CHAFF FROM THE GRAIN
By HECTOR RONALD ROMERO VILLANUEVA
“Nothing is in vain; the seas roll over but the rocks remain.” — P. Herbert
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was catapulted to the presidency on his outrageous promise to eradicate drug trafficking, corruption, and criminality in six months.
Three years later, though these evils have been reduced, the narcotics trade and shabu smuggling, corruption, and criminality have remained rampant and counting and will not disappear anytime soon, or even within our life time.
Though Filipinos are basically honest and upright, President Duterte’s mission to transform the people’s moral values and psyche has not succeeded.
Instead, a disturbing climate of fear and intimidation appears to be the norm and culture.
The atmosphere of fear is validated by a docile and intimidated cabinet; frequent dismissals of second-echelon bureaucrats for alleged corruption, and the ill-fitting appointments of retired military officers into senior civilian positions.
Indeed, while President Duterte has repeatedly stated that he will “kill” anyone who will destroy this country or its youth, the message of violence promotes neither harmony nor homogeneity in a society which we are trying to transform.
While numerous mundane physical changes have been achieved, such as, Boracay, Manila Bay rehab, Bangsamoro autonomy, OFW welfare, modernization of the Armed Forces increased salaries of civil servants and infrastructure, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has not progressed in his reform agenda which, with his autocratic form of governance, held so much hope and promise, which now appears to be receding into the backburner due to political priorities.
The flagship reform agenda was the establishment of a federal form of government and the revision of the Constitution, followed by congressional reforms of the House of Representatives to avoid further budgetary impasse, and time consuming Senate-Congressional hearings in aid of publicity.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had all the good intentions of transforming and reforming society, but events and the vagaries of politics have overtaken him as the existing political system and the oligarchy are devouring and overpowering.
With the midterm elections at hand, and the presidential elections looming in the horizon, and the ponderous issues pending, such as the South China Sea, insurgency, and economic slowdown, President Duterte will be hard put to initiate and undertake radical political and social reforms in the next two or three years.
The status quo remains triumphant.
When all is said and done, the search for the messiah who will continue what President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has started but has left unfinished continues.
Admittedly there have been many physical changes and breakthrough advocacies.
You be the judge.