By Genalyn Kabiling
After nearly three years in office, President Duterte has given himself a passing mark in governing the country so far.
“I will be through in three years. Para sa akin, I am — if I rate myself now, I’m about five or six,” Duterte said during the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.
The President said he has been battling illegal drugs, crime and corruption as part of his campaign promises and would continue to sustain such campaign for the remainder of his term.
“The country would not attain progress if corruption continues and peace and order are not maintained,” Duterte warned.
“Even if you give a president, you can amend the Constitution, we are not qualified. But if you give a term of even five, even seven terms, six years each, you would still have no progress and development sa Pilipino,” he said.
On the government’s war on drugs, the President recognized that the drug problem remained the “biggest threat” to the nation. He renewed his threat to finish off the drug traffickers and their cohorts, saying he would not let them destroy the country.
“We have — I think being swallowed by the biggest threat of them all and that is the drug problem which is worldwide,” he said.
“Do not destroy the young and feed them with drugs to no end because I will really kill you,” he warned.
Aware of the danger related to his relentless drug war, Duterte maintained that he was ready to die for the country.
“I retire three years from now, I would hit pay dirt. Hindi na ako makatakbo retire na ako [I can’t run anymore, I’ll be retired]. Maybe I will be assassinated right after along the way or maybe bibirahin ako niyan. Well, that is always the danger,” he said.
“But to me death is always there. It stares at me, eyeball to eyeball. I go wherever I want at kung maabutan. Pero talagang uunahin ko kayo [I will hit you first],” he said.
Duterte recently admitted that the drug situation has worsened and the police were on the brink of surrendering following the recent smuggling of illegal drugs into the country. He cautioned that country might end up like Mexico controlled by drug cartels if the drug traffickers are not neutralized.
In combating corruption in the bureaucracy, Duterte said he has dismissed many government officials and would still fire more next week.
“I will try my very best, give it the best shot na kaya ko to bring down corruption. I tried maybe the final judgment would come years after whether I was able to do even half of the effort,” he said.
On the local economy, he said the government was pursuing the massive Build Build Build program to improve the country’s infrastructure network and spur growth.
After lawmakers refused to grant emergency powers to address the horrendous traffic along EDSA, Duterte said he chose to pursue other infrastructure projects to improve the country’s transport system.
Traffic condition was expected to improve as the government implements projects such as NLEX-SLEX connector road project and the first-ever Metro Manila Subway.
“Naghiram ako ng pera diyan sa — itong mga Hapon pati ano. Kita mo ang Maynila ngayon, puro sa itaas na lang. So ‘yang by June, eskwela eh, ‘yang Quezon City, ‘yung diyan sa Araneta papuntang Makati would be about five minutes only, kung matapos ‘yan [I borrowed money from Japan. Look at Manila now, the skyway. By school opening in June, travel between Araneta, Quezon City to Makati would be about five minutes only when it is complete],” Duterte said.