"Filipinos are waking up to the reality that this administration is all bark while the country suffers."
Disclosure: Sometime last year, I stopped waiting up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s late-night addresses because he does not respect people’s time as he goes public at a time when people are supposed to be already asleep. He also mostly uses the platform to further vilify his perceived political enemies. Most importantly, there was nothing major from him that I cannot get elsewhere. His “addresses” left me sleepless and stressed out, so I stopped.
In truth, until the very last one, he was not addressing the Filipino people. Instead, what he does can be considered as “presidential rants.”
Journalist Joseph Morong comes out with almost-transcriptions of Duterte’s words and makes this public. These are what I read to be updated complete with the flavor of the president’s acid tongue.
Over the past week, most local government units (LGUs) announced that they had run out of vaccines and thus, their inoculation program stopped; the number of COVID-19 cases breached the one million rank; the scheduled delivery of the Russian vaccine Sputnik was cancelled due to the absence of direct flights from Russia to Manila and lack of storage facilities; Chinese ships continued to occupy our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS); and, thousands of hungry Filipinos lined up to benefit from privately-initiated community pantries that brought the issue of hunger to the fore.
Duterte partially addressed these issues during his last public appearance with his key IATF leaders. However, most of what he said did not sit well with many Filipinos. Social media were again flooded by anti-Duterte criticisms.
On the COVID-19 vaccination program, according to @HerdimmunityPH, as of this week, of the target 70 million Filipinos, 1.41 percent have so far received their first dose, and 0.22 percent have been fully vaccinated. If this does significantly improve, the country will attain herd immunity in December, 2029 or 8.6 years from now.
Per Morong’s account, Duterte said that the rise in COVID-19 cases is a never ending story until Filipinos are vaccinated. For his part, Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. said that steady vaccine supply is expected by June and once 3.3 million doses are available, the government can vaccinate 120,000 a day. He said that the target is to be able to vaccinate 500,000 per day. They plan to finish vaccinating all health care workers, senior citizens, and those with co-morbidities (A1 to A3) by June. Also by June, Galvez expects to start the vaccination of frontline economic workers (A4) and indigents (A5). General public vaccination is planned to start in August.
All these, however, are contingent on the arrival of a sufficient number of vaccines and the country’s readiness in terms of the logistics needed by these drugs.
Apparently, Duterte also said that “wala na tayong pera” as he verbally castigated Filipinos who do not follow IATF protocols. These words elicited questions from people on where the billions of dollars of COVID-19 response loans incurred by, and grants given to the country, went. It should be noted that most of the vaccines that have arrived are donations. Meanwhile, for this year alone, the country was granted a loan by the World Bank (WB) of more than P50 billion for vaccines aside from other reported loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Korea, and Japan.
We are not even looking at the debt and grants from last year, the budgets from the General Appropriations Act (GAA), and Bayanihan 1 and 2. Thus, it seems natural for people to ask especially since it has become evident that more and more Filipinos are getting hungry as shown by the very long lines of those wanting to benefit from community pantries.
Maybe Duterte does not like this initiative because it has shown that Filipinos are getting hungry. He ranted against community pantries saying, “Start with puroks in barangays then sitios, ganun sana, wala lang isip yang mga yan. They just want to show to the people that they care but they don’t really care because ignorante.”
Because of these words, one initiator said that they are now scared for their safety. First, the Maginhawa CP initiator was red tagged. Now, it is actually the president himself who has accused them of hypocrisy and ignorance. If the CPs stopped now, it is the poor Filipinos who will lose, not the initiators. And this will be on Duterte.
On the WPS issue, Duterte castigated former Justice Antonio Carpio and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. He accused them of being the ones who let China occupy Philippine territory. This elicited a long response from Carpio on the facts that the former administration filed a case against, and won over China, but the Duterte administration set the important ruling aside. Carpio accused Duterte of allowing China to occupy more territories and actually build military facilities on them, and harvesting our precious marine resources in exchange for promised loans which until now have not materialized.
Perhaps what angered Filipinos most was when Duterte said that, “… China is a good friend. Marami tayong utang na loob pati bakuna natin...” Despite China’s abuses and disrespect of Philippine sovereignty, the Philippine PRESIDENT remains subservient. Did he not joke that he would prefer for the Philippines to become a province of China?
As Duterte continues his rants, more and more Filipinos are waking up to the reality that this administration is all bark while the country suffers. Long after they are gone from office, these presidential rants will haunt him and his cohorts. These will be their legacy—their neglect of the people, and their betrayal of the country in favor of China.
@bethangsioco on Twitter Elizabeth Angsioco on Facebook