STRIKE HOME| Duterte’s first 100 days has been for far so good

I LIKE best the fact that in his 100 days of office, President Duterte has not let a day passed without doing something significant or saying something for this nation to reflect about.

This was in sharp contrast to his predecessor who cannot even push the correct button in singling out the proper police unit that could have prevented the bloody carnage that a deranged police officer committed when he took over a bus full of Taiwanese tourists in Luneta Park in 2010.

Duterte’s achievements have been well-documented, especially his ongoing war against illegal drugs, and like it or not, it has been gaining approving nods even in the capital of Saigon where eight out of every 10 establishments have a caricature of him ala-Ho Chi Minh in the earlier days.

Now everybody is saying he should clamp down a little on his statements and buckle down to work. Well, he has been working his butt day in and day out since Day One.  To my mind, he has logged more miles in visiting more parts of the archipelago than all of his living predecessors combined.

I’d like to say he should not stop from speaking out his mind, from thinking out loud or from cursing people in the manner we are now getting familiar of.

First, although we voted for him overwhelmingly we are actually clueless on his position on a lot of issues that affect us all. This is exactly the time to know him or to pick his mind as he goes about his presidential tasks.

Second, it is also nice to know at this stage his thoughts on our country’s neighbors, especially China, Russia, the United States and the United Nations itself. As it turned out, his thoughts may not mirror most of our thoughts but you will be surprised to know they were not wishful thinking.

In fact, in the Middle East you will be surprised to know that thousands of people have been cursing Obama for his perceived role in abetting or failure to stop the wholesale massacre of villages—and these thousands of people are not presidents of a sovereign nation like Duterte.

I think that rather than call on the President to tone down, we should study why he is taking some countries or even the UN to tasks for their perceived sins of omission to humanity—the same countries or entity that are now calling on Duterte on to cut down on the war against drugs.

Early this week, Duterte was quoted as saying:

“Eventually I might in my term, break up with America. I would rather go to Russia or to China. Even if we do not agree with their ideology, they have respect for the people. Respect is important.”

This too is worth examination considering that it is not very often that a head of a state would rail against the most powerful country in the planet. This is indeed disturbing and if President Duterte no less felt he was not getting the respect he deserved then by all means there is no preventing him from seeking friendship elsewhere to benefit us all. In other words, it is his call.

Now nobody said the war on drugs is a walk in the park in the first place. But it is a choice we have to make. The alternative is to do nothing about it and to wake up one day to see the streets teeming with drug pushers, to see our children hooked into drugs, to see our government officials consorting with drug lords and to see our communities singing paeans to drugs.

Let me state it here that I don’t think Duterte knows me from Adam. When he campaigned in Baguio City to drum up federalism in 2015, I introduced myself but all I got was a nod as he walked past me.

But there is nothing wrong with his war on drugs, and by extension, his determination to rid this government of corruption.

Nope, I don’t think it was a spur of the moment decision that was whipped up to gain votes but rather the result of having seen the problem from the perspective of an LGU executive for more than 20 years.  It was in a manner of saying, a concrete solution to a concrete situation.

As it turned out, what was true to Davao was also true to the rest of the Philippines. Ergo, there is no alternative than to tackle the problem head-on on a nationwide scale before it gets to consume us all. (JKL)

Posted in Opinion