There is only one word to describe the Rodrigo Duterte phenomenon. Frustration.
People are exasperated. Fed up. Angry. With the way things are under the 65-month-old administration of President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino III. People think Duterte can deliver a government much better than Aquino’s.
The BS Aquino government is stupid, incompetent, corrupt and insensitive. I have never seen an administration as stupid, as incompetent, as corrupt, and as insensitive as BS Aquino’s.
And I have covered seven presidents—the last year of Diosdado Macapagal (when I was a high school journalist), the 20 years of Ferdinand Marcos, the six years and four months of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, the six years of Fidel V. Ramos, the three years of Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the nine years of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and this one, BS Aquino’s.
That’s more than half a century of journalism. During the last 50 years, the Philippines descended from the second richest country in Asia into an economic basket case where less than 100 families own the economy and the politics of the country, and where income inequality is one of the worst in the world.
In Metro Manila, the national capital and where income distribution is much better than the rest of the archipelago and where the balance of terror and power is more or less even although it hosts half of the nation’s squatters, you have the worst mass transit system in the world (MRT3), the worst traffic in the world, and the worst airport in the world, the Naia.
An efficient and reliable mass transit, traffic management, and a decent international airport are hallmarks of good governance. Since the Philippines gets the worst ratings on mass transit, traffic, and airports, you can say Filipinos have their worst government ever.
One of the kindest and most talented people on earth have for their fate and karma one of the worst governments on earth.
And people cannot seem to do anything about it. They are not sharpening their knives, accumulating stones, assembling their weaponry, conducting mass actions in preparation for an assault on Malacañang, the seat of power and the hub of so much stupidity, incompetence, corruption and insensitivity in this government.
BS Aquino III must be made to account why he employs such people like Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communications, Alfonso Tan of the Land Transportation Office, and Jose Angel Honrado of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
This trio—Abaya, Tan and Honrado—almost singlehandedly destroyed the image of the BS Aquino III who began his presidency promising decency, honesty and competence in governance but has delivered exactly the opposite.
During Abaya’s watch at DOTC, a cabal of incompetent and corrupt officials, including some related to ranking DOTC honchos, took over management and maintenance of MRT3, dislodging a huge and reputable Japanese company. The cabal helped themselves with the money but paid little attention to maintenance. The result: a railway for the masses that barely operates, inconveniencing more than 500,000 passengers daily.
For 2016, DOTC asked Congress to appropriate P7.09 billion in MRT-related expenses, namely: P1.96 billion for operation and maintenance; P1.5 billion for rehabilitation and capacity expansion; and P3.63 billion as subsidy for “mass transport.” That means the corruption pie is expanding exponentially, even as the unlamented BS Aquino regime winds down gradually.
An incompetent and corrupt cabal also took over the LTO. There, driver’s licenses and car plates take ages to manufacture even as the price for getting them has risen, also exponentially.
Under LTO’s Alfonso Tan, all motor vehicles no matter their age, from motorbikes to cars to trucks, have to buy new plates, costing an average of P400 per set, even as the old plates were still useful and much better in quality. Why? Money. Five million license plates times P400 is P2 billion. Yet, when you pay the P400, you don’t get the plates. Why? Because LTO didn’t order the plates.
Under LTO’s Tan, when you renew your driver’s license, you pay the money but you don’t get the license. Why? Because LTO didn’t order the driver’s licenses.
Under LTO’s Tan, the agency has thought of requiring all new driver applicants and applicants for professional driver’s license to get clearance certificates from the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation. But before you could apply for police and NBI clearance, you have to get clearance from your barangay. In effect, an applicant must get three clearances—barangay, police and NBI. Yet, the clearances do not guarantee your getting a professional driver’s license. Why? Because the LTO did not order enough professional driver’s licenses.
Under LTO’s Tan, the agency has thought of cartelizing the third party liability (TPL) insurance business. It used to be that when you are a car owner, you could procure your own TPL from your favorite insurance company which invariably quotes you a lower price. With Tan’s TPL cartel, you have no choice. This is corruption per se. And Abaya is not doing anything about it. Aquino is not doing anything about it. Dodo Dulay estimates the TPL insurance business to be worth P8.3 billion. LTO wants to institutionalize its share of the loot.
How come agencies under Abaya’s DOTC instead of making things easier for the people—Aquino’s supposed bosses—keep making things difficult and expensive and oppressive for them?
By this time, you know about the tanim-bala extortion racket and how it has scared the daylights out of our millions of airline passengers.
BS Aquino has justified the racket by claiming tanim-bala has victimized only a few out of millions of airline passengers.
In 1983, there were 51 million Filipinos. Yet, only one was assassinated at the airport tarmac—Ninoy Aquino was murdered by the military in broad daylight. That one incident changed the course of Philippine history.
Comes now Digong Duterte. He is a tanim-bala specialist. He can inject bullets into the mouths and innards of drug lords and other unsavory characters. If he says he will murder the incompetents and the corrupt at DoTC, MRT3, LTO and Naia, I am sure those people will disappear almost overnight. And quite possibly, corruption would disappear overnight.
Mabuhay ka, Pangulong Duterte. And your tanim-bala specialty.