Duterte’s legacy is the will to win

FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2020 - 12:00am

In my opinion Duterte’s legacy has less to do with material things than it is about his way of presiding our nation building. It has more to do with his character and personality.

Although he has fulfilled his build, build, build program and undertook the rehabilitation and cleansing of the Manila Bay, Pasig and Boracay, these are material achievements that come and go in a long and wide perspective of time.

How he managed the aid to victims of the eruption Taal volcano shows it was not infrastructure on show but how he led help to the  victims and the volunteers who followed his example and concern.

Duterte’s legacy is to have created “a way to nation building through brave actions and difficult decisions that fazed his predecessors.  At the heart of Duterte’s legacy is to give the less fortunate the will to rise up and question a status quo in which they were cast aside as second-class citizens.

His message in essence is to give them the confidence that they can improve their lives if they try. There are many examples of his legacy we can point to but I would like to single out Filipinos who won gold medals in the recent Asian games because he imbued them with the passion to win. In this effort PAGCOR played a key role by funding a P13-billion sports hub in Capas, Tarlac with a world class aquatic center, a 20,000 -seater athletics stadium and seven-building Athlete’s Village that can accommodate Games delegates and volunteers.

As one of the major sponsors of the event, Pagcor granted P842.5 million to the PSC for the rehabilitation of facilities that will be utilized for the Games, including the PhilSports Complex Multipurpose Arena, Rizal Memorial Track and Football.

Duterte’s material legacy have been put up by Cabinet members in exhibits at the presentation of their agencies’ accomplishments and its beneficiaries of the first three years of his government. The exhibits are at the Philippine International Convention Center.

The campaign aims to show the government’s progress in three “key pillars”: peace and order, infrastructure development, and poverty alleviation.

Worth mentioning is his legacy in peace and order with more than 8,000 fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) decommissioned at the end of 2019. It means that those decommissioned will go back to civilian life along with the 40,000-strong Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces. The transition will take several years on condition that the Bangsamoro Organic Law in January 2019 will be ratified. According to Bangsamoro Transition Authority Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, this is important because it embodies that the MILF’s struggle “will no longer continue in military terms but as active participants in... the democratic system.”

I hope it’s true that Congress will cooperate with Duterte’s legacy.

“We aim to hit the ground running when session resumes on Monday. Time to roll up our sleeves once again and work double time on vital legislative measures. The Speaker made a clear instruction to pass these bills,” Rep. Romualdez said.

We hope to vote soon for second reading approval the proposed law creating the Department of Filipinos Overseas and Foreign Employment to keep an eye on the safety and protection of overseas Filipinos, including seafarers and household service workers, Department of Disaster Resilience to create a primary agency responsible for leading the national effort before, during and after disasters, the Department of Water Resources to avert water crisis, and other bills,” he added.

Fed up by what he described as corruption at the upper levels, Duterte promised to “change the government” before he steps down. He said the Philippines is taking time to develop because of moneyed families who remain in power despite the changes in leadership. He said the military and the police had ousted administrations but allowed crooked politicians from rival parties to seize power.

“Why did it take so long for us to reach this kind of developmental stage? (The late President Ferdinand) Marcos was good but he allowed the family to intervene. He was really good but all succeeding, the military and police, do not be offended because it’s true,” Duterte said.

“You know what I want to do before I step down? It might scare you. I will really step down. Just give me five days, do not fuck with me for one week, I will change government,” the president said.

President Rodrigo Duterte threatened that he will terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States if Washington does not reverse its cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s visa.

Duterte also said he would be prohibiting from entering into the Philippines all US lawmakers who voted in favor of a Senate committee report which seeks to ban foreign officials involved in the “wrongful imprisonment” of opposition Senator Leila De Lima.

The 1998 VFA is the first of two agreements between Washington and Manila about the treatment of their troops when they are in the US or the Philippines.

Under the agreement, US troops are not subject to passport and visa regulations when entering and leaving the Philippines. Their US driving permits and licenses are also considered to be valid in the Philippines. The US also has the right to retain its jurisdiction over its military personnel when they commit crimes in the Philippines, unless they committed a crime which is punishable in the Philippines but not in US or a crime which is related to the security of the Philippines. The VFA can be terminated by either the Philippines or the US by writing to the other party that they want to end the agreement.

I end this column as I began it. The roads he built, his peace amd order program and government aid for victims of disasters spring from a strong character that is unfazed by power or wealth. His legacy of material achievement. These are material and touchable. More important is how he gave  to his people to have  the will to win. He is there – overarching his actions and decisions. He will be the model of his people that they must have the will to win even if it means confronting old habits of servility to colonial power and the oligarchy they installed.

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