The New Year is definitely something joyful and hopeful for most people.
Backed by experiences gained and lessons learned from the past year, they look forward for greater things to happen in the new set of 365 days. Many prefer to remain hopeful and positive, while others welcome the new year with cautious optimism.
2018 will be start of the second year of office for President Duterte. When he took office two years ago, he promised to implement long overdue political and economic reforms will help lift the Philippines and the Filipino people. One year has passed and, so far, he was able to make good with only a handful of his pledges, no thanks to the existing system preventing changes from occurring; too much politicking from both sides of the political establishment; and lots of "manufactured noise" that distracted the attention of the government from addressing the issues that matter the most.
Although he has yet to fulfill the rest of his campaign promises, President Duterte turned this around for the country and for all of us in a positive way last year. Having held the rotating chairmanship of the ASEAN last year, he was able to prove himself in the international stage, fostering greater ties between the Philippines and its fellow ASEAN member-states, as well as improved ties with traditional allies such as the United States and Japan, and improved ties with China and Russia through his "independent foreign policy." On the domestic front, he gained the further trust and confidence of the majority after being able to address the most pressing immediate concerns regarding the economy, and peace and order, especially during the Marawi Crisis, which was, so far, the most serious national challenge that he faced.
For 2018, I believe that more of the promised political and economic reforms made two years should be fulfilled. The passing and eventual implementation of the first batch of tax reform measures should boost spending on badly needed infrastructure, a necessary ingredient to spur progress and economic growth, as well as bring development to many areas of the country. The Marawi Crisis proved the need to give priority to the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, both in terms of weapons and equipment, and personnel training and development in order for our troops to effectively address both external and internal defense needs, which can only be done by spending two to 2.5 percent of our country's annual gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. The steps toward implementing pressing political and economic reforms such as the preparation for the transition to having a federal parliamentary or semi-presidential form of government; and amendments to ease the conduct of business for both local and foreign entrepreneurs and investors, boost the competitiveness of agriculture and other Philippine businesses on the global market, ease foreign ownership of equity restrictions on certain sectors of the economy, and allow foreign academics to teach in our country’s educational institutions to improve the competitiveness and quality of Philippine education should be well on their way by this year.
In the new year, I hope President Duterte will be able to assert himself much better as a nation's leader. I hope that he will be able to position himself against those who are truly against him, as well as against those who pretend to aligned with him politically but actually have self-serving plans in secret. I want to see him succeed as the duly elected Chief Executive, especially with him being given the mandate by the majority of Filipinos, who look up to him as the only source of hope and change for the country, and not being like the other national leaders in the post-Marcos era who were only good when it comes to political promises and having quotable quotes but were sorely lacking in action and good results.
May 2018 be a blessed and prosperous year for President Duterte, and may it be a good year for all of us and our country, the Philippines.