June 29, 2017 | Thursday
President Rodrigo Duterte may have won overwhelmingly in 2016 but he has done nothing good for the country since he assumed office last year, citing the thousands of extrajudicial killings related to the war on drugs and unabated poverty.
This was the sweeping assessment of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, an opposition lawmaker from the Liberal Party, on Duterte’s first year in office as he noted that monstrous traffic persists along with the drug menace; peace with communists and Muslim rebels remains elusive and that labor contractualization is still rising despite the President’s campaign promises.
A human rights activist during the martial law regime, Lagman also lamented that Duterte’s pursuit of an independent foreign policy “is belittling or even rejecting traditional diplomatic and trade partners like the United States and countries belonging to the European Union.”
He described this policy as “unbelievable” and that “unquestionably tying the knot with China and Russia” is a bad idea.
“Sacrificing Philippine sovereignty for contingent aid and investment from an expansionist and militarist China is definitely not a measure of an independent foreign policy,” he said in a statement to the media, entitled: “Assessment of Duterte’s First Year in Office.”
“He has relentlessly embarked on a deadly campaign against drug users and traffickers. This violent policy has dismally failed in other countries like Thailand, Columbia and Mexico,” the head of the so-called “Magnificent 7” said, implying the drug campaign is doomed to fail.
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Lagman is also unhappy that after extrajudicial killings reached 7,000, “media and other concerned institutions have stopped counting.”
“Extrajudicial killings related to the deadly campaign against drugs invariably result (in) human rights violations and disrespect for the rule of law.”
Contrary to Duterte’s previous pronouncements, he said “peace accords (are) nowhere in sight.”
“One of his campaign promises, which was initially taking off, was the peace settlement with the CPP-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front). But the peace talks are now back to the drawing board,” Lagman said.
Lagman also stressed poverty across the country and traffic mess in major cities have all remained unresolved.
“There is no light at the end of the tunnel for the traffic mess. Putting an end to the traffic mess was only a good election promise to win the presidency. The traffic gridlock, particularly in Metro Manila, intensifies daily up to a point of almost standstill,” Lagman said.
He likewise observed that “mass poverty still stalks the land.”
“Change has certainly not come for millions of poor Filipino families” one year after Duterte assumed power.
“The March 2017 Social Weather Stations survey on self-rated poverty shows that more Filipino families consider themselves poor compared to three months earlier in December 2016,” he noted.
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Duterte is marking his first year in office with the crisis in Marawi City still raging.
But an administration lawmaker, Rep. Winston Castelo of Quezon City, commended security forces from both the military and police for their “professionalism” amid the conflict in Marawi after the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) admitted there have been no complaints against them.
The CHR issued a report last June 24 which categorically stated that it has not received any formal report on human rights abuses in Mindanao, a month after it was placed under martial law by Duterte