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Manila Economic and Cultural Office

Manila Economic and Cultural Office Philippine Representative Office in Taiwan

Rody’s 77th birthday: An accounting

Posted: 3/28/2022 12:00 AM

For his 77th birthday which he is celebrating today in Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte is wishing for a “clean, fair, and honest” election on 9 May this year, presidential spokesperson Secretary Martin Andanar said Sunday.

“He has time and again underscored the importance of a peaceful transfer of power as part of his enduring legacy,” Andanar said, adding Mr. Duterte will mark the occasion with “a simple and quiet celebration in his hometown in line with his family’s tradition.”

Nicknamed Digong, he was born in 1945 into a family closely tied to local politics. His father was once a provincial governor while his mother worked as a public school teacher.

The younger Duterte trained as a lawyer and rose to become a state prosecutor.

He entered politics when he was appointed officer-in-charge vice mayor of Davao City by President Corazon Aquino after the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.
He subsequently ran as mayor of Davao, for which he was elected for almost two decades.

Under his mayoral stint, he gained a reputation for making Davao City one of the safest in the Philippines by fighting criminality and corruption.

In 2015, he was prodded by his supporters to pursue the presidency.

On 30 May 2016, the 16th Congress of the Philippines proclaimed Duterte as president-elect after topping the official count with over 16.6 million votes, 6.6 million more than his closest rival, administration candidate Mar Roxas.

He became the oldest Filipino and first Mindanaoan ever elected to the presidency, and the first local chief executive to get elected straight to the Office of the President.

Love him or hate him, but he will likely be remembered for his tough-on-crime agenda and drug war, ambitious infrastructure program, pandemic response, and his no-nonsense, colorful language that amused his supporters and enraged his critics.


While seeking to eradicate criminality, Duterte accelerated the government’s annual infrastructure expenditure through his “Build, Build, Build” program, which was heavily financed by borrowings.

At the start of his term, he identified 119 flagship projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program, Six years later, he completed 18 projects on the list. The pandemic was blamed for the setback, as the delivery of the machines needed for the projects had been hampered by border restrictions.

On the brighter side, the President’s 18 legacy projects that had been completed did not yet include some 30,000 kilometers of roads and 6,000 bridges that were either built or rehabilitated under his administration.

Nearly six years after he assumed the presidency, the government built the NLEX Harbor Link Segment, Cavite-Laguna Expressway, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, and Taytay-El Nido Road in Palawan, among others.

The administration has also completed over 200 airport projects, including the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the Sangley Airport in Cavite, the Lal-Lo International Airport, the Tacloban Airport, the Puerto Princesa International Airport, and the Ormoc Airport.

Seaports were also upgraded and rehabilitated, while more than 450 commercial and tourism seaport projects had been completed.

To his credit, the projects made provinces and cities more connected, and the delivery of goods and services faster and more convenient.

Duterte raised the funding to 5.3 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product in 2021, and to an expected 5.8 percent of GDP by the end of 2022.

Strong GDP

Before the coronavirus pandemic struck the Philippines, the nation’s economy was doing well.

GDP averaged 6.5 percent from the time President Duterte came into office.

The unemployment rate continued its long-run decline. The poverty rate also remarkably went down from 2015 to 2018.

Under his term, Congress — dominated by his allies — approved key measures such as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law, Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, Ease of Doing Business, and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, Foreign Investment Act, Rice Tariffication Law.

The reforms he and his economic managers had introduced were seen as crucial in attracting investors, whose businesses are expected to generate more jobs for Filipino families.

To aid the poor, Duterte also championed social policy reforms. Under his administration, the Universal Healthcare Act, Free Quality Tertiary Education Act, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Law, Free Irrigation Law, and Free WiFi Access in Public Spaces Act have been approved.

But the pandemic had to play spoilsport. Still, after two years of challenges, around 67 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated, just three million short of the government’s target of 70 million by the end of the month, but still far from the 90-million goal by June.

Political will

A lawyer, former prosecutor, and longtime mayor, Duterte built an entire election campaign on an anti-crime agenda.

At its core: Ending the illegal drug trade, crushing terrorists and communist rebels, and fighting corruption.

His anti-criminality drive was lauded by his most ardent supporters who said they felt safer in the streets at night, but it displeased human rights groups here and abroad over alleged abuses.

The International Criminal Court launched an investigation over alleged abuses in his drug war, but he shrugged it off, saying he won’t cooperate with foreign judges and prosecutors.

Despite international pressure, Duterte continued with his crusade against illegal drugs.

He also signed into law the landmark Bangsamoro Organic Law, the culmination of the peace deal signed between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Duterte’s predecessors, which was perceived to pave the way for a lasting peace in Mindanao.

In various instances, however, he admitted fatigue as illegal drugs, communist insurgency, and corruption in the government remained.

Most popular president

But Duterte will go down in history as the most popular post-Marcos president according to the surveys.

Compared to his three predecessors, the first Mindanaoan chief executive has kept his approval ratings above 70 percent based on Pulse Asia surveys, and his net satisfaction ratings not lower than positive 45, which counts as “good.”

During the US-led Summit for Democracy on 10 December 2021, Duterte said it would be “his highest honor” to turn over the reins of power to his successor knowing that he did his best to serve the Filipino nation.

Last month, Duterte said he had begun packing up his belongings in Malacañang and was looking forward to turning over the leadership of the country to his successor in June.

He said he wanted to return home to Davao City.

Also on Sunday, former presidential chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo greeted the President on his birthday and said the latter should “embrace his long-deserved retirement from politics.”

“The Filipino people pay tribute to a President whose unorthodox and uncompromising but effective governance has resulted in unprecedented sweeping reforms in our society with the scoundrels and the corrupt shaking in their boots and the criminals and terrorists either landing in jail or resting in eternal peace,” Panelo, a senatorial, candidate, said.

Panelo said Mr. Duterte laid the foundations of a stable economy with the appropriate legislation and economic measures, “accompanied by the phenomenal and dizzying infrastructure dazzling the unbelievers and detractors but putting a smile on the people’s faces.”


source: by Larry Payawal