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Andanar sees Duterte as greatest President

With a string of solid gains in his first 100 days in office, President Duterte is poised to become the “greatest” leader of the country, according to a Palace official.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the President had a “very successful” first three months in office, citing reduction in crime rate, revival of the peace negotiations with the communist rebels, and the distribution of land to agrarian reform beneficiaries.

“We have a President who knows what he is doing and who loves the people. He is only after the welfare of Filipinos and we have a President whose heart is in the right place,” Andanar said in a television interview.

“With so much political will, we have a President that could be the greatest President of this land if he can only make peace…law and order, peace in the land, and poverty alleviation successful during his six year term,” he added.

So far, Andanar acknowledged that the biggest accomplishment of the President is the campaign against the narcotics trade.

More than 700,000 drug pushers and users have surrendered to authorities since the President’s anti-drug crackdown started. Crime rate also dropped at 49 percent as of September, according to Andanar.

“It’s a complete success and the people believe in it,” he said.

“It has dropped and people feel safer. Now, that’s law and order that the President wants to fix. Kasi wala nga, we have a weak rule of law here in the Philippines and he wants to strengthen that,” he added.

Another unprecedented move of the President was to open Cabinet positions to Left-leaning leaders and return to the negotiating table with the local communist group.

Apart from fighting corruption in the bureaucracy, Andanar said the government also pursued measures to combat poverty and promote growth. At least nine big-ticket infrastructure projects worth P171.14 billion have been approved in a recent meeting in the National Economic and Development Authority board meeting.

“You have DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) Secretary (Rafael) Mariano giving away land, including the Hacienda Luisita,” he said.

Andanar said the Department of Trade and Industry is also doing its job to fix the labor contractual problem hounding some companies. “We have to be realistic, we also have to ensure the survival of business in our country and the fact that we are after also foreign direct investment,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)