Know the President (3)
There is this story about a team of Chinese athletes from Mainland China that was on a tour of the United States when the Americans landed the first man on the moon.
When asked for his thoughts on America’s awesome historic accomplishment, the leader of the Chinese team answered: “America may have landed the first man on the moon, but China will put the first NEW MEN on earth.”
Decades have passed since then, and today the world cannot but stand in awe of an economic Kong awakened from its slumber. Indeed, China is an economic miracle that is the envy of the world.
The West is stunned not only by the magnitude of China’s economic growth but also by the pace at which that growth was accomplished. And China just keeps on steam-rolling along, flexing its military muscle in the process to the disbelief and consternation of that other superpower in the Asian region.
In mathematical terms, the Chinese equation reads: New Men=Economic Prosperity=Superpower Status.
Discipline and determination appear to be the main ingredients that propelled China to its lofty perch—a perch then widely thought to be unreachable until China started leapfrogging over giants from the list of developed nations ranked according to economic power.
In his inaugural speech, President Duterte asserted that we have become our own enemies and will not be able to extricate ourselves from the quagmire that sucks us in unless we find the courage and the will to change ourselves. We have to slay our own demons first, so to speak.
Taking a lesson from the Chinese experience, a new Filipino must evolve from the old. He must rise Phoenix-like from the rubble of apathy, lethargy and egoism. The new Filipino must be disciplined, dedicated, determined and patriotic if this country is to move forward.
That is President Duterte’s vision. That is his mission. Never mind his language. Focus on his actions. That way, one can
understand and know him better.
Moving onward, what this country needs today is not more laws but more good men in public service. Whatever be the system of government that is in place, federal or presidential, it is still men who make the system work. And the government can only be as good or as rotten as the men who run it.
During the campaign, the President made a promise—a social pact with the people, if you will—to stop corruption. And that is one promise he wants to keep. He has to.
From where I sit, I see an exasperated and impatient President poised to drop the axe on the dishonest and corrupt regardless of personal relationships. “I have no friends to save, I have no enemies to harm,” the President said during his inauguration. The removal or dismissal of his friends from government service is proof that that pronouncement is no empty rhetoric.
The President is aware of the pain and humiliation that a dismissal wreaks on the dismissed employee, and his or her spouse and children. But what has to be done must be done. When duty and friendship clash, the President will always opt for duty.
That is why I will see more heads rolling
in the days to come.
Jesus Melchor V. Quitain is undersecretary, Office of the President.
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