"As resolute and determined as President Duterte is in overturning the worsening conditions of our country, there must be a supporting foundation for him to work with."
The electorate made a resounding decision when it put into power Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines. In doing so, they voted against the present political and socio-economic establishment.
To the electorate, the purported promises of EDSA People Power 1 have not been achieved. Corruption continues to be pervasive across all branches of government. Infrastructure projects continue to be slow-moving, unable to keep up in today’s rapidly modernizing world. Most importantly, one out of every four Filipinos remains poor.
While basic freedoms such as the right to free speech and expression were restored by the 1987 Constitution, the democratic institutions that were supposed to bring about the positive changes to the country have immensely failed. Instead of being complementary to each other, other branches of government have become road blocks towards the change that President Duterte aspired for when he began his term.
In the guise of checks and balances, the powerful Commission on Appointments rejected the confirmation of key reform-minded members of President Duterte's cabinet. Among them are former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.
In their brazen attempt to gain favor from the President, members of the House of Representatives have offended the general public's sensibilities through remarks, proposals, and actions that clearly favor their interests over the general welfare.
The Duterte Presidency also ushered in renewed hope for substantial reforms in many key aspects of governance, particularly amongst elected, appointed, and career-service professionals in government. Unfortunately, just like other past Presidents, President Duterte's hands have been held hostage by the inner workings of the bloated bureaucracy.
Much as the President has the gravitas to implement reforms from within the bureaucracy, the looming threats against his Presidency have steadily grown from within his own backyard. Infiltrators have silently penetrated his growing support circle, as part of the grand plan being put together by those from the Black-White-Yellow Coalition to oust him from office.
Much as the President has a good grasp of the country's problems such as illegal drugs and corruption, those who are implementing his plans to solve these societal ills have become grossly abusive with the trust bestowed upon them. They have given the President a headache as payment for his confidence in their ability to stand as his foot soldiers in the war against drugs, crime, and corruption.
Despite the vast powers given to the President, the institutions that ought to support his change and reform agenda appear to have broken down. Moreover, the behavior and motivations of most people in government have long been imbued with self-interest and self-preservation.
As resolute and determined as President Duterte is in overturning the worsening conditions of our country, there must be a supporting foundation for him to work with. Given that our present institutions are severely damaged and the selfish behaviors shown by many public servants today, pressing the reset button may be the only solution to turn around the country's misfortune.
(To be continued in Part 2)