A Strong and Decisive Leadership

President Rodrigo Duterte is on a roll.

The President has recently made critical and difficult executive decisions, prompting mixed reactions from both his supporters and critics. These decisions include the closure of Boracay for six months beginning 26 April; the appointment of new AFP, PNP and DOJ heads; and the resumption of talks between the Government and CPP-NPA-NDF.

The President has made no secret of his displeasure with former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, particularly with the dismissal of drug-related complaints against alleged drug lord Kervin Espinosa et. al. The appointment of Sec. Menandro Guevarra is an opportunity for the Duterte administration to rebuild the image of the DOJ, following the spate of controversial decisions and controversies that have surrounded the department and its key officials during the time of FSec Aguirre.

The changes in the AFP and PNP Leadership usher-in a new phase in the Duterte administration's fight against criminality and terrorism. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr (new AFP Chief-of-Staff) and Director Gen. Oscar Albayalde (new PNP Chief) are both armed with years of solid and extensive experience in combating lawless elements, which bodes well in the government’s continued campaign against illegal drugs and rebellion.

The act to close down Boracay for six months was a product of several visits and consultations between key government agencies and private establishments in the area. While many have cited potential revenue losses and unemployment due to its impending closure, the President has demonstrated political will to show our people that environmental preservation is important in his governance agenda.

In the forthcoming weeks, the President will continue to sack officials who are involved in corruption, and who continue to underperform. The President is also expected to sign-off on several big-ticket infrastructure projects within the month as the ambitious “Build Build Build” program kicks into second gear.

In the face of intense criticisms and negative propaganda, the President continues to stand firm in making the most difficult decisions. While many oppositionists purport these decisions as anti-democratic and dictatorial, the President continues to enjoy overwhelming support from a vast majority of Filipinos as shown in perception surveys and opinion polls.

Truth be told, these decisions speak of a President who is willing to either be popular or unpopular for the sake of what he believes is right for the Filipino people. This was hardly the case in the previous administration, as former President Aquino always sought to claim credit for achievements harbored during his predecessors’ time and disclaim accountability and responsibility for perceived failures and mishaps during his time.

In the first half of his term, President Rodrigo Duterte has demonstrated decisive leadership. We expect no less for the remaining years in his brief six-year tenure.

A leader is defined by his/her ability to make tough choices. We hope that the legacy President Rodrigo Duterte leaves behind for generations to come would be his strong and decisive leadership.

About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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