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EDITORIAL: Wanted: Unifying Leader

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdejo recently claimed that after the three year old term of the Duterte Administration the Filipinos can see the positive change it has brought the country.

Among what Medialdejo cited as “frontline projects” are :Alternative Learning System; Universal access to tertiary Education; BuilBuild Build Program; Universal Health Program; UniversalHealth Care; Freedom of Information; Presidential Task Force on Media Security; Bangsamaro Basic Law; and Anti Drug Campaign.

Immediately the pronouncement drew flak not only from the political opposition but even from observers not necessarily identified with any political camps .Let’s have a closer look.Most of the achievements Medialdejo cited are inherited plans and projects.

Let us start with the Bangsamoro Basic Law. All the spadework have been undertaken during the administration of former President Benigno “Pinoy Aquino 111but the actual signing of the agreement took place during the current administration. its fruition took place within the current administration.

There is nothing impressive about the buid build build program. That should be the centerpiece program of any administration. It is not something to brag about especially the projects funded by loans which are an added burden to future generations, many of which are just in the drawing stage.

Some of the projects recently inaugurated or about to be inaugurated have been started by previous administrations. The Duterte administration can claim credit, but only part of it. After all, almost every administration claims credit for projects completed during their respective term but initiated by previous ones.

Focus should not be the mere completion of the government projects. Seeing to it that there are no irregularities in the implementation stage is more important. That is doubtful.

Take the case of the so called Bicol International Airport. Late last year, Undersecretary Marvel Clavecilla bared that there were irregularities attendant to its construction. He said that the findings had already been forwarded to the higher ups. And now comes the announcement that the much awaited airport will soon be operational. What happened to the findings? What steps have been taken to ferret out the truth about the alleged irregularities?

The silence of Albay Representative Joey Salceda is defeaning,given that the project site is right under his nose. He should have initiated a congressional investigation, considering that the Clavecilla findings seem to have been simply sidelined.

All the other achievements claimed by Malacanan are mere follow through of activities started in previous administrations.

On the other hand, this dispensation miserably failed in solving the traffic mess within Metro Manila and is tossing the blame to a lady senator for objecting to the desired emergency powers.

As to law and order, there is too much to be desired. Even the campaign against illegal drugs cannot be truly claimed successful because the war has caused the loss of lives, due to senseless killings. In pursuing the campaign, drug related killings increased. They still remain unsolved.

This admistation also failed in protecting the national interest particularly in reference to the West Philippine Sea.

It deserves credit in minimizing small time gambling within the rural areas but must be held accountable for the rise of online gambling.

More importantly, the President needs to unify the nation, by refraining from impulsive and combative stances. The nation is already suffering from so much divisiveness. He should be a unifying leader.

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