MANILA - From its anti-drug and anti-corruption campaigns to tax reform and its infrastructure push, Malacañang on Tuesday put the spotlight on government's gains towards improving the lives of Filipinos and fulfilling the Chief Executive's campaign promises.
In its 63-page yearend report on the first full year of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, Malacañang stressed the Duterte administration “is committed to eliminate illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption in government. It is, likewise, serious in addressing poverty and inequality across the archipelago.”
It said crucial reforms have been instituted by the President that paved the way for a stable economy, where growth is sustainable and inclusive.
“Rest assured that we, in government, will act in urgency to implement the Philippine Development Plan for 2017-2022, which covers the socioeconomic agenda and strategic infrastructure development of President Duterte,” Malacañang said.
Among highlights of the yearend report was government’s efforts in eradicating the drug scourge, one of Duterte’s top priorities which has drawn international condemnation over alleged human rights abuses.
It said law enforcement agencies managed to conduct 79,193 anti-illegal drug operations from July 1, 2016 to Nov. 27, 2017 which led to the arrest of 118,287 drug personalities.
A total of 3,967 drug personalities were killed in the same period, the report read. Homicide cases under investigation, meanwhile, were at 16,355 as of September 30, 2017.
There were also more than 1.3 million drug suspects who surrendered from July 1, 2016 to July 26, 2017.
Illegal drugs and paraphernalia worth P18.92 billion were seized in drug operations from July 1, 2016 to Nov. 27, 2017.
Some 4,747 barangays have been declared drug-free as of Nov. 27, 2017.
Malacañang cited the public’s continued strong support for the drug war as reflected in results of major polling firms Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations amid criticism against Duterte’s priority campaign.
Amid criticism over alleged extrajudicial killings and police abuses, Malacañang had several times defended the anti-drug campaign, saying it has nothing to do with reported summary killings.
Earlier this month, Duterte sought one more year to fully address the drug scourge. He had promised to address the drug problem within the first six months of his term but said he did not realize the extent of the problem until he assumed power.
Crime rate declines, anti-corruption campaign continues
The PNP, meanwhile, said the total crime volume decreased by 8.44 percent to 452,204 cases from January to October 2017 from 493,912 in the same period last year. It also revealed a 23.61 percent decrease in robbery incidents in the same period.
The Department of Health, meanwhile, said 16,103 drug dependents were admitted to the government’s rehabilitation program from January to September 2017.
Some 14,046 drug surrenderes have also received livelihood and skills training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority as of September 2017.
The administration also touted its efforts in fighting corruption, another campaign promise of the President.
Under the Philippine National Police's (PNP) efforts to crack down on scalawags, Malacañang cited the dismissal of 375 police officers this year, including Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio and Director Joel Pagdilao who were fired over drug-related charges.
In a bid to rid other agencies under the executive branch of corruption, Duterte launched Citizens’ Complaint Hotline 888. Malacañang said 87 percent of calls received through the hotline were resolved while some 27,000 out of the 31,000 complaints were referred to concerned agencies as of June 30, 2017.
Another highlight in the government’s anti-corruption campaign was Duterte’s creation of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.
Believing that transparency is key in fighting corruption, the executive branch also required its agencies to comply with an executive order enforcing freedom of information (FOI).
The Presidential Communications Operations Office, which leads the implementation of the FOI program, said 217 government agencies have participated in the program, while there have been 2,635 requests for information from the public since its launch.
Malacañang also highlighted accomplishments of other agencies under the executive branch, such as the Department of Agrarian Reforms’ distribution of 36,061 hectares of land to 31,737 agrarian reform beneficiaries from January to September 2017, and the Department of Agriculture’s launch of the National Color-Coded Agricultural Guide Map.
The Department of Education, meanwhile, cited its construction of 36,838 classrooms, delivery of 448,935 school seats, and hiring 29,725 more teachers fro July 2016 to June 2017.
The Department of Finance, meanwhile, cited its efforts in leading the creation of a tax reform measure as well as the pursuit of billions of unpaid taxes from businesses.
The Department of Foreign Affairs cited its work in facilitating foreign visits of the President, which netted investment pledges for the Philippines and improved Manila’s ties with other countries.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology, meanwhile, launched the Free WiFi on EDSA initiative on June 12 and launched the Strategic Engagement and Collaboration to Undertake a Reliable and Efficient Government Internet (SECURE GovNet) project to build the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure, which seeks to improve the speed, affordability, and accessibility of internet connection across the country.
The Department of Labor and Employment cited the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board’s approval of the P1,000 increase in the minimum wage of domestic workers in the capital, as well as its anti-illegal contractualization campaign, which it said has benefited some 125,352 workers.
The government also launched various programs aimed at helping overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), such as the establishment of a One-Stop Service Center for migrant workers and the launch of the OFW ID, which serves as an automated overseas employment certificate.
The Department of Public Works and Highways, one of the lead agencies in the government’s infrastructure push, meanwhile cited the construction of various roads and bridges that eased traffic in parts of the country.
These include the Barkadahan Bridge in Taytay, Rizal, the Cagayan de Oro Coastal Road, Radial Road 10, which reduced travel time between Manila and Navotas, and the Governor Miranda Bridge II in Davao del Norte.
“The Duterte administration has accomplished much in its first full year in office in 2017. The President's decisive leadership, plus the strong collaboration among various government agencies, has resulted in the attainment of many of the priorities set out by the national government in the last twelve months,” the Palace said.
“As we move forward to the President's second full year in office, we expect a more robust year ahead especially with the approval of the 2018 General Appropriations Act and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act that would see greater investments in infrastructure modernization and human capital formation.”