President Rodrigo Duterte just became an honorary member of Get Real Philippines when he said “We are our own enemy” in this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). Indeed, it is the people who tolerate and perpetuate corruption that contribute to much of the problems of the Philippines. It’s not just the public servants who are to blame. It’s also the people who allow it to happen.
Duterte said there are cities in the Philippines without fire trucks. Meanwhile, what did former President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III do with all the funds he diverted and renamed the “Disbursement Acceleration Program”? He probably used it for the 2016 Presidential elections. Former COMELEC chairman Andy Bautista could, perhaps, help enlighten us.
Duterte named former Dept of Foreign Affairs Sec Albert Del Rosario as the person responsible for convincing Aquino to back off when there was a naval standoff with China over disputed territory at Reed Bank. After that, China moved in quickly and stepped up occupation of the area.
Duterte’s SONA was devoted to highlighting the corruption and incompetence of public servants and government agencies. He also pointed to the public’s indifference and apathy, which is the reason why public servants get away with their criminal behaviour. Everyone is accountable.
Main difference between Noynoy’s and Duterte’s SONA: Noynoy made it look like everything was under control while Duterte admitted there is still a lot of work to be done and there is lots of room for improvement. He even admitted lots of mistakes were made in the first half of his term and that there is much to be learned from there that could be applied to the remainder of his term. Duterte emphasised that he alone is accountable for the outcome of the drug war.
Overall he exhibited both genuine humility and strong leadership in his report to Filipinos in this year’s SONA.