DUTERTE AS PRESIDENT: A WORD OF CAUTION
Don’t even think of committing a crime. Whether you are the enforcer or within the subordinate class, it pays to follow the rules, the norms, the tradition, the ordinances, the laws. And if you happen to be the typical worker, the ordinary student or scholar, a lowly resident of an upscale village or remote barrio, a humble pedestrian, a typical professional, a serious businessman, rejoice because all of you will be spared from the hassles of disturbance with the assumption to the highest post of the “Punisher.” As a matter of fact, serenity and tranquility will become a regular fact of life in our community.
Duterte does not mince words when he claims that he would be a dictator. And by the way, that in a snap is what Philippine society needs to do in the first place, like what Dr. Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia did, like what Lee Kwan Yu of Singapore did, like what Meiji of Japan did, like what Park Chun Hi of Korea did, like what Ben Gurion of Israel did, like what Deng Shao Ping did for China. There are numerous templates to refer to, so many international models to take note of. Duterte, an astute politician and a well-informed student of law, has browsed on these prototypes and he is convinced that it is only through dictatorship that he would be able to bring the country standing on its feet.
Duterte knew that developed countries, Malaysia, Israel, Singapore, Japan were serious about peace and order from top to bottom, from A to Z, from beginning to end. He believes that commerce, a delicate mechanism of civilization, will never grow favorably in an atmosphere of danger and uncertainty. Discipline will never be fomented in an air of tolerance and negligence, of leniency and laxity,
Duterte knew for a fact that every Juan, Pedro and Pilar has been victimized by crime somewhere, somehow. That crime has grown so disproportionate to the population that offenses can be carried out with impunity. Worst, even government enforcers were seen as participants in victimizing the people. Philippine society has become a dog-eat-dog locality. Nobody is spared by crime. If a person can, with a straight face, claim that he has never been bothered by crime, that person deserves a period at the sanitarium.
Anyone living in this country, even a high schooler, discerns that crime is an unwanted disturbance but has been considered a fact of life. Hence, a number of anti-government groups would pledge instant justice to get the sympathy of a victim-prone population.
Everyone knows that the natural and endowed resources of tropical Philippines if properly managed would yield considerable wealth to the people. There is no more reason to live through crime.
For the leisure class, the term dictator however conjure images of megalomaniac leaders in the mold of Germany’s Adolf Hitler, or that of Russia’s Stalin, Indonesia’s Sukarno, Uganda’s Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Khadafy of Libya, Pol Pot of Cambodia, Duvalier of Haiti, not to mention Marcos of the Philippines, the list goes on. While they made a mark in history and made their country proud for a while, it sent their respective country’s national economy into a tailspin.
A dictator’s process is usually littered with oozing blood, more sweat and an ocean of tears for the ordinary citizen of their country if the intention was egotistical and selfish. If the agenda is to plunder, to amass, to loot the national coffers, then it is already doomed from the start.
But not all dictatorship has the same lifelines. And there are numerous models to adopt. Duterte, on the basis of how he governed Davao, is more inclined to be a Lee Kwan Yu and Mahathir, both of Malay stock and temperament. Duterte may not have the British accent of a Lee Kwan Yu nor the medical savvy of Dr. Mahathir, but they all share the same tact and political will to change what should be changed.
Filipinos, for centuries, have suffered indifference, exploitation, desertion, neglect and at times abuses. For them, government is a burden they must have to coddle, support and indulge all throughout their productive years. And if they seek redress but have no means to express it, they usually end up at the bottom. Only those with influence, only those with the resources, understand justice, while the rest has nothing to embrace.
It is fervently hoped that Duterte’s leadership will be able to address these concerns and restore the dignity of common man. Filipinos must brace themselves today, sacrifice if necessary, to assure their children of a bright future.