By Deedee M. Siytangco
“Authoritarianism is based on force and, therefore, is physical, but authority is founded on reverence and love and, therefore, is moral.” Arch. Fulton Sheen from his book Life is Worth Living.
Paging DPWH secretary Mark Villar! Congratulations on the big projects for the agency, but can you please pay attention to the smaller projects like the unfinished portions of the Silang road near the PNPA and the Adventist academy? Thanks to the unattended (for over a year already) repairs after the road widening, these two points clog up the traffic from Tagaytay to Sta. Rosa for hours!
Perhaps you know of other access roads to our favorite ridge city, but we poor motorists have to use this road! And please finish the repairs on UN Avenue! Traffic is also so bad in front of the Pope Pius compound!
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President Rodrigo Duterte still enjoys high trust and satisfaction ratings from the majority of Filipinos (even if many also disagree violently). So maybe the government’s communications machinery is working? If so, then we can credit Secretary Martin Andanar for delivering this administration’s messages through the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
Andanar gave credit to his predecessor Sonny Coloma, who, he said, put the government media machinery, stations, and etc. in place. Or maybe the Duterte “cariño brutal” persona is really what Pinoys appreciate? When he intones, “I love the Philippines and am willing to go to jail for what I believe!” watch the swooning of his followers here and abroad!
It’s a tough job for Andanar’s team efforts to popularize “DuterteNomics,” the administration’s blueprint for the country’s economic development and social progress. (Most of the time, we only see the despicable trolls, the media miscommunications gaffes from some of the president’s teams).
Anchored on the administration’s 10-Point Socio-Economic Agenda, it went thus, rid the streets of criminals, free our people from the menace of illegal drugs, bring lasting peace to our southern islands, and neutralize extremist and terrorist groups. The basic premise is that, by restoring peace and order and the rule of law, everything else will follow, including economic and social development.
Well and good. Who can quarrel with this mission? According to the PCOO scorecard, the economy is on a roll with gross domestic product (GDP) growing by 7.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016, and expected to maintain its growth trajectory this year. Confidence in the economy is high among businessmen, investors, and consumers. People, except drug addicts, pushers, and criminals, feel safe and secure in the streets and in their homes.
The administration’s Medium-Term Development Plan 2017-2022 focuses infrastructure development as one of the foundations for sustained economic growth. The Build-Build-Build Infrastructure Program is the most ambitious infrastructure plan in Philippine history which will usher in the Golden Age of Infrastructure. PCOO has created a Build, Build, Build portal to underscore the administration’s commitment to transparency in governance. This portal is a real-time tool where projects are monitored and tracked with relevant information made available to everyone.
PCOO is in coordination with the Department of Finance (DOF) to heighten public awareness—and support for the Duterte administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP). The agency will conduct a forum in July to harness support for the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) that aims to benefit 99 percent of Filipino taxpayers and help sustain the government’s accelerated spending on infrastructure, education, health, and social protection programs. Some 300 participants are expected to attend the event, titled “1 with the 99: A Forum on Tax Reform,” that will be held on July 5 with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez expected to deliver the opening remarks at the forum.
The “1 to 99” event alludes to the TRAIN’s intended beneficiaries—99 percent of taxpayers, including the working and middle class such as teachers, clerks, call center agents, police officers, soldiers, and medical personnel—and the top one percent comprising the richest households who will help invest in the country’s future by paying higher taxes. I still disagree, but let’s see.
PCOO is also coordinating with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to accurately convey to the public the actual situation on the government’s war on illegal drugs. PCOO is part of #REHABiNASYON, which was launched on June 21 as the Philippine government’s unified campaign against illegal drugs. #REHABiNASYON has three feature components, namely #RealNumbersPH, #RealSolutions, and #RealStories. The PCOO also actively supports efforts of the Department of Health (DOH) on the rehabilitation of drug dependents. At present, there are 46 drug abuse treatments and rehabilitation centers in the whole country. Eleven of these are managed by the DOH, five are managed by the local government units, and 30 are private. The DOH will be opening seven more treatment and rehabilitation centers.
I sincerely hope there will be fewer EJKs in the name of getting rid of drug addicts on the second year of this administration. Let’s put them in these rehab centers instead! Go after corrupt policemen, please! And work to bring peace in Mindanao!
Recently, the government television network, People’s Television (PTV), aired a TV special dubbed Countering Violent Extremism. The program discussed the root cause of violent extremism and made suggestions on how the public can help address it. With hope, they got the message across!
So let’s not shoot the messenger, even if we don’t agree with the message he sometimes brings! And Sec. Martin will also have an editor to edit the announcements of Asec. Mocha Uson on the President and other official events. Hooray!