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DU30s’ first 100 days – Team Philippines losing

(First of two parts)

Last Friday (07 October 2016) marked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s first 100 days in the highest public office in our beloved Philippines. With a resounding victory over four other worthy presidential opponents (who were all probably better funded than him), Du30 won the people’s mandate to govern by an unprecedented margin of more than 6,600,000 votes out of an electorate of over 55,000,000.

 

PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS

At the outset, much was expected of our new President Du30 – principally in the:

•Alleviation of mass poverty by providing wider openings for poor people to earn from new livelihood opportunities and/or find better-paying jobs at home.

•Relief from the escalating costs of living, in particular, food, fuel, transportation, education and housing.

•Improvement of people’s quality of life, better governance and a happier outlook for the future which is being experienced by our Southeast Asian neighbors – for example, in the new Myanmar.

•Enhancement of public safety and national security in terms of the reduction of threats and risks arising out of the common, universal dangers of climate change, pandemic diseases, hunger and international terrorism, among others.

•Resumption of the Mindanao Peace Process particularly with the maintenance of an effective ceasefire, collection of a greater number of loose firearms, and removal of socio-economic-political barriers to a final peace agreement.

•Beginning of Charter change and legislative reforms represented by the FOI bill, climate change adaptations and reduction of taxes, among others.

•Upliftment of the morale of people and prospects for a higher position of respect and dignity within the community of nations (In 2015, the Philippines ranked in the bottom half at 115th, lower than Samoa, out of 195 countries in the UN Human Development Index).

 

OF COURSE, WE ARE TALKING ONLY OF THE FIRST 100 DAYS. WE DO NOT INDICATE HERE A WISH-LIST OF OUR HIGHEST ASPIRATIONS TO BE ACHIEVED IN THE 6 YEARS OF THE PRESIDENT’S TERM – BUT ONLY WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DO-ABLE BY P. DIGONG, IF HE HAD HIT THE GROUND RUNNING INSTEAD OF BEING STUCK IN UNENDING CONTROVERSIES ABOUT EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS OF DRUG SUSPECTS AND IN HIS ABILITY AT USING CUSS-WORDS AND INSULTS INSTEAD OF CIVILIZED LANGUAGE.

 

TEAM PHILIPPINES LOSING BADLY

 

IN THE OVERALL ASSESSMENT BY THIS WRITER, WE FIND OUR TEAM PHILIPPINES LOSING IN THE FIRST 100 DAYS OF DU30’S ADMINISTRATION – AND LOSING BADLY. THIS IS A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT AND LET-DOWN TO MANY OF US.

 

Looking, however, at just the first year of P.Du30’s 6-year term, there is still enough time to correct the most serious flaws in both our national leadership and national team so that in the end, the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines as a competitive country in our part of the world might still regain its rightful reputation as a vigorous and rising competitor in the family of nations – as we used to be known for in earlier days.

FVR’s focus regarding this assessment of Du30’s first 100 days is based simply on two concepts of primordial importance – LEADERSHIP and TEAMWORK – because that is where the obvious failures have emerged at this point in time.

In terms of leadership, Senator Dick Gordon has said it so truthfully and directly: “Du30 Is Falling On His Own Sword” (The Manila Times, 04 Oct), adding that the President is too noisy, and should stop saying repetitively: “I’ll will kill you.” (Is this the norm in Presidential public relations??). Ours is not to heap more brickbats on P. Du30 – because he has had more than enough already – but to help enable him to transform (thru his own efforts) from a mere provincial official to a capable international player at the head of 101,000,000 multicultured Filipinos.

 

THE OUTCOME ASPIRED FOR BY THE MAJORITY OF US IS TO INSURE THE BETTER FUTURE OF OUR YOUNGER GENERATIONS WHO, IN DUE TIME – WILL ASSUME THE MANTLE OF LEADERSHIP OVER OUR NATION’S POLITICAL, SECURITY, CULTURAL, ECONOMIC AND OTHER INTERESTS.

 

HISTORICAL RELATIONS OF FILIPINOS ANDTHE JEWISH PEOPLE

 

Among the most unfortunate gaffes of P. Du30 was headlined thus “Duterte Gets Global Rebuke for Hitler Quip” (Daily Tribune, 02 October). The timing of this unnecessary outburst took place almost to the very moment, of the burial of the great Jewish leader, the late President Shimon Peres – known more famously as a co-founder of the State of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize winner in December 1994.

 

The world’s eminents – old friends and foes alike – came to honor Peres at his final resting place.

IN 1938, IT WILL BE RECALLED PRESIDENT QUEZON AGREED TO ALLOW 30,000 JEWISH FAMILIES – OR MORE THAN 100,000 JEWS – TO SETTLE IN THE PHILIPPINES. THE IDEA WAS FOR MOST OF THEM TO RESETTLE IN MINDANAO, PARTICULARLY IN BUKIDNON, TO BE INVOLVED IN FARMING.

Last year, FVR had the opportunity to meet some of the children of these families at a reception for them by the Alumni Association of the International School of Manila who were here for their Homecoming. They are now in their 80s like FVR.

 

THEIR STORIES OF REMEMBRANCE ABOUT OUR GOVERNMENT’S CARE FOR THEM AND THE SAFE UPBRINGING OF THEIR CHILDREN IN THE PHILIPPINES IS HEART-WARMING INDEED.

 

FILIPINO HOSPITALITY AND HUMANITARIANISM

 

THE PHILIPPINES HAS A RICH HISTORY AND TRADITION OF HOSTING REFUGEES FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD. FIRST, THE JEWISH PEOPLE TO WHOM OUR COUNTRY GAVE SANCTUARY IN THE LATE 1930S AND EARLY 1940S.

 

During the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939, droves of Spanish Republicans fleeing the fascist Falange Española of General Francisco Franco came here.

Then came the “White Russians” when they fled from Shanghai in 1949 as the Communist Red Army was about to lay siege. Some 6,000 of our Russian guests lived in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, for 27 months. Many later relocated to America, Canada, and Australia. Others opted to remain in the Philippines.

Twice, Chinese mainlanders were given refuge and the opportunity to prosper is the Philippines. First in 1940, when Chinese refugees fled to the Philippines thru Hong Kong to escape the atrocities of the invading Imperial Japanese forces. Second in 1949, when some 30,000 Chinese mainlanders belonging to the Kuomintang also sought sanctuary in the Philippines to avoid capture by Communist Chinese forces. Here, like all foreign refugees that we had welcomed with open arms, they nurtured their families and businesses to prosperity.

From 1975 to 1995, the Philippines, in cooperation with the U.N., provided food, healthcare, education and safety to 400,000 Indochinese “boat-people” (Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians) in Morong, Bataan and Puerto Princesa, Palawan prior to their relocation to other countries.

During FVR’s Administration in 1996, after the U.N. refugee programs had ended, some 3,000 Vietnamese refugees were allowed “indefinite stay” in “Viet Ville” settlements in Palawan and elsewhere, supported by the CBCP’s Center for Assistance to Displaced Persons (CADP).

 

IN MAY 2011, THEN PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. AQUINO III SIGNED THE INSTRUMENT OF RATIFICATION TO THE 1954 U.N. CONVENTION RELATING TO STATELESS PERSONS. THUS, THE PHILIPPINES CONTINUES TO PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN AID AND SANCTUARY TO REFUGEES AND STATELESS MIGRANTS.

 

The importance of the humanitarian values of our Cultural Legacy cannot be overemphasized. And part of that Legacy are our Virtues of Hospitality and Compassion that we readily extend not only to fellow Filipinos, but also to foreigners like the Jewish people who lived on the other side of the world during the time of President Manuel L. Quezon.

 

IN THE CASE OF HIS RECENT “HITLER QUIP” NO AMOUNT OF APOLOGY COULD MOLLIFY THE LONG-SUFFERING JEWS WHO HAVE DONE WELL FOR THE PHILIPPINES.

 

THE PUZZLES ABOUT U.S.-PHILIPPINE RELATIONS

 

EQUALLY DISCOMBOBULATING ARE THE MIX OF “OFF-AND-ON” STATEMENTS BY P. DIGONG ON PHILIPPINES-U.S. RELATIONS, PARTICULARLY ON SECURITY AND ECONOMIC MATTERS.

 

AT THE TIME WHEN (1) DFA SECRETARY JUN YASAY WAS ADDRESSING THE U.N. IN NEW YORK; (2) DOF SECRETARY SONNY DOMINGUEZ WAS LEADING A TRADE DELEGATION TO THE U.S. AND (3) DND SECRETARY DEL LORENZANA WAS HUDDLING ON SOUTH CHINA SEA/WEST PHILIPPINE SEA CONCERNS WITH U.S. DEFENSE CHIEF ASH CARTER AND THE OTHER ASEAN DEFENSE MINISTERS IN HONOLULU, OUR PRESIDENT CONTINUED TO BERATE OUTGOING PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, OUTGOING U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON, AND TERMINATED RP-U.S. MILITARY EXERCISES BY END-2016.

SO, WHAT GIVES?? ARE WE THROWING AWAY DECADES OF MILITARY PARTNERSHIP, TACTICAL PROFICIENCY, COMPATIBLE WEAPONRY, PREDICTABLE LOGISTICS, AND SOLDIER-TO-SOLDIER CAMARADERIE JUST LIKE THAT?? ON P. DU30’S SAY-SO???

LET ALL DO-GOODERS, P. DIGONG INCLUDED, PLEASE HELP JUN YASAY, DEL LORENZANA, ERNIE ABELLA AND OTHERS CLARIFY, CONTEXTUALIZE, DISBEWILDER, SOOTHE, DETOXIFY AND OTHERWISE ENLIGHTEN MOST OF US WHO BELIEVE THAT – IN THE 21ST CENTURY – HARMONY, PEACE, INCLUSIVENESS, CONNECTIVITY, AND MUTUAL BENEFIT, ETC. ARE PEOPLES’ HIGHEST ASPIRATIONS.

WE HOPE P. DIGONG’S NEXT 100 DAYS WILL BE MUCH, MUCH BETTER, CONSIDERING THE ENTIRE GAMUT OF PHILIPPINE PROBLEMS, STARTING WITH POVERTY.

 

KAYA NATIN ITO!!!!

 

Abangan Part II, Next Week.

 

Please send any comments to fvr@rpdev.org. Copies of articles are available at www.rpdev.org.