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In 450 Words: 70+ days under President Duterte

For the past six years, I’ve mostly opposed the prior disposition – especially when it comes to its policies and plans that were either not implemented (Laguna Lakeshore project, for example) or were poorly implemented. The prior disposition were also obsessed with payback (the 2012 impeachment proceedings against former Chief justice Renato Corona and various actions directed towards various political opponents).

To be honest, I did not vote for Rodrigo Duterte. But once all the votes were counted and validated, it dawned to me that people want change – especially change from what is seen as normal and expected in Philippine politics. Now that change is here, I can say that things are going better than expected: there is less crime, hundreds of thousands of drug users and dealers have surrendered, people are becoming more confident about the leaders running the country, people’s perception on government and governance has improved, and so on. Not only that, his plans and policies outlined in the State of the Nation Address and other events are signs that better things for us Filipinos are on the way. Being pragmatic, I can say that they can be feasible.

Similar to other leaders, there are some downsides to his presidency, like the appointment of certain persons in various offices and departments and extrajudicial killings that are linked to the president’s campaign against drugs and criminality (but are mostly done by third parties like vigilantes, people involved in drug deals gone wrong), and so on. There are other things that he has to deal with, including but not limited to alleged human rights violations done during police operations, partisan elements in Philippine media, criticisms coming from the Liberal party (which is now in the opposition after six years in power) and other organizations and various foul ups.

Compared to the first 70 or so days under Benigno Aquino III, Rodrigo Duterte did a better job of running the ship and was decisive in handling the first major crisis under his watch (the Roxas Night market bombing in Davao last September 2).

I believe that he’s better off not caring about trivialities like Senator Leila de Lima’s love life and focus on things that truly matter like peace and order campaigns, fixing our relationships with other littoral states lining the disputed territorial waters of the Philippines and finding long-term solutions for various challenges, improving bilateral and multilateral relationships with other countries and organizations, having a better system of governance and creation of a new basic law, removing or modifying outdated legislature to encourage socio-economic growth and development for all Filipinos, peace talks with various insurgent groups and their re-integration into mainstream Philippine society, more desirable public infrastructure and more citizen involvement in government.