By Genalyn Kabiling
Poverty reduction, creation of four million new jobs, infrastructure development, establishment of Bangsamoro region are among the “impressive” legacy achievements by President Duterte in the first three years in office.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and other Cabinet members highlighted these gains and other administration accomplishments on peace and order and social services during the launch of the “Duterte Legacy” campaign Friday.
The legacy campaign has been initiated by the Presidential Communications Operations Office as the President reached halfway through his six-year term.
“The President’s vision for a better Philippines is already a reality,” Medialdea said during the government forum held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
“The real change we have all yearned for so long is now happening. We have made the significant starts, pioneered initiatives and accomplished impressive milestones as a nation during the first half of the Duterte administration,” he said.
Medialdea said poverty incidence fell to 21 percent in the first half of 2018 from 27.6 percent in the same period of 2015. “We are well on our way to achieving our target of 14 percent poverty incidence by 2022,” he said.
He said the government also ushered in the country’s golden age of infrastructure through the implementation of the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
The infrastructure projects including roads, railways, bridges, airports, and irrigation systems are expected to spur countryside development and create jobs.
“More than rehabilitating and modernizing our structures to bridge gaps between our people, ‘Build, Build, Build’ paved the way for the implementation of high impact flagship projects that propel equitable growth and development in the country,” he said.
“We have not only built structures, we have generated four million jobs for our countrymen thought the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program,” he added.
Medialdea also trumpeted the administration’s efforts to improve access to quality and affordable health care, free college tuition, and other social services in the past three years.
“Coupled with our investment in infrastructure, the Duterte administration also made major achievements in human capital development. Hindi natin nakalimutan ang kapakanan ng kapwa Pilipino (We did not forget the welfare of our fellow Filipinos),” he said.
He said the administration also pursued programs to protect and promote the welfare and interest of overseas Filipino workers.
The law creating the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with larger territory and greater fiscal powers has finally been passed after two decades of peace negotiations.
“The Duterte administration is dedicated to building a nation which respects and gives equal opportunity to everyone regardless of race, religion, and ethnicity. Keeping this mind, we have established the Bangsamoro autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao a region that we believe will fuel growth in Mindanao and prosperity to all,” he said.
On protecting the environment, Medialdea also cited the rehabilitation of Boracay island and Manila Bay as ordered by the President.
“Armed with a strong political will to preserve the country’s natural resources, President Duterte ordered the rehabilitation of Boracay island leading to its restoration. The Duterte administration’s environmental agenda continues with the rehabilitation of Manila Bay whose start of cleanup efforts was officially declared by the government on January 27, 2019,” he said.
Medialdea said the administration has sparked genuine change and implemented numerous projects and programs for the people.
“More than three years into his term, kitang-kita ninyo naman ninyo ang positibong pagbabago na hatid ng sikap at dedikasyon ng ating Pangulo (you have seen the positive changes brought by President’s hard work and dedication). The Duterte administration is driven by radical change marked with multiple milestones and progress and development,” he said.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the string of achievements presented by the government is “honest summaries of successes and sacrifices.”
These accomplishments, he added, are indicative of a continuing legacy that shall persist for the remainder of the President’s term.
“Through the Duterte Legacy Campaign, we are grateful and privileged to showcase through print and digital media, the honest summaries of successes and sacrifices of public servants in order to achieve our national goal of development,” he said.
The latest campaign includes the release of documentary series, quarterly magazines, and podcasts, to highlight the legacy achievements of the President. Information caravan will also be held to raise awareness among Filipinos and town-hall engagements, Andanar said.
“He (President Duterte) presents his words with great resolve and confidence, sometimes with good humor, but all the time with the compassion of a father to our nation,” he said.
“The Commander-in-Chief is in command, and this is his continuing legacy,” he added.
Among the Cabinet members present at the forum were National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones. BARMM interim chief minister Murad Ebrahim, other government officials and diplomats also attended the event.