Believe PH

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MA. LOURDES TIQUIA

AFTER the Day of Protest, we hope things will now settle down and it should be clear to all that the country will not be under martial law and that PRRD remains the duly elected leader. We will never venture into coups d’etatagain for it has been proven that coups are status quo solutions; only the oligarchs win, never Juan dela Cruz.

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One year and four months after May 2016, we owe it to our country to settle down and find solutions and build consensus on where the country is going. The formula laid out by PRRD is, manage peace and order and the economy will take care of itself, driven principally by the private sector. Economic managers are working hard to make sure, as we avail of funding options and appropriate revenues, that we are mindful how economic activities impact on the people that truly matter. So, all hands must be on deck and if you do not want to help, do not destroy the Philippines. Instead, prepare for 2019 and 2022, the time when political change can be made legally.

Yes, dissent is a given and being critical should be respected but destroying country should not be allowed because the destruction of the Phiippines will lead to a precarious state for the 22 percent living below the poverty line. Any extra-constitutional removal of a duly elected president will take the country back to square one amidst all the movements happening in Asean and the world. When economic growth is much felt in the region, the PH cannot self-destruct.

Hence, after a year and four months of Operation Tokhang and Double Barrel Reloaded, the Philippine National Police should recalibrate and build on the gains on the war against illegal drugs. It cannot be business as usual for it has proven to be the waterloo of this administration. Go back to the drawing board and be professional in the campaign, for every failure by the PNP is a failure of the administration, taking into consideration the issues raised against it. The names of the Oplan alone evokes “state-sponsored killings” when one can be more inclusive and positive. The days of “golpe de gulat” are gone. And your theater of war is in NCR. Two factors that PRRD and his communication team will have to wrestle with fast.

In communicating the war against illegal drugs, numbers are critical, updates on cases against police vital and removing from the campaign issues of politics primordial. If the evidence will bear it out, cases should be filed by now against elected and appointed officials. No shortcuts, no bullying, no taunting. No doublespeak.

But debunk the numbers and defend the Republic is a must or else, we have a framing internationally that will worry foreign investors. What are the facts from PNP records, as validated by PDEA, from the period July 1, 2016 to August 29, 2017: 1) a total of 70,854 anti-drug operations have been conducted; 2) a total of 107,156 drug personalities have been arrested; 3) 3,811 drug personalities died in anti-drug operations; 4) 176 government employees arrested; 5) 167 elected officials arrested and 6) 33 uniformed personnel arrested. From the period July 1, 2016 to July 26, 2017, 1,308,078 surrenderees have been facilitated. Not much has been heard though on the state of rehabilitation, a much-needed part of the declared war.

The other twin to the peace and order formula is #BuildBuildBuild but nothing is being built. Delays to this infrastructure program is worrisome. No awards have been made save for NEDA approval. PRRD must appoint an interagency task force for #BuildBuildBuild. There’s got to be a sense of urgency going into fiscal year 2018. Any delay will dampen the market and with nine other markets in Asean, we might just see movement away from our shores and we would not like that to happen. Again, information is gold. The task force must be able to communicate to all what is the status of the projects under #BuildBuildBuild.

Instead of focusing on politics and getting the presidential bully pulpit involved in the mud throwing, pivot and get communications on the twin priorities of the Duterte administration. Control and dictate the arc.

The Philippines is well positioned in the Asean’s growth trajectory and we cannot ride the tide well if we do not believe in our capacities for doing so.We need to believe that we can do it.

We can grapple with poverty and institute a long-term program of inclusive growth by replacing CCT with an employment/jobs program. The database for CCT is robust, tap these people, train them now for employment in #BuildBuildBuild. That’s an army of workers right away. Get Tesda to train them. We need to believe that rural Philippines will see its day of intervention. Match these areas with #BuildBuildBuild so that the Top 10 poorest provinces can stand on their own and attract investors. Believe that we can have another green revolution in our midst. Place agriculture as one of the drivers of the economy. Provide food domestically and remove middlemen to increase the income of farmers. Families of farmers should be given all the incentives to remain as farmers because it is not a deadend job. We also need to modernize our farms so that land earns for them not just during one harvest season.

Believing is not hard. When we see a Filipino enter a foreign competition, whether singing, dancing, we identify with them. When our flag waves in beauty competitions, we shout our identity. We go crazy when any Filipino team wins in a sporting competition.

But why is it that when it comes to country, we throw in the towel and condemn it.Why? We should believe that we can. We should continue to believe in country even while we wrestle with the demons of leadership because that is part and parcel of respecting democracy’s mandate. “Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful.” Believe PH, we must.

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