Prelates weigh in on Duterte’s achievement, score his ‘utter lack of respect for human rights’

Published July 21, 2019, 11:01 AM

by Francine Ciasico

By Leslie Ann Aquino

For a Catholic prelate, the biggest achievement of President Duterte in his three years in office was maintaining his high rating among the people.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga (CBCP / MANILA BULLETIN)
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga

“His biggest achievement is that he maintains a high rating among the people, a fact which is a mystery to me because of his utter lack of respect for human rights,” Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said in an interview.

“This is a sign that there is something wrong in the sense of judgment of values among Filipinos – to our shame,” he added.

While the economy of the country is quite good, Bastes said this was not due to the present administration as the country’s economic growth started well during the regime of then president Noynoy Aquino.

Bastes said like in the past, only a few are still enjoying true prosperity, as majority of Filipinos remain poor.
His fellow prelate Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo believes the achievement of Duterte was he was able to create a culture of fear and impunity.

“He has been able to consolidate power by creating a culture of fear and impunity. He himself does not follow the law but uses the law to press down on his critics,” he said.

“I also see the growing presence and influence of the Chinese in the country without any benefit to the ordinary Filipinos,” added Pabillo.

But Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos believes Duterte achieved much especially when it comes to protecting overseas Filipino workers.

“His biggest achievements are eradication of syndicated tanim-bala, abolishment of 550 pesos terminal fee and opening of balikbayan boxes which led [to] rampant stealing and bribery,” he said.

Santos added: Our OFWs feel that with this administration they are protected and taken cared of with MOU (memorandum of understanding) and those guilty are prosecuted.

The prelate, however, expressed hope that the plan of the President to put up a department for OFWs would materialize.

“He should make sure that his promise to create the OFW department will materialize. As the president’s focus is to improve our lives, this is tantamount to protect human life and to promote human rights,” said Santos.

He also urged the president to make use of his State of the Nation Address to express his appreciation to OFWs.

“To show more his compassion and concern with our OFWs it is opportune that during SONA he speaks of his gratitude for services of our OFWs for their families and to country. He should publicly express his appreciation for their sacrifices which are also great help for our economy,” Santos.

President Duterte will deliver his Fourth SONA at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City this Monday, July 22.