Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Elder's Advice by Erick San Juan

Elder's Advice by Erick San Juan

‘Colorful person’ and a person with ‘colorful language’ that is President Rody Duterte according to US President Barack Obama and Jose Almonte (former national security adviser).  The former attribute may refer to a politician who can be seen dealing across the political spectrum, from left to right. While the latter, a description given to Pres. Duterte or shall I say a criticism, due to his use of cuss words especially to foreign top officials and organizations.

A hundred days of the 6-year term of the Duterte administration has been colorful enough that almost everyday in the tri-media, here and abroad, he always have those quotable quotes – may be good or bad to fill in that has caused the trending and debates between the for and against the president.

Even the former president and statesman in the international community as the most traveled leader of the country, former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos gave his comments on the performance of Pres. Duterte on his first 100 days in office. For him, Team Philippines is losing due to some incidents and broken promises. For PFVR, the status of the Philippines in the world as a community is important especially our economic and military ties with the United States.

Our status as an ally of the US with several existing treaties, from economic to military had gone a long, long way that will just end because Pres. Rody says so.

Like what PFVR said in his column, “are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics, and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that?

FVR’s focus regarding this assessment of Du30’s first 100 days is based simply on two concepts of primordial importance – LEADERSHIP and TEAMWORK – because that is where the perceived failures have emerged at this point in time.

Let all do-gooders, Pres. Rody included, please help the president's trusted lieutenants Jun Yasay(DFA), Lorenzana (DND), Ernie Abella and others clarify, contextualize, disbewilder, soothe, detoxify and otherwise enlighten most of us who believe that -in the 21st century – harmony, peace, inclusiveness, connectivity, and mutual benefit, etc. are people’s highest aspirations.”

As for Ms. Carmen N. Pedrosa in her column – ‘Joal’s reluctant admiration of Duterte’, she writes – “Both he (Jo Almonte) and President Duterte come from lower middle class (not rich but not very poor either). It is from these origins that both strove to make something of themselves through self-study and use real life experiences as their higher education.

They have developed extraordinary careers in their chosen fields of endeavor. Joal as an intellectual soldier (hard to find these days) and Duterte as an unorthodox politician (a rara avis). On the unorthodox politician most of us thought it would take a miracle to have one and win as President in an elite-dominated society like the Philippines. You must be acceptable to big business.

Almonte conceded that Duterte has done well, fulfilling most of his campaign promises in his first 100 days. He admitted it was Duterte’s approach to the country’s  fundamental problems – “internal war, broken politics and monopolized business.” He said Duterte’s record was exceptional. But like many others he criticized the President for his “colorful language.”

I beg to differ.

I think it was this “colorful language” that connected him with the masses and that to me is the most significant job in putting this country together. It is divided not just by politics as we know it. “Let us all be friends” is not the mantra for a well-run democratic society. What is, is “how to manage our differences” with strong institutions.

I don’t know how Duterte developed his “colorful language.” Did he plan it or did it come to him naturally that it was the style needed to get the attention and friendship of the masses?

I think Almonte referring to Duterte’s “colorful language” was more concerned with his tirades against President Obama and other western leaders. It is obviously coming from a deeply felt anti-colonialism.

Almonte says he (PRRD) should tone down his language. It detracts from his accomplishments.

I do not think so. Netanyahu also told Obama to go to hell but got what he wanted anyway. US criticisms of his war on illegal drugs, Duterte also told Obama to “go to hell” and warned he may decide to “break up with America.” There are other examples but it is not true that polite language is more effective. Rightly or wrongly polite language represents the power of the status quo when they ask Duterte to conform.

Duterte wants to change the world order into something less hypocritical. The history of US-Philippine relations shows that the ”good boy” behavior only gets them bullied.

But Duterte has a wild card – a review of the (EDCA) Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement which President Obama carried home with speed and haste before we even realized how it would affect our security and well-being.

President Duterte has said it often enough that his foreign policy is to be friends with everyone, including the United States and China. But to put such foreign policy in place, he must give notice to the world that it will no longer be America’s patsy in the region.

Joal must have had a tough time maneuvering thru the issue of Duterte’s “colorful language” and a desire to convince the general Filipino public that this is the heart of the problem. In fact the two are components of the push for a more independent Philippines.

Frankly, that capability has long been delayed by timid Philippine presidents who did not dare to cross the line. Duterte did. For that he faces the danger of being removed from political scene because it's the common perception that what America wants, America gets.”

Is it?

I agree with PFVR that the Duterte administration’s next 100 days (or the rest of his term) will be much, much better, considering the entire gamut of Philippine problems, starting with poverty.

Lets get our act together.

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