By Hector R. R. Villanueva
“Governments need both shepherds and butchers.” — Voltaire
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte likes to be idolized and popular more than being a statesman.
While the President is neither on electrifyingly charismatic, as was Jawaharlal Nehru of India or Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, nor as articulate and profound as Winston Churchill or Charles de Gaulle of France, PDU30 will do what he says as he had promised in his relentless war against illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality.
According to intimates, the President likes to listen to advice but will follow his own instincts.
He would rather be mayor than President.
In the process, the nation finds itself being governed by an unpredictable maverick and an arbitrary and obdurate national leader with macabre tendencies.
Accordingly, this is the world according to Digong who get things done even if follow-through and follow-up by subordinates tend to be slow and procrastinating.
With obsessive politics and cultural hang-ups, we tend to dwell on the mundane and peripherals rather than the core issues.
First, while it is enlightening and visionary to provide free higher education, free schooling, and other benefits, the state nevertheless needs to decelerate or reduce the rapid population growth.
With countries, such as, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam, with larger land mass and more plentiful natural resources, these countries have smaller population than the Philippines.
Let us first address the population problem.
Second, land or agrarian reform is an anachronism of a bygone era.
Historically, land reform has been unnecessary in a democracy. What is required is modernization of agriculture and proper land utilization.
Thus, the Korean Peninsula has become a haven of greenery and beauty after the Korean War when US weapons of mass destruction had pulverized and made desolate the entire peninsula.
In summing up, the Duterte Administration should not only pursue what are popular and populist policies, such as, higher salaries of civilian servants and soldiers but also address the national malaise of rural poverty, over population, environmental degradation and rehabilitation, protection of inland waters, and territorial sovereignty.
Concerning territorial disputes in the South China Sea, going to war is not an option.
Japan, which is in conflict with China and Korea over a few rocks in East China Sea, insists on its rights without having to resort to armed conflict which is not an option.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte exaggerates on declaring war on China.
When all is said and done, a house divided with itself will not endure.
You be the judge.