One year of Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency
It has been a year since President Rodrigo Duterte took the oath as the 16th president of the Philippines.
He ran on a crime-stopping platform, and promised to eliminate criminality, drugs and corruption in the Philippines within six months in office.
He also promised to alleviate poverty, create jobs and improve the Philippine economy.
Despite his controversial reputation worldwide, the 72-year-old President enjoys a popularity 80 percent approval rating in the homeland.
“Siya ang the best president na naging presidente natin sa Pilipinas, siya ang magbabago ng pilipinas,” said supporter Bienvenido Dinglas. “I like him, kahit hindi ko siya naiboto nuon, siya nag nasa puso ko.”
One promise the President has fulfilled was the burial of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.
The president is also making good his promise to increase infrastructure budget by up to 7% of the GDP. About 900 billion has been allocated in 2017.
Duterte boosted the education department’s budget to 543.2 billion pesos, or $10.97 million dollars in 2017. That’s a 23% increase from previous administration’s budget.
This Filipino activist gives the president a passing grade.
“His decision to invite progressives in his cabinet, yung decision niya to support he environment secretary against the large scale mining na destructive sa ating bansa, yung kanyang decision to initiate the peace process,” said Mong Palatino. “These are issues sa tingin ko dahilan kung bakit naniniwala tayo na pasado pa rin ang president.”
While the president has not fully kept his promise to get rid of criminality and drug abuse in his first six months, Duterte’s war on drugs has claimed more than 7500 drug-related deaths — which include allegations of extra-judicial killings.
Duterte’s recent threat to jail critics of his martial rule sent chills especially to the survivors of the Marcosian martial law.
Palatino says alleged human rights violations may be the president’s achilles heels.
“Yung mga aktibista hinuhuli sa gawa-gawang kaso, so ang concern po natin dito yung human rights violation talagang nakakatakot dahil hindi lang war on drugs, so ginagamit na para supilin yung karapatan ng tao na magsalita laban sa governent.”
For Attorney Arnedo Valera of US Pinoys for real change, being a staunch Duterte supporter does not necessarily mean one has to be a blind follower.
“Bagamat sinusuportahan natin si president Duterte… libre pa rin kami na magbigay ng konstruktibong kritisismo anoh… magin matapang din tayo sa pagpuna, sa mga bagay bagay, kasi ang kailangan natin ay i-improve ang Pilipnas.”
After a year of Duterte presidency, the biggest question now is, will this politically divided country last another five years of division — or will Filipinos finally come together to make the Philippines a better place, regardless of politics?