POLITICAL SCIENCE professors in a forum yesterday evaluated President Rodrigo Duterte’s first three months in office, saying he lacked some elements needed to run a country.
The president’s focus on eliminating the country’s drug problem and his propensity for expletive statements might have overshadowed his administration’s efforts, said Antonio La Viña, Dean of the Ateneo De Manila University School of Government.
He described Duterte as a president who has a strong political drive but is short of overall political strategy.
“From what I view, there is no execution of strategies except the war against drugs. In the other areas of governance that I mentioned earlier, the president does not really govern […] This president is not capable of multitasking. He can really do one thing at a time lang,” La Viña said.
The administration encouraged peace talks with communist and Moro rebels, as well as anti-mining, agrarian, and environmental reforms. Duterte had also set up emergency hotlines and signed an executive order on the long-delayed Freedom of Information act, among others.
However, La Viña saw economy and foreign policy as the president’s two weaknesses.
“He is from Mindanao who knows the margins well, but he does not actually know macro issues very well. The economy and foreign policy are two of his weaknesses, and those two need presidential decisions,” La Viña said.
In a span of 100 days, Duterte has been the subject of international headlines after likening his war against drugs to Adolf Hitler’s extermination of Jews, cursing United States President Barack Obama, and threatening to pull the country out of the United Nations.
“His personal behavior can be shocking […] Any day the president [will] say something then we [will be] shocked and [will say it was] atrocious,” he said.
La Viña encouraged the people to understand the president because his ways of leadership will not change.
“‘Wag na kayo umasa na magbabago ang pangulo, [dahil] hindi iyan mangyayari. 70 years old na po siya. Ang habit niya sa governance is habit niya na for 25 years. Hindi iyan magbabago,” La Viña said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
De La Salle-College of St. Benilde professor Mark Anthony Velasco likewise said Duterte’s war against drugs is only a part of his governance, noting that poverty is still the scourge of the nation.
“Governance is a way of managing the state, so why do we need governance? Because of the problem. We want to alleviate incident in the country, drugs is just one aspect,” Velasco said.
He suggested that poor Filipinos must be given job opportunities, proper education, and sufficient food supply.
Thomasian professor Marielle Marcaida, moreover, expressed her concern on the stigma attached to drug addicts.
“The drug problem is not only a health problem, it is also a socio-political problem,” Marcaida said. “The social problem is that the government is not able to provide the needs of citizens like employment [and] housing. So if you need those things to cope up with drug problems, it will certainly be a problem because matagal na itong problema ng lipunan natin.”
The Political Science Forum organized the event titled First 100 Days: An Assessment of the New Administration’s Term as an avenue to evaluate the new president. F DONN CLARENZE D. GONZALES