A 12-MINUTE video of former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte where he outlined his plans puts this tough-talking presidential bet in a new light.
In the video posted on Face book, Duterte was sober, soft-spoken, unlike the persona he has been known for. Was this the real Duterte or was this just a makeover? Whatever it may be, what he communicated merits deep consideration.
Among his proposals, I like best the revival of the steel industry. He said correctly that more jobs will be created thru industrialization and that there can be no industrialization unless the country had an integrated steel mill.
He lamented that while the Philippines had one ahead of Taiwan, South Korea and other countries, it’s now importing from them finished products made from ores and raw materials that it has exported to them. Wonder no more why even carpentry tools are imported.
The inept Department of Environment and Natural Resources has done nothing while our beaches are disfigured with the quarrying of black sand, a source of raw materials in steel production.
There’s nothing new in Duterte’s proposals to lower food costs: improve infrastructure for faster, cheaper transportation of goods, remove checkpoints, make government financial institutions more accessible to the poor so they won’t fall prey to loan sharks, and eliminate middlemen “who are hated by the NPAs.”
He’s confident that with all of these in place, food cost will go down by up to 50 percent in one year.
His proposal to cut red tape is also old hat. Since 1987, officials have been talking of reducing the number of signatures to release goods at the Bureau of Customs. There have also been calls for one-stop shops to make starting a business less cumbersome and less time-consuming. There has been little progress on these proposals. However, what makes Duterte’s more credible is his performance in Davao City. There, city hall officials will be in a hot seat if they fail to act on applications for licenses and permits after 72 hours.
His proposal for education to emphasize values is spot-on. He messed this up in a later interview where he wanted to remove Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus from the curriculum. At a time when leading countries are concentrating on engineering and technology to be able to compete globally, Duterte is moving in the opposite direction.
This said, the video interview is a welcome departure from Duterte’s harping on starting a bloodbath for criminals, on the number of persons he alleged to have personally killed, and on his threat to slap rival Mar Roxas.
Roxas fired back, saying slapping is for women so why don’t they slug it out instead?
This suggests that Roxas is better in boxing than in slapping. Is he? I have no idea. Ask Senate President Pro-tempore Ralph Recto. He is a more reliable judge on this.