The true and undisguised state of the nation
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - July 22, 2019 - 12:00am

President Duterte is “sui generis”. Manong Digong is one of a kind. He is not like PNoy who always wanted to impress us with his ala Balagtas Tagalog, which was actually a smokescreen to hide his incompetence.

PNoy used to regale with his so-called crusade against corruption, which was a flop. President GMA always brandished economic data and financial statistics, projecting an image of being an economist, a style that failed miserably to impact on the common man in the streets. Erap was always trying to demonstrate his braggadocio as man of the masses, protector of the poor, marginalized, and forgotten “hoi polloi”. President Duterte is different from all of them. He will spill the beans and tell the people the real score.

First, the bad news: We have a country with a runaway population at 110 million, with the highest population rate in Asia every year. The economic growth is commendable despite global and regional pressures of competition, but the rate of economic development cannot keep up with the speed of population growth. We don’t have food security and are dependent on imports for our basic staple, rice and corn.

This is exacerbated by the multiple weather disturbances and the many decades of forest denudation and the mindless ravishing of our environment, which has destroyed our food and water sources. This is the greatest threat to national security, not a China invasion, or the CPP/NPA/NDF rebellion, or the Abu Sayyaf subversion.

Second, we have a people whose demand and need for food, housing, clean water, affordable medicines, and access to public health and education cannot be addressed sufficiently and with a sense of urgency and precision. We have millions of urban poor who have no decent dwellings and who are exposed to all dangers brought about by natural calamities, health risks, crime, immorality, and infiltration by purveyors of the leftist and rebellious propaganda.

We have millions of rural peasants who have no land to till and live on subsistence farming and fishing, all controlled and dominated by feudal landlords, like the Cojuancos and Aquinos in Tarlac who refuse to obey the Supreme Court decision to distribute the haciendas to the tenants.

We have crimes against persons and properties, and against women, children and the poor, and threats from global and local terrorists who bomb our cathedrals and bus stations, who plant incendiaries in our transport facilities and put the security of our churches, schools, malls and markets under constant threats and fear. We still have a lot of corruptions in government agencies, even in our government-owned and controlled corporations.

Many, except a handful, among the people we trusted to run the SSS, PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig, and GSIS, Customs, BIR, and local governments have betrayed our trust and have remained impervious to the truism that public office is a public trust. In other words, we have a beleaguered country with troubled people living in perilous times.

Of course, the president will mention his accomplishments. But they are hardly enough to make a dent in the ocean of troubles we are all facing. Instead of blaming him, who, after all, inherited a wounded state and a traumatized people, we need to understand that all of us have our own abuses and failures, and the president is just one Don Quixote de la Mancha, trying to slay the dragons of threats and social, economic, and political maladies.

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