President Duterte hit the nail squarely on the head when he said that the biggest problem that the Philippines’ faces — bigger even than the drug menace or rising criminality — is “the erosion of faith and trust in government.”
Lamenting the fact that the Filipino people have now lost their “trust in our country’s leaders, faith in our judicial system, (and) confidence in the capacity of our public servants to make the people’s lives better, safer and healthier,” Duterte has vowed to repair the tarnished image of the government.
This transformation is essential in his campaign to restore peace and order in our communities. If we are to follow the law, it is imperative that the law enforcers are the first to show the way. The usual practice of allowing government officials, their friends, families, and flunkies to get away with violations is the single biggest obstacle to enforcement in this country.
The unequivocal pronouncements of the President should serve as a guide to all public officials to observe the proper relationship between them — as employees of the people — and the constituents that they are supposed to serve and protect. No more abuses. No more privileges. No more shortcuts. No more entitlements. NO MORE.
This is where the Aquino administration, despite all its economic gains, failed the Filipino people. It forgot that beyond all the talk of rising GDPs and positive credit ratings, it did not do its primary duty of showing that the government understands and cares for its citizens. Not just as a source of votes during elections, but as real people. Not just as numbers on some obscure statistical data, but as actual human beings.
Hopefully the officials of this administration will not fall into the same elitist trap and instead heed the call of the President to put the people first. That their policies and decisions should be subordinate, and never, ever be superior, to public welfare. That their position is a trust, not a privilege, or much less a license for abuse.
For those who will meet the standards that the President has set, we will stand by you every step of the journey. But for those who will insist on falling back on the old crooked ways, Duterte’s justice will be swift, sure, and without a doubt — savage.