Duterte kami!

FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa - The Philippine Star

Duterte, fondly referred to as Digong by millions of Filipinos looking for true leadership,  says  he will quit if he does not succeed against criminals and stop the drug trade.  At the same time he asks Filipinos especially his supporters to help him. We can succeed if we work together.

In my opinion, working together can only happen with political restructuring. We cannot and will not help each other with a political system that works against it. It is not a secret as it stands now it is more like we elect governments that work against the people and their welfare and that we do not have the mechanism to kick them out except by a violent revolution. It may not come tomorrow but with a growing number of angry and hungry Filipinos it can come any time and at the least moment that we expect it.

We needed a leader and a symbol to make real change happen. We have that leader and symbol now – Davao Mayor Duterte. The campaign for him is growing stronger and stronger. We don’t need surveys to prove it – it is everywhere but especially among the masa and the dispossessed millions. The word is out – Duterte kami.

Karl Popper, the democracy guru and author of “The Open Society and Its Enemies,” when asked what was the best type of government said “You can choose whatever name you like for the two types of government. I personally call the type of government which can be removed without violencedemocracy,” and the other “tyranny.” Despite its continued unacceptable abuses, we cannot remove this government despite all the talk of impeachment. In fact the Aquino government is working for its return through candidates like Poe, Binay and Roxas.

We must think out of the box that this does not ever happen. In my opinion restructuring government through constitutional change must come first and done as quickly as possible. Some are already saying that this can only be done through a revolutionary government. I repeat this is only my opinion. Indeed this is the only protection Duterte and his reforms to enable him to fulfill his promise of changing our system.

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Few know that former President Fidel V. Ramos is playing a statesman’s role not just for Duterte (again if a real election is held and not a failed and fake elections one) but to ensure good governance in the Philippines. . We were among those invited to a meeting in his office to encourage Duterte to throw his hat in the ring when he was still hesitating.

I think the former president with his inimitable wit and humor has found his metier. This is the role that many have wanted Ramos to play immediately after he finished his term as president. He was a good president. Now he must be the statesman that we need.

His recent advice although not directed merely to Duterte is that the Philippines should stop US and China from warring.

“Stop preparing for war... start preparing for peace,” former President Fidel Ramos told Philstar.com in an interview. Good advice.

“We must play our role properly to prevent the Chinese and the Americans from warring against each other and we are in a beautiful position to do that because we’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea which are the two greatest oceans of commerce.”

Nobody wants a “World War III” and suggested that the Philippines should use its geostrategic position from preventing conflict in the region.

“Today, my humble position is that because nobody wants World War III anymore we should stop preparing for war, meaning no more military build-up. Start preparing for peace,” Ramos said in the interview.

In the Philstar interview the former president added the Philippines “could prevent conflict in the region by enhancing its maritime capability, including safety of life at sea, safety of open navigation, search and rescue, relief and rehabilitation.”

“That is what we should do as a multinational coast guard task force in the Asia Pacific to begin with,” Ramos said.

This column hopes that the former president will continue with this role and prod whoever leads the government to work for peace.  He is in a unique but unenviable position to play the role he has chosen as his last service to our country. For that we are grateful.

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This column received a short report from PECC, the private sector think tank based in Singapore. It was discussed during the annual APEC summit in Manila. Among other things it recommended that APEC should “focus their discussions on ways to ensure that more people are part of growth in the region.”

The PECC report was made through a survey of opinion leaders in the region. The results were released at a press briefing in Manila, during the APEC Leaders’ Week.

According to the State of the Region 2015-2016 report, the region will grow at 3.2 percent this year, the slowest rate since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009.

The top five risks to growth in the region are:?A slowdown in the Chinese economy; Failure to implement structural reforms;?Lack of political leadership;?A slowdown in the US economy; and?Lack of adequate infrastructure.

The PECC annual survey was conducted from 21 September-16 October 2015, drawing responses from 710 individuals.

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MISCELLANY: By the time this column is published I will be off to look at some markets in Madrid. Spain has suddenly become the country to go to for good food and they do not need to be unaffordable. I hear some importers will be working on prices so more can afford them. I read a recent article on the “Top 10 food markets in Madrid.” It was about a two week gastronomic festival to sample the best jamon, tortilla and tapas from the markets in Madrid.

I used to think that bodegas meant warehouses. Well, I now know that is what the Spanish term also for “wineries.”

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