MANILA – Former President Fidel Ramos on Tuesday elaborated on his critical assessment of the first 100 days of his ally, President Rodrigo Duterte, saying the tough-talking leader has yet to lay down his long-term strategic vision for the Philippines.
Ramos, who pushed Duterte to run for president, shocked many when he wrote in a column published over the weekend that the Philippines was “losing badly” in the first 100 days of the administration.
Speaking to ANC’s Beyond Politics, Ramos clarified that he still considers himself a “teammate” of the president, but this does not mean he will stop giving advice and constructive criticism.
“I mean well. That must be the first assumption you must make with me. I consider myself a teammate of President Duterte, and a teammate of the bigger team, the more important team, of 101 million Filipinos,” he said.
Ramos said, while Duterte’s war on drugs is commendable in so far as reducing the crime rate, Duterte has to take into consideration the concerns of other Filipinos.
“There is not just one issue, he has a multitude of issues and concerns. That’s how we Filipinos are, we are a multi-cultural society,” Ramos said.
Ramos said Duterte has yet to present a long-term strategic vision for the Philippines.
“First of all, [there is] the lack of, or small presence, call it, of long term strategic vision which in my own modest words, I say should be our purpose of whatever age we might be - that is, simply, a better future for the Philippines and all Filipinos. Strategic in the sense that you don’t accomplish that in six years, but targeted towards your children and my grandchildren,” Ramos said.
For Ramos, Duterte’s war on drugs should not be the end-all and be-all of his governance.
“That is just a part of it. If that were the totality of solution, by now there would be more happy people in the streets and many more in their workplaces, and many more happy people on their way to work. But it’s not that way because there is a pervading ambiance of uncertainty, call it unhappiness, in the sense that not much has improved,” he said.
“Of course, the crime rate has gone down, that's assumed, that is a given.. but in terms of the overall better quality of life of Filipinos, in general, especially as reported by the millennials, we do not seem to have far enough. So I go back to the vision which must be articulated within first week of the presidency. Hindi pa natin nakikita iyan, it's not there.”