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Opinion

It is not Sara, it is the continuity

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - Philstar.com

Sara Duterte Carpio, mayor of Davao City and daughter of the president, is topping all surveys on who people think should be the next president. The survey results seem to ignore the fact of her relationship to the incumbent. Under normal circumstances, such a relationship would have made her running a disturbing development, to say the least, in dynasty speak, among other political hobgoblins.

Yet why is Sara lording it over the pack? I think it has nothing to do with her person or her qualifications. Certainly, there are other presidential wannabes better and more qualified than she is. I think it has something to do with her being a Duterte, her being a daughter to the father. The fruit cannot fall far from the tree. I think it is continuity of certain key Duterte policies that the people want. By people I mean going by the numbers.

There are three key policy areas that have affected the lives of Filipinos under the Duterte administration like never before --the war against drugs, the war against corruption, and the maritime disputes in the South China Sea. The enemies and critics of President Rodrigo Duterte say he has failed miserably in these key areas.

But that is only their perception, a line of thinking that most Filipinos (again, count the numbers) do not believe. The real sentiment of the people is reflected in the results of survey after survey that even to this day, so close to the end of his term, continue to give the president unprecedented stratospheric ratings. The sheer consistency of the ratings repudiate in no uncertain terms any opposition claims to the contrary.

But why does the same consistency of nationwide public confidence rub off on Sara when she has not even broken out from the local elective scene in Davao? Because the people want continuity. Her father's detractors can keep telling and retelling the narrative of how he failed to eliminate drugs and stop corruption as well as fail to stand up to China in the South China Sea. But it appears the people do have a mind of their own.

Those who say Duterte failed to deliver just do not get it. They are missing the point. There is no such thing as a perfect world. A world without drugs and corruption does not exist. And there would be no more Philippines if we had gone to war with China over a number of rocks in the South China Sea. The people believe Duterte has done more than enough. More importantly, they believe in the sincerity that went into the effort.

What Duterte has done is make the criminally-bent think twice before going into drugs or corruption. Maybe his tactics are rough, his methods crude, at times dangerous. But our streets are safer. And the corrupt fewer, scared of getting caught. In our rift with China, war is not the only solution. Even the US approaches China with great care. Losing a few rocks can wound our pride, but we remain Filipinos, with a home that is still the Philippines.

I do not know if it will eventually turn out wise to have a daughter lead right after the father, especially in a modern democratic but more pretentious world that seems to have forgotten that, for centuries, dynasties have ruled civilizations from which democracy merely grew out of, at times none the wiser. I think this Sara phenomenon is not really about Sara for her own sake but for the sake of Filipinos who know what is best for them.

SARA DUTERTE
Philstar
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