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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Seares: Duterte policies and those FDR, Abe quotes

“MY economic and financial, political policies are contained in those quotations (by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln) though couched in general terms. Read between the lines... ”
--President Duterte, in his June 30 inaugural

THE new administration still has to “supply” specifics to its program, except for the “bloody “ battle against crime, which consists mainly, so far, of bounty killings, restoring the death penalty and enforcing curfew on minors.

President Duterte gave two quotes that, he said in his inaugural address, sum up his policies, DTC (details to come).

They’re simple principles, expressed in various ways but pegged on the same populist pitch of providing for the poor.

Not new: presidents from Roxas to Quirino to Arroyo ran on that worn-out plank of helping the poor. But it’s only Duterte who’s pointedly tacking on the qualifier that he won’t afflict the rich.

Duterte sounded the usual pro-poor assurance, citing FDR: “The test of government is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide for those who have little.”

And he calmed fear of the rich that government, in helping the poor, might strike down the rich, citing Lincoln: “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payor...” Cheers, especially to capitalists who contributed to Duterte’s campaign so much cash that he still had a billion pesos left to pay for corpses of drug lords.

Balancing

It’s inevitably a balancing act, in which the president must not be seen as helping the poor to the prejudice of the rich.

Duterte depicts himself as different from his predecessors. But helping the poor without hurting the rich is a tough test that presidents usually flunk. Often they are seen as favoring the powerful and affluent.

(paseares@gmail.com)
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