DESPITE ALLEGED HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION, a foul language and undeserved attacks against the Catholic church personalities, some people wonder why the Acceptance Ratings of President Rodrigo Duterte remains high? Two years after his 40% plurality victory in the 2016 presidential polls.
The reasons are Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, his biting antipathy against graft and corruption and his apparent bias towards the environment. Some people, for instance, feel their streets have relatively become safer with the addicts and their cohorts hiding from view.
Likewise, Duterte has not spared his closest aides and supporters when it comes to the issue of corruption which seems to raise his hackles automatically whenever he merely sniffs of illicit money changing hands. The president will probably not stand on the same stage as candidates for national office like the Senate with candidates whose persona is reeking with the grimy grease of graft.
The president has likewise stood by his embattled first DENR Secretary Gina Lopez in her gallant fight against the environment – not sparing many mining bigwigs in the process. He stood by DENR’s Cimatu in cleaning up the cesspool that was Boracay- regardless of the initial setback to the economy.
These are the three issues that make the president popular, regardless.
Those three issues: drugs, corruption, and the environment are just as valid issues anywhere else including Bohol. But voters must be discerning because facts can be twisted to suit a certain political footing. Drugs could become the most abused issue if one wants to engage in a black propaganda against a candidate.
This could be a popular topic as Bohol has been rated No 5 Nationwide as the most proliferated in drug usage and in a parallel vein the worst in the region. It is both absurd and politically hollow to just dismiss the label as ” not true” if the rankings were made by persons of responsible authority as it is to say that automatically all officialdom here are backers, defenders, and users of drugs. Both are non-sequiturs.
The drug trade is such a complex and complicated industry to define- much less to solve as it is. The hype that the president was to name 32 politicians here allegedly involved in the drug trade here purportedly during his November 27 presence in the inauguration of the Bohol Panglao International Airport increased the anticipation.
There was an earlier uproar that the DILG was to publish the names of those politicians currently in power or running for the May polls who are Belzebub’s cohorts in the drug trade- after the deadline of the application for the certificates of candidacy.
No names coming from the DILG nor from the president in his official visit here ever came into view or hearing distance. It does not also mean there are none. for the president, as he had always wont to say- he is a lawyer and is careful in his pronouncements as sensitively damaging as calling one a drug personality.
If the president does not name names, then everything is in the realm of speculation but anyhow, Bohol is such a small place and people already more or less know who are and who are not in the drug trade without the need for politicians telling them so.
Maybe there is no such Drug Protector or Personality List? That is also not likely. In a province rated as No 5 in the drug trade- itis next to impossible for that industry would thrive without some kind of protection -tacit or overt- from some unscrupulous politicians, bureaucrats or persons in authority- as the case may be.
We held that same accusatory theory during those times when illegal gambling was a way of life in the city and elsewhere years back. That is why- there is a lot of good sense to check and double check what one gets as information with respect to the drug trade here.
The people identified with the President have good enough reason to ride on the President’s popularity in his continued fight against drugs. But the drug issue to be localized must be based on facts and near facts.
The same is true for graft and corruption. People must be discerning and dig more information. Some may be facing graft charges but will they stand a chance in court.? Others may still be – at this point- without graft charges yet, does it mean they are all clean- let us just start with “in the eyes of God”?
Our main point is just this: if one has to make pointed accusation against candidates or persona associated with candidates as party to drug dealing and corrupt ways- that person must have respect for the listeners’ intelligence and logic by pointing to facts- which is a lawyer’s way of syllogism- which can still convince another about the validity of one’s thesis. Blanket accusations will not do- people are much smarter now than we give them credit for.
On the other hand, perhaps just as important as stating why one should not vote for a certain candidate is presemting one’s own Agenda for Socio-Economic Development for the community. For it always is the easiest to throw mud at the glasshouses of people -but coming up with a coherent, workable and reality-based developmental plan is the call of the day.
One cannot just go destroy everything on sight and yet be empty of a gameplan that will make sense of the ashes one had created from the destruction he has wrought. Not doing so is being a Nihilist, an Iconoclast- destroying for the sake of destroying.
One can always couple the bombastic rhetoric which sells to the masses with a developmental plan that makes sense and gives positive direction.
The electorate should also be aware and cautious about people who are running in the coming election for vested personal interests riding on the popularity of President Duterte. They suddenly appear looking like crusading personalities for the betterment of Bohol when in the real sense their track records do not seem to favor the good of the environment.
We remember in the past how public opinion had soundly rejected such esoteric plans as ambitious reclamation projects and building artificial islands in Panglao which were deemed disastrous to the environment. We also remember recently how an awakened citizenry – always hounded by nightmares of possible environmental disasters had pulled itself together and said “No To Coal in Bohol” and everyone else blinked and gave in. The Environment is King.
Let us beware of people chanting developmental economics mantras while behind our backs may be plotting schemes that will blacken our pristine environment and line some capitalists’ pockets in the long run. Are there such people? The voters need to expose them.
So, remember the keywords that are crucial to the evaluation of candidates: drugs, graft and the environment. For the good of the province and her people.
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