#AnimatED: Duterte and high expectations

#AnimatED: Duterte and high expectations
President-elect Duterte takes office amid rising hopes that the country will be safer and lives will be better

On June 30, Rodrigo Duterte, who won by a commanding lead, will start his 6-year term as president of the Philippines.

He takes office amid high expectations that the country will be safer and lives will be better – as he had promised during his stunning campaign. We hope he does not disappoint.

Criminality, he said, will be down in 3 to 6 months.

Corruption will be reduced as Duterte announced he will be unforgiving to corrupt government officials. “One whiff of corruption and you’re out,” is his mantra.

While Duterte did not stress poverty reduction during his campaign, his economic managers have unfolded an 8-point program that continues the growth policies of the Aquino government. They have declared to “expand and improve” the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, the anti-poverty centerpiece of the former administration.

This economic agenda has since expanded to 10 points, adding promotion of science, technology, and the creative arts “to enhance innovation,” and strengthening the implementation of the reproductive health law to allow couples to plan their family sizes.

The incoming finance secretary, Carlos Dominguez, recently told a large gathering of businessmen in Davao City that the new government’s key goal is to make growth “truly inclusive” and not just to “further entrench the oligarchy.” While the “macroeconomic numbers are good,” he said, “they did not translate into a good life for all.”

Included in the to-do list of Duterte’s economic team are:

  • building a robust middle class by reconfiguring the tax system
  • developing rural areas and modernizing agriculture to generate more jobs
  • reforming the bureaucracy to be more responsive to citizens and business
  • freeing government agencies from “regulatory capture”
  • raising money to invest in “social goods” such as infrastructure, health facilities and quality educational institutions

We did not hear Duterte raise these issues during the campaign but he has repeatedly said that he will leave economic policies to the experts in his Cabinet because it is not his field.

For his part, Duterte has prioritized peace and order. Talks with the communist-led National Democratic Front have begun.

The incoming president has continued his heated rhetoric on going after drug dealers and criminals, even encouraging citizens to shoot those who resist, causing concern about upholding the rule of law. The public needs to be vigilant.

In a few days, change begins as the Duterte administration takes over, albeit on a discordant note. The new president has refused to be inaugurated with the vice president, showing division on his first day in office.

Alienating would-be allies, as we know, unnecessarily wastes political capital. After all, for Duterte to succeed, he needs all the support he can get. – Rappler.com 

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