Duterte’s achievements

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced last week that President Duterte’s State of the Nation address on July 23 will follow a new format where he will be talking to the people on matters close to his heart.

He will not be enumerating his achievements, Roque said, adding that that would be done at a separate occasion.

“So iyong mga achievement, siguro may mga ibang pagkakataon nang isa-isahin iyan,” he said.

Critics of Duterte immediately retorted on social media: “What achievements?”

Aba,marami. Plenty, plenty.

On top of the list is the killing of 20,000 Filipinos in his brutal war against drugs.

A scene after a police operation against drug pushers in a depressed area in Metro Manila. Photo by Luis Liwanag.

This is in the Philippine National Police accomplishment report: 3,967 drug personalities killed after allegedly resisting arrest during police operations between July 1, 2016 and November 27, 2017.

There are 16,355 drug-related homicide cases “under investigation” from July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017, the PNP report also said.

Another high on the list is the destruction of democratic institutions. In what many respected lawyers described as a blatant violation of the Constitution, eight justices of the Supreme Court granted Duterte’s wish of ousting Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, whom he has tagged as “enemy” via the quo warrant petition of Solicitor General Jose Calida.

With the ouster of Sereno by quo warranto, all members of the Supreme Court, whose independence is protected by the Constitution with the provision that they can only be removed by impeachment are now at the mercy of the President and his cohorts in the Judiciary.Goodbye check and balance which is essential in a democracy.

This week, Duterte made himself – the President of the Republic of the Philippines- the laughing stock of the world when he sailed east to Benham Rise off the coast of Aurora Province in the Pacific Ocean to demonstrate that he is not afraid to defend the country ‘sovereignty from foreign intruders.

Pres. Duterte being briefed by Philippine Navy officials on Benham Rise. aboard BRP Davao del Sur. Screengrab from RTVM’s video.

But no one contests the inclusion of Benham Rise, which has been named Philippine Rise, as part of the Philippine extended continental shelf as approved by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) on April 12, 2012.

The problem is on the West, in the Spratlys in the South China Sea, where China has installed military facilities in the artificial islands they have built in parts which are also claimed by the Philippines.

The Philippines does not even have sovereignty over Philippine Rise. As part of the country’s extended continental shelf, the Philippines has only sovereign rights to explore and exploit the natural and non-living resources found in the area.

Accompanied by members of media, Malacañang hyped the Philippine Rise trip with the scenario of the President making good his 2016 campaign promise of riding a jet ski to the disputed Spratly islands.

In the end, it was his son, Sebastian and Presidential Special Assistant Bong Go, who made a ceremonial jet ski ride.

During that trip, Duterte also took pride in the assurance of Chinese President Xi Jinping that China will not allow him to be ousted.

Duterte quoted Xi as having said: ‘We will not allow you to be taken out from your office, and we will not allow the Philippines to go to the dogs.'”

That’s inviting foreign intervention.

Then there’s the record-breaking inflation caused by his tax reforms that greatly reduced the value of the peso. P1,000 these days can hardly last a day.

There are many more achievements by Duterte.You are welcome to add to this list.