By Leandro DD Coronel
Isn’t President Duterte’s statement about continuing his so-called war on drugs until the last day of his term an admission that it’s a war that he can’t win?
Whatever happened to this boast to lick the drug problem in six months? (His drug war was wrong from the start. Why kill users instead of interdicting the supply? Stop the supply and there will be nothing to deal, push, or use.)
It wasn’t the only boast that came out of Mr. Duterte’s mouth. The Abu Sayyaf and the Maute terror group will be destroyed in one week. He will ride a jet ski to plant the Philippine flag on Scarborough Shoal to defy China.
He will burn down the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The same thing with the European Union.
I said in the last column that Duterte is impulsive (which his supporters mistake for decisiveness). He reacts without thinking to questions or statements that annoy him. In Tagalog, he’s pikon, reacting petulantly to what he perceives as slights or challenges to his authority or machismo.
Duterte claims that advice-givers shouldn’t do it openly because that embarrasses him. But he has to learn how to deflect statements voiced openly by different personalities. He’s a politician and he should be used to political give-and-take, that’s a trademark of a democracy.
When his self-announced deadline of six months to tame the drug menace was up, a reporter asked him about his pledge. He didn’t like being questioned and it was then that he said his war on drugs will continue until the last day of his term. He was being impulsive too when he vowed not to talk to media anymore until the end of his term.
Talk among political observers is that most Filipinos are keeping quiet to give Duterte the benefit of the doubt about making good on his boasts. But the same observers opine that in two years’ time (or less) if he doesn’t deliver on his pledges, the people will start getting impatient.
Mr. Duterte has projected himself as a politician who keeps his promises, that he does what he says. Sixteen million people believed him and made him president, although a minority one, garnering only 38 percent of the vote.
Filipinos are giving Duterte time. But more and more, as time goes by, the people will be asking for results. Pressure will start to mount on Duterte to produce results.
The pressure is self-inflicted. His boasts to deliver in six months is very vivid in people’s minds. He has asked for more time and the people, by their silence, have allowed him more time. But his time is not unlimited.
Those who like him may be more forgiving. They may not be too vocal if he fails to deliver.
But those who never really took to liking him because of his boastful and crude style will be more demanding. Even at this early stage, many people on social media are already finding him wanting in many ways. The pressure will build up as the months pass.
Mr. Duterte has put a lot of pressure on himself by boasting that he could accomplish several things in a short time. Gullible people voted for him. But can he deliver in the coming months?
If he doesn’t, how will the people react?
New book on Agribusiness. The prolific writer, Prof. Rolando T. Dy of the University of Asia and the Pacific, has just published the book, “Agribusiness and Rural Progress/Actions for Poverty Reduction.” The book proposes initiatives and actions that address rural poverty in the Philippines by enhancing the role of agribusiness in economic development.
Professor Dy is an acknowledged expert in agribusiness, with an extensive body of work on that important sector. His advocacy centers on improving the lives of Filipino farmers.
He is the executive director of the UA&P’s Center for Food and Agri Business and former Dean of the School of Management.
Orders for “Agribusiness and Rural Progress” may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The writer of the Ergo column edited the book.