The Duterte Admin is failing miserably at one stated goal: unity

‘Unity’ by Nelum Walpola

By Joe America

The Duterte Administration is failing miserably at one stated goal: unity.

One does not achieve unity through political jailings, undermining human rights, rampant killing of defenseless Filipinos, or climbing into bed with enemies of the State. Nor does one achieve it by demanding obedience of thought and deed and stripping legislators of their positions if they do not toe the demanded line. It is not achieved by forcing independent institutions (legislative bodies, Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Human Rights Commission, courts) to obey the Executive mandate without voicing objection to proposals or deeds that they believe may damage the Philippines or hurt Filipinos. It is not achieved by martial law.

It’s a shame. We are all so riled up and engaged in battles that do absolutely nothing for the Philippines but chase investors away. For the poverty-wracked Philippines more than any other nation, “it’s the economy, stupid!”

I think the standing government does not comprehend that honest argument BUILDS a nation, it does not tear it down. Impeachment and martial law ought to be last resorts, not first. Just mentioning them makes investors nervous.

STABILITY ought to be the first resort, because that is what investors demand. Investors are crucial to create new jobs and cure the nation’s wretched poverty.

Investors do not ask for stability. It is not optional. They DEMAND it.

I offer this editorial comment because I think what we really ought to be arguing about is NEDA’S Philippine Development Plan, an extraordinarily thorough, objective, and professional document. Then we ought to be joining hands to implement it.

Below is the public version of the plan, set forth in 21 chapters (each a separate pdf file). It is way too much for a person to read in one setting, but I would suggest you pick a chapter you like, and read it, or at least skim through it. That may lead you to further explorations.

It is impossible for Filipinos of any group, interest, or institution to drive the nation to unity. That is squarely the job of the Executive Branch. If that were truly the goal . . . if bettering the Philippine State were a committed goal . . . Executive would be listening to critics, not cursing them. Executive would be working to unify friends and political adversaries because that is the best way to build the nation.

That is simply not happening.

But NEDA’s plan gives the nation some very professional thinking. Indeed, it could be a unifying document, if we let it be. That is, if Executive stops cleaving us into friends and foes and accepts us all as stakeholders worth respecting.


PDP 2017-2022 CHAPTERS


Chapter 1: The Long View

Chapter 2: Global and Regional Trends and Prospects

Chapter 3: Overlay of Economic Growth, Demographic Trends, and Physical Characteristics

Chapter 4: Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 Overall Framework


Chapter 5: Ensuring People-Centered, Clean, and Efficient Governance

Chapter 6: Pursuing Swift and Fair Administration of Justice

Chapter 7: Promoting Philippine Culture and Values


Chapter 8: Expanding Economic Opportunities in Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries

Chapter 9: Expanding Economic Opportunities in Industry and Services through Trabaho and Negosyo

Chapter 10: Accelerating Human Capital Development

Chapter 11: Reducing Vulnerability of Individuals and Families

Chapter 12: Building Safe and Secure Communities


Chapter 13: Reaching for the Demographic Dividend

Chapter 14: Vigorously Advancing Science, Technology, and Innovation


Chapter 15: Ensuring Sound Macroeconomic Policy

Chapter 16: Leveling the Playing Field through a National Competition Policy


Chapter 17: Attaining Just and Lasting Peace

Chapter 18: Ensuring Security, Public Order, and Safety

Chapter 19: Accelerating Infrastructure Development

Chapter 20: Ensuring Ecological Integrity, Clean and Healthy Environment


Chapter 21: Plan Implementation and Monitoring


147 Responses to “The Duterte Admin is failing miserably at one stated goal: unity”
  1. arlene says:

    Simply put, he is not fit to be a president of the country. Good morning Joeam.

  2. NHerrera says:


    May be brought about via consideration of

    * JoeAm’s Philippine Unity Blog
    * NEDA’s Philippine Development Plan

    but best via thoughts from both:

    UNITY = JoeAm’s Blog + NEDA’s PDP

    Suggestion: if the reader is uncomfortable with the frank words of or the inconvenient truth essayed by the blog writer, then get past him and go to the PDP of NEDA which is part of the Administration.

    Three thumbs up, Joe. Unity — not the unity or else kind — is the crying need of the Philippines.

    (I have not myself dipped into the PDP yet but the Table of Contents and NEDA’s traditional credibility, professionalism and thoroughness says a lot. The reading of the PDP is the assignment I task myself.)

    • NHerrera says:

      Beautiful painting there, a harmonious play of colors, appropriately adorning the subject of Unity.

    • I was struck by a tweet this morning that had a comment from Mar Roxas. I can’t confirm if or when he said it, but is the idea that counts. He said something like “The Philippines is a great nation. We can do better than this.”

      That is the hope and positive view missing under Duterte. It is hard to unify around death and conflict.

      • NHerrera says:

        A fresh cool air of a February morning after a good night sleep in the Philippines, the idea of that statement.

        • Sup says:

          Better attitude than this one….

          Badoy said she is unfazed by the complaint against her.

          “Naku madam, hindi ko ikapepreso yan (I will not go to jail because of that). If worse comes to worst, all that ever happens to me is I lose this job—that I don’t grasp at and willingly give up if it gets to that. I have a lovely life with my family and dogs and books waiting for me. It’s no big loss to me. Pramis (Promise),” she said on Facebook.

          Soliman cited Badoy’s post where she said the European Union (EU) should engage in online pornography instead of sounding the alarm on the deaths of drug suspects.

          • Her older half-sister Gang Badoy Capati is an EDSA veteran. That and Karl’s stories about the Duterte supporters in his family show fault lines running through an entire society.

            • Iyong isa, mabait. Iyong isa nasisiraan ng bait.

              • Sup says:

                You are so correct..the wounds between the pro and anti Duterte getting deeper and deeper……..

              • Two very opposed principles at work here: Honesty and Jealousy. Something I remember from an old French funk/rap song, the choice in life is between honesty and jealousy.

                In the movie Bodyguard, it is the jealous sister of the diva played by Witney Houston who turns out to be the one behind the hired assassin against her. Seething envy comes out of every post of Lorraine Badoy against Leni who is a person doing good, just like Gang..

                Seething envy, crab on steroids (c) JoeAm – comes out of every Mocha Uson posting also..

                I know how pernicious Philippine crabbing can get – guess why I chose to live elsewhere?

                Trouble with such acid of the soul is that it hurts others before it destroys the human host.

  3. Micha says:

    Rodrigo Duterte is ill-suited, corrupt, and incompetent to meet the demands and requirements of the office of the President.

    For the sake of the country, or whatever remains of it after he cedes sovereignty, in part or in full, to Chinese aggression and influence, this murderous maniac needs to either voluntarily resign or get impeached!

    • It is astounding how clear such readouts are to a reasonably aware and civil person, but how institutional rules are cumbersome and don’t allow quick fix solutions (same in the US). Duterte was elected according to the rules, and appears to enjoy huge support among the populace, and strong support from notables who presumably see gain for themselves, or have some other ideas about civility and order. His drug program is inciting a steady flow of murders, but it seems not to be enough to cause popular outrage (amazing, I agree), or other corrective action. He has his own slow-burn strategy on China that also holds outrage at bay whilst totally opening the nation up to marauding from abroad. It took the death of Ninoy Aquino to provoke outrage toward Marcos. Unless there is a similar incident, we seem to be frogs caught in the boiling water.

  4. chemrock says:

    Neda does comprehensive write-ups for each admin and I must say the folks there do admirable jobs. It’s non-political and their comments on performance and lessons learnt of previous 6 years are non-partisan. If we can all discuss the various economics-related matters in similar vein, leaving out political rhetorics, that would be nation building.

    There was a recognition that whilst growth was achieved, it has’nt triggered down to the masses. Well we all know you first have to bake the cake before you can distribute it. But it led to this quote in the development plan :

    “This situation, where citizens feel increasingly alienated from their government, cannot be allowed to persist. Otherwise the door is opened for opportunists promising quick fixes that could only lead to far worse outcomes.

    It was pointed at the past. It jolly well will point to the future. Unless there is unity and Joe’s adivce goes unheeded.

  5. karlgarcia says:

    Chap 18 On Security ….

    calls for upgrade of jail facilities.

    Like what DILG Usec Hinlo said when he asked for for land donors formore jails.

    There is no budget for land aqusition, only for building of jails.

    On lasting peace part
    MILF- From the start they already told us that Federalism is the only solution, but the MILF demands BBL
    CPP- We can see that the NDF has no control over the NPA

    PRRD’s rhetoric against the oligarchs is not helping either, in Sulu the tycoons crafted a development plan. Class wars should not be added to the several wars we are alreay faced with.

  6. NHerrera says:

    I have just come last night to Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic” delivered in Paris, 1910.

    I hope it is not disruptive of the discussion to cite some gems from that gem-filled speech:

    “Let those who have, keep, let those who have not, strive to attain, a high standard of cultivation and scholarship. Yet let us remember that these stand second to certain other things. There is need of a sound body, and even more need of a sound mind. But above mind and above body stands character—the sum of those qualities which we mean when we speak of a man’s force and courage, of his good faith and sense of honor…

    “Self-restraint, self-mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution—these are the qualities which mark a masterful people. Without them no people can control itself, or save itself from being controlled from the outside…

    “I pay all homage to intellect, and to elaborate and specialized training of the intellect; and yet I know I shall have the assent of all of you present when I add that more important still are the commonplace, every-day qualities and virtues…

    “In the next place, the good man should be both a strong and a brave man; that is, he should be able to fight, he should be able to serve his country as a soldier, if the need arises. There are well-meaning philosophers who declaim against the unrighteousness of war. They are right only if they lay all their emphasis upon the unrighteousness. War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity. But it is such a crime because it is unjust, not because it is war. The choice must ever be in favor of righteousness, and this whether the alternative be peace or whether the alternative be war. The question must not be merely, Is there to be peace or war? The question must be, Is the right to prevail? Are the great laws of righteousness once more to be fulfilled? And the answer from a strong and virile people must be, “Yes,” whatever the cost. Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, just as every honorable effort should always be made by the individual in private life to keep out of a brawl, to keep out of trouble; but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong…

    “Finally, even more important than ability to work, even more important than ability to fight at need, is it to remember that the chief of blessings for any nation is that it shall leave its seed to inherit the land… No refinement of life, no delicacy of taste, no material progress, no sordid heaping up of riches, no sensuous development of art and literature, can in any way compensate for the loss of the great fundamental virtues; and of these great fundamental virtues the greatest is the race’s power to perpetuate the race.”

  7. josephivo says:

    (Rereading, I think I was listening to much to Timothy Snyder on his new book “On Tyranny”. He is a Yale professor of Eastern Europe History and has a lot to tell about what is happening in the US)

    Didn’t you misunderstand the word unity? For many there is perfect unity, only as expected some sub-human specimen did not joint major’s down to earth movement. Tyrants never come alone, on their route to tyranny apart from an inner circle they need the people united to support him. To reach absolute power they will eradicate those who dare to oppose.

    Tyranny is the opposite of democracy based on the rule of law. A rule of law is based on trust, so trust has to be damaged first. Fake data as addict figures, harm the trustworthiness of the media, your neighbor might be a drug pusher or tattler…

    Little new under the sun, Plato and Aristotle define a tyrant as “one who rules without law, and uses extreme and cruel tactics against his own people as well as others”. We can get lessons from other tyrants and their way to power, Marcos, Putin, Trump, Erdogan…, after WWII Eastern communist leaders in Poland, Hungry, Romania , or earlier Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler… It is not about their ideology, it is about the nature of these leaders, their environments and their tactics used to get to power and establish absolute power.

    • josephivo says:

      Wiki: Tyrants appear to suffer psychological pathologies that result in self-destructive behavior. “His grandiosity and his skills in deception, manipulation, and intimidation are an advantage to him in securing power. But as he moves toward absolute power, he is also apt to cross moral and geographic boundaries in ways that place him in a vulnerable position. Thus, he may engage in cruelties that serve no political purpose, challenge the conventional morality in ways that undermine his base, engage in faulty reality testing, and overreach himself in foreign engagements in ways that invite new challenges to his rule.”

    • I don’t know if I misunderstood unity. Tyranny can form a unity of obedient souls. I for sure did not mean that.

      • josephivo says:

        But how to explain the “unity of obedient souls” what YOU mean with unity? Or are we only talking to ourselves?

        (Tyranny does not form the supports, it is build on supporters, to sustain it feeds them with alternative facts and/or fear.)

        • People obey even when others are hurt, because it is of personal risk to disobey. So journalists and legislators look the other way as people are killed without trial, just because someone wants them dead. Freedom does not exist in our Western sense. Order does, and that creates unity. My ideal form of unity is perhaps represented by the American patriotic commitment, spirit and sacrifice which is inspired and inspiring, self-generated, and self-correcting when freedoms create abberations like Donald Trump.

          If you have a different idea, please state it. I think Socrates was a cool teacher, but I don’t like playing 20 questions in slo-mo. 🙂

          • NHerrera says:

            One possible approach here is to make a brief on the meaning of the word unity, the percentage of the population in unity or as weighted (?) by socio-economic classes, the critical country issues and aspirations which are relevant to the subject of unity.

            A quick, perhaps a pragmatic approach, is to ask if the Unity envisioned is more like at least these two examples:

            – Unity of the Russians under Stalin
            – Unity of the Filipinos under Ramos

          • josephivo says:

            I think unity and trust are related. So unity in a democracy could be measured by the common trust in the rule of law. Unity in a dictatorship by the common trust in the leader.

            • Dictators too often try to impose trust, it seems to me. So I struggle with that kind of unity being trust-based, versus punishment based.

              • josephivo says:

                2 phases for dictators, getting in power and retaining power. I was thinking at the first phase. It starts with “I’m strong, trust me. I will build a wall, kick rapist out, stop Muslims, create jobs, drain the swamp… See my successes as businessman.” Or “I’ll kill all addicts, stop all petty crimes, get Chinese investments, make us for the first time real independent… See my deeds as mayor”. Punishing the “others” (Muslims, drugies) comes with the first power, ones under tread due to overextending, punishing their own people will start to retain power, most likely triggered by a big painful event (real or planted). There are 100 other examples in the past too.

              • Yes, I agree with that. The obedience part kicks in when there is objection, however.

              • madlanglupa says:

                > Dictators too often try to impose trust

                Methinks of this phrase applicable in tyrannies: “If you got nothing to hide, you have nothing to be afraid of.”

    • sonny says:

      Vetting the tyrant and tyranny is first knowing what democracy is all about.

      “… The Greek meaning of democracy is the rule of those for whom freedom is whatever it is they want it to mean. The Greek meaning of tyranny comes forth when the Greek meaning of democracy rules. The tyrant orders everything, including the polity, to himself and his wants.”

  8. gerverg1885 says:

    I, for one, could not imagine unity with one who has no consistency whatsoever in words and in actions.

    And to followers who still find it hard to see beyond his cruel actions to those who do not want to follow him.

    I may have written wrong because he, Duterte, had remained consistent in his promise to kill drug addicts and persecute anybody who gets in his way toward achieving that goal.

  9. edgar lores says:

    1. The opposite of unity is disunity. And the extreme of disunity is polarization.

    2. Unity does not mean unanimity, which is full agreement. By unity in our democracy, I would take to mean the unity of ends but not the unity of means.

    2.1. The unity of our ends is that we are all agreed to come together for the advancement and perfection of society. However, we may differ in how to attain that advancement and that perfection.

    3. I do not recall that we were ever fully united from the time of the dictatorship.

    3.1. I believe we were most united under Magsaysay and disunited under Garcia and Macapagal. Starting with Marcos, however, we were polarized.

    3.2. Until Marcos came, we were agreed that democracy is the main means to achieve our common purpose. Now, we are polarized between democratic and authoritarian rule.

    4. I think there is another difference that becomes apparent when we compare PNoy and Duterte. The disagreements in PNoy’s time were largely about events and not policies. There were the Corona impeachment and the Mamasapano incident. Yes, there were one or two disagreements about policy – the RH Law and DAP — but the former was largely resistance from the Church and the latter was after the fact.

    4.1. With Duterte the disagreements are mostly about policy – the anti-drug war, the sea territorial disputes, the death penalty, the lowering of the age of responsibility, federalism, etcetera.

    4.2. And the polarization is greater, far beyond the bounds of decency. Not only in word but in deeds. Cursing. Rape. Killings.

    5. I do not know how we will retrace our steps back to being a civilized society. One thing is for sure. We will have to find ways to meld our separation from each other and our alienation from ourselves and rediscover our common purpose, our unity.

    • There is a major misunderstanding when it comes to decency – a multifaceted word.

      It can mean prim and proper. Disente in Filipino can mean disenteng porma, disenteng itsura – merely outward appearances in both cases. It can mean something deeper also.

      So many Filipinos say for Gods sake, I don’t want to be prim and proper, ayoko maging disente, tunay akong tao, hindi pasosyal. Doesn’t mean they lack Decency, which those do who wish rape on others for example. But damn, how do you make the difference clear?

      • edgar lores says:

        I recall Mar used the term in his campaign to describe himself and his future administration. Is that non-identification with the term one reason why he lost? If so, it goes to show that Filipinos are not deep thinkers. Newspeak: indecency is authentic. Which describes Duterte.

        • This man here is a chief editor, not a shallow thinker at all, veering towards left definitely. Parekoy would be another example of one who seems to know Decency – but not decency. Could it be that those who can’t distinguish big D and small D are the Problem? (P not p.i.!)

          • edgar lores says:


            • Author Sylvia Mayuga has another opinion on this…

              so one can indeed see the nation reflecting on it’s values, based on real incidents.. because the Filipino mind is concrete not abstract it needs real examples to test theories..

          • NHerrera says:

            Is this quantum jump and momentum still reversible before it becomes the norm: whereas before one guards his thoughts and mouth so no foul words comes out to embarrass him, the present times have done the reverse — embarrass some if they do not lace their words with obscenities several times during the day. Once set as the norm, will it take decades to reverse? Unhealthy situation to say the least. (To make light of it, in an effort to suppress an anger, one may say it is just a passing fashion.)

            • It IS unhealthy. But could it be an adjustment of an entire culture to rapid modernization Used to be that Philippine culture was highly polite – but also vague to the point of being unproductive and frustrating if you wanted clear answers and results. Maybe, may bigote!

              Hopefully the pendelum will at some point find its balance in the middle. Between the hypocrisy that some accuse the elite of and the brashness of the newly rude groups, there is hopefully a place which is forthright AND respectful at the same time. In Germany I have observed phases of rudeness, usually coupled with rebellion against prevailing norms. But these phases usually evened out after a few extremes and led to a new balance. The question is, will the Philippines have the capability to get to that point?

          • Edgar Lores says:

            I think the problem is the lack of discernment, accuracy in thinking.

            It is true that decency is conformity to proper social behavior. But it is absolutely not true that decency is conformity to conventional thought.

            Like this chief editor says decency “blinds the eyes.” Not so. It simply means that one behaves properly with respect to others. But perception-wise and thought-wise, one can be as insightful and unconventional as one wants to be.

            Further, it is also true that unconventional thinking might lead to unconventional behavior… and that is alright as long as the unconventional behavior is not an imposition on others.

            Take profanity. Depending on context, it can be conventional or unconventional, acceptable or unacceptable. With teenagers talking among themselves and finding their identity and way in life, profanity is conventional and acceptable. But in a mix of teenagers and adults — again depending on environmental variables — profanity is unacceptable.

            And it is certainly unacceptable in heads of states, whether communicating with their constituencies or with foreign leaders or entities. It is against protocol.

            But there is a higher level above the social and political levels that disallows the use of profanity. This is the level of morality and spirituality. Profanity is a grossness of the spirit and reflective of an unclean and unrefined mind. Right speech is one of the eight practices of the Noble Eightfold Path.

            • A rule of thumb is that one is more formal with strangers. Among heads of state it is clear that you have to be extremely polite, as foreigners are the biggest strangers by definition. With friends an insult in jest is something else than with a passerby, or a foreign dignitary.

              Of course Duterte etc. sell their discourtesy towards Westerners and “elitists” especially as a form of anticolonialism and anti-elitism – among activists of old being too polite was seen as a sign of submissiveness, the tone was one of disrespecting those seen as oppressors.

              In fact in traditional realms of impunity in the Philippines, being polite meant you were of lower rank while being rude meant you were powerful. So Dutertista rudeness is a strange mix of the rudeness of activists and the rudeness of impunity, like Dutertism is a weird mix.

              • Or the rudeness of someone emotionally detached from civil behavior . . .

              • Edgar Lores says:

                “In fact in traditional realms of impunity in the Philippines, being polite meant you were of lower rank while being rude meant you were powerful.”

                Very true. This is the master/slave psychology in which we are caught and to which we have been conditioned.

                Duterte thinks he is projecting strength, when what is being projected is immaturity… as Ms. Mayuga notes.

                Compare the behavior of PNoy and Duterte against the Chinese incursions. PNoy’s is principled: let us establish the law here, what is right.

                In contrast, Duterte’s is mendicant: let us see what we can get for free, what is advantageous for us. By sucking up to China, he thinks he is getting something for “free,” which in a sad way makes him believe he is superior because he is able to pull one over his superior’s eyes.

                In PNoy’s view, China and the Philippines are equals. In Duterte’s, China is superior.

          • karlgarcia says:

            And his shirt in his picture says that he is authentic.


    • As to the ‘how’ in point 5, I’d imagine the educated and principled elite would somehow have to get back into office, and do a better job of sustaining themselves. It might take 30 years now, rather than the 15 it would have taken under a Roxas presidency.

      • It will not be enough. Probably an entire people will have to regain its soul first.

        Somewhere to where that soul was in the time of Mabini but upgraded for today’s world.

        • Economy first, new social values right behind, it has to be pursued with purpose. I’m not willing to submit to the futility of it all.

          • It isn’t hopeless. But I think very painful times are ahead.

            • Indeed. The admin celebrates the most recent Fitch rating. They say, “See? The War on Drugs and EJKs will not affect the economy.” What a laugh. They are so shortsighted and/or blind. The economy is still flying in mid air because of the tailwinds of the past admin’s economic stability. Wish it will remain that way but there are a lot signs that point to the fact that the economy may suffer soon from the collective actions of the present admin.

              • sonny says:

                JP, very tempting analogy. Here’s my half-baked take, emphasis on half-baked.

                The Philippines and the Filipinos, the AIRPLANE OF STATE:
                A. Check the fuel gauge for sufficient gas for flight; this has been done by the PNoy’s admin by way of macroresults (eg GDP, BPO) ready for PDu30’s flight & destination. NEDA (Navigational Encompassing Directory & Adjustments) that the VP Leni (co-pilot) and national economic planners can interpret for in-flight operations. The Drug problem is best confined by designated police officers in the cargo hold of the airplane with all resources per the Dept of Justice; first class section can be assigned to the agents of gov’t for planning/designing, operations, feedback & mgmt. The president & VP must work together on the thrust and drag and lift of the Airplane of State as the members of the cabinet give input to the status of the rudder, ailerons, elevator for turns, banking, etc., etc.

              • @manong sonny

                It is actually a fully baked plan you got there. Reminds me of my neighbor, a medication compliant schizophrenic, who retired as a successful commercial airline pilot a few years ago. It can be done but the pilot and the co-pilot need to cooperate fully in flying the plane and landing it safely. The pilot also need to stick to tried and true flying methods and can’t flip flop or do tricky maneuvers to test the air and the passengers.

              • sonny says:

                Alas, JP. The thought occurred to me that the flying time of our President is only certified for single prop engine planes. Even so that might even be an overestimation. It might work as long as he is aware of what the components of an airplane are there for – Davao aerodynamics requirements are similar to a Davao-to-Aparri flight plan.

              • chemrock says:

                But you have a president trained on a Tupolev, a VP trained on a Boeing and they are flying an Airbus. They have problem getting the plane to the take-off point.

              • sonny says:

                Aye, chempo. Who knows whatever else confusion there is in our airplane of state. 😦

  10. OT Recently Manolo Quezon reposted an article about Philippine generations…

    The article was from 2014, so his view of the present generations may deserve revision…

    the question remains, why the bitter polarization and fragmentation in the Philippines of today?

    • sonny says:

      Go back to your image of strands and ties that bind, Irineo. The Filipino psyche is made up of strands and ties. The national evolution consists of where and what identity each citizen will assume. We can contextualize our leadership, membership and archipelagic patrimony as this triad.

    • Francis says:

      The lower middle classes and—to a still broad extent, but not as much as the former—the poor have awakened from their slumber.

      Facebook. This is now the focal point of public space in this country—some might even go so far as to argue that it is the first genuinely public space in our nation’s history. Perhaps Facebook (Free Facebook Basics especially) is serving as the catalysis for the coming-of-age of these emerging classes in the same way the newspapers (Gutenberg in general) served as the coming-of-age of the European bourgeoise.

      And these classes may not be socialized in the same liberal, republican norms as the upper, professional and old middle classes. So a clash occurs.

      Hmm. Some ways highly similar to America’s own polarizing predicament, but very different. For one thing—it is not city v. province. More like city v. city here.

    • LG says:

      Thanks Irineo for posting this Manolo Quezon article on Philippine generations.

  11. It is true that the PH economy needs tending yesterday and so is Juan dela Cruz. Today is a good time for the admin to stop being self centered and look outward for a change, to give the people and the economy more than a passing glance. Ask them what they need and find solutions before people resort to taking what may not be rightfully theirs (Occupy Pandi). It will also be good if every member of the government re-read RA 6713 as a refresher course in professional conduct and ethics. YOU are supposed to be the leaders and models for the citizenry. If YOU behave badly and flaunt it like it is something to be proud of, do not expect the citizenry to have discipline.

    • Just pieces of paper for so many, just like the oath of Grace Poe when she became a citiizen of the United States. Maybe most stuff that is longer than a few sentences, in any language English or Tagalog, goes into one ear and out of the other ear of many Filipinos.

      “Government employee” for so many Filipinos means a job were you can earn secure money, maybe even something on the side, and treat ordinary people like mere subjects.

      • sonny says:

        The economy that was obliterated and the aborted Civil Service training for our putative bureaucracies were both attributable to the 2nd World War. This is all in our history and summarized comprehensively and expertly by Frank Golay (economist, Cornell U) in his seminal book (1961), THE PHILIPPINES – Public Policy and National Economic Development. It is out of print but should be carried by our reputable libraries. Our young generation of thinkers and future leaders would be well-advised to fill the gaps of our social, political and economic history by studying this book. It is a crystal ball even it covers only the period from 1945 – 1960 (the first 15 critical years of our young democratic republic).

      • There is an ethical and professional component missing in the PH public service arena if public servants perceive their calling as a way to satiate their ego and greed.

        Does the University of the Philippines have a public administration department that could churn out professional public servants like the PMA? Maybe the Skolar ng Bayan can be conscripted into public service to pay off their debts to the nation?

        • karlgarcia says:

          Most newbie congressman take the Public Aministration crash course (provided by UP)
          Sen Trillanes took his Pub Admin UP open university while in prison.

          • Thanks for the info, karl.

            Why is there is a lot of PH government officials from private colleges? The who’s who in governance seems to be dominated by foreign educated or “PH ivy league” alum. Do graduates of public/state colleges not aspire to be in public service?

            • karlgarcia says:

              According to MRP, most public servants and people from media graduated from UP.

            • sonny says:

              Let me tweak the question a little bit, JP. Why did our public officials go to private or US institutions. I think the short answer is the guarantee of excellence in teaching and learning in the chosen institutions.

    • edgar lores says:

      Duterte’s cussing is in violation of this section under “Justness and Sincerity.”

      “They shall at all times respect the rights of others, and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public interest.”

      • True.

        It will be great if civil societies in PH start perusing this document to clean up the government of undesirables – the real “basket of deplorables” – a sort of War on Deplorables. The Ombudsman’s office will have to hire more people (good for the economy) and maybe PH will have good governance for once (better for the economy and welfare of all).

    • karlgarcia says:

      You are spot on, mareng Winnie Monsod also thinks so.

      I said before that those who are calling Delima immoral to cast the first stone, but instead the lower house ganged up on Delima.

      And now the most power drunk of them all dares the IBP to disbar him because of immorality.

      RA 6713 should be used by the ombudsman to discipline Alvarez

      What would stop her, impeachment?

  12. cha says:

    Had a quick look at the NEDA plan. Thank you, by the way, for that. I must agree, it is indeed quite thorough, objective and very well put together.

    As with most plans, it certainly looks good on paper; the targets for achievement are inspiring and important:

    1. The Philippines will be an upper middle income country by 2022.
    2. Growth will be more inclusive as manifested by a lower poverty incidence in the rural areas from
    30% in 2015 to 20% in 2022.
    3. The Philippines will have a high level of human development by 2022.
    4. The unemployment rate will decline from the current 5.5 to 3.5 % in 2022.
    5. There will be greater trust in government and in society.
    6. Individuals and communities will be more resilient.
    7. Filipinos will have greater drive for innovation.

    The strategies for achieving these targets fall under 3 major pillars :
    1. Enhancing the social fabric. The aim is to regain the people’s trust in public institutions and
    cultivate trust in fellow Filipinos.
    2. Inequality reducing transformation. Ordinary Filipinos will feel the Pagbabago.
    3. Increasing potential growth. It is imperative that economic growth is accelerated and sustained
    for Patuloy na Pag-unlad.

    The discussion sections for each of the 3 pillars further lay down specific targets for the different sectors of government. A corresponding Legislative Agenda to achieve said targets have also been identified , like passing of the National Land Use Act to achieve the targeted improvements in the agriculture sector and believe it or not the Establishment of the Human Rights Commission charter to strengthen the CHR as a national human rights institution as part of the pursuit of Swift and Fair Administration of Justice.

    It’s almost a year now into this administration, does it look like it is on course to achieve its goals at all? Do the actions of the Executive and Legislative branches of government indicate alignment with the strategies laid out in the Plan? Put another way, has it done anything at all to inspire confidence in its ability to do so?

    • Thanks for the highlights. I don’t have confidence the plan is the driver of management decisions. I think drugs and power are.

      • karlgarcia says:

        That makes the NEDA plan, a one big FYI only.
        Good material for the campaign promises of future candidates.

      • cha says:

        Drugs and power. Yes. Can I add spite? 😊

        But anyway to be fair, I looked up some relevant figures to show this admin’s progress vis-a-vis its own targets.

        On the unemployment rate, it now stands at 6.6%. At the same time last year. It was 5.7% (Jan 2015) from a record low of 4.7% ia quarter earlier or Oct 2016.

        On trust ratings, Duterte’s figures have dropped slightly from 79% in June 2016 to 72% in Dec 2016. In Metro Manila, trust in the President dropped by 11 points – from an “excellent” score of 76% in September down to a “very good” rating of 65% in December.
        It also fell by 4 points in the Visayas – from an “excellent” 73% down to a “very good” 69%.
        In Mindanao, Duterte’s home region, his trust ratings stayed “excellent” but dropped 7 points – from 92% in September to 85%.” Note the huge drop in Metro Manila figures and that the dip in ratings were evident even in his bailiwick Mindanao.” It would be interesting to see the results of the next round of surveys.

        On poverty rates, per SWS survey: The annual self-rated poverty rate in the country dropped to 44 percent in 2016, the lowest in 29 years. It was down six points from 50 percent in 2015, and below the 47 percent registered in 1987 according to the SWS. We’ll note here however that the figure actually rose slightly from 42% in September 2016 to the 44% in Dec 2016.

        Will the figures continue to trend against Duterte’s government targets or will we be seeing some reverse movements soon? Who’s happy to hold their breath till then?

    • edgar lores says:

      “…looks good on paper…”

      I had a tilt at “Chapter 6: Pursuing Swift and Fair Administration of Justice.”

      My overall impression is, yes, it is comprehensive and even includes a “legislative agenda.” The definition of the problem is to see it as one of fragmentation in the five pillars of the justice system — of which the courts is just one pillar and the others being law enforcement, prosecution, punishment and community — and each burdened with limited resources.

      Predictably, the solution is collaboration and throwing resources into each segment — more personnel, more special courts, more use of technology.

      Fair enough. But the bottom line of all of these is funding. And even if one had the funding, my question would be: What about the quality of justice? Sure, one can have more personnel and more courts through funding, but how does one ensure quality?

      De Lima’s petition to the SC seems to be bogged down on technicalities. I do not know that I would excuse De Lima for making the elementary mistake of not signing her affidavit in the presence of the notary public, but I would certainly take into account the fact that her movements and that of her visitors were severely circumscribed by the authorities. And how does one weigh that one technicality against the injustice of her continued incarceration, her loss of liberty, and against the greater technicality of a charge supported by felonious witnesses who are not qualified to be witnesses?

      And how does one weigh the fear of the justices that this case would open the floodgates to high-ranking people seeking immediate redress of their grievances from the SC, when they themselves unlocked the gate by freeing Enrile with an untenable excuse?

      The wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow and small. Slow and small. And no one is prepared to hail the Duterte to court for his violation of the Constitution. At least in America, the people can bring civil litigation against Trump’s immigration ban and the courts can stop him dead in his tracks.

      • Those who listened to the SC hearing noted the incompetence of Calida but also the pro-Duterte slant coming from some of the justices. The SC has given its members 20 days to file their brief, and then a decision will be made. That is likely to be around the end of April, I’d guess. It will be huge.

  13. NHerrera says:

    In praise of the present Filipino soldier:

    – the stabilizing factor in troubled times,
    – in the service of the country,
    – displaying courage, discipline, skills,
    – keeping the chain of command,
    – with professional officers at the helm.

  14. karlgarcia says:

    Happy April Fool’s to the happy fools. 🙂

    • NHerrera says:

      karl, about the note on the shirt you referred to above, if one is AUTHENTIC, for effect, it may have been better if the note on the shirt says, I AM NOT AUTHENTIC.

      Of course, when it comes to fools, I AM A FOOL is better than I AM NOT A FOOL.


      But definitely, I LIKE TSH is infinitely better than I DO NOT LIKE TSH. 🙂

  15. madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic/Not April’s Fools Department: a mutual friend, upon reading that the mammoth rehab centers are only for users without criminal records, he was suddenly convinced that the centers could be white elephants!

  16. Caliphman says:

    Let me state what should not be a surprising reality. Filipinos as a people and as a nation are separated but a deep and starkly different divide. Duterte owes what and where he is now because of fanatical supporters who constitute a plurality of the citizenry and a silent and sleeping majority. Unity has not, is not, and probably will never be a priority for Duterte unless it means it’s a unity of voices assenting to his rule and his policies of the moment.

  17. karlgarcia says:

    During the campaigns then mayor Duterte eyed aboltion of BOC,BIR,and LTO to get rid of corruption.

    I do not know how he will do withthe government emplyeee’s union around to vehemently oppose everything, they do not even want computerization.

    It worked with the Central Bank, now we have the BSP.
    They retired all the personnel and they hired new ons.

    Pete Wallace suggested privatization, with the water utilites experience, I do not think privitization worked or will work, not because it is neo lib and all, it just did not work.

    If it would be like the baranggay election postponement and hiring only those favored by his selection committees then they won’t hire the best, maybe they will hire only those from San Beda, Davao or Ilocos

    But, I don’t want to sound hopeless,one day we will learn from our mistakes, we already got to many of them.

  18. karlgarcia says:

    This opinion column is a few weeks ago,but who the hell is harping on destabilization?
    Duterte is the one who said the mining operators are out to destabilize him.

    Gatchalian is an ally who has mining interests and is a member of the Commission on appointments, why not ask him if the mining operators has plans.

    The magdalois poopooed in this article because of their frequent failed coup attempts.

    But the article also had a horror story about Paquiao running for president having the isupport and resources. I don’t know about support, but he has the resources.

    And right now Paquiao is the one actively doing the dirty stuff, so the author may have read Paquiao right.


    In my opinion to repat what Joe has said in the title: The admin failed miserably in unity, so the admin does not call for stability, in union there is strength, but unfortunstely some Erap Maxims holds true. Politics is addition and politics is weather weather.
    So the maxim of United we stand, divided we fall is over riden by the Erap maxims.

    • NHerrera says:

      The opinion writer painted the PNP and the AFP with the same brush: “solidly behind” Duterte. I did not know that there is a Bato equivalent in the AFP.

      • karlgarcia says:

        The AFP may have been clapping during his tour around camps, but why would they be laughing and clapping when the NPA is continuing on its recruitment activities and continuous regrouping?i It is obvious that the NDF does not control the NPA.

        And DND chief Lorenzana knows what orders to follow and what to over ride.

        • One ought not use Lorenzana and Bato in the same sentence. They have very different standards.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Not even the DND chief and the DILG chief who is supposedly the boss of the PNP chief should be used in the same sentence.

        • chemrock says:

          It’s interesting to note that the sudden show of strength and relevence by NPA in recent activities, not least at the sudden rallies in NCR, has drawn no comments from the president. It was left to DND chief Lorenzana to make the necessary pronouncements, and he said it in no uncertain terms, the AFP is’nt happy about that.

          • edgar lores says:

            Marcos used the Reds to justify martial law, and communism flourished.

            Duterte invites the Reds to join the democratic space, and communism flourishes.

            Both sought to eliminate the Red menace in different ways, but the menace increased/increases.

            It’s not the Law of Unintended Consequences that applies. It’s the Law of Inverse Consequences.

            Whenever one puts the spotlight on the Reds, the results “are the opposite of the expected results as initially intended or planned.”

  19. karlgarcia says:

    How do we fact check and use our BS detectors when both sides call each other peddler of fake news? My bias goes against Tiglao and for Rappler.

    • I think Rappler is committed to doing journalism, perhaps better than any other outlet. The main newspapers and tv stations continue to go with news that is emotional or controversial, with very little analytics or add-on knowledge. Tiglao is a for-hire writer, not a journalist.

  20. madlanglupa says:

    Tiglao… Can’t take him seriously on the basis of his history with GMA.


    Oh, yes… Yet another Nuremberg when it might rain..

  21. Talk of the devil…

    Hot off the press, the government satisfaction (oxymoron term?) survey from SWS:

  22. Thea says:

    Two words I note from this ambition: building savings. Based on present scenario, the administration has no intention on doing this. First, the flight back and forth Davao ,if done on weekly basis will cost the Phil. 13M per year if he “just” borrowed the Quiboloy’s jet. Second, the rallies. Geez. That one in Feb. 2017 star-studded rally that costed 16.5M tourism money! I would be glad to know who footed the bill yesterday. Third, the international official travels that allow even mistresses in tow. Perhaps favorite dogs and cats too. And friends of friends.
    And, the going back and forth of local officials to attend “seminars”. For this,perhaps I am only pissed off finding no one in three different local offices in my province.

  23. LG says:

    Fabulous article👍.

  24. Chris says:

    Hi Joe, I remember reading your blog way, waaaay back during Aquino’s administration, but fell off for a while. It’s nice to see you’re still updating the place on a regular basis! So much has changed since then, and it’s safe to say we now truly live in a global “post-fact” society. Just a quick question, but have you had to contend with Pro-Duterte trolls on your site?

    • Well, good to have you checking in again, Chris. We have not had much trouble with trolls. Occasionally a flamer drops off a snipe shot, then leaves. And a couple of more sophisticated advocates have pushed their messages to the point of inanity. The forum of forthright discussion does not give them much room to operate before their patent manipulativeness becomes clear. I moderate carefully to keep the discussion from degrading, so have no problem dumping remarks to trash if they are not legitimate efforts to teach or learn.

      • Chris says:

        That’s good to know. I understand it’s the quality of the discussion and not the quantity that counts, but have you at all considered moving your content over to Facebook? You’d get much higher engagement with each post. Of course, you’d probably be opening yourself to the more unsavory elements of Duterte’s base, but still. Something worth considering?

        Speaking of which, have you seen the Facebook comments on New York Times articles that discuss Duterte’s Drug War?

        • Facebook is a social site, and this is a discussion blog. My FB followers suggested that I convert to pages to gain a larger following, but that is not my goal. My goal is good, earnest, thoughtful discussion of issues, not popularity. I do work with Twitter and Facebook for reposting of the blog, and for shorter, quick-hit messages. I have not seen the NY Times articles, but have heard about them.

  25. You called drug addicts as ‘defenseless Filipinos’. Pathetic joe. Have you ever been victimized by one? Drug addicts in the Philippines are not defenseless. They are agressors. Will do crimes just to fuel their vice. Enough of your nonsense!

    • karlgarcia says:

      The nanlaban or shooting it out with the police maybe accurate in some operations, but you can not deny that some evidences are planted, that is why some are suggesting the use of body cameras by the raiding team.

      There are rules of engagement for our uniformed personnel to follow.

    • Yes, I’ve been victimized by druggies in my lifetime, and thieves, and thugs. So much for your premise. Now as far as compassion goes, and understanding, how about the 20,000 or so kids left fatherless or motherless, when their parents had no trial? So get outtta here with your nonsense. This is a discussion forum and you are just flame-throwing.

      And you are embarrassing the President by being nothing but a troll.

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