Sta­tus quo

Manila Bulletin - - Editorial - By HEC­TOR R. R. VIL­LANUEVA

SO, it seems. While there have been many phys­i­cal changes, trans­for­ma­tion of eth­i­cal be­hav­ior and mo­ral val­ues have been slow to adapt to the changes and the wishes of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Roa Duterte.

None­the­less, not­with­stand­ing aber­ra­tional volatil­ity and spo­radic dis­rup­tion, Philip­pine democ­racy has weath­ered po­lit­i­cal storms, and the econ­omy has had a rel­a­tively long growth since the Glo­ria Ar­royo ad­min­is­tra­tion, with the Benigno Aquino III ad­min­is­tra­tion coast­ing along, and jump­started with zest and ebul­lience un­der the lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent Duterte.

De­spite mount­ing crit­i­cisms against Mr. Duterte’s ar­bi­trari­ness and strong­man im­age, the na­tion un­der DU30 re­mains po­lit­i­cally sta­ble with the Pres­i­dent him­self pi­o­neer­ing to seek new friends, ac­cel­er­ate in­fra­struc­ture ex­pan­sion, ini­ti­ated a fea­si­ble and in­de­pen­dent for­eign pol­icy, and up­graded the armed forces.

Thus, there have been sev­eral pol­icy ini­tia­tives and novel changes for which Pres­i­dent Duterte de­serves the credit, such as, the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Bo­ra­cay and other tourists re­sorts, stronger ASEAN pres­ence, re­lent­less war against il­le­gal drugs, cor­rup­tion, and crim­i­nal­ity, and tax re­form.

On the other hand, and on the down­side, it is prob­a­ble and plau­si­ble that there will be no dra­matic trans­for­ma­tion of the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem as it is now be­ing prac­ticed and gov­erned.

With the mid-term elec­tions ap­proach­ing and Duterte hav­ing con­sumed half of his mandate, the 1987 Con­sti­tu­tion may likely re­main un­touched and fed­er­al­ism rel­e­gated to the back burner.

More­over, in an ef­fort to please and pla­cate the Mus­lims, a flawed, hasty, and in­ef­fec­tual Bangsamoro Ba­sic Law (BBL) may be shoved down the throat of the Filipino peo­ple.

Hence, aside from the shame­less and con­spir­a­to­rial ouster of CJ Maria Lour­des Sereno and the ar­bi­trary dis­missal of pub­lic of­fi­cials for un­proven cor­rup­tion or al­leged ex­ces­sive travel, has there re­ally been a mo­ral re­gen­er­a­tion or vis­i­ble trans­for­ma­tion of the na­tional psy­che?

Is it pol­i­tics as usual, ac­com­pa­nied by a cli­mate of fear and trep­i­da­tion?

More­over, will the hu­mil­i­ated and dis­missed Duterte ap­pointees and pub­lic of­fi­cials, with their trau­ma­tized and stig­ma­tized fam­i­lies, ever re­cover from their shame?

Have their char­ac­ter changed or re­in­forced their re­sent­ment?

When all is said and done, have we re­ally changed for the bet­ter, or have we re­mained the same in spite of the many phys­i­cal changes around us?

There must be fun­da­men­tal re­forms and lead­er­ship by ex­am­ple.

You be the judge.

“The more things change, the more they are the same.” — Alphonse Kerr

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