THE SOLUTION

The original cover, published on February 2014.

By Miguel Raymundo

(Editor’s note: The following article is a reprint of OpinYon’s cover story which was published on February 17, 2014.)

THE scenario is ripe for the election of a President like Rodrigo Duterte. The Philippines is almost a failed state and many indicators support this perception. Laws are not obeyed, and worse, even used to fleece money from citizens.

President Benigno S. Aquino III does not respect the Constitution and openly violates the laws of the land.

Lately, this has become obvious in the public concern over the legitimacy of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that is now a question before the Supreme Court.

Mocking the law has become normal in the Philippines, starting in the halls of Congress to the streets in the barangays.

The claimed 7.1 percent economic growth has only succeeded to rub salt to the wounds of poverty suffered by almost eighty percent of the population.

This economic growth that benefited only the very rich of the country has widened the gap between the rich and poor, with about four percent of the economy controlling 90 percent of the national wealth.

That widespread poverty is causing disorder in our streets cannot be overemphasized in the rapid rise of petty crimes and robbery that even media offices get ransacked.

Even when the police say it has control in the peace and order, the assassinations and theft leading to the death of victims make citizens unbelieving this government.


CRUEL JOKE

The cruel joke is everything is going up in the Philippines: the GDP is in all-time high; the cost of electricity is record breaking, now the highest in the world; the cost of living has gone up too high that fish in wet markets are sold at ¼ kilo.

These three are indicators of an economy gone haywire, an economy that is going in different directions and failing to serve the national good. Experts describe this as lacking in inclusive growth, meaning the billions the economy earned went exclusively to the four percent of the population who control the national economy.

The first “killer” to inclusive economic growth is the cost of electricity Meralco delivers to our homes. Cost of electricity has greatly contributed to high cost of living.

Owners of power generation firms, distributions and services are a handful of families also fronting for families who control politics in this country and who have bought people in government.


RASH OF CRIMES AND VIOLENCE

Crimes against property had gone up that even media offices are ransacked. The OpinYon office in San Pedro, Laguna was robbed of laptop computers, cash and some documents. (What the robbers will do with those documents baffle editors of this paper.)

There is almost complete disorder in the streets. People get shot and killed for even an inexpensive mobile phone. The roads are in complete chaos from traffic, causing hot heads to shoot each other.

There is almost collapse of governance if one is to look at the poverty incidence and corruption, deep decline on investments and widespread unemployment.

According to a SWS survey, in the last four months of last year alone, 2.5 million Filipinos joined the rank of unemployed, to think that these months are supposed to bring jobs in the service sector, supposed to be big contributor in the country’s jobsrequirement.


DEEPENING PESSIMISM

The end of year rise in unemployment could have caused the deepening pessimism among the locals on the future of the country as shown in a survey by SWS.

The investigations on corruption in the Senate and the Lower House have contributed to the hopelessness among Filipinos, believing that they have been betrayed by officials they voted to office to protect their interests. Worse, corruption in Congress is nothing when compared to the corruption in Malacañang with hundreds of Billions of pesos lost in DAP.


SEARCH FOR TRUE LEADER

The people are looking for a true leader of the people. They are looking for one who is proven to have defied even the rich and the powerful so peace and order is served and real justice reigns.

It is frightening that what the people see today is a government for the rich, by the rich and of the rich. The thought is even scary when you realize that the rich is only four percent of our total population.

The solution is one who is willing to defy the rich and the powerful who have placed their minions in government.


DUTERTE IS THE MAN

The country is looking for a leader proven to serve real justice with proven muscle in terms of having streets that are safe; the thieves, in government and in the streets, are afraid to ply their trade; government is honest and transparent and above all serves both the interest of the rich and the poor.

This leader must be willing to defy those who had been used to dictating the course of this country’s economy by placing their “robots” in Congress and in the justice department. Duterte could be that man.


THE FINGER

Duterte is one to quickly flash the dirty finger. But he “flips the bird” not to be bawdy or rude—but to express his anger against criminals, his repulsion with corrupt politicians and his occasional defiance of Malacañang.

Duterte, one of the most well-known allies of PNoy, has no qualms about locking horns with the President on issues that go against his scruples—his own sense of right and wrong.

In July, he openly defied government by refusing to lift a local ban on mining even as the President outlined his administration’s new mining policy and its intent to mine in the mineral-rich districts of Paquibato and Marilog in Davao City.

Duterte did not budge from his position. For this, he earned the ire of the powers that be and, at the same time, furthered his tough guy image—a ‘Dirty Harry’ persona that shoots first and asks questions later.


UNCONVENTIONAL

Duterte is not your typical politician and public servant. His popularity is built around a zealous campaign against crime and his transformation of Davao City into one of the most peaceful cities in the country.

He accomplished all these by being hands-on. He is always on the scene, taking part in the action—once even posing as a taxi driver in an attempt to catch muggers preying on city cabbies.

But Duterte is not without his share of detractors. He has had several run-ins with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for manhandling petty crooks, his alleged involvement in vigilante groups and—more recently—for threatening to kill suspected rice smuggler David Tan (Davidson Bangayan) “if he makes the mistake of going to Davao City.”

But instead of being thumbed down, Duterte’s political stock gained even more—enough to fuel movements to support his candidacy for Philippine President in 2016.

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