Strong gov’t needed

Published September 30, 2020, 10:25 AM

by Hector Ronald Romero Villanueva


Hector RR Villanueva

“History will absolve me.” – Fidel Castro

During these difficult times caused the coronavirus pandemic and truncated economic recession, the country needs a strong government and a firm hand on leadership.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, there were certain Asian leaders who brought their respective countries impressive industrial development and stunning growth such as Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia, Suharto of Indonesia, Monarchist Thailand, Deng Xiao Peng of China, Park Chung-Hee of South Korea, and Chiang Cheng-Kuo of Taiwan.

The only contemporary leader who failed to join their ranks was Ferdinand Marcos who achieved notoriety for massive corruption and for alleged amassing of ill-gotten wealth.

Today, we have a leader in President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, although the short fixed term forestalls and inhibits continuity of administration and fulfilment of objectives.

Austere President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who is not enamoured with money, and abhors corruption will readily do battle against any recalcitrant tycoon or taipan, and will not hesitate to confront or remonstrate against any erring oligarch.

Truth to tell, we have a strong President, and a weak bureaucracy.

First, reforms and cleansing should be aimed at the local government units or LGUs, where the DILG is doing inadequate cleaning.

Corruption remains unabated and widespread in many barangays.

Many barangay captains get corrupted in the distribution of relief goods and financial assistance.

There seems also a systematic conspiracy against the poor in the application of laws and regulations and rampant fraudulent relationship between hospitals and PhilHealth.

Transformation and punishment should be focused at the lowest level of government, i.e., LGUs and municipal employees, where vigilance and controls are lax.

Nothing much has changed at this level.

Second, the general public has the right to know the names, qualifications, expertise, and integrity of the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and any other ad-hoc task forces formed to the combat COVID-19 pandemic at the expense of economic recovery.

It appears that the propensity to impose lockdowns, community quarantines, and stiff protocols is not sufficiently cognizant of the economic consequences and social repercussions.

At the end of the day, like any hard and fundamental reforms, it is easier to look the other way, or to procrastinate, or to ignore difficult decisions at our peril.

This country needs a strong, erudite, and incisive leader, and a proactive and unintimidated bureaucracy.

Up to today, we are still nation building.

You be the judge.