Status quo stays

Published October 30, 2018, 12:03 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



“The more things change, the more they remain the same.” — Alfonse Karr

By Hector R. R. Villanueva
Hector R. R. Villanueva

With President Rodrigo “Digong” Roa Duterte’s favorite advocacies, namely, federalism and the death penalty, dead in the water for the moment, and the continuing war against drug trafficking, corruption and criminality seemingly unwinnable and endless, and with the mid-term elections around the corner, the status quo political system remains entrenched more than ever.

Notwithstanding numerous welcomed changes, such as, better working conditions for OFWs; the rehab of sewage pipes in Boracay; the expulsion of the Rufino-Prieto elite from Mile Long; and the near fiasco of Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines over non-payment of terminal fees for the use of NAIA Terminal 2, these are welcomed changes but they are not radical or fundamental reforms.

As the French would beautifully express it, “Plus ca change, plus cést la meme chose” or “the more things change, the more they remain the same.”

Thus, nearly halfway through his six-year term, President Duterte had furrowed, questioned, shaken and rattled institutions, the oligarchs, statutes, policies, and habits but the President has yet to put a closure with finality his advocacies and crusades, such as narcotics, corruption, and criminality which are not only improbable but may be untenable objectives instead of dwelling on mundane, albeit popular and populist issues.

To exacerbate matters, inflation and external economic factors have intruded into President Duterte’s golden age of infrastructure; or “Build, Build, Build“ program which has to be reviewed and reprogrammed.

At closer scrutiny, it will be found that President DU30 has his heart in the right place, so to speak, and is truly pro-poor but he has not progressed towards fundamental reforms in spite of his supermajority in Congress, control of the Armed Forces, and authoritarian tendencies to effect fundamental reforms such as, amendments to the 1987 Constitution, population policy, judicial reforms, even divorce, redistribution of wealth and narrowing of the gap between the very rich and the very poor.

In other words, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte may have succumbed to the status quo by procrastinating on painful reforms that will be truly cathartic and game changing.

Instead, the Chief Executive hews to popular changes that will not alter people’s psyche and basic beliefs of an essentially Catholic nation by concentrating on dismissal of erring public servants, drug users and pushers, smoking bn, traffic hogs and critics.

In other words, what this country needs is another DU30 made of sterner stuff with the big picture, and not driven by idolatry and populism but by patriotism and economic emancipation.

You be the judge.