MANILA, Philippines – For former president Fidel V. Ramos, the country was “losing badly” in the first 100 days of the Duterte administration.
In the first installment of a two-part opinion piece for the Manila Bulletin on Saturday, October 8, Ramos said: “In the overall assessment by this writer, we find our Team Philippines losing in the first 100 days of Du30’s administration – and losing badly. This is a huge disappointment and let-down to many of us.”
Ramos, who was among those who convinced President Rodrigo Duterte to run in the May 2016 elections, criticized the bloody war on drugs and the President’s tirades against the international community.
Ramos enumerated goals such as poverty alleviation and enhancement of national security, which he said Duterte could have addressed better if he weren’t “stuck in unending controversies about extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss-words and insults instead of civilized language.”
In particular, Ramos called out Duterte for his controversial remarks on the United States and US President Barack Obama. Duterte most recently told Obama to go to hell and said he wanted to stop Manila and Washington’s military exercises – a statement that Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr later denied.
Duterte also said the Philippines would survive even without aid from the US, European Union, and United Nations. (READ: What Typhoon Yolanda foreign aid looks like without US, EU, and UN)
“Equally discombobulating are the mix of ‘off-and-on’ statements by P. Digong on Philippines-US relations, particularly on security and economic matters,” Ramos said in his opinion column.
“So, what gives?? Are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics, and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that?? On P. Du30’s say-so???” he added.
Ramos also criticized Duterte for his remarks about Adolf Hitler. Duterte had likened Hitler’s annihilation of the Jews to his war on drugs, then later apologized, saying it was not his intention to offend the Jewish community.
“In the case of his recent ‘Hitler quip’ no amount of apology could mollify the long-suffering Jews who have done well for the Philippines,” Ramos said, adding that the country welcomed 30,000 Jewish families who resettled here during the time of President Manuel L. Quezon.
Ramos did note that Duterte still has “enough time to correct the most serious flaws in our national leadership.”
He added: “Ours is not to heap more brickbats on P. Du30 – because he has had more than enough already – but to help enable him to transform (thru his own efforts) from a mere provincial official to a capable international player at the head of 101,000,000 multicultured Filipinos.”
Ramos was the first person that Duterte acknowledged in his inaugural speech last June 30, saying, “President Fidel Ramos, sir, salamat po sa tulong mo (thank you for your help in) making me President.”