IN just 26 days in office, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte already made a lot of difference. Change has finally come. He made us, particularly those less in life, feel so important in his government.
We, the Bisaya, should not only be proud because President Duterte is Bisaya and he convincingly won here in Cebu in the last polls but also because Cebu is part of his development road map.
But we should be more proud because, aside from our president, two more Bisaya from Mindanao lead the upper and lower house. Senate President Koko Pimentel is from Cagayan de Oro City and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is from Davao del Norte.
President Duterte received applause from those inside the Halls of Congress and those watching his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on TV when he announced that passports will have 10 years life and five years for driver’s licenses.
The President’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP/NPA/NDF may have frozen some of the legislators but delighted progressive party-list representatives.
To quell the possible fear or anger of the soldiers, President Duterte on Tuesday met and talked with them on the field to explain his decision for a ceasefire. He also promised them immediate salary increase.
If the CPP/NPA/NDF is sincere to ink lasting peace with the government, and not only during Duterte’s administration, they should reciprocate President Duterte’s declaration of a ceasefire. Otherwise, the soldiers would distrust the President.
President Duterte also set out his development programs for the country even as he strongly vowed to continue the fight against corruption in government and illegal drugs.
With strong emphasis, President Duterte said, “We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or are put, either behind bars or below the ground, if they so wish.”
Thousands of drug pushers and users already surrendered while the toll on the drug pushers killed during police operations increases everyday, prompting human rights groups to complain about extrajudicial killings.
On the Executive Order (EO) on Freedom of Information (FOI) that he signed on Saturday, it was like an aperitif before his first Sona on Monday at the joint session of the 17th Congress.
Even if the EO on FOI only applies to government offices under the Office of the President, but this shows that, contrary to his previous anti-media pronouncements, the President is a friend of the press.
“This government does not condone violence and repression of media. The bona fide media..bona fide media..sometimes they pronounce it “bonafid.” But whatever that thing is, the bona fide media has always been our partner for change. Medyo klaro yan. Anong gawin mo sa hindi bona fide media? Iyan ang problema,” the President said
I may have misheard his speech on bona fide media when he said “sometimes its pronounced bonafid.” Pardon me, but what I heard was “bona paid” media. This is what the President refers to as “lowlife” media.
The President is true to his pledge that he will morph into a real president after he is sworn in. He’s controlled his cussing. He even wants to relax the bank secrecy law when during the campaign he was derided for alleged undeclared income.
Analysts and opinion writers have different views on the President’s Sona. One said that it would be difficult for the President to fund infra projects if corporate and individual income tax is reduced.
The promised tearjerker Sona of the President didn’t happen. Instead, the legislators and guests laughed most of the time when President Duterte disregarded his prepared speech and talked extemporaneously.
“It was a proletarian speech. It was a populist speech. But you can see it is meant for the masses. His message to the masses was clear,” said Sen. Dick Gordon.