Not the time for discord, disunity
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - April 8, 2020 - 12:00am

Critics and others who have nothing better to do could not have found a worse time to be criticizing President Duterte and how he is handling the fight against the coronavirus. Duterte needs to focus on the task at hand. He cannot afford to be distracted. At this critical time in our lives we need to be united behind our leader. Our civic duty demands of us to do so.

You may not have voted for him. You may hate his guts. You may loathe his person. You may not agree with his principles. But he is in the driver's seat. And the sooner you learn to just trust him and let him be, the better for all of us. For even if he does not give a shit for the rest of us Filipinos, he is still a family man too. He is as scared for his own family as are everybody else.

If for that alone, I think Duterte is doing his darned best to get us through this. Like all of us, he wants to emerge from this hopefully with every loved one intact, with as little sorrow to bear and damage to repair as our courage, resiliency and faith will allow us in a world that I know will not be the same as we knew it.

It is unfair to say the president is bungling the job. For one thing, the leadership of no single country in the world requires proficiency in fighting the coronavirus. There is no leadership template for this scourge. There is no leader in all the 200 countries or so affected by this plague who is having an easy time. Everyone is struggling to fight this unseen enemy with battle plans that did not exist four months ago.

To say that Duterte is not doing things properly is to suggest others are doing things right. But that is not the case. One only has to look at the cold, hard, scary numbers to come to the conclusion that the battle everywhere is very hard-fought and the least we can do as citizens is fall behind our leaders and not make things even harder for him.

The truth is, those who keep sniping at the president and at every little thing he does or says would fare even worse if thrust into the same leadership position and saddled with the same responsibilities. They ought to be ashamed of their own selves. Because while all they do is complain and criticize, so many others are risking their lives without a thought of hesitation.

Right now, hundreds, maybe thousands, of doctors, nurses and other health workers are risking their lives to save others. They are undermanned, overworked, ill-protected. But they fight on in the frontlines because it is their duty as professionals, as citizens, as human beings. And yet not all of them are for Duterte. Maybe many of them would also rather have another president than Duterte at this time.

But that is not the mental picture they see before them. All they see is the unseen enemy and what must be done to beat it. And that is to follow the leader into battle and fight on. Anything short of that and we get scattered and the battle is lost. So, my fellow citizens, any shortcoming or failure you see in our president, offer it in silent prayer to God. For it is only God who can change things. It is only God who is in charge.

RODRIGO DUTERTE
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