Monday, September 19, 2016

The Duterte Series: Is his no.1 campaign promise now broken?

     During the campaign for the 2016 May elections, presidential candidates presented their campaign promises. They did so repeatedly and so zealously that they were foaming at the mouth.  We know all campaign promises, like all other promises, are often declared but rarely delivered.

Is Duterte's campaign battle cry just deadened or dead?


     But for people who have been clamoring for change, Duterte's promise to crack down on criminals got us all hoping - hoping that maybe this time a true harbinger of change is coming. And so D won an overwhelming mandate.

     D promised he's going to suppress illegal drugs along with other forms of criminality in 3 to 6 months.  He has given himself strict goals and deadlines. And millions of Filipinos took the bait.  For so long, evening news have been our staple of gore as criminals, particularly the riding-in-tandem elements, brazenly rule our streets.  D could be the man who could make criminals cower, just like how Dirty Harry did it with his "Go ahead, make my day" menacing utterance. Incidentally, Dirty Harry is known to be a fave character of D that our president gained the monicker Duterte Harry.  

   
     Many hoped for that D's promise. But earlier today, D asked for an extension. He said we should give him 6 more months to get rid of illegal drug problem. For some (that includes me) who are dismayed by the extrajudicial killings or the so-called deaths under investigation (DUI),  this is really bad news because this would mean prolonging the purges. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely for making our streets and homes safer. Sino ba naman ang ayaw na mawala na ang mga drug pusher at user sa ating lipunan?  But there must be a more humane way to accomplish D's promise.  A more holistic approach could be the appropriate response, digging deeper to find out why the drug menace is so prevalent in our country. The experts say poverty, lack of education and dysfunctional familial relationships are the dangerous dynamics that incite drug dependency. True, this approach needs more time and resources but this is going to spare lives and families.
 
     Aside from the war on drugs, I hope D will also focus on the other goals he mentioned on his campaign trail. I am strongly for getting rid of bureacratic red tape and employment contractualization, as well as improved health care for the poor and free irrigation to farmers.  I am not for the shift to federal form of government. I don't think a system change is the answer; rather, it should be the strict implementation of our existing laws and  ensuring our check and balance policy is intact. We may need to change the people running the system not the system itself.  Kung corrupt ang tao, corrupt din ang sistema. To me, no matter how roadworthy the bus is, it all boils down to its driver. If he's a reckless one, always driving under the influence, we're likely to get off track. I don't care much about horsepower and torque, all I care is getting there safe and sound.

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