firstname.lastname@example.org 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.