The Philippines is “losing badly” within President Rodrigo Duterte’s first 100 days in office, according to former President Fidel V. Ramos.
Ramos, who had been appointed as Duterte’s emissary to China and assigned to start bilateral talks on the issues between China and the Philippines, said that the President was not able to deliver much of what was expected of him during his first three months, specifically in areas such as improving poverty, enhancing the quality of life, and improving public safety and security by addressing issues such as hunger, disease, terrorism, and climate change.
“In the overall assessment by this writer, we find our Team Philippines losing in the first 100 days of Du30’s administration – and losing badly. This is a huge disappointment and let-down to many of us,” Ramos wrote in his two-part opinion piece published by Manila Bulletin on Sunday, October 9.
His assessment, he said, is based on “leadership and teamwork,” adding that these are the areas “where the obvious failures have emerged at this point in time.”
Ramos clarified that he is only talking about Duterte’s first 100 days.
“Of course, we are talking only of the first 100 days. We do not indicate here a wish-list of our highest aspirations to be achieved in the six years of the President’s term – but only what would have been do-able by P.Digong, if he had hit the ground running instead of being stuck in unending controversies about extra-judicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss-words and insults instead of civilized language,” Ramos wrote.
Duterte has lashed back at those who criticized him and expressed concern over the killings linked to the Philippine government’s war against drugs, such as the United States and US President Barack Obama, the United Nations, the European Union.
More recently, the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines voiced out concern about the rising death toll in the country. They viewed the killings as “harming the country’s image, as portrayed by international media, and some investors are now asking whether this campaign reduced the rule of law.”
On Hitler remarks
Ramos criticized Duterte’s Hitler remarks when he said that he would be “happy to slaughter” three million addicts, invoking how Hitler massacred three million Jews.
“In the case of his recent ‘Hitler quip’ no amount of apology could mollify the long-suffering Jews who have done well for the Philippines,” Ramos said, noting how the Philippines welcomed international refugees, including Jews, during World War II.
Duterte has since visited apologized to the Jewish community and even visited a synagogue in Makati.
On US-PH relations
Former President Ramos also criticized Duterte’s remarks about cutting short the military partnership, specifically the joint military exercises, between the US and the Philippines.
Duterte even said that he might eventually “break up” with the US.
To this, Ramos said: “So, what gives? Are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics, and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that? On P-Du30’s say-so???”
However, the Philippine military said that there is no certainty that the joint US-PH military exercises will end.
On correcting serious flaws
Ramos is still optimistic that there is enough time within Duterte’s term for him to correct his flaws.
“Looking, however, at just the first year of P.Du30’s 6-year term, there is still enough to correct the most serious flaws in both our national leadership and national teamwork so that in the end, the Filipino people and the republic of the Philippines as a competitive country in our part of the world might still regain its rightful reputation as a vigorous and rising competitor in the family of nations – as we used to be known for in earlier days,” Ramos said.
Ramos also said that this is not to add to more critical remarks on Duterte, but to help him “transform.”
“Ours is not to heap more brickbats on P.Du30 – because he has had more than enough already – but to help enable him to transform (thru his own efforts) from a mere provincial to a capable international player at the head of 101,000 multiculture Filipinos,” Ramos added.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Monday that the Palace respects Ramos’ opinion.
“Yes, we listen to him, we respect him but we’d also like to balance his perspective,” Abella said.
Abella added that Ramos is acting like a “father” and a “senior statesman” and pointed out that other former government officials have a different assessment of Duterte’s first 100 days.
“There are really mixed reactions. While there may be some concerns, we’d also like to in the end summarize the fact that President is a man of action and we really need to appreciate that more,” Abella said.
Asked if Duterte will heed Ramos’ advice, Abella remarked: “The President is a wise man.”