Is the Duterte Leadership Working for Filipinos? (Part 1 of 3)

Duterte: A symbol of hope or of a doomed future?
In his seventh month in office President Rodrigo Roa Duterte continues to beckon Filipinos who see the efforts he is initiating as epoch-making, while with equal intensity, goes on to attract opposition from political and religious groups who find his plans and actions offensive and destructive.

The landslide win of the national leader in last year’s national elections is evidence of the Filipino people’s clamor: change. Most of us have become disappointed over events in past administrations that include, among myriad others, the handling of the Mamasapano mass killing case in Maguindanao, the inefficient and observably corrupted management of the rehabilitation of super typhoon Haian-affected provinces, the perennial problem of criminality that often is associated with the illegal drug trade, the traffic chaos in Metro Manila with its informal settlers left in their daily burden of deprivation and helplessness, our dependence on the resources earned by our children, spouse, mother and father from serving in foreign lands. In a bit larger picture, why is Mindanao left hanging in its people’s struggle for peace? Now that we are aware that the Visayas is presently the most disaster prone area in the country, why deny the rehabilitation and retrofitting efforts when funds have been made available? If Luzon, specifically Metro-Manila, were the center of government, why is it the picture of disarray and poverty? And why the incessant need for our family members to find work and be compensated overseas in order to boost the national economy?

Let our countrymen know what is going on. Government-initiated information dissemination, civil demonstrations, protests, mass actions remain platforms for a healthy democracy when done with the intention of giving people information that is built on facts and mindful analyses.

Awareness being set, what do we do next? Our President, because he expresses our disappointments and forcefully promises to bring about answers to our problems, becomes a symbol of hope. But because of the uncertainty of his unprecedented, unconventional and nontraditional decisions and actions along with his unbridled manner of speaking and swearing, others see him as a symbol of a doomed future.

Yet one thing is clear: Filipinos are now aware and exposed to any form of injustice that has, for centuries, left engraved in our society. The younger generation has almost infinite access to information via the internet. The parent and adult generation, especially those in the education realm, need to pay special attention to being continually informed themselves and to learn how to effectively communicate the information to their children.

With the advent of a President that has set our minds and emotions in motion, we now have the responsibility to get accurate information and become aware of our conditions to enable us to get involved in this rare opportunity and time for change.

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