ROUGH CUTS| The President’s political will

THERE is a report emanating from the seat of the national government saying there are plans by the rebel New People’s Army (NPA) to launch an attack in the Davao area. The report is based on intelligence information by the military and the police.

According to the report the planned attack will be undertaken before President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 24, 2017. Whether this will actually happen or not we have yet to wait and see.

But as of the writing of this column we haven’t heard of any statement of denial or clarification from the Netherlands-based leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). In other words, should the rebel attack materialize it is safe to assume that it has their approval, or that it is their order.

So, what would such atrocity make of the peace negotiation efforts of the government and the supposed reciprocal move of the leaders of the communist rebels?

Is such not an act of double talk and double cross? Now, if no such attack will happen between today and Monday, then perhaps the military and the police could have possibly been taken for a ride by their sources of such infoirmation. Or, should we say that there are some in their ranks who are sowing intrigues in order to sabotage the peace efforts of the government as there are also in the rebels’ side. And both groups should be wary of this sector in their midst.

Again, the report is still something wanting in validation. But the most this can be fully validated and confirmed if the attack will really happen.  So, the best that the government can do for the time being is for its military and police to keep their ears on the ground and lay down appropriate security measures to prevent the attack from happening, or minimize casualties if such is carried out by the insurgents.


Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial has boldly announced that the implementation of the nationwide smoking ban as provided in an Executive Order of President Rodrigo Duterte, will be tomorrow, Saturday, July 22, 2017.

This even as the Health Secretary who hails from M’lang, North Cotabato, admitted that the EO of the President does not have yet its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). But Ubial has asserted that the IRR may not be necessary as the local government units (LGU) have the authority to pass their own implementing legislative measure to have the smoking ban EO of the President in effect in their respective areas of jurisdiction. The Health Secretary though admitted that there is some degree of difficulty to have full compliance of the ban.

We agree fully with the Secretary. But if one local government unit has done it despite of initial strong negative reactions, then it can really be done. And it is our belief that all that is needed for the local executives is the passing of implementing ordinance coupled with the political will of the chief executives of the local government units.

Yes, for us the most important element in the implementation of certain laws and policies is the political will of the mayors of cities and towns, and governors of provinces to have the smoking ban carried out to the fullest at their level. Any hesitation on their part, or fear of political backlash could lead to the smoking ban’s being taken for granted.  So, if there are LGUs that will fail miserably in its implementation of the nationwide ban it can only be attributed to its chief executive’s fear of not making it to his or her ultimate political ambition.


Talking of political will we think this is the very characteristic of President Rodrigo Duterte that is allowing him to continuously maintain a high trust rating now that he is into his first year in office.

As found in the uncommissioned survey conducted by Pulse Asia recently the top officials of the government have their trust rating going up. President Duterte has an 81 percent compared to his 76 percent in the previous survey also by Pulse Asia.

Vice President Lenie Robredo, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno also have higher trust ratings compared to the previous survey.

But the focus of course is on the high trust rating of the President. The survey was conducted while the Marawi siege was in progress. Coupled with his declaration of Martial Law covering the entire Mindanao the situation could not have helped improve his image given the strong decibel of the opposition’s voices.

Yet, he still made it to an even higher mark in the survey. So, we assume that the people believe that he is the only president who dares confront head-on the threat of terrorism and Muslim extremism no matter the cost to his political life.

And rightly so, because based on the level of war resources preparation, combat training, planning the attack and even in putting in place the infrastructure for defense against government forces and in their retreat routes, it will not require anyone to be a schooled military or policeman to undertand the magnitude of the terrorists’ over-all objective in the Philippines.

While it is unfortunate for the law abiding people of Lanao del Sur, specifically Marawi City, it is fortunate for the entire Filipino nation that the President has the raw guts and the will to declare martial law and confront the dreaded terror group even if it would cost him his honor, his life and the Presidency.

But at the end of the horrible war in Marawi, the same political will will also restore whatever is lost of his honor if the President is able to immediately mobilize resources to rebuild the city from its ruins.

Posted in Opinion