The Philippine Opposition suffered another loss as President Rodrigo Duterte’s “net satisfaction ratings went up by 10 points to 58% in the last quarter of 2017”, according to the latest survey results by survey firm Social Weather Stations (SWS). It has been a bad year for the President’s critics particularly members of the Liberal Party, indeed. Staunch critics like Senator Antonio Trillanes were confident when they predicted that Duterte’s popularity will go down by the end of the year, but they based their opinion mostly on hubris, not facts.
Most of Duterte’s critics were hoping the general public will believe their claim that Duterte is a fascist and a dictator and that his ultimate agenda is to be some kind of supreme ruler of the Philippines. Unfortunately for them, what they are saying doesn’t match the reality, which is why their credibility is now in tatters. The fact that they can still criticise Duterte and call him all kinds of unflattering names without suffering or getting in trouble already proved them wrong.
The members of the Opposition are the same people who are against Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao. We recall that Martial Law was declared in response to the Islamist Maute terrorist takeover of Marawi City in May of this year. The implementation had been twice approved for extension by Congress with the latest granting Duterte another full year. Majority obviously agreed that the region is still volatile and that Martial Law is needed to quell an insurgency. The threats come not just from Islamist terrorist groups, but also the communist New People’s Army. The latter has been terrorising members of the public and government forces and wreaking havoc through intimidation, extortion and deadly ambushes. It’s baffling why there are still people who support them and make them look like they are the victims. Some of their vocal supporters are even in government. They should be investigated for conspiracy and conniving with enemies of the state.
Duterte’s critics claim that he betrayed them since he cancelled all peace talks with the communist group. They accuse him of pretending to be a socialist and then going on to attack the communists. It seems these people don’t even understand their own ideology. Being a socialist is different from being a communist. A socialist allows capitalism to exist while a communist want to get rid of capitalism. I don’t recall Duterte saying he is a communist. A lot of capitalists actually like him because he is in favour of building industries in parts of the country that have been neglected for decades.
Communists want all industries to be state-owned. No member of the public can own property under communism. Can you imagine that? They probably think that they are only after the interests of the public and want everyone to have equal opportunity for all, but that will only happen in an ideal world. The reality is, a lot of people who get a taste of power tend to get overcome by greed. Throughout history, those who promised to distribute wealth, instead, kept most of the wealth to themselves, leaving the public in even worse condition because they do not own anything. Likewise, those in power prefer to keep the power within their own family and circle of friends. They can do this by appointing their own children and allies as successors. The public will have no choice but to accept the decision of the communist party because there are no elections under communism. The people will not have a say in who runs the government in this scenario. And with Philippine society’s penchant for patronage politics, such a system will not even raise eyebrows. This will not help foster an egalitarian society at all especially when the general public can only have what is given to them. This scenario will not foster excellence because there is no competition. Only in an environment where people compete can innovation thrive.
Duterte is doing the right thing in focusing his army on stamping out communist groups in the Philippines. They have committed atrocities for decades. The government should not be negotiating with terrorists in the first place. The only time these communists will be satisfied is when they are already in power. Their leader Joma Sison doesn’t even have the guts to fight with his comrades. He is enjoying life in the Netherlands within the embrace of political asylum. He is stuck in a time-warp. The ideology he is espousing has already been debunked. It doesn’t work. It is against human nature. People have to be free to choose their own destiny. You cannot force hardworking people to give up their possessions and redistribute it to others who have not worked for it. People need motivation to do their best. It is not fair for others to take something when they have not worked for it. It will create a mendicant society.
Once terrorist groups like the communist group the New People’s Army has been disbanded or eliminated (whichever comes first), the economies in the regions they have used as havens will thrive.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the Philippines became the second fastest-growing economy in Asia next to Vietnam and ahead of China in the third quarter of 2017:
Manufacturing, trade, real estate, renting and business activities were the main drivers of growth for the quarter, the statistics agency said.
Among the major economic sectors, industry recorded the fastest growth at 7.5 percent followed by services which rose by 7.1 percent.
Sustained growth in exports and improvements in public spending also helped prop up the economy.