by Hector R.R. Villanueva
“Those who believe that they are in the right are generally those who achieve something.” — Aldous Huxley
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has started many things but he has yet to complete any of them, which cannot be expected after only one year in office.
The South African mining tycoon Cecil Rhodes, sponsor of the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford, had once lamented that “there was so much to do with so little time to do them.” This can also be said of the Second SONA of President Duterte since his accomplishments are work-in-progress of long gestation and complexity.
To begin with, Pres. Duterte’s unholy trinity on the war against drug trafficking, anti-corruption, criminality are superhuman objectives that may not be achieved in one’s lifetime.
In the meantime, Pres. Duterte has substantially dismantled “shabu” factories and suppressed widespread drug trafficking and drug addiction.
He has also put the fear of God on grafters and corruptors while successfully reducing criminality. The cleansing is far from over.
Second, Pres. Digong Duterte has his own pet projects and has promised reforms that have been launched and crafted as work-in-progress like federalism, tax reforms, revised Bangsamoro Basic Law, cessation of hostilities and peace agreement with the CPP-NPA-NDF, and constitutional revisions and amendments.
Third, Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte has quelled an incipient rebellion and ISIS infiltration in Mindanao by winning the battle for Marawi City though the war against extremism and terror are expected to continue.
Fourth, notwithstanding the impasse and stalemate in the West Philippine Sea dispute with China, Pres. Duterte gets the credit for pioneering breakthrough on trade relations with China with the latter promising substantial fixed investments, concessional loans, and grants to boost Pres. Duterte’s policy of “build, build, build.”
Thus, the second State of the Nation Address of Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte will primarily focus on his request for the extension of martial law in Mindanao and his many accomplishments and work in progress will take time to achieve towards a better Philippines.
When all is said and done, Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte on his second SONA will dwell on his accomplishments, such as, his relentless war on drug trafficking, substantial inflows of foreign investments, his détente on the disputed reefs, tax reforms and education.
Moreover, his exceptionally high trust ratings and performance ratings indicate that the reforms are taking shape though far from being completed, and his victory against Maute/ISIS terrorism in Marawi City.
Change is coming according to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
You be the judge.