Wake-up call

CHAFF FROM THE GRAIN
By HECTOR R. R. VILLANUEVA

“Guidelines for public officials:
(1) When in charge, proceed;
(2) When in trouble, delegate;
(3) When in doubt, mumble.”
— James Boren

Outwardly, since he does not usually listen to advice, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte remains understandably unfazed by the visible drop in his satisfaction ratings.

It will be recalled that in spite of the continuous free fall in her approval and satisfaction ratings, then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo persevered and continued to govern until she was succeeded by the election of President Benigno Aquino III.

Poll surveys, though their accuracy and veracity are debatable, do reflect nevertheless the changing sentiments of the people towards their government.

Additionally, the “masses” are not only fickle and unpredictable but will also, when hunger besets them, only recognize the master that feeds them.

In other words, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, as a veteran politician, knows that popularity is evanescent and can easily deteriorate overnight.

In the meantime, trust ratings of the President remain high, and optimism seems to prevail.

Truth to tell, there is frenetic activity all over the Philippines, especially in Luzon and the Visayas.

Though the much-heralded “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration has yet to make an impact, there is nonetheless continuing vigorous construction activities in housing and buildings, completion of previously ongoing infrastructure like highways, bridges, harbors and airport makeovers.

Moreover, in spite of internal turmoil, tourism is booming. Tourist arrivals are rapidly increasing; hotels are fully booked and resorts are enjoying foreign and domestic patronage.

Outside the pollution, traffic, and congestion of Metro Manila, the rest of the country appear to be enjoying brisk business and relative peace and quiet.

On the downside, while President Duterte is warring on all fronts, including against God, his trust ratings remain high so long as he is not tainted with corruption.

However, the decline in his satisfaction ratings is a wakeup call as the economic indicators are softening,  the peso is depreciating, the trade gap is widening, short -term capital market funds are flowing back to the United States, and Chinese investments are not entering as much as projected.

To add to the economic wrinkles, the preoccupation with Charter Change and the establishment of a federal state system will divert the nation’s energy and attention away from economic growth towards political activity.
The downturn is a wakeup call that the Duterte Administration should consider seriously.
You be the judge.

 
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