Last year, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, erstwhile Mayor of Davao City was sworn in as President of the Philippines after garnering a large majority of votes. Duterte was elected because many are hoping for genuine change to come after decades of unfulfilled promises by past administrations. After a year, the Duterte Administration has had mixed results.
The opposition who are clearly anti-Duterte are quick to give his administration a failing grade. They claim the administration has done nothing except extrajudicial killings (EJK) if one were to believe what Senators Leila De Lima and Risa Hontiveros said. Mainstream media is quick to paint the Philippines as a lawless place that has made the western world concerned.
There are those who think Duterte sold out the country to China or is Beijing’s lapdog by not taking a tough stance against China’s intrusion into maritime territory claimed by the Philippines. It is for this reason some congressmen tried to impeach him on the grounds of treason.
Then there are the trivial things about Duterte the antis hate – his crude personality; his profanity and sexist and other cringe-worthy remarks have made him abhorrent among the elites or “disente” crowd. His crude behavior rated a pastoral letter from the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines.
They hate Duterte so much there are those that wish he would die in office.
Those that support Duterte see it differently from the opposition. They knew that Duterte is known for his tough stance on criminality, especially if it involves drugs. Despite the abhorrence of the antis, they welcome it because they are sick and tired of the rampant crime in the country. They are happy to know that the government is really active in cracking down crime and statistics prove it. The administration has had rehabilitation centers built.
Duterte’s change of policy is that of an independent one. He is weaning the Philippines away from its prolonged dependence on the United States. He feels the Philippines has been getting the raw end of the deal from the Americans despite the help it has given for decades. However, with the ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency, Duterte has been warming up to the sitting president in Washington even though some members of the US Congress do not like him either (they also hate Trump).
President Duterte also created a complaints center where citizens can report abusive officials. He also institutionalized the 911 Emergency System based on the existing one in Davao.
His administration also implemented the Freedom of Information in the Executive Branch. He increased the salaries of members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police as a means to curb corruption.
He ordered all government agencies to shorten the time it takes to process transactions to 72 hours. They owe it to the citizenry to render efficient service.
For Duterte’s supporters, this is considered an achievement getting all these done within a year. They know there are still more things the administration can do and they are hoping to see them unfold in the next five years. Despite his less-than-decent attitude, they willingly tolerate it so as long as he delivers on his promises which they know cannot be realistically fulfilled in a very short time.
Featured Image Source: CNN Philippines