AGUILAR

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion - AGAINST THE CUR­RENT

aguilarchurchill@gmail.com es, you heard it right. I some­how find my­self want­ing to de­fend our pres­i­dent from the es­ca­lat­ing hate that has gained mo­men­tum lately. And this is prob­a­bly a big sur­prise to those who fol­low my write-ups.

I was one of the mil­lions who voted for Digong in the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. I even en­dorsed him quite a num­ber of times in my col­umn. The rea­son be­ing was that he pre­sented a ray of hope in his “change is com­ing” prom­ise. At that time too he was the most qual­i­fied to lead after es­tab­lish­ing Davao City as a premier city in the world. In short, he has the track record to sup­port his prom­ises.

I share strongly with his vic­tory after the elec­tions. But it did not take long for me to be­gin to no­tice in­con­sis­ten­cies be­tween what he claims and what is hap­pen­ing around. Dur­ing his cam­paign he promised to hire the best and the bright­est but he gave us Mocha Uson, Ce­sar Mon­tano, Aiza Seguerra, and Wanda Tulfo; not the best and the bright­est I had in mind.

In his cam­paign he promised to end con­trac­tu­al­iza­tion of jobs the first thing he gets elected, but two years have passed by and still mil­lions of our Filipino work­ers are un­der con­trac­tual sta­tus who can­not en­joy the ben­e­fits of ten­ure. In his cam­paign as well he promised to even per­son­ally guard our is­lands in the West Philip­pine Sea against for­eign­ers but now he seemed to change tune as those is­lands al­ready have in­fra­struc­tures that are surely not ours. He is even mak­ing the en­emy as an ally. Then came the mar­tial law, the ris­ing num­ber of EJK, and the in­fla­tion hike. Not to men­tion his ha­tred for the vice pres­i­dent and the come­back of Glo­ria Ar­royo and even pos­si­bly of Bong­bong Mar­cos.

As cru­cial is­sues un­fold each day, he seems to be chang­ing tunes and veer­ing away from his elec­tion prom­ises. I still wait for the day that “endo” will re­ally be im­ple­mented as se­ri­ously as the tokhang pro­gram, that fed­er­al­ism will re­ally be ma­te­ri­al­ized, that our is­lands in the west shall re­ally be ours alone, and that all these dreams shall be achieved in ac­cor­dance with our law.

While all things may paint him as yet just an­other po­lit­i­cal fail­ure, if we take a sec­ond look at things and put aside the fan­fare of pol­i­tics, the guy ac­tu­ally has made quite an achieve­ment that none be­fore him ever did.

First, no pres­i­dent has ever se­ri­ously changed the drug prob­lem in the coun­try. The un­touch­ables are not so un­touch­ables any­more. And it has a domino ef­fect on the crime in­ci­dence in all lo­cal­i­ties as well as in the de­vel­op­ment of com­mu­ni­ties.

Sec­ond, while con­trac­tu­al­iza­tion still con­tin­ues, the speed of reg­u­lar­iz­ing job or­ders have dras­ti­cally im­proved and a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of em­ploy­ees are al­ready en­joy­ing tenure­ship both in the govern­ment and in pri­vate firms. Change do not hap­pen overnight but it is hap­pen­ing. It surely has not hap­pened be­fore on this grand scale, at least not in the last 20 years.

Third, and this is by far the most re­deem­ing value that the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion has suc­cess­fully achieved in the whole his­tory of the Philip­pines, Min­danao has fi­nally re­ceived its share of the pie. Projects and de­vel­op­ment come in pour­ing in the ma­jor cities in the south and with it lives have changed for the bet­ter in this part of the re­gion.

Digong re­mains an un­pol­ished stone; very rough on the edges. He is a tra­di­tional leader sur­rounded by bad politi­cians. He make bad calls too, and ap­par­ently it has be­come a habit. But no one be­fore him has ever sur­passed what he has achieved in two years. No one ever pri­or­i­tized Min­danao in our his­tory as a na­tion as much as he does. And for that alone, I will be ral­ly­ing be­hind him un­til the end of his term.

But for as long as he con­tin­ues to make bad calls, I will re­main as his strong critic.

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