not accept them for the simple reason that their problem and concerns are matters of government and not of the church.

In the first place the church officials have already a stand on the government’s war against drugs and for them to embrace the ‘refugees’ to their fold without any questions only shows their prejudice against what the government is doing, and this to me is tantamount to interference or meddling which could only worsen the situation in the country.

What the church officials must understand is that it is the government and not the church that has all the tools and resources to generate intelligence reports about who the people are linked to drugs, corruption and criminality, one way or the other, and if they are running away towards the church sanctuaries it is because they know that the church officials are against EJKs, but more than anything else, these witnesses also know that the church officials do not have an iota of information who the people are seeking protection/sanctuary from them.

Trillanes and Tatad on Duterte

 

Sen. Antonio Trillanes (l) and former Sen. Francisco Tatad.

I am talking of course about an incumbent senator in the person of Antonio Trillanes and a former senator represented by Francisco Tatad.

While Tatad is a bona fide ‘has been’ politician, his attitude and glaring antipathy towards President Rodrigo Duterte is no different than those of the pompous and boastful Trillanes.

Indeed both Trillanes and Tatad are peas in a pod and what makes them even more alike is the way they are perceived to be lacking in attention.

Obviously and fortunately the Filipino people are noticing the similarity of the two and I am pretty sure that Trillanes will follow the way Tatad has gone.

To this day Tatad continues to exhibit his attention deficit disorder by slamming Duterte with unsubstantiated facts like claiming for instance that the president was absent in the public eye last week because he suffered a mild stroke.

In fact Tatad even went farther, saying, that an emergency Cabinet meeting was held last week to discuss Duterte’s health.

Do you think Duterte would have surfaced just like that and travel and make speeches had he suffered a stroke, even mild at that?

If you will remember this is the same Tatad who wrote in his Manila Times column some time ago saying that Duterte had to fly to China to have his cancer affliction secretly treated.

No wonder Malacañang has chided Tatad for creating nothing but fantasies.

No matter how much noise Tatad makes, the true fact is that he could never resurrect whatever is left of his political ambitions.

As far as Trillanes is concern his own political ambition is on a nose-dive too and this is for the good of the country.

Trillanes’ latest setback is when the renowned BBC, during an interview, debunked his claims that Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, extrajudicial killings and declaration of martial law in Mindanao is ruining the country.

BBC’s ‘Hard Talk’ host Stephen Sakur took exception at Trillanes’ rantings against Duterte’s handling of power when in fact Duterte continues to enjoy a high approval rating among Filipinos.

I could never imagine where this country could have gone had the other presidential aspirant supported by Trillanes and his ilk won instead of Duterte.

Duterte’s administration may have its shortcomings, as Trillanes claim, but the direction and boon the people are expecting in the future far outweighs the bad fortune we had been having in the past.

Like Tatad, I don’t think Trillanes will ever become a political figure again once his term of office as senator is over.

Along with his attention deficit disorder, Trillanes will self-destruct as he is starting to now.

 

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.

 

Better for CBCP to urge faithful to pray

Archbishop Socrates Villegas

Archbishop Socrates Villegas

Anytime the Catholic Church, through the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), comes out with pronouncements, either in the form of a homily or a pastoral letter, strongly criticizing state matters it always frustrate many people, including myself.

Lately, CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas released a pastoral letter once again blasting the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and the resultant extrajudicial killings happening during the campaign.

Villegas seemed to be bothered by the fact that despite the violence and excessive killings, most people have been reacting indifferently to it and rather feeling oblivious at the terror they are witnessing.

Thus, the pastoral letter was written and sent out to all churches so that every Tom, Dick and Harry of the cloth shall make it their responsibility to remind their respective parishioners to get involve and be more vocal against the extrajudicial killings happening almost every day that are being attributed to the police.

Villegas implied in his pastoral letter that if the members of the Catholic faith continue to act like the three wise monkeys that embodied the proverbial principle, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, then they are just as guilty as those perpetrating the crime.

This is what bugs me and frustrates me because I think the CBCP is over-dramatizing the situation and playing to the sentiments of the people who, otherwise, are thankful that the drug menace, criminality and corruption are finally being addressed seriously and imperatively by a strong-willed president who has the political courage and the moral ascendancy to move this country forward and improve the quality of life of every Filipino.

I have said this before, and I am going to say it again: Let the political system run the state and the clerical or religious functions run the church. Let no one meddle in somebody else realm. Each is governed by its own laws and power and it is simply imprudent and discordant to encourage and advocate the members of their respective realms to go against one another.

I understand that the people belonging to the church and state are all citizens of this country and as such have the same rights and privileges under the constitution. Individually, each can voice out his or her opinion.

But it is totally different when we talk about the church and state as entities.

The state is about governance of the country and its people.

The church is about governance of the soul of people, which can be made better by prayers and other religious/spiritual activities.

That is how distinctly separate they are.

Duterte changes tack on war on illegal drugs

 

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

It looks like the kidnapping, in the guise of anti-drug war, that led to the brutal murder of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joon and eventually the disappearance of his ashes, which was reportedly flushed in one of the toilets in the crematorium, has made President Rodrigo Duterte realize that his war on drugs, violent that it has become, is not going anywhere and far from being a success.

It will be noted that Duterte promised the Filipino people that he will eradicate illegal drugs in the country in six months of his presidency.

Well, it was not as if Duterte did not make a difference in his war against drug, but it has dawned on him now that the enormity and monstrosity of the problem made worse by the complicity of rogue and corrupt members of the police force in all ranks of the hierarchy is making his efforts futile at best, and at worst an avenue for political and public condemnation.

“You policemen are the most corrupt. You are corrupt to the core. It’s in your system,” the enraged Duterte said.

This being the dismal picture of police scalawags sustaining the drug proliferation instead of preventing it from becoming a plague in our society, it is only fitting and proper that Duterte has to change tact in his war against drug by declaring war first against police criminals existing in the Philippine National Police (PNP) organization.

PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa echoed Duterte’s sentiments when he issued the following statement to his people, saying: “We have to focus our efforts towards internal cleansing … and by the time we have cleansed the PNP, the President will determine that and instruct us to go back (to) the war on drugs.”

Needless to say that the existence of illegal drugs and the presence of corrupt policemen is a recipe for failure if one has to wage war against the former.

Hopefully Duterte’s change of tact on his war against illegal drugs also changes his perception about giving support and protection to cops involved in the killings believing them to be truthful, like in the case of the murder of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. in his cell at the Baybay Sub-Provincial Jail, which has been thought by many as a rubout, but which Duterte assured the operatives involved that they won’t go to jail.

It is not too late to change tack. In fact it is a welcome move, a humbling move on the part of Duterte, to recognize and acknowledge that there is another direction to take and a better way to carry on the war on drug to success without generating much controversy.

 

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.