Despite the protests of a few, President Rodrigo Duterte’s zero-tolerance approach to the fight against illegal drugs and crime has brought peace to communities across the Philippines, the group Liga Independencia Pilipinas (LIPI) said Monday.
“Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s presidency, widely regarded as the best in Philippine history, is coming to an end. He turned a floundering country riddled with corruption, elitism, and crime into a respectable state worthy of international leaders’ and the Filipino people’s recognition,” said Jose Antonio “Ka Pep” Goitia, Secretary-General of Liga Independencia Pilipinas.
“The President’s actions have inspired groups such as Liga Independencia Pilipinas to take an active role in combating those who oppose our ideals, rights, and way of life,” Goitia added.
He said LIPI is at the forefront of combating “the spread of disinformation by the CPP-NPA-NDF and opposing political parties whose agenda is to demolish the government’s policies and programs. Our advocacy will continue until we are successful.”
One of the President’s most notable achievements, he noted, has been the implementation of the nationwide infrastructure development plan “Build Build Build” with its primary goal being to encourage investments and stimulate socioeconomic growth across all sectors of society.
Goitia said 6.5 million new jobs have been created “as a result of this project.”
“The President’s fiscal prudence policy and his push for tax reforms enabled us to achieve the highest revenue-to-GDP ratio of 16.1% and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of 39.6% in 2019. We were able to obtain an unprecedented credit rating upgrade, allowing us to access funds for our priority programs at lower interest rates and on more favorable terms,” he said.
“The President should discuss the ongoing AFP modernization program and its implications for defending our sovereignty from internal and external threats, what military equipment we have so far, and what the next phase of the program will entail,” Goitia added.
He said Duterte’s pursuit of an independent foreign policy “is another trending issue on which he needs to report. The President must explain how his foreign policy has benefited us in terms of international trade, security, and global standing.”
“The signing of Executive Order 70, which institutionalized the ‘Whole-of-Nation’ approach to achieving inclusive and sustainable peace by establishing a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in dealing with communist terrorist groups (CTGs), has brought peace and prosperity to the countryside,” Goitia said.
He noted that the NTF-Barangay ELCAC’s Development Program is another worthwhile initiative, as it provided incentives and services that resulted in the removal of the communist threat from more than 800 barangays.
Farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation systems, assistance to indigent individuals or families, agricultural, and livelihood initiatives are examples of these initiatives, Goitia said.
“As a result of this program, communist activity has been on the decline. Thousands of NPA cadres have surrendered their weapons in order to live in peace and become responsible Filipino citizens,” he added.
The passage of anti-terrorism legislation, which is critical to national security, is a significant step forward in the government’s efforts to combat the insurgency, the LIPI leader added.
“Because the country has been subjected to decades of violent extremism perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed and legal fronts, resulting in the murder of innocent people, kidnapping, radicalization of our youth, and the destruction of billions in property,” he said.
The pandemic has hampered the progress of the Philippines and 193 other countries, Goitia noted.
“To jumpstart the economy, the President must maintain his economic recovery efforts as well as the COVID-19 vaccination operations. He must also keep up his anti-corruption, anti-drug, and anti-government reform efforts,” he said.