President Rodrigo Roa Duterte broke his previous record with the Social Weather Stations reporting that his satisfaction rate is at a record high of 82 percent This despite the opposition’s intensified campaign to discredit him, which includes VP Leni’s much hyped criticism of the war on drugs and the United States government’s threat to revoke the visas of people involved in the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima, a handiwork of the opposition and their American allies. What is behind the record high satisfaction of the President?
Well, I have always said that his popularity is because of his proven political will to have things done. He called Boracay a cesspool and ordered it closed and cleaned. Done. He ordered that rice prices be brought down. Done. He ordered an intensified campaign against corruption. Well, corruption remains but for the first time, no one, most specially those closest to him, no one was spared. And now, again for the first time, he ordered that onerous provisions in the concession agreements of both Manila Water and Maynilad be stricken off. I have no doubts that it will be done soon.
There, too, is the political will to harness resources to benefit victims of natural disasters, be it earthquakes in Mindanao, typhoons in Cagayan Valley, or the latest explosion of Taal. While he may not have prevented the earthquake that hit his home city of Davao, he gave warning to a condominium builder to fix the damaged condominium lest “it never be allowed to build anything in the Philippines.” The damaged building is now being rebuilt as I write this.
Gone, too, is the yellow policy of withholding government support to disaster-stricken areas controlled by the opposition. In lieu thereof, the President has gone at least three times to VP Leni’s territory when they were struck by typhoons and volcanic eruption. Perhaps because he is a lawyer, he honors the principle that all persons, despite their political affiliations, remain protected by the laws of humanity in times of disasters.
And yes, his popularity is because he has threatened to do what no president has ever done: jail the billionaires for contracts that are inherently disadvantageous to the Filipino people. While this has to undergo the rigors of account trial, I have no doubt that he will succeed in jailing the most powerful Castillaloys during his term of office. Perhaps not yet in Muntinlupa as convicts, but as detainees in the Sandiganbayan’s detention facility for syndicated estafa.
This is of course for failure of the water concessionaires to build wastewater facilities despite their continued collection of environmental fees from the consuming public. All other presidents have been beholden to these Castillaloys probably because of our history, that since the departure of Spain from our country, these insulares have commanded both economic and political power in this country. But because of PRRD and the Chinoys, it appears that their happy days are about to end.
And yes, he is most popular today because of Universal Health Care, free tuition, free irrigation, doubling the salaries of the police and the military, and increasing yet again the salaries of government employees.
In sum, PRRD has now become our most popular president because he has delivered. Full stop. The issue now is would his successor be able to fill in the very large shoes that he is about to leave in 2022? Abangan!