All throughout the recent Presidential campaign period, I have either been dismissive or downright critical of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Platform-wise, he offers a mixed-bag of gems and disappointments:
- the same discredited neo-liberal economic policies copied over from the outgoing Aquino administration as announced early on by his transition team
- His choice of cabinet secretaries some of whom are shady characters from the Arroyo administration
- Continuation of the CCT – another neo-liberal tool for further exploitation of the poor
- Return of the death penalty law
- Deployment of “armed barangay personnel” which is no different from government-sponsored death squads
And some gems:
- His belief that industrialization is a key for real economic growth
- His openness with working with the CPP-NPA-NDFP in ending the insurgency and addressing its causes
- Appointing progressive leaders from the militant Left to certain cabinet positions
- His frank and critical stance towards the Catholic Church
Far from my ideal candidate or President but it’s a workable and pragmatic thus acceptable President for me. The biggest take away for me is I am more challenged to do my part as a citizen, patriot and Filipino: to actively engage and criticize the President, his administration and the rest of the government to do better, work for and work with the masses to achieve the real change we all long for and deserve.
My participation in changing this country, building a new nation for our children and bringing glory to our people did not end when I cast my ballot last May 9, truth be told, the real work begins on Day 1 of the Duterte Presidency. I just hope my fellow Filipinos will follow suit.