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Duterte’s high marks

By: Erik Espina

I WAS monitoring a popular radio program in Cebu heard around Central Visayas and under the wing of a major TV network. The program presentor cum commentator posed a question to both his regular and listening public. “What grade will you give President Rodrigo Duterte in his one year of service?” The rating scale was from 1-5, with “one” to mean “excellent”, the median spiraling to “five” to register “failed”. 

In the several hours passing as I listened to the various phone calls, the general average was a whooping 85% approval rating with high marks. Many callers were favorable to the president with a “one”, followed by an explanation. The range of commentaries ranged from their personally liking the “person” of DU30, to his “directness”, “truthfulness”, “what you see is what you get”, “straight talking”, to his style of governance, up to the impish, “dead criminals are better with no more crime” approach. There were “fives” who called-out the current administration but noticeably far in-between considering this was an open line to anyone and everyone in the entire Cebu and Central Visayas.

Critics of the president will surely cite the “cup is half full” argument to win on their truth that the “cup is actually, half empty”. My modest take on the year under DU30 is predicated on a perspective based on context, to rightfully grade his administration. DU30 must be examined in the prism of, “What are the pressing problems of the country and how he addressed them?” It was President Duterte who exposed the long gestating and shadowy trade plus pernicious effects of the drug industry on our democracy, law and order, and families. There is his fight against “criminality” and his anger over the state of peril in our streets. The stats are down for this. Another is “Graft and Corruption”. This is expressed as a personal mantra of disdain and warning (firing) in his cabinet and government. “Duterte-nomics”, the largest (R428.4B) dedicated infrastructure budget in history to spur needed economic activity and employment. In foreign affairs, the world has heard of DU30, admired/curious of him and the Philippines.