As the president is nearing the end of his so-called honeymoon period – though this is more of theory than in a real sense as he was fighting left and right with the supposed critics right from the get go – we will punctuate here the things that he so far achieved. While his distractors, chief of them are the media, have not receded any bit of their efforts in painting him as much as they can as bad as he can be and that he’s unworthy of the people’s support, the solid list of his achievements can speak for themselves.
- He restored HOPE
There can’t be any sweeter sounding word in the Duterte presidency other than the restoration of people’s real hope all in a span of a just hundred days. Arguably, the people might have a sip of it right after the EDSA revolution only to hear an honest assessment a decade later in Yano’s song ‘Kumusta Na?’ highlighting that it was after all a bogus hope to the poorest of the poor. True, the political climate seems freer than it was during the Martial Law but the poor remains poor and they still wallow up in the cycle of poverty, crime, and oppression without any signs of getting away from their dire circumstances.
After hearing a suggestion of making lives better for any prospective foreign Filipino students, a Clemson University professor who’s into science funding retorted, “Just send your money there to help your relatives if you will. As to expecting hope of eventually uplifting the lives of every Filipinos, stop hoping. It will never happen.”
An old man in the South once begged the young ones, “Exhaust all means to study and find a job overseas after you finish school. Once there, never ever think of coming back!”
Those were the days before Duterte. Today, there is even a clear evidence that those who abandon all hopes have started getting themselves involved in politics and join the political observation and discussion. For a local executive who never held a national position but able to restore hope in barely a hundred days is no mean feat!
- He has successfully transitioned himself from a legendary local executive to a possibly iconic leader
Call it anything you want what he did in Davao to achieve the city’s economic achievement, peace, and order, among others, but there is no denying he was a very effective local executive, a fact that he was so hesitant before he ran for national office for the reservation that he may not be able to duplicate the same success nationwide. Duterte did not hide his propensity for a high-quality standard in governance being too meticulous in government transactions, police work, and government services and that somewhat prevented him in a long while to cast in the national lottery.
In just a few short months, Duterte was able to consolidate his forces and was able to drive home his advocacies and get them moving as fast as he can. His cabinet members are likewise upbeat about the tangible chance and they, like their chief executive, are also managed to perform really well in their respective departments.
The Philippines is an archipelago, a real challenge to any president who wants to push for a high standard of governance. The fact that local execs outside the domain of Luzon are still able to act like members of an orchestra where the Maestro, the chief executive, conduct in a harmonic symphony is a beauty to behold.
- He has broken the divides
When you hear from the people in the northern tribe calling the president their “Tatay”, it symbolizes the breaking down of ethnic walls that permeate in the Filipino consciousness for a very long time. It is no secret that there is this suspicion floating around in the main capital that those who thrive outside the hegemony of Metro Manila are no better presidentiable and nor a good political material for national leadership.
Duterte’s manner of concern especially for the wretched captures the very fabric of every Filipino’s paternal affinity and just like a taxi driver in Davao who never lost hope when asked if he’s so worried his house was just burnt down in the fire and still managed to say, ‘The Mayor is there’. Likewise, the Filipinos all over the archipelago can feel that if they happen to be oppressed or in a destitute state can tangibly comfort themselves, ‘The President is there’.
- He transposed being the man who can make the impossible possible on a more complex political landscape
Some Davaoenos have this to say about Duterte when reflecting the bad ole’ days of the 80’s, “He made the seemingly impossible task possible”.
During to election campaign, a lot of people suspected that the president could hardly make a dent in the Metropolitan Manila’s horrendous crime much more on a national scale since it is so ingrained in the social fabric where every strand of the power is into it, too many tributaries, and he lacked the national experience to deal with it. But true to his Davao’s mantra that he can do the seemingly impossible possible, to echo Senator Cayetano’s speech inside the Senate hall, people feel generally safer now, a thing too hard to even entertained in our thoughts before his coming to power.
In fact, a lot of people in the countryside are worried what are the chances Duterte will get impeached or overthrown for they are worried that the new sense of order in their community will be fleeting and goes away when the president is removed.
President Duterte once quipped that if there’s a need to put in public view every nook and cranny of every official working inside a government office, he will do it just to ensure to have a clean government. For instance, BOC head Nicanor Faeldon was able to install CCTV’s so the public can check whether there is dirty money being exchanged in every government transaction. Of course, this is not a fool-proof solution but the brazen practice going on for years right in front of BOC desks has finally stopped.
- He is making significant inroads in capitalizing his political capital in negotiating with the rebels
The then Mayo Duterte negotiated well with Jalandoni to get rid of the grip of insurgents right in the heartland of Davao and for his long years as a local executive he managed to build strong ties with them that translate to releases of number of hostages, even those that were captured or held outside his domain in Davao city. The mayor has become the virtual ‘go to’ person every time a family member of a police or military beg for a successful release of their loved ones.
While his critics were busy mounting their guns against him, Duterte’s henchmen have started working out with a peace agreement with the rebels that results initially in favorable steps towards the ending of rebellion. Their fast tracking of the negotiations put a light at the end of a long struggle that got derailed due to lack of trust between the negotiating panels, among others. The indefinite ceasefire going on between the government and the NPA’s signals a dawn of a new era that the other party may lay down their arms for good in exchange of viable concessions with the government such as land distribution as mentioned by the president.
There’s also parallel negotiations with the Muslim rebels and knowing the president’s blood a quarter Moro, his trust rating among them is fairly high. The chance of both sides achieving an agreeable concession may not seem farfetched as Duterte wants to give in anything feasible this early as long as it does not run contrary to the Philippine Constitution.
- He has proven persuasively he can operate under the legal framework
When President Duterte’s name was once floated as a viable presidential candidate a couple of years before the election, there was this jittery feeling of discomfort that while he’s known to be a very effective local executive and may have strong potential for an equally effective national leader, people can’t just dissociate the portrayal of him being someone who stops at nothing just to achieve his political mandate and the fear of extra-judicial means brought shivers to the spine who contemplated what would he gonna do in his first days of office.
If there’s anything that is very comforting as a result of the Senate Hearing on extra-judicial killings, it is this huge sigh of relief that the president can just be as effective operating under the legal framework and therefore the intense fear of him using illegal means seems to be unfounded. His six months achievements would serve as a blueprint what would happen in the coming months or years and the fact that the number of crimes has gone down, we are getting more and more comforted that he can be as ever successful as we aspire him to be without going outside the bounds of the law.
- He has kept the brains of his loyal supporters
With all the seemingly outrageous political gaffes in the way the president has been channeling his point across particularly during a press conference, he still able to keep the brains that aided him to propagate and disseminate his core message of governance and policies, many of these in the online world. True passion is a very strong word in pushing for political advocacies and may achieve many things and the president has a huge supply of it but without the right people who can better communicate his ideas to his supporters, it will be crippled for its lack of communicability.
However, for some time now, the president enjoys supporters who don’t consider themselves fanatic but found him the persona who is going to dismantle the ills that are largely responsible for the misery of the Filipinos. National artist F. Sionel Jose, the long champion against Oligarchy, cannot hide his jubilation in his recent article and message regarding the president who now captures the leader he portrayed as someone who jumpstarts the revolutions for real change.
- He is able to keep his critics at bay
No other president in recent Philippine history during his honeymoon period has captured the ire of the press more than President Rodrigo Duterte. Left, right and center, the president and his communication staff have to issue clarifications for statements that were seemed very damaging to the image of the president locally and overseas. To say that the media is biased against him is an understatement and just being generous. There is a fairly strong case that the media are being pushed to the edge in their hold in a Marxian Economy of Power.
While the tensions are high, it is safe to say that his enemies have achieved very little in demonizing him among his supporters – a testament correlated by the survey where the president enjoys fairly high approval ratings. True, the international community seems shaken but it’s naive to say that they will consider their interpretations of the mouth of the president as the ultimate policy of the administrations. We can hear Barack Obama who has accepted the mere fact that the president’s statements are born out of a bad habit more than anything else.
(Courtesy of Yahoo News)
- He won the hearts of some cross-over fans
The president’s new converts that join the administration’s bandwagon include among others veteran opinion writer Homobono Adaza and politically active Professor Contreras who both issued turnaround messages that the president is doing really well as chief executive even admitted having criticized him heavily during the campaign period. In fact, they won’t even stop to believe that Duterte can a great president of the republic.
Having recruited people over the fence who once launched strong suspicion on his capability is a testament he accomplished immensely what he really promised during the campaign period.
- He awesomely fulfilled many his election campaign promise in just a few months!
(This is a non-exhaustive list and may be updated)
– Free irrigation
– Executive FOI to discourage corruption
– One-stop shop for OFW
– 911 for emergency and 8888 for government complains
– Upgrade of military hospitals
– Better compensation of men in uniform
– Stricter implementation in weeding out ENDO practices and as a result DOLE just announced the regularization of 10,000+ workers
– Tanim-bala is a thing of the past
– Restored the confidence of people towards police authorities
– Reduction of crime to about 50%, people feel generally safer now
– A successful campaign against drugs – 90% reduction in drug supply, 700,000+ drug dependents surrendered
– Massive assistance to smallholder farmers and fisherfolks – farm machinery, fishing boats, etc
– Faster release of business permits
– Additional sack of rice for poor beneficiaries of 4P’s
– Metro Manila streets now look relatively clean
– Significant reduction of queuing time in applying for government documents and ID’s
– Largely crippled the notorious Abu Sayyaf group
– DAR is now more focused on agrarian implementation e.g. the distribution of the long overdue Hacienda Luisita to the farmers
– The immediate repatriation of stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia
– The mishandling of legit balikbayan boxes has been stopped
– The suspension of mining companies that abused the environment
– Removal of the illegal fishing pens in the Laguna Lake
– New buses plying from NAIA to many major hubs in nearby cities
– PNP/AFP are now doing the processing for fallen soldiers instead of families
– Increased allowance for Olympic delegates
– Affluent lifestyle and mockery of justice inside NBP have been finally stopped
– No VIP treatment of government officials at the airport
– Faster implementation of infra projects due to 24/7 work cycle
– Extended validity of government documents e.g. Passports, Driver License
– Stricter implementation of no-age limit to all job seekers
– Closure of online gambling
– OEC exemption for OFWs returning to the same employer
– Curfew hours for minors that resulted in reduction of juvenile crimes
– Released of many Abu Sayyaf hostages
– End of nightly disturbance as a result of Karaoke ban at 10:00 pm
– Deputation of Badjaos as Bantay Dagat
– Conversion of the Presidential Plane into an air ambulance
When President Duterte appeared on stage for his thanksgiving party in Davao Crocodile park, he marked one defining moment in Philippine history, “Corruption will soon stop. I have arrived!” Figuratively, this is akin to the arrival of President Kagame, the once leader of revolutionary Tutsis by the time they reached the Rwandan capital that put an end ultimately to the killings of their kind.
For ages, the hopes of every poor Filipinos were dashed to pieces and trampled upon by government leaders who seemed to have no business at all as government officials for they lacked the sense of urgency and ability to fight the monstrous problem of corruption that bleed the Filipinos vital services for them and they only have to look elsewhere on this planet to find relief.
The new era for the Filipinos has finally arrived!