• The grain of sand to produce a pearl



    Rodrigo Duterte is like the grain of sand that agitates the oyster of Philippine society, so this oyster can finally produce a pearl.

    When Rodrigo Duterte was a school boy, he must have been taught that the Philippines was the Pearl of the Orient.

    By the time he took his oath of office at the age of seventy one, rather than a pearl, he took over a nation wracked by an entrenched illegal drug menace, plagued by the one of the world’s longest running secessionist movements and the only remaining communist insurgency, and a government known by its own people to be inept in delivering basic services and corrupt at all levels.

    He has to preside over a national economy with a small beautiful face with modern skyscrapers decorated by investment grade trimmings but belonging to a bloated body of crowded slums of unemployed and underemployed people unable to translate fertile masses of land into affordable nutrition. He has to contend with decades of policy failures and corrupt implementation that has caused millions of his countrymen and women to be economic refugees in countries which put their own economies in order.

    He is presiding over a nation that has chosen to export labor rather than import employment.

    Righteous violence in the right side of the law is etched in Duterte’s memory by life and death situations throughout his career. He has crossed that threshold many times while most of us have the luxury of simply contemplating this moral dilemma.

    He seems to be fired with passion and intensity caused by the emotional luggage of grief and anguish of numerous victims of criminals who have crossed his path.

    But diligent efforts in researching his speaking engagements before he was a presidential candidate will reveal something. This man is not your ordinary street thug who got himself to be a Mayor and now President. He is widely read, has extensive stock knowledge of a broad range of security and development topics and has a good command of the English language and vocabulary.

    There are those who think that his rude language is his political weapon of choice.

    He uses psych-war tactics by unleashing verbal shock weapons that have smashed dainty diplomatic niceties, stunned world leaders and have driven a female senator to hysterics.

    Whether we like it or not, we have a revolutionary President.

    His revolution has started. The oyster is indeed being agitated and even irritated. The revolution is bloody and painful.

    His violent campaign against the drug lords and pushers and the Abu Sayaff is a stark contrast to his peace campaign with the Moro Bangsa and the NDF/NPA.

    Lost in the noise of perceived human right violations is that fact that in less than a hundred days, Duterte has caused the Moro and NPA guns to be silent throughout the land for the first time in at least sixty years.

    Government agencies are now serious in cutting down red tape and corruption.

    The long lost voices of Federal advocates have found a champion who will finally provide a pathway towards the establishment of the Federal Republic of the Philippines.

    He is leading us to uncharted waters in the geopolitical world. He is shifting to a neutralist position between the two superpowers. He believes that if we end up fighting on the American side, they may just abandon us and make Palawan the new Bataan. Only time will tell whether we will break up the minor mistress relationship with the Americans only to fall into the embrace of an eight hundred pound gorilla romping around in our backyard.

    The counter revolution has also started. Every time, Duterte puts out his rude language, the “cringe and squirm” audience in social media seems to increase.

    There is a gathering coalition of non-believers. There are the vociferous champions of the rule of law. There are the yellow remnants unwilling to move on, ever ready to exploit any crack in Duterte’s armor. There is the Que Horror crowd merging with the How-Dare-You-Offend-My-Convent-School-Sensitivities crowd.

    There is surplus of local and international bleeding hearts ready to scream outrage when a drug suspect is gunned down, but a puzzling shortage of public sympathizers for policemen and soldiers who are killed while arresting drug suspects caught en flagrante or pursuing the Abu Sayaf.

    Duterte’s vision of that new Pearl is clear. The people elected him because they yearn for strong leader who knows where to bring us and how we are to get there. Maybe, just maybe, we will finally join the ranks of countries that have brought safety, security and some widespread prosperity to their people.

    The country is now in the historic crossroads. We must find ways to take advantage of this rare politically disruptive leader. We have to suspend our normal expectations of a Presidential attire and vocabulary for the next six years.

    Who knows? Maybe underneath that rough stone lies a polished diamond of a true national leader who will finally produce the pearl of a country that we were once called.

    The author, Art Aguilar, a Harvard Kennedy School alumnus has worked abroad and in the Philippines, both in the private and government sectors. He is a past President of the Management Association of the Philippines and a past President of the Harvard Club of the Philippines. Views expressed herein are purely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the said organizations.


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    1. Great article! We never had a leader who actually has a vision for the country. What Duterte is doing is not just for the present, it is more for the future generations.

    2. Very nice read. thanks to you Sir. There are few people who can render good writings to the readers. As we are hungry for piece fairly written.nowadays, news print media writers are full of biases, we cant expect them telling what is fair and just. Maybe 80% of them were contaminated by distorted facts
      Half truths half lies is all the same, its still lies. Keep the good work Sir Aguilar!

    3. What a beautiful analogy. The Pear of the Orient is beginning to emerge. Thank you Sir for bringing up this article and for giving us that sense of pride.

    4. Mr. Aguilar thanks for sharing a positive analysis for our President Rodrigo Duterte.

      More power,


    5. Wow….so wonderful…how great our God for giving us President Duterte…thank you Mr Aguilar, i enjoy reading…
      Am hereia australia.

    6. this article served as eye opener…time to stand by our own,time to dis own these crocodiles in the government..time to Disipline ourselves for a change.

    7. Sanchita Conway on

      A beautiful poetic political prose of the president of the Philippines. Excellent read!

    8. Well said, Sir… The change we have been longing for has finally arrived. Filipinos are very lucky to have him as our President. His vision and mission for our country will make the Philippines great.

    9. We the Blue people of Duterte will hit head on with the yellow tards, we must not allow to go back into the dark ages of Lazy, insensitivity, KKK, rampant corruption and on and on lists of kapalpakan and useless leader ship.

      I don`t care the mouth of our Pres. but the hands are working very hard for us.

    10. Awesome!!!
      Pls keep on writing stuff like this to inspire the filipinos as we are headed for a victorious Philippines!!!

    11. Ernesto Dela Cruz on

      You made easy dissecting and analyzing a President’s character and trait and I’m sure I’m not the only one in agreement with you.

      Filipinos need more of your writings. Keep it coming.

    12. Absolutely astonishing Mr Aguilera. I enjoyed your views and hoping that our beloved Philippines will be great again.
      I hope we can get rid of this yellow oligarchs and those yellow media. Whose like monster who starved of power people should realized that this is the time for change and we have a president whose willing to risk everything to have it done.

    13. Hopefully Filipino people soon realized that were on the runways to to take off for the better… Thank you sir… ?

    14. Rolita Y. Zerna on

      Thank you Mr.Aguilar!this is a very laudable piece of article and I hope everyone who reads this will have the same insights and keen perception that indeed our country is now in the hands of a very able leader who will straighten the ill curves of our society under corrupt governance..indeed pres.duterte is a rare gem,a true pearl who has been into deep slumber and now fully awake to fight what is rightfully ours,foul-mouthed he may be but with an honest&brave heart who will fight tooth&nail,for his country. The likes of you,Prof.Contreras,Atty.Rivera,Mocha,TP,Sass Rogando Sasot etc.,are few of the individuals this country whom everyone must admire who have the advocacies worth fighting for..more power sir&kudos!

      • Elsa Schwarzkopf on

        Yes, I truly agree with you. let us treasures this personalities who exposed their life in-danger for the love love of truth and love to our country.

    15. Mr. Aguilar you have woven the tapestry that best illustrate the present sentiments, reactions of the different sectors of the Philippine society. More power to you. Your piece is very enlightening at understanding what’s happening.

    16. Mr Agilar you are the real one.. A writer or called columnist who has good weapon on your finger tip the moment touches your own keybord.

      Positive thinker & observant, Let them know the real score of our nation from beloved brave President DU30.

    17. I used to say this is the time that try men power and by power I mean power to think and power to do what he think. But observing what is going on with DU30, I should say think smart and be up to date on Global Reality. The Department of Trade and Board of Investments have exerted efforts to attract Investors all over the world since Marcos time and it is
      producing Big Time results for the Country. Why do something to erase these good results? There are Pearls and there will be more if DU30 eliminate his deep hatred of the West.

    18. Mr. Aguilar, I certainly appreciate and truly enjoyed reading your views on President Duterte.

      Thank you and more power,