Editorial – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte A Year After

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PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. DUTERTE stressing some points in separate speeches.

Time really flies fast. Already, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the country’s first leader from Mindanao, is one year in office and on July 23, before the joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives, will deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) where he could officially review his accomplishments and chart his future plans for the Filipino people to digest.

Mr. Duterte has not rated himself as has been his practice while mayor of Davao City for over 20 years but many liken his administration to that of a joyful ride in a rollercoaster, speedy but with many ups, turns and down. Overall, except for a few critics, the Duterte administration has been rated as successful in many respects and Mr. Duterte got a high passing grade. For many leaders like former President now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the first year of President Duterte’s leadership was “awesome” as he instituted bold reforms against illegal drugs and corruption and mapped out a P8.4-trillion massive infrastructure spending initiative dubbed as “Build, Build, Build” covering expressways, bridges, railways, a subway, among others. During his foreign trips, the President was able to bag about $35 billion in grants for the infrastructure projects. Also, the country’s economic growth is one of the best in the region and the world. More than that, Mr. Duterte, who won the presidency by landslide, was able to united Filipinos toward the goal of achieving “real change” in the country, earning for him a high performance and trust rating.

Duterte’s war on drugs has resulted to the unprecedented surrender of a total 1,308,078 drug users and  about P18.51 billion worth of illegal drugs were seized together with controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs) and laboratory equipment. The campaign has also resulted to the filing of charges and eventual detention of Senator Leila de Lima who was a justice secretary in the previous administration. The downside of it all, however, as has been well publicized in the world are the claimed “extra-judicial killings” of suspected drug lords, pushers and users by police operatives, with some innocent bystanders slain in the process.

Whatever is your view  or rating of the Duterte administration, as Filipinos it is but in order to wish Mr. Duterte the best as he begins his second year. Other would hasten to add best wishes also for his health for the rest of his term as he fulfills his mandate for the nation and for the people.

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