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2017 will define our future

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by December 27, 2016 General

The coming year will show us where we are headed for insofar as our economy and foreign relations are concerned.

It will also show us what kind of Congress we installed, and whether we are headed in the right direction.

There are so many things we should be concerned about. For instance, President Duterte has asked for another six months to wage his war against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption. He said this would not end until the last drug lord or drug pusher is killed.

Does this mean more killings, more summary and extrajudicial killings?

Santa Banana, it would seem that eight out of 10 Filipinos will continue to live in a climate of fear and impunity, as the most recent Social Weather Stations survey showed. The drug menace will remain in the Philippines for as long as there’s demand for illegal drugs.

Considering the fact that there are close to four million drug abusers and drug addicts, and more than 10,000 illegal drug networks operating nationwide, it’s practically mission impossible for Duterte to solve this problem in six years!

The war on illegal drugs is just one issue. There’s also the war on corruption. It is deep-rooted and pervasive and not even a revamp of government agencies can eradicate it.

For so long as there’s human discretion involved in government transactions, corruption will never go away. What is needed is a change in values.

The administration also faces the problem of illegal gambling. The corruption that stems from here has reached Crame and Aguinaldo. Philippine National Police Chief, Director-General Ronald dela Rosa, has promised to do away with gambling but he has hardly done anything. Perhaps he is committed to killings and more killings in the context of the war on illegal drugs.

The President has also vowed to shift to federalism. Will the Senate agree? My gulay, the issue of amending the 1987 Constitution is controversial enough. One way to do this, through Constituent Assembly,

would allow congressmen to tinker with the fundamental law of the land for their own agenda.

President Duterte wants Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution (on the proclamation of Martial Law) amended. As currently provided, Martial Law is toothless with its many limitations, like congressional and judicial interference.

And then, there’s the move of Duterte and his rubber-stamp House of Representatives to restore the death penalty so much so that the President himself said he would want five to six executions a day.

It seems like the Philippines has become a barbaric state. Have we sunk this low.

Closer to home is the traffic nightmare. The Department of Transportation wants emergency powers to resolve it. It is a problem that doesn’t seem to have an immediate solution with some 360,000 vehicles sold every year.

It can only get worse, I believe.

It’s a problem brought about by six years of corruption, sheer incompetence, and lack of vision by the BS Aquino administration.

***

For me, however, the biggest problem that we are facing is President Duterte’s pivot to China, in his pursuit of his so-called independent foreign policy.

But does this independence mean we must abandon our decades-old ties with Washington?

It’s like Duterte is pushing the country over the edge. Our Asian neighbors —Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia are all aligned with the United States.

Even now China is arming all the islets and reefs it has converted into landing field for missile-carrying ships. There is nothing we can do about it, not even after winning the arbitration case in The Hague.

***

Can’t our so-called independent foreign policy make us friends with all nations?

Do we have to pivot to China and even Russia in the pursuit of foreign investments that we have to set aside what we have won in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague?

The persona of President Duterte defies convention and protocol. He is often misunderstood because of his foul mouth—will he ever change? I don’t think so.

I have accepted him as he is, even when I sometimes struggle with his hyperbole. I base my opinions on what comes out of his mouth. People actually like entertainment—he is a true maverick.

I wonder, though: What will he do when, after six months, he realizes the drug menace is still around?

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