The Philippines needs a Strongman as President…could it be Duterte?

The Philippines needs a Strongman as President

…could it be Duterte?

By Apolinario Villalobos

With threats from within and outside, the Philippines needs a strongman. By strongman, it means that such a guy should be respectable and with a tested conviction.

From within, the country reels from the overpowering and pestering corruption since the first day of its self-governance. From outside, the country is perceived as lame because of its equally weak leadership. That is the sad state of the country today. No amount of made up report about its “progress” printed in bold black figures has been able to lend an impressive image of the country, as the objective of such report is obviously to encourage the government to borrow more money from lending countries that are salivating at the prospect of its continued indebtedness.

Illegal drug business is having a grand time in the country and crime is steadily on the rise. Illegal mining financed by foreigners in cahoots with corrupt local officials is left unchecked. Poverty and unemployment are practically gnawing up the economic foundation of the country. The educational system is so unreliable, that instead of alleviating the lot of the youth, it has contributed to their shock and confusion due to exploitive schemes of educational institutions resulting from redundant course offerings.

Juveniles are left out on the streets, harassing unsuspecting citizens, and while enjoying sniffs of rugby from bottles and small plastic pouches. On the other hand, the agencies that are supposed to be overflowing with programs for this segment of the population just look the other way. They remove these urchins from the streets only when foreign visitors are coming.

I mentioned in my earlier blogs, Duterte who practically, gave Davao City a 24-degree turnaround with his conviction in implementing the law. Agdao which was known before his time as “Nicaragdao” due to heinous crimes even at daytime, now sports a new genteel image. For a big and veritable tourist destination in Mindanao, curfew is being strictly observed with much respect, together with the non-smoking in public places. Literally, Davao is the only city in the country that celebrates Christmas silently, albeit, with much solemnity, due to the strictly imposed firecracker ban until the eve of New Year.

Some quarters are wary that, although, Duterte has proved his worth as Mayor of Davao City, its scope is just a minuscule compared to that of the Philippines as a nation on matters of “control”, especially, on the personages that comprise the administration. It should be noted that corruption is not limited to heads of offices but subordinates, as well. Add to this the two halls of lawmakers – Congress and Senate, whose support is very necessary. Will the two houses which are immensely enjoying their “benefits” cooperate with a “straight” President in the person of Duterte, just in case? Will the well-entrenched corrupt personalities exchange their monetary benefits for “idealism”?

As dictated by dirty Philippine political tradition, in case Duterte wins, lawmakers will surely change their color again so that they can meld with him. If this happens, will Duterte maintain his steadfastness as a no-nonsense leader, thereby, prove himself as really, a strongman? Personally, I know, he will.

Duterte is the person who qualifies as a leader at the right moment which is 2016, a decisive and tumultuous year for the country. He may not have an experience as a governor, a congressman, a senator, or even as vice-president, but any person on the street knows that most of those who filled those positions are corrupt and even naïve. Of what use then, is having an experience in those positions, before one can become president?

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