Palace: Duterte’s second-year performance fruitful

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MANILA — Two years into his administration, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has fulfilled many of his promises of real change to the people,  Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during the weekend.

Roque said, “I have witnessed firsthand the President’s hard work, dedication and sense of duty. Major promises have materialized because we are headed by someone who has strong political will, decisive leadership and compassion for his fellowmen.”

‘Gov’t winning war vs. illegal drugs’

For one, the current administration remains laser-focused on the President’s strong campaign against illegal drugs, one of the cornerstones of his administration.

Citing the latest data from the Philippine National Police (PNP), it said a total of 91,704 anti-drug operations were conducted by law enforcement agencies from July 2016 to March 20, 2018, during which 123,648 drug suspects were arrested.

The intensified effort against illegal drugs also resulted in the dismantling of 189 drug dens and clandestine laboratories in the country. P13.46 billion-worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and P19.67 billion-worth of drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, and laboratory equipment were seized by government forces.

Also, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) reported that, as of April 2018, 6,462 barangays in the country have already been declared drug-free.

‘PH economy experiencing robust growth’

The country has achieved significant economic feats two years into the Duterte administration.

In its April 12 report, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.7 percent for the full year of 2017, making the Philippines among the fastest growing economies in Asia. The government is now targeting the country’s GDP to increase by 7 to 8 percent in 2018, OPS cited.

The administration’s tax collection efforts also received a boost during President Duterte’s second year in office. In March 2018, the Department of Finance (DOF) reported that revenues from tax collections in 2017 reached P2.251 trillion, which is considered as the highest tax effort in 10 years prior to the introduction of new laws.

Investors’ confidence in the country also remains high. The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) recorded P195.7 billion-worth of investment approvals for January to April 2018, a 28-percent hike from the P153.1 billion investment approvals during the same period of last year.

Foreign direct investments (FDI) are at an all-time high. Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed FDI net inflows amounted to US$2.2 billion for the first quarter of 2018, a 43.5-percent hike from the US$1.5 billion recorded in Q1 last year.

The Duterte administration’s independent foreign policy with other countries has also proven beneficial to the country. The President’s state and official visits in the past months resulted in billions worth of investments, and are expected to create thousands of jobs for Filipinos.

‘Better services for Filipinos during Duterte’s 2nd year’

Efforts of the Duterte administration to afford all Filipinos of the services they deserve continue to be unrelenting.

Last June 2018, another Presidential promise was fulfilled, with the launching of the Overseas Filipino (OF) Bank, a wholly-owned Savings Bank subsidiary of LANDBANK that caters to the needs of the sector.

Also in June 2018, the President witnessed the ceremonial signing of the MOA between the Commission on Higher Education (CHED),112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and 78-CHED Registered Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) on the implementation of Republic Act No. 1031 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act. It allows around 1.3 million students enrolled in SUCs and LUCs to enjoy free tuition and miscellaneous fees beginning academic year 2018-19.

Filipino farmers can also now benefit from the Republic Act No.10969 or the Free Irrigation Service Act. Signed in February 2018, the law fulfills the President’s promise to ensure that free irrigation services are made available to poor farmers through the continued construction, repair, and maintenance of necessary irrigation facilities.

On the “Build, Build, Build” initiative, the administration is doing double-time to begin and to finish major infrastructure projects — preferably within the term of the President— that have lined up. Thirty-five (35) infrastructure flagship projects have been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, chaired by the President. Of these 35 projects, 16 are estimated to be completed by 2022, while the remaining 19 will extend beyond 2022.

The tourism industry likewise experienced growth. As of March 30, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported an increase in foreign visitor arrivals to 642,757, higher than last year’s 574,065 during the same month. In addition, the January to March 2018 foreign visitor arrivals reached 2,049,094, 14.80 percent higher than 1,784,882 of the same period last year.

On the administration’s legislative agenda, the President signed into law a total of 93 Republic Acts during the 17th Congress. These include laws extending the validity of Philippine passports to 10 years and drivers’ licenses to five years, a measure establishing free internet access in public places, and an act increasing penalties for hospitals and medical clinics that refuse to administer appropriate treatment and support in emergency or serious cases.

Indeed, the first two years of the Duterte administration has generally been fruitful. Much has been accomplished but much more needs to be done. It is a continuous work in progress in achieving and actualizing the promise of genuine and meaningful change for the Filipino people.

“The President cannot do it alone. No man or woman can do it alone. Let us help the Chief Executive fulfill his goal of building a nation where opportunities abound and where citizens are empowered to realize their aspirations,” Secretary Roque concluded.-PND

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