MANILA – After criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte over what he believes were lost opportunities during the new leader’s first 100 days in power, former President Fidel V. Ramos called on Filipinos to support the firebrand president.
In the last of his two-part opinion piece for the Manila Bulletin, Ramos urged Filipinos to unite and rally behind the president in steering the nation towards success.
“We have to teach everyone teamwork. Filipinos cannot anymore afford to be fragmented and fractious. We need to be and act as one nation. We have to move together, in the right direction. We need to care for each other. We need to share and contribute whatever talent one has. We must dare and try all proper means to get results faster, which outcomes should be greater than the sum of the parts,” Ramos said.
“Experience teaches us that no man/woman, be he/she the president or billionaire captain of industry, can single-handedly bring progress. The job of nation-building requires every citizen, no matter what his/her stature in life is, to do his/her share.”
Ramos said apart from the support of Filipinos, Duterte as the nation’s top leader, must have a vision for the country.
“From day one, a national leader must define where he will bring the nation and show the people how to get there,” Ramos said.
“He leads by setting the right example that the citizenry should emulate. He leads by making the correct decisions for the betterment of the many, not enrichment of the few.”
He said, Duterte will be like a “juggler” while addressing the many concerns and problems of the country, and he must have the skills to solve all of these.
“As Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief, he must perform with greater agility and competence than the ordinary circus juggler handling hot potatoes while on a tightwire 100 meters up, catching and managing the balls in a calm, harmonious manner, and not drop any in the process,” he said.
“As skipper of our flag carrier ‘Pilipinas,’ P. Du30 must prove his navigational skills, mental stability, and psychological fortitude to steer our leaky and overloaded ship safely to the ‘Promised Land.’”
Ramos advised Duterte to address the country’s other challenges, such as poverty, endemic diseases, hunger, climate change, and joblessness, hoping that “in the next 100 days, we will have more of the good than the bad.”
“P. Du30, therefore, cannot just continue skippering our ship willy-nilly headlong, oblivious of danger signs, without addressing the strategic imperatives of public safety, community harmony, and national development,” he said.
“As commander-in-chief and “Pinoy Family Head,” it is P. Digong’s inescapable responsibility to first put our divided house in order.”
Ramos, who pushed Duterte to run for president, earlier lamented that the Philippines lost badly during the first 100 days of the administration.
The former leader criticized Duterte for being too focused on his war on drugs, neglecting other social ills such as poverty.
Ramos also called out Duterte for his foreign policy which is hostile towards the Philippines long-time ally, the United States. He also lamented Duterte's insults against outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, a former foreign minister of South Korea who helped Filipino veterans of the Korean war.