The administration of Duterte has marked its 100th day in office last October 8, 2016 with a satisfaction net rating of +64. Satisfactory rating indeed but the work does not end there for much more is needed to be done for change to happen in this country. So in this article, I will discuss both the campaign promises of President Duterte and what has been done since then. This includes the first 100 days developments and its corresponding challenges in Duterte administration, existing assessments from different sectors and my own lens or point of view.
First off, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has campaigned on a platform of change and vowed to suppress crime, illegal drugs and corruption in three to six months but later on extended to another six months. This issue is one of the things that definitely stand out during President Duterte’s first 100 days. As per illegal drugs supply, it has decreased by 90 percent and crime rate has reduced by 49 percent. However, the respect for human rights and the rule of law should also be considered. From July 1 to October 4, 3,300 died in the campaign, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has killed 1,377 drug suspects, 22, 503 arrested in 23, 549 police operations and 732,000 surrendered both drug users and pushers. The question here is who and how many of the mentioned above have been arrested charged in a court of law to be prosecuted and convicted based on evidence and proof. There is injustice among the poor classes of drug users. The killings of these poor people outnumbered the rich ones.
Given that the war on drugs is also a war on crime, it has been reported that criminals seemed fearless for any repercussions or punishments before the 2016 presidential elections. But after the elections, given that there has been a dramatic decline of criminality, criminals are said to be in fear but same goes with most of the ordinary innocent citizens. In contrary to what PNP Director Ronald dela Rosa in one of his interviews on CNN, he mentions that he does not want Filipinos to live in fear for he wants them to live peacefully and comfortably and that is why he is committed to war on drugs. The question now is, do Filipinos now live in peace or more in fear? The answer is that it is a matter of how the person perceives peace and security. I cannot speak for all Filipinos but it seems like when late at night, citizens specifically women seem to feel quite safe to stay at home rather than go somewhere else. Worse, even in their homes, they no longer feel safe. This is for the reason that Filipino values as polite, respectful, and all the good attributes of the Filipino people are being replaced by the opposites due to social conditions, poverty and other factors. And because of that, it becomes even harder to trust the police and even strangers anymore.
The police we have in the present might not have the same values as the police we had before. The crime rate has gone down but in terms of the overall better quality of life of the Filipino people, we do not seem to have far enough. There is much work to be done in fighting poverty and improving the lives of the underprivileged and the powerless. The administration should not solely focus on drugs but should also have a strong focus on the economy for the long term.
Aside from the president’s promises of drastic change, he has also guaranteed to pursue programs that would alleviate the suffering of the Filipino citizens. He has mentioned that since he does not want to see Filipinos lining up for almost the whole day waiting for assistance outside government offices, so he has ordered three days maximum time to process papers, permits or applications.
For the increase competitiveness, it cannot be denied that there has been a sense of urgency to keep up with his style of command. The people are subjugated by his tireless effort to upgrade the quality of service such as one stop shop to all Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) but initiated under Ramos administration.
Now, the LTO and some other agencies are said to be given only three days to finish all the transactions without red tape and under the table transactions. As reported, a total elimination of corruption in LTFRB, LTO, Bureau of Customs, NAIA Terminals, sea ports, national and local penitentiary system is now legally modified and upgraded in infrastructure, physical and social, otherwise. Thus, total abdication of drug lordship inside the NBP and other penal sectors. Red tape, bureaucracy, bribery, extortion, among the PNP personnel or traffic enforcers are highly monitored even the internal affairs investigating council of the PNP and other military personnel is being headed by a civilian authority. Thus, the investigation of EJK, and abuse of police power is being prioritized by the PNP.
This campaign is not always true and applicable to all agencies such as Department of Foreign Affairs where it still takes two months to get an appointment to apply for a passport. Regarding fixers, they are still present in various offices of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and there are still no new driver licenses and vehicle plates.
As for the foreign relations with European Union and the United States will affect the macroeconomic system of the whole country as there is huge number of investors coming from that region. President Duterte may be strategist breaking his ties with United States to accommodate China but at the same time dangerous. He has a diplomatic tactic that will promote more investments coming from non-ally states like China, Russia, Vietnam, Indo China and other Muslim states. Therefore, stabilizing the socioeconomic adaptation of the investor strata. There is a bright promise of more investors that will promote huge hiring of labor sector among the locals. Henceforth, good diplomacy and closer alliance with them will bring greater infrastructure aid to transportation such as China donating a social financing aid to drug rehabilitation center. Regarding the relationship between United States, experts say that it is easier to reconcile with United States after the restoration of trust and friendship with China. One of the reporters underscored that President Duterte as a strategist has a tactic to keep his friends close and his enemies closer and that in the latter is China.
Based on the gathered data and articles, it seems like the Duterte Administration has received mixed reactions from different sectors over the last three months. There are parts where the government is doing well and some areas where issues should be addressed and prioritized by the administration. Reducing the crime rate through war on drugs is commendable although the administration still has to consider the other multitude of issues and concerns of the Filipino people.
The book entitled, “Why Nations Fail?” is a good read to understand how the past administration or even the current administration did it wrong at first before the government plans how to do it right next time or the second time around. Although the first 100 days have not yielded significant changes, the researcher still commends the president for capturing the attention of the Filipinos through his policies and decisions. However, the negative outweighs the positive later on as like the martial law days of military abuse and the country as like a police state. There is no freedom of expression, freedom of press, the press is monopolized and now he is rendering all the journalists not favoring him as inferior and futile. Anyone who contradicts him will be eliminated, implanting evidence to incriminate the person. The “New Society” of Marcos being catered again by President Duterte may or rather now leading us to a much disciplined state of fearful constituents. In the coming years, the Philippines is in the transitory state to being a very strictly adherent dictatorial, schematic, autocratically coercive Duterte’s political platforms.
It is true that the Filipinos should listen and respect President Duterte but there should always be a balance between the leader and the citizens in a democratic country. The president needs somebody to correct him or rather he must have a group of trusted advisors, to whom he listens, in formulation of ideas and policies towards good governance that will benefit the Filipino nation. He should have a very well experienced counselors who are the best diplomats, economists, military tacticians, educators, judicial experts and very wise lawmakers who are practical and confidentiality of good agreements with him. He cannot be a solo player. He needs the best orchestra members that he can conduct good tempos and rhythms of music in the arena of political debates, wise legislature makings, disciplined mathematicians in handling the budget of all the sectors. In short, he needs a team that he can do brainstorming at its best.
Being a solo player in a small town of Davao is not enough. Even his experiences in the political arena are not enough. Right now, he lacks a tight circle of political advisors that he truly listens to. He needs more counselors in all the endeavors he is pursuing. If left alone, this narcissistic and egotistically person inside of him will leave detrimental markings of the most erroneous tactics done by a very popular president. This must not be so, of course. As in every Bible believing constituent of our land, each one knows this wise saying in the Proverbs that an upright leader listens to the counsel of his wise elders. Somebody has to remind him that his co-founders of true Filipino liberty he is fighting for, were also passionate, filially devoted to the welfare of the people. However, his odd, drastically revolutionary ways does not justify the good ends that he wants to achieve; it needs two to tango.
If the leadership is alone in his view of all things, he is likened to a deaf king who does not know how to listen to the voices of the innocent and the ignorant because they too have something to say. He must modify his style of talking, his manner of thinking, and his way of dealing, even to his opponents or political enemies. Otherwise, he will not preserve the golden legacies of the presidents we had. Ika nga ang lumalakad ng mahinahon, kung makayapak man ng pako ay mababaw lamang, we cannot endure his errors in diplomatic relays of deterrence to our seventy year allied counterparts. If we lose our heritage of dealing to our old political allies in the international arena, we can lose their confidence on us, too.
As the saying goes, when you return evil to the good done to you, troubles will not depart from you. Literally speaking, the early pronouncements of Anti-American nor anti-UN is brought about by his shades of biased feelings of disdain towards the misgivings of his opponents. Instead of building bridges, he is building walls. He may be strategist or what have you but he is opening our country to Communism, Socialism, Fascism and even atheistic materialistic youth. What happened then, if we lose those ideals of our forefathers, adherent to that Christ-like virtue of humility and congenially loving people, Philo is a Greek word that connotes and denotes our real nature as a statehood of good hearted and loving people, not hurting nor embittering, cursing Filipinos.
The end point is after his sixth year term, there should be a presence of long term strategic vision that paves the way for a better future for the Philippines and all Filipinos that even when the administration does not accomplish that vision in six years, it is still targeted towards the next generation. As Ramos said, Duterte’s war on drugs should not be the end-all and be-all of his governance.