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The road to autocracy




“He fell in love with himself at first sight and it is a passion to which he has always remained faithful.” — Anthony Powell    

By Hector R. R. Villanueva

Hector R. R. Villanueva

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has the best of intentions in pursuing peace in the country, achieving economic growth, and improving the welfare of the people through his motives and authoritarian style of governance are generating disquieting uneasiness and economic and political uncertainty among investors and the ruling elite of society.

To paraphrase Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t”, and thus we dare to ask what is PDU30 really up to in the emerging scheme of things?

Is democracy the best route to a strong republic and First World industrial economy, or will authoritarianism or autocracy do a better job?

With ambivalent masses fixated on poverty, a feeble opposition, an ineffectual Congress; and an increasing military capability and ubiquity, what does the future auger for the Philippines?

First, it is recalled that, for various reasons and political morass, the former economic “Poster Boy” of East Asia after World War II has since then been overtaken and eclipsed by Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Brunei, and if the Philippines does not shape up, it might find itself lagging behind Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia.

Though the observation is water under the bridge, so to speak, there are urgent challenges to be resolved, such as Communist insurgency, Islamic terrorism, population growth, job generation, food security, SCS, and climate change pari-passu with the endless war against drugs, corruption, criminality, and other issues that call for extraordinary leadership, a different political system, a transformed patriotic populace, and a strong disciplined Armed Forces.

Second we find President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gingerly walking a tight rope between what he wants without too much fuss and legalese while adhering ostensibly to the rule of law, Congressional foot dragging, and social media.

In the process, in his effort to remain popular, Pres. Duterte resorts to legalistic shortcuts and autocratic behavior to get what he wants, and invariably achieves the desired results, to the consternation of civil society.

In conclusion, it is evident that to achieve rapid economic growth and bring the country to the next level of development, the country may to succumb to authoritarian rule and diminished liberties under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte or his successors.

There is always a price to pay.

Autocracy is not an ideal remedy but it is a harsh alternative to a weak republic.

You be the judge.

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