73 best points of President Duterte at 73

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President Rodrigo Duterte marks his 73rd birthday today. He celebrated it in his usual trademark-simplicity and in private with his family.

Duterte’s political ladder is like a bed of roses, filled with thorns but on top is a beautiful bud which most of the deprived Filipino masses adore.

Getting the chance to meet him a day after my birthday last month was a privilege, as we used to see each other more often before his Presidency.

I wouldn’t even call myself a “Dutertard” for reasons we both know. We are just friends, maybe because I was covering the Davao City Hall during his incumbency as City Mayor.  I see things as it is. We also had our bad times and good times.

I must admit, I shiver each time he gives his impromptu speeches. Often, he cracks jokes which only Davao people would understand while others took offense.

When I was on my way back to Berlin from Ham on October, a seatmate who happened to be a retired member of the magistrate in Brussels asked, Are you from Philippines? Is it true  that your President is a murderer? is he a killer?

I took the question as a challenge and opportunity to tell her about my country.

We had a healthy discussion while inside the bullet train from Ham to Berlin which lasted for 2:45 minutes.

Among the things I shared to her, which she claimed should be written are the 73 things I can remember which make me proud of my friend.

I know some might raise an eyelash. I respect everyone on their political stand, as I expect them to respect mine- that is the essence of democracy.

I shared to her magistrate some of the 73 things that the President has done for the country.

1. Index crimes in the past 12 months decreased by 38.7 percent (2017) from a high of 5,474 cases in 2016 to only 3,393 in the current year.

2. The government collected P6B from Lucio Tan, 1.7Billion

3. The government collected P25-billion from Mighty Corporation

Photo Courtesy: RMN

4. Highest PSEi closed at all-time high 8,312.93

5. The Free public education  and free tuition in state universities and colleges for Filipino undergraduate students starting Academic Year 2017-2018

6. Free internet connection  in public places

7. Ten-year passport validity

8. Five-year driver’s license validity

9. No downpayment for hospital confinement

10. Stiffer penalties for hospitals refusing to treat patients without deposit

11. Opening the peace negotiations with MNLF, MILF, CPP NDF (the NDF talk held in abeyance though)

12. The centralized complaint and action hotlines – 911 and 8888

13. The one stop shop for OFW in POEA

14. The removal of processing fee on travel tax exemption

15. The 2,000 pesos SSS pension hike

16. The rounds in all of the defense camps to see what each station needs so that they can give better service to the country

17. The closure of some mining companies destroying the countries natural resources

18. The removal of the fish cages in Manila Bay to give  small fisherfolks a fair chance  for  livelihood

19. The new buses from the airport to many major hubs in nearby cities

19. The one sack rice added to 4Ps cash assistance to less fortunate

20. Bringing displaced Marawi children to Malacañang
21. The fast processing of claims and benefits for the family of our fallen men.

22. The increased allowance of Olympics delegates

23. The signing of Freedom of Information (FOI) for the executive department
24. The exposés against local executives, police generals, judges and other top officials in government

25.The now cleaner and better looking Baclaran, Divisoria and other public places

26. The employment increase and unemployment decrease

27. The exposés of oligarchs who have been evading to pay taxes

28. The stricter implementation of curfew on minors
29. The  cleaning of  small streets and pavements  from  drunkards

30. The bilateral talks with China over the West Philippine Sea

31. Inviting former rebels to visit malacañang.

32. The destruction of smuggled luxury vehicles
33. The billions worth of drugs seized in the operation

34. The raid and closure of drug laboratories
35. The deployment of SAF personnel to watch the Bilibid
36. No VIP treatment for government officials in airports

37. The ongoing improvements of MRT/LRT service and other major thoroughfares

38. The customs installation of CCTVs all over the place to promote transparency

39. The abolition of checkpoints along national highways (except in critical areas)
40. The faster processing of passports at the DFA
41. Fixers are now out of sight

42. Continued effort to end contractualization

43. The abolition of age  requirement to all job seekers.

44. The closure of online gambling.

45. The OEC exemption for OFWs returning to same employer

46. The much-needed rehabilitation  and improvement of  the AFP Hospital

47. The national implementation of the smoking ban in public places
48. The order for contractors to finished uncompleted projects in 30-days

49. The acquisition of  new military fighter  planes and artillery.

50. The free irrigation;

51. The free medical assistance in six hospitals that offer the Libreng Gamot Para sa Masa

52. The microfinancing assistance that gives Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program

53. The additional P600 rice subsidy to each Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) household beneficiary.

4P’s beneficiaries withdrawing their monthly government subsidy.-Photo by: Richard G. Falcatan

54. The implementation of the TRAIN Law

55. The implementation of across-the-board increase in the monthly pension of more than two-million Social Security System (SSS) retirees

56. The Awarding of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to Hacienda Luisita farmers

57. The order to fast-tract rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas

58. The termination of officials involve in corruption
59 The public disclosure of narco politicians
60. The cleaning of all airport toilets

61. The cleaning of airport against “Tanim Bala”

62 The speedy transfer of the internally displaced persons in Marawi to their temporary shelter (90 days).

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte leads the site inspection of the Bahay Pag-asa Phase 2 at Brgy. Mipaga in Marawi City on January 30, 2018. Joining the President is National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino Escalada. -Ace Morandante//Presidential Photo

63. Meeting the governors/Mayor about governance/barangay captains

64. Meeting almost all sectors of the society

65. Meeting OFW’s in China

66 Visiting OFWs in the Middle East/ Asia/Russia and New Zealand

67. The ban on the deployment in Kuwait

68. The very simple food you wanted to eat at Malacanang

69. The display of Filipino delicacies  during the ASEAN Summit

70. The very simple inaugural day

71. The Declaration of martial  law in Mindanao Island

72. Closing the Boracay resort for the much needed rehabilitation

73.  The undying love to his country  people and getting back the Filipino’s sense of pride as a nation.

While others might view my list as very light, most of the constituents who were disadvantaged for several years would probably resonate with it.

Mr. President when we last talked, you teased me to be “Miss Fate” and the next thing I heard you said was, “I am okay. okay ra ko, pasagdi na sila.

I was almost in tears, because I know you meant what you said.

Today, as you celebrate your birthday, my only wish for you our Mayor President, May your cabinet members also perform your 73 and internalize your anti-corruption drive.

Sir, I know that you know what ails them, kick them out. Kick them as strong as you can, because they were never part of your 73.

Lastly, to your cabinet members who are fond of promoting themselves and protecting their interests, give them a grade of 73.

Happy Birthday!

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