OPINION: My initial thoughts on the Duterte administration

Harvey S. Keh

Posted at Jul 09 2016 02:55 PM

In the last elections, I openly supported the candidacies of Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo but now that the elections are over, it is now time for our country to move forward from the divisiveness and towards supporting the new administration led by President Rodrigo Duterte. Does that mean that we will always support him in all his decisions? Of course not. We live in a democratic society, thus, we are given the liberty to also express our own opinions and thoughts on particular issues but at the same time, we also cannot just oppose the present administration just for the sake of opposing since this will be counterproductive for our country.

For those who did not support Duterte in the last elections or are having second thoughts of supporting his administration, I think the best way to deal with him is through critical collaboration. Vice President Leni Robredo said it best when she said that she will praise and support Duterte when he does something good for our country but she will not keep quiet when she feels that the administration is doing something wrong.

Happy with the leftists

One of the things that I liked that Duterte did was his appointment of leftists in his Cabinet namely Agrarian Reform Sec. Rafael Mariano and Social Welfare Sec. Judy Taguiwalo. It would be good to see how they are able to solve the problems that they have been pointing out in their numerous rallies for the past decades. Since the time of President Corazon Aquino, I do not remember any President that was supported or even praised by these left-leaning groups. For them, it seemed like all Presidents were anti-poor and promoted injustice in our country.

I am happy that they are now given the chance to implement change and actually make things happen on the ground. I’ve heard good stories about Taguiwalo, hopefully, she can further improve on the successful 4Ps program of our government. Whether or not they will be successful remains to be seen but what is good is that they will also get to experience how hard it is to actually institutionalize the changes that they have been literally shouting and clamoring for.

Not so happy with Villar

Ever since the 2010 elections, I’ve not been a huge fan of the Villar family. Who can forget the C5 road scam where public funds were diverted to allegedly benefit the real estate company of the Villar family. Now, Duterte apparently forgot about this and appointed former Las Pinas Rep. Mark Villar to head the Deparment of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The DPWH works with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in determining the new areas that our government aims to develop thus, this may give an undue advantage to the real estate company of the Villar family.

How? It’s really simple, since they would know where the roads will be constructed in the next decade, they can now buy the land surrounding those areas. For example, the value of a particular piece of land is only P1,000 per square meter now since it is still inaccessible to the public but its value will shoot up to P10,000 per square meter when roads are built around it. This gives the real estate developer a 1000% return on his or her investment at the expense of the public. I don’t have any issues with the competency of Mark Villar but he could’ve shown more delicadeza and followed the lead of Peter Laurel who was initially appointed as Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary by Duterte but begged off citing conflict of interest due to their family’s ownership of the Lyceum of the Philippines which incidentally is also Duterte’s alma mater.

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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.