By Erik Espina
I was monitoring a popular radio program in Cebu heard around Central Visayas and under the wing of a major TV network. The program presentor cum commentator posed a question to both his listening public. “What grade will you give President Rodrigo Duterte in his one year of service?”. The rating scale was one to five, with one to mean excellent and “five” to mean “failed.”
I listened to the various phone calls, the general average was a whopping 85% approval rating. Many callers were favorable to the President with a “one,” followed by an explanation. The range of commentaries ranged from their personally “liking the person” of DU30, to his “directness,” “truthfulness,” “what you see is what you get,” “straight talking,” to his style of leadership even if some disagreed with a few of his policies, up to the “dead criminals are better with no more crime” approach. There were “fives” who called-out the current administration but noticeably far in-between considering this was an open line to anyone and everyone in the entire Cebu and Central Visayas. Part of the Duterte phenomenon may be understood on the basis of the unpolished style of his “persona and off the cuff delivery” which a great many people find refreshing, humorous, and “real.” Filipinos are weary over well-marketed and eloquent politicians who in the past ascended the presidency, yet failed to deliver and follow thru on their promises.
On the other side of the fence, critics of the President will surely cite such high ratings as only meaning the “cup is half full” argument when the “cup is actually, half empty.
My modest take on the year under DU30 is predicated on a perspective based on context. To rightfully grade his administration. DU30 must be examined in the prism of, “What are the pressing problems of the country, and how does DU30 address them?” It was President Duterte who exposed the long-gestating and shadowy trade plus pernicious effects of the drug industry on our democracy, law and order, and families. There is his fight against “criminality” and his anger over the state of peril in our streets. The stats are down for this. Another is “graft and corruption.” This is expressed as a personal mantra of disdain and warning (firing) in his cabinet and government. “Duterte-nomics,” the largest (R428.4-B) dedicated infrastructure budget in history to spur needed economic activity and employment. In foreign affairs, the world has heard of DU30, admired/curious of him and the Philippines.
PERSONAL: Deep condolences to “Mistah” Abner Cabalquinto from the PMA Class 1976 Magilas Class.
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