"Perhaps we need a new approach."
For the past five years, we have seen how the national government exerted efforts on the President’s priority programs for the country. This year’s SONA summarized the administration’s accomplishments and narrated the remaining plans of action until the end of the President’s term.
As expected, President Duterte highlighted his prominent war against drugs which continues even during this pandemic. Indeed, the war on drugs proved to be promising in the early years. In his remaining months as president, we hope that the drug problem is addressed, with finality.
As to corruption, unfortunately, the President’s words ring true. Even foreign governments have a hard time curbing corrupt practices in their country. Corruption is that decades-long stain that has become an indelible blot in the government. Past administrations have sworn to combat corruption but failed to completely eradicate it. Apparently, it is among the many ills in the government that cannot be cured with the current system. Eliminating corruption is evidently difficult given the various loopholes in rules and illegal practices prevailing in government transactions that have become convenient for both government and private entities.
Apart from this, the COVID-19 situation was also discussed. There have been many criticisms in the country’s COVID-19 response since the early days of lockdown. However, this pandemic is like a phantom in the night. It surfaced without any indication or warning. We have mastered science, sent people to space, and gone to the bottom of the sea, yet we cannot find the most direct and quickest cure to this disease. There are times when I think that this might already be divine intervention. Perhaps, God is sending a message that people have become so absorbed in the world—in power, wealth, and position—that they have become so arrogant and forgotten Him.
All in all, my take is this. The President should be wary of external factors that may impede his strong movement against illegal drugs. Perhaps, it would be more commendable if the war on drugs continues without discriminating between the big fish and the small fish. After all, the government has declared an all-out war against drugs.
The sane aggression should be displayed against corruption in the government. This would leave a legacy of a clean government. Combating corruption should be continued. However, we may need a new approach. There are roughly eleven months left in his term. The President could use this time to assess what can be changed and thereafter make the necessary reforms.
In our COVID-19 response, as mentioned before, this pandemic may last up to two years or so, realistically speaking. The government should therefore prepare for longer periods of quarantine. Local government units should also be given constant support, whether financial or infrastructural, in order to sustain its programs and measures against the spread of COVID-19. The national government should also be prepared to maintain its support to private enterprises to keep the economy from collapsing. Lastly, as we should be doing, let us remain compliant with public health protocols. Let us also try to pray more and ask the Lord to save us and spare us from this dreadful disease. The world undeniably needs more of our prayers right now.