TODAY, the President of the Republic of the Philippines is expected to lecture Filipinos on International law and our Philippine Constitution wherein our Bill of Rights are stipulated. During the first three years of his term, human and sovereign rights became a springboard for discussions in mainstream and social media ever so often.
For the sake of harmony, President Rodrigo Duterte should take criticism more as a commentary and not rather take it personally. Citizens cannot insulate themselves from what is happening in the country, good or bad. I am bothered by the labeling of people who, in different forums, voice their opinion regarding this administration—leftists, rightist, centrist or activist. How can we bridge the gap if we continue to tag people who simply want their voices to be heard?
I do not condone burning of effigies. It has lost its effectiveness in sending the message. Sentiments and grievances could start with “Dear Mr. President.” Perhaps our leader could be more receptive. Yellow, red and blue have become the colors of politics. These are the very same colors of our Philippine flag that is supposed to unite Filipinos. Is it in the best interest of Filipinos if Duterte puts behind bars all of his critics; those who do not agree with his brand of governance?
We cannot ignore the accomplishments under Duterte’s administration: Universal health care; Build, Build, Build program; student fare discount; the end of short-term contractualization; more support for the elderly; increased wages and benefits for the men in uniform; and other populist agenda such as 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program).
Duterte’s administration is confronted with a lot of issues as well: Human and sovereign rights; terrorism; workers’ clamor for wage increase amid high cost of living; corruption from all fronts; criminality; poverty; the Rice Tariffication Law affecting our farmers; the West Philippine Sea dispute undermining our fishermen and destroying marine resources; climate change and global warming; and our country’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court and possible withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), where Iceland recently sponsored a resolution calling for the investigation of the alleged extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.
Duterte plans to disassociate from Iceland, a country with less than 400,000 people. I understand where Iceland is coming from when it sponsored the UNHRC resolution. What you have less, you value more. Iceland must be looking at the human resources lost.
Let us hear today’s State of the Nation Address.