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After criticism, Ramos rallies support for Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – After criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte last week, former President Fidel Ramos, in a new newspaper column published on Sunday, October 16, rallied public support for his anointed, urging everyone to unite behind Duterte. 

"Every member of our huge, extended family of more than 101,500,000 Filipinos – plus foreign retirees and investors who have cast their lot with our beloved Philippines – need to work more closely and pull more forcefully together to keep our ship seaworthy, competitive, and fast-moving in the right direction – and thereby achieve, without further reversals, aspirations for our better future," Ramos said in his column in the Manila Bulletin titled "Onboard Ship Pilipinas – 101 million together under skipper PDU30."

In the 2nd installment of a two-part opinion piece for the Manila Bulletin, he compared the country to a "leaky and slow-moving" ship because of "internal strife and disunity." He said the public should "pull an oar or plug a leak" and "learn how to swim in case our ship sinks."

"What about little children and babies?? Patay (Dead)!!! Unless..." Ramos wrote in the 2nd and final part of a column that criticizes Duterte's performance for the first 100 days.

He also gave Duterte advice on how to pull up the country after what he said were losses in the administration's first 100 days in office.  

"President Rodrigo Duterte cannot just continue skippering our ship willy-nilly headlong, oblivious of danger signs, without addressing the strategic imperatives of public safety, community harmony, and national development," he said.

He said Duterte should not waste the opportunities in the next 100 days. 

"From Day One, a national leader must define where he will bring the nation and show the people how to get there. He leads by setting the right example that the citizenry should emulate. He leads by making the correct decisions for the betterment of the many, not enrichment of the few," said Ramos.

Ramos, who was among those who convinced then-Davao City Mayor Duterte to run in the May 2016 elections, criticized the bloody war on drugs and the President's tirades against the international community, particularly the country's treaty ally, the US. 

He 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."

“One can only hope, that in the next 100 days, we will have more of the good than the bad," Ramos said in his new column. 

Ramos said a leader should be a visionary capable of carrying out "painful reforms" while organizing a "caring and sharing international community."

"Talking from experience, this writer believes that confronted with many serious concerns, President Digong is like a juggler – balancing and keeping aloft at least 10 balls - which are transnational problems," wrote Ramos. "The presidency is no place for panicky, self-centered, onion-skinned or fragile characters." 

He said the President should also address the emerging crisis that is climate change by introducing "green stimulus programs" that will create jobs, reduce poverty, protect vulnerable communities, and lower carbon emissions. – Rappler.com