By By Atty. Romulo P. Atencia
Desperate Measures
posted 23-May-2016  ·  
4,399 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Desperate times require desperate measures. And so the Filipino people overwhelmingly voted for Rodrigo Duterte as their next president. He was born in 1945 into a political family but with a more modest background than many Philippine politicians.  He married twice but is now single, although he says he has several girlfriends. A lawyer, he became vice-mayor of Davao in 1986 and mayor in 1988. He has also previously held a seat in congress. He built a reputation fighting crime, militancy and corruption. He has promised to continue his tough stance as president. He is well known for incendiary comments, such as saying he would kill thousands of criminals without trial.

********

It has been touted that the Philippines is one of the "rising tigers" of South East Asia, clocking an average of 6% growth over the last few years under President Aquino's administration. Allegedly, foreign direct investment has quadrupled, tax collection has improved and at least 4 million new jobs have been created - admittedly far too few in a country of 102 million people. But people aren't feeling the benefits of that growth, and are fed up with the status quo. As I opined in a previous piece, the benefits of the claimed economic growth of our country do not trickle down to the masses, being gobbled up by the oligarchs in the higher strata of government. There is no real democracy in our country – what we have is more of an oligarchy disguised as democracy, with elections largely a clash of political families.

********

Karishma Vaswani, Asia business correspondent, recently wrote: Just imagine for a moment if you can, what it must feel like to sit in the back of a dilapidated and creaking train for two hours to get to your office, and then to be paid just enough so your family doesn't go hungry, only to fight your way back on to that train at the end of your day and sit for another two hours to get home. Imagine, if you can, what a life spent overseas saving up money for your family back home must feel like when you return, only to find that your marriage has broken down and your kids don't recognize you? Or to run into a cop at a street corner, and know that the only way out of a lengthy ordeal at the police station is to pay a quick bribe so that you won't be late for work? And then imagine the anger, the frustration and the resentment you might feel if you looked at the sprawling malls and tinted air-conditioned cars and saw that there was a very clear economic divide in this democratic country - the haves, and the have-nots, the folks who can get out of paying bribes because of their connections, and those who have no choice. Imagine all of that, and then you'll understand why Mr. Duterte is the front-runner in this race.

********

Reactions to his election are varied. "You want a dictator? Well, you got one now," said Facebook user Angelica Mercurio from Cavite, who compared his actions to martial law rule. "All blood and no alcohol for a Duterte win," tweeted Hannah Garay. "Hope the ones who voted for him won't have a hard time swallowing this."

********

My own siblings also gave me their thoughts. My sister, Eden P. Atencia, a Doctor of Medicine who now lives in Florida, U.S.A. had this to say: “The Philippines cannot seem to skip the stages of evolution as a country. Here's what I think: PI must go through its middle stage first, it's ‘middle ages’. Let Mayor Duterte clean it up first to prepare the stage for a democracy that can work. We need to look at his Vice President. Is he good, competent, and wise? Many western thinking individual of course cannot fathom Duterte's style, present him to the world, and show that this is what Philippines had become,  as USA cannot, in my mind, face the world with Trump.” Another sister, Diana P. Atencia, a lawyer with her own law firm in Texas, U.S.A. said: “Change ni Duterte means only change from Aquino-- he has focused the anger so much on the current government, that through this play on words, "pagbabago," he has lead people into believing there will be an overhaul. Yun pala pagbabago lang against Aquino-- balik niya sa poder the enemies of Aquino. Changing of the guard to the previous guard. Again-- I would like to be proven so wrong.”

********

A brother, Gustavo P. Atencia, a  retired colonel in the Armed Forces of the Philippines who survived countless clashes with Muslim and NPA combatants, used more colorful language: “The Pilipino is fed-up with all the graft and corruption going on, fed up with being enslaved by these socio-financial-politico elites who have, for generations, manipulated, raped the nation and its people. The Pilipino has reached a point of desperation that he yearns for change, change to whatever, so long as there is change. The votes that propelled Digong to power are votes of rebellion..., a better alternative to real, physical, bloody rebellion. Kung baga sa Tagalog...., kailangan magbago na...., kailangan itigil ang kahangalang ito..., pagbabago tungo sa kaunlaran at kabutihan...., kung maaari..., pero kung hindi...., so what? BASTA PAGBABAGO. Nasa hukay na man na ang isang binti, isama na rin yong isa! But, we need CHANGE..., break the status quo..., even if that means going straight to hell! YAN ANG PILIPINO PAG NAUBOSAN NA NG PAGTITIIS! Kaya nga may tinatawag na "Huramentado." Magtitiis sya. Aatras sya. Iiyak sya. Pero pag di mo tinigilan..., lalapain ka nya. Ito po ang aking pananaw, base na rin po sa mga nakita at naranasan ko. This is the Pilipino’s last ditch effort to break away from bondage by the socio-financial-political elites. I pray that Digong be really the silver bullet that will set aright the Pilipino nation…, as what the more than 15M voters who voted for him hope. Otherwise..., we just have to prepare to rock ‘n roll.”

0 comments
new to catanduanestribune.com?
connect with us to leave a comment.
connect thru
Cancel
Cancel
Cancel
Other Some Random Thoughts articles
home home album photo album blogs blogs