18 Oct President Rodrigo Duterte’s First 100 Days – What Did He Accomplish?
To be realistic, compared to other past presidents since the time of President Corazon Aquino, Duterte’s list of accomplishments in the first 100 days is the most impressive so far in terms of its socio-political effects. While other past presidents can boast better economic accomplishments in the first 100 days like bringing in more investors or getting more money from the IMF-World Bank (!), all these had little or no effect on the common people on the street.
It is true that in spite of these accomplishments, Duterte’s to-do list remains long. A really long list, to be sure. But the fact that people see that his presidency has taken off running rather than groping, and that his accomplishments are very much felt down to the streets and neighborhoods, most of the population are giving him a big score of satisfaction. The only so-called accomplishment that people are somewhat wary of is Duterte’s actions in distancing his government from the United States but starting an open alliance with the country’s long-time nemesis, China.
Streamlining of government processes
Duterte really knows what he’s doing as, part of his battle against corruption, he ordered all government agencies to streamline all transactions and processing of permits and licenses. All bureaucratic processes were ordered reduced to 3 days at the most. Because of this, no more long lines at midnight or early morning were experienced.
Attempts at peace talks with Communist and Muslim rebels
Duterte lost no time in embarking on peace talks with all rebel groups. Talks are already ongoing at Oslo, Norway between government negotiators and Communist rebels while government peace advisers have already met with Moro Islamic rebel groups in order to start peace talks while jumpstarting efforts to pass a more acceptable version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Notwithstanding is the indefinite ceasefire with all rebel factions, something that has never happened in the last 5 decades. To support these efforts, Duterte toured all major camps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to explain to the troops that it was in everybody’s benefit if the 6-decade conflict with all rebels could finally be brought to an end, so they could focus more on tackling poverty and “external enemies” its waters, perhaps referencing China.
The war on narco-politics
It’s somewhat sad that critics and media – foreign and domestic – are too concentrated on the 2,000 persons killed in relation to illegal drug trafficking but not on the more than 600,000 drug users and pushers that have surrendered voluntarily or have been jailed. It has to be emphasized that more than half of persons killed in relation to drugs have summary executions by revengeful vigilantes or other drug pushers out to protect their identities. The rest have been killed in shootouts with police and military forces when attempts were made to arrest them or raid their drug confines. And not to mention the fact that more drug rehabilitation centers are being constructed now than at any time in the past and that 60% of these centers are being built on government funds alone.
Signing of Executive Order for Freedom of Information
This is a benchmark historical event that has never happened in the past. Because of the long delays in passing the Freedom of Information Law that congress is intentionally passing up, Duterte signed his own executive order. Though this freedom of information only covers the executive branch, the fact that the executive branch covers almost all the sensitive areas of government including budget, disbursements, local government, national defense, and the like, this has opened the government to better transparency since people have the right to know how their government is functioning.
Launching of 911 and 8888 emergency hotlines
These emergency hotlines, compared to local hotlines already existing, have made emergency response times shorter and more efficient. People all over the country have been positively moved by response times from police that, in the past, took an hour or more, but now takes only minutes. Fire fighters took even less time to respond to fire-related emergencies. Also, there was no noticeable clog up of lines when people called.
Action against mining companies
A very laudable effort by Duterte was to go after illegal mining operations and to limit present legal mining, something that was less than half-hearted during the Aquino Administration. This was amidst Duterte’s personal fears that we have opened the country too much to foreign mining and are being stripped away of our natural resources. In relation to this, many mining firms are also systematically destroying rivers and forests, whether these firms are legal or not.
Duterte is not behind when it comes to foreign and local investments in the country. This aspect soared to 200 percent by August at P51 billion. Last year at this same period it was only P17 billion, according to a Board of Investments report. The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) also noted its second-highest close in its history. The peso did decline in the first 100 days, according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, but this only bodes well for families of OFW’s because dollar remittances experienced boosted values.
One-stop service centers for OFW’s
Duterte took it personally that he hated seeing long lines of Filipinos waiting, often under the weather. After working on streamlining government bureaucracy, he also made changes and new policies in the affairs of overseas Filipino workers. These one-stop centers contained everything that OFW’s needed such as booths for BIR, police clearance, NBI clearance, OWWA, DOLE, etc. Since these centers opened around the country, more than 88,351 OFW’s have been served.
By August passports being issued already bore the newly added security features much improved from the previous features already started by the previous administration. Passports were also issued 35 percent faster since processing has been cut down to only 5 days.
While many experts applaud these achievements, these same experts also fear that Filipinos may be lured into a state of complacency. For instance, in the fight against illegal drugs, steps must be taken to guard against the systematic replacement of lost drug pushers by drug lords. Also, the fight must now push away from the streets and start going after the drug lords and drug manufacturers themselves. Also, one aspect where Duterte has failed is in the alleviation of the traffic problem in Manila and Cebu, but this is through no fault of the president since this problem has roots that go really deep into socio-economic status of all concerned. But again, to be realistic, there is still much work to be done and not even the president is a superhero who can do everything by himself. We all need to pitch in even in our small ways and efforts.