By Hector R. R. Villanueva
“ The more things change, the more they are the same.” — Alphonse Kerr
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 jump-started 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.