A political analyst agreed with the observation of former President Fidel Ramos that the country has “lost badly” during the first 100 days of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte because of the government’s failure to act on other pressing matters the country is facing.
Prof. Ramon Casiple said that while the administration has been very active in its campaign against illegal drugs, it has yet to come up with concrete plans on how it would address poverty, high cost of living, and other matters that affect the lives of Filipinos.
Ramos, in an opinion published in a newspaper, said Duterte’s first 100 days had been “a huge disappointment and letdown to many of us.”
The former president said the government could have done more during the first 100 days “had it hit the ground running instead of being stuck in unending controversies about extra-judicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss-words and insults instead of civilized language.”
The former president also expressed confusion over the “off-and-on” statements of Duterte on the Philippines-US relations particularly on security and economic matters and the continuous verbal attacks against US President Barack Obama.
“So, what gives? Are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics, and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that? On P. Du30’s (President Duterte) say-so?” Ramos said.
Casiple said he agrees with some of Ramos’ observations. However, the analyst said Duterte was also right in pursing an independent foreign policy but not the cussing of world leaders.
“The campaign against illegal drugs will not address the other problems the country is facing,” Casiple added.
He did well
But Malacañang on Monday maintained that Duterte “did exceptionally well” in his first 100 days in office.
In a press conference, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Palace respects and understands where Ramos’ statement is coming from, but added that they also “continue to move on according to the lights of the President.”
“Former President Ramos is a senior statesman and he’s acting in the sense of, parang in a sense like a father ‘no. He’s not referring to the actual actions. He’s referring to the public relations, foreign relations that tend to be affected by the President’s language. So in a sense, yes we listen to him, we respect him,” Abella told reporters.
“But we’d also like to balance his perspective by the statements… Based on the three-point mission, which is to reduce poverty, which is law and order, which is peace within our borders, he said that the President did exceptionally well,” he added.
The Palace official said Filipinos should see Duterte as a man of action who wants to deliver on his promises.
“It’s not so much him but the public I think. I think what the public needs is a better appreciation of the President’s vision for the nation which is that we come into our own and truly have an independent mindset, independent spirit and that we will truly, fully embrace our being Filipino,” Abella said.
AND CATHERINE S. VALENTE