MALACAÑANG on Saturday, June 29, bragged President Rodrigo Duterte’s “countless and incomparable” accomplishments in his three years in office.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the remark, as the Palace joined the entire nation in celebrating the third anniversary of Duterte as the country’s 16th President.
“The President’s record as the Philippines’ Chief Executive speaks for itself,” Panelo said in a statement.
“Halfway through his term as the President of the Republic of the Philippines, [Duterte] has attained countless and incomparable feats,” he added.
Panelo said Duterte, as highest official in the land, reduced the criminality rate to an “incredible low figure,” dismantled the illegal drug industry and apparatus, and initiated strategies and measures to thwart the spread of terror acts all throughout the country.
“While the President has given priority to the improvement of peace and order in the country, he laid the foundation that will propel the nation to progress and reach new heights,” he said.
Panelo also took note of the President’s “unprecedented political will, genuine empathy as well as relentless resolve to uplift the general welfare of the people,” by signing “long-pending” bills into laws and issuing executive orders.
Palace cited the free tuition in state universities and colleges; free irrigation to farmers; universal health care program; improvement of the wages of government employees; doubling of salaries of soldiers and policemen; prohibition on illegal labor subcontracting; and establishment of work-from-home arrangements, among others.
Panelo noted that the Chief Executive had also signed into laws the proposed measures like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, and the Magna Carta of the Poor “to uplift the standard living of those belonging to the underprivileged class of our society.”
He added that Duterte has distributed Certificates of Land Ownership Award to thousands of agrarian reform beneficiaries and farmers.
He said Duterte’s administration has repatriated thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by Amnesty Programs implemented by several countries.
“For the returning OFWs, they were provided with training and livelihood assistance for their reintegration. An Overseas Filipino Bank was also established to provide efficient remittance services, low service rates and profitable offers to OFWs,” Panelo said.
Panelo also emphasized that Duterte has made the Philippines as “one of the strongest economies and growth leaders” in the region by changing its business climate that prompted the influx of foreign investments.
“Under his leadership, the Philippines earned the highest credit rating in our economic history with a BBB+ upgrade from global debt watcher Standard and Poor’s,” he said.
Panelo said the President has similarly intensified the government’s revenue collections to new record-highs, including the collection of around P6 billion from Philippine Airlines for overdue navigational fees and the landmark settlement by the government of about P40 billion with Mighty Corporation for the latter’s failure to pay excise taxes.
He added that Duterte has pursued an independent foreign policy by removing the country’s subservience to the West.
“Notable effects of which are the return of the historic Balangiga bells from the United States, and the reshipment of trash back to Canada, while improving our relations with all other countries, such as Russia, China and those belonging in the Southeast Asian region,” Panelo said.
“During this time, he has also strengthened local domestic regions such as the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law to transform Mindanao from ‘an island of promise’ to ‘an island of fulfillment,’“ he added.
He also stressed that after the successful plebiscite that established the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the normalization under the comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro is “now on track.”
Panelo said the President, during his first weeks in office, had eliminated the ‘tanim bala’ or bullet planting scam in airports, issued an order on freedom of information in the executive branch, created a task force on media security, cut red tape in the government, implemented a nationwide smoking ban, and stopped online gambling and the construction of new casinos.
“Moreover, [Duterte] has fired military and high officials in the government for corruption or incompetence, even including his longtime friends and allies,” he said.
Panelo claimed that Duterte has exemplified “modesty” in public service by forbidding the hanging of his portrait in all government offices and serving inexpensive and simple food in government social events.
He noted that President has also promoted and protected the country’s environment by ordering the closure of Boracay for its rehabilitation, the clean up of Manila Bay, and the prohibition on open-pit mining.
“The Chief Executive has demonstrated altruism as the nation’s father by visiting our troops regularly to boost their morale, attending the wakes of our slain soldiers, policemen, and other law enforcement personnel who died in the line of duty and taking care of their grieving families,” he said.
“The President has done all these (and these are just some examples) in his three years of national service, while giving his critics and detractors the free space to air their grievances,” he added.
Panelo said that despite the political noise and virulent black propaganda against Duterte and his family, initiated by his political enemies, “he has not filed a single case against them.”
“Much has been done in the past three years. The Filipino people can expect the same number of significant achievements, if not more, in the remainder of the President’s term,” he said.
“Even as the majority of the Filipinos are in awe of [Duterte’s] accomplishments, the best is still to come,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)