THE recent exasperated remarks by former President Fidel V. Ramos that seem critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s first 100 days performance, and where he in fact chastised Digong for his uncouth language have confused not a few.
Everybody knows FVR was one of the strongest “pushers” who convinced then Davao City Mayor Duterte to run for President, and supported him all the way. It was thus not surprising when President Digong tapped FVR for a special diplomatic liaison mission to Beijing afterwards, though the latter seemed not too eager to accept the assignment unconditionally.
Many now wonder if FVR’s utterances signify a falling out between them despite his call for Filipinos to continue supporting President Duterte. We earnestly hope not. Their tandem remains crucial for our national interest. FVR is not against reaching out and developing friendships with China and Russia. He simply frowns against making enemies out of old friends, especially through P.I.-peppered undiplomatic language.
Former National Security Adviser, Gen. Jose Almonte also shares this unsolicited advice for President Duterte: A successful President is a good performer and a statesman.
* * *
President Duterte’s promise to of hefty combat pay to the Police and military and doubling their salaries within six years has prompted many to ask where the money will come from and whether the government can afford the splurge since other sectors are likely to demand similar favors.
Let us trust the President. He is not one to promise something he cannot deliver. Yes, the government can well afford it and the President knows where to source the funds.
Regarding this issue, let me advert to my favorite Bicolano leader, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, now senior vice chair of the House Ways and Means, and vice chair of Appropriations, Local Government and Economic Affairs committees. In a recent interview at his Congress office, he said he has vowed to help formulate the financial programs of the PNP and AFP to realize Duterte’s pledge of doubling the salaries of uniformed men in six years.
Salceda has been closely working with the PNP and AFP. He had tapped their personnel when he organized Team Albay, his pioneering disaster response group during his term as governor. He presently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the AFP reserve force and is the regional commander of the 33rd Air Force Group Reserve in Bicol. (Johnny Dayang)