“He will likely continue Duterte’s programs.”
President Duterte once called Bongbong Marcos a weak leader and a spoiled brat. But now, expecting the President’s endorsement, Bongbong now is committed to continue Duterte’s policies like Build Build Build if he is elected president.
That’s not so bad since the infrastructure program of Duterte is much needed for the country’s development.
On the other hand, my gulay, Bongbong is likewise committed to continue the failed wars of Duterte on illegal drugs and corruption in government. Duterte already said that the next President must take a strong stand against illegal drugs. By strong stand Duterte clearly meant that whoever will be the next President must continue his “kill, kill, kill” policy on anybody involved in illegal drugs, including illegal drug users and drug addicts, who are actually the victims.
If Bongbong, granted that Duterte will endorse him as the next President, and if the BBM-Sara Duterte Carpio tandem makes it, being the frontrunners according to all poll surveys, they will have to continue Duterte’s policies and programs.
Marcos and Sara must have learned by now that the reason Duterte had failed in his war against illegal drugs is that his method is wrong. For the campaign against illegal drugs to succeed, it must take on a holistic aspect, like prevention, law enforcement, prosecution and rehabilitation. Rehab constitutes 50 percent of the problem because the existence of illegal drugs is a matter of the law on supply and demand. Taken from this context, cartels and syndicates are always there to supply the demand for illegal drugs.
Having been involved in the rehabilitation of drug users and drug addicts, I personally know that drug users and drug addicts can only be cured through a community-based rehabilitation, staffed by professionals who know the problem of drug users and drug addicts. Simply isolating them won’t work as government must have learned by now. Why community-based rehab centers ? This reason is for the drug users and drug addicts who need moral and physical support from parents and family.
What Duterte failed to foresee was the onset of the culture of impunity when the police, whom Duterte relied on in his war on illegal drugs and the frequency of extra-judicial killings or “EJK” by the police. This EJK, in fact, amounted to so much criticism from here and abroad, so much so that even the UN Human Rights Watch and the International Criminal Court took notice to investigate violations of human rights, Santa Banana!
If only to prove that Duterte’s war on illegal drugs failed, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, illegal drugs continued to proliferate that the police had to commence their “double-barreled” war on illegal drugs. It was clear that cartels and syndicates involved in the illegal drug trade continued to smuggle through customs and outright smuggling through the country’s porous coastal areas by billions worth of “shabu” from China.
This will be the problem Bongbong will face if elected President, and if he wants to continue Duterte’s war on illegal drugs, a war that will outlast him.
The problem of graft and corruption in government that Duterte wanted to eradicate is another thing. This is a problem that has become the headache of every President as far as I can remember in my over 70 years as a journalist, Customs is the most graft-ridden agency of government.
Eradication of graft and corruption in government was his vow that resonated with the people. It made him president. If nobody else could get rid of graft and corruption in government before Duterte, could he? That’s what the people thought. But, like his war on illegal drugs, graft and corruption in government appears to be a never-ending problem.
So again I ask, can Bongbong, if elected, rid government of graft and corruption? Personally, I don’t think he can, considering the problem is endemic with our kind of government.
Men have feet of clay, so long as human intervention and discretion are present in government transactions, there will always be graft and corruption, and no president can eradicate this – only minimize it.
The worst thing that Duterte did in his war against graft and corruption in government was the exemption of some of his friends from accountability from what they did, and even recycled them to other positions, making the people lose trust in Duterte. Again, if Bongbong becomes the next president, how will he confront this problem of graft and corruption in government? These are the challenges the next President will have to face. The biggest challenge of all is how to jumpstart the country’s economic recovery after years of the pandemic, if the pandemic will end this year as expected. Will it?
Still, Santa Banana, the biggest and greatest challenge Bongbong will face if elected President is joblessness, hunger and the rising incidence of poverty.
Just how Bongbong will meet this challenge is something to watch.