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Second thoughts about Duterte

01:03 AM May 03, 2017

Browsing through the newspapers keeps me in touch with the outer world after years of teaching in a state university. What gets me is the criticism against our new president who is often likened to the new president of the United States. How could they be such leaders of their nation?

But one day, I chanced upon a former boss from the university in Baybay City, Leyte. After a brief exchange of greetings, he asked: “What keeps you busy these days, Alice?”
“Nothing much except nursing an uneasy feeling about our new president. The editorials and even my fave columnists have nothing good to say about him.”

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“No, no … Alice, with the heavy odds he faces, President Duterte fares well with me!” he interjected.

“How could that be? A drug lord in a Baybay prison cell shot dead by law enforcers in uniform?”

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Cutting me short, this is what he said in essence: “You know, Alice, he has to fast-track the solving of serious problems that have plagued our country for years. The determined approach that includes the ‘cleanup’ being done by his drug enforcers could be the answer. Let’s give him elbow room to do the job within his limited time as president.

“The problems are too many and complex: There’s the drug war and the outcry over extrajudicial killings; the prevalent corruption in national and local government offices; the search for peace with the Muslim separatists, communist rebels and local terrorists; and the gigantic thrust to decentralize national development so as to include Mindanao and the Visayas. He must have realized the impossibility to build sufficient rehab centers for drug addicts, and to feed them, and to hire medical experts to attend to them.

“Then, how would he deal with people he trusted but failed him? Consider one of his allies just appointed to high office, recently dismissed for alleged irregularities. Note, too, the repeated attempts to bridge peace with the New People’s Army and the Muslim groups in Mindanao. He must be taking on his task hands on, based on his experience as local government executive. There’s his ardent desire to drive development toward Mindanao and the Visayas, especially Davao, Bohol, Cebu, among many places.

“Cheer up, Alice! Media have somewhat toned down on their criticisms against him now.”

Fast forward. As I browse through the dailies, I feel something phenomenal can still happen. On second thought, the President must have raised so much hope among our people; perhaps much, much more than could be realized within the limited time that he is the head of state.

ALICE S. GO, Barangay Gabas, Baybay City, 6521 Leyte

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