#INQBack: Rodrigo Duterte’s agenda during the 2016 campaign
Now that the 2016 Philippine national and local elections have come and gone, the Filipino people are expected to hold their duly elected leaders accountable for the promises they made on the campaign trail.
For instance, Rodrigo Duterte, who begins his term as President noon of June 30, 2016, has stated on multiple occasions his intent to eradicate crime, drugs and corruption as the first steps to addressing poverty in the country.
In our quest for transparency, the Inquirer is thus reviving Duterte’s answers to our 10-part “Agenda of the Next President” series, which enumerated the presidential candidates’ agendas and concrete action plans on pressing national concerns.
The series, which ran from Feb. 9 to 19, 2016, highlighted 10 issues: poverty, economy and jobs, food security, peace and order, corruption, health care, foreign policy, traffic, climate change and Internet connectivity.
Duterte, in his response to the Inquirer, also included his action plan on infrastructure. The full agenda below is published verbatim.
- Poverty reduction programs must graduate eventually from dole-outs to providing employment and livelihood generation programs.
- The Department of Social Welfare and Development should engage in poverty reduction programs particularly strengthening of programs such as SEA-K for the poorest of the poor.
- Many of the rural poor are indigenous peoples (IPs). It is important that we review the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development Protection Plans and find ways for these to be operationalized and optimized to provide income opportunities for IPs. This makes their ancestral domains productive while preserving their culture.
- Free irrigation frees up significant cash from the meager incomes of farmer families. This will translate to immediate impact.
- Agri-financing reforms are needed to push additional agricultural production and expand rural incomes by expanding agricultural production. The performance of the Land Bank of the Philippines in relation to actually assisting farmers and fishermen shall be implemented immediately. LandBank must be true to its original mandate and not operate just like a commercial bank.
ECONOMY AND JOBS
- Initiate measures to curb the present practice of contractualization.
- Set higher coverage targets for the Social Security Systems, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and Pag-ibig Fund.
- Revitalize basic industries like steel to create raw materials for downstream industries that are job generating.
- Prioritize agriculture and the processing of agricultural products to provide job and livelihood opportunities in the countryside, as well as increase farm incomes, farmers and fishermen being among the poorest of our population.
- Create the peaceful environment in the countryside to encourage investment beyond incentives.
- Lower electricity costs by encouraging smart grids and small scale power generation to include household solar power generation.
- By prioritizing agricultural development, coupled with transportation infrastructure to link farm production with their markets, we can ensure accessibility and affordability of food, which is the biggest part of average household expenditures.
- Infrastructure gaps, whether in the countryside or in key urban centers, shall be prioritized and substantially filled, or at least initiated, during my term.
- At the outset, we must inventory our natural assets, such as land and marine resources, and come up with a plan where topography, soil quality and marine assets can best suit the needs of the market, for our food consumption, raw materials, manufacturing and processing industries, as well as for export markets.
- Identify which regions or provinces of the country would be suitable in the production of the needed food items. This would entail a nationwide study to produce an agriculture guide map which would indicate soil suitability, climatic conditions and rainfall patterns so that farmers would be know what to plant or raise.
Once the key production areas are identified based on crop suitability, the government will come in with the needed interventions to support the farmers in their production.
- Irrigation services must be considered a vital government obligation to support the growth of Philippine economy, just like the network of roads being used for free. The country’s rice farmers should be supported by providing them free irrigation water and should be allowed to manage their own irrigation systems for themselves without being obliged to pay for the irrigation fees.
- Basic infrastructures to facilitate the transport of food and agricultural products from the key production areas shall be prioritized. The use of railway transport rather than mere reliance on roads and highways shall be initiated. A Mindanao Railway Development plan that will lower the costs of food transport in largely typhoon-free Mindanao will be a major priority.
- Food terminals complete with cold storage facilities will be established in key production areas to serve as the delivery point for the farmers’ produce. From there, the food items will be distributed to other areas where these are needed in a concept called “Food Positioning.”
- We will create a Department of Fisheries and Marine Resource Management separate from the Department of Agriculture. For a nation surrounded by seas, with rivers and inland lakes as well, the single-minded development of these resources will not only de-marginalize our fishermen, but also ensure affordable food for our population.
PEACE AND ORDER
- Reengage the peace process with rebel groups.
- Reinstate the death penalty for drug-related and heinous crimes.
- Institutionalize police and military coordination through joint task forces in peace and order hot spots.
- Increase the salaries of military and police.
- The Mindanao peace process should be specific to certain areas considering cultural differences within the Bangsamoro. It is not a one-size-fits-all agreement.
- Develop Mindanao as key to Asean integration.
Leadership by example will be institutionalized. Simple living shall be the rule, with no exceptions, starting from the presidency itself. The Freedom of Information Law shall be passed soonest. The provisions of the Bank Secrecy Law shall be amended so that public servants shall not be protected when under investigation for possible anomalies. The government will be streamlined to do away with redundant offices, as well as prevent conflicting mandates. (Example: An Environment Protection Authority under the Office of the President shall be devolved from the mandate of the Department of Natural Resources. A Consumer Protection Authority likewise from the mandate of business and investment promotion of the Department of Trade and Industry.)
- Review all local antismoking ordinances to ensure conformance with national antismoking laws.
- Preventive health programs must be sustainably pushed, particularly adequate nutrition.
- A national daily exercise program will be established.
- Equitable implementation of the reproductive health law.
- 100-percent Philhealth coverage for all Filipinos.
- All provinces must have a tertiary hospital with an intensive care unit.
- All regions should have an advanced tertiary health-care facility to include a heart, kidney and lung center capable of transplants and advanced cardiovascular interventions. This will decongest current specialty hospitals in Manila under the Department of Health and encourage specialty practice in the countryside.
- We shall be open to dialogue with China with the involvement of Asean since dispute covers several countries with similar interests to the Philippines. While our legitimate claim initiated at the United Nations will proceed, we need to engage in peaceful dialogue as well.
- Promote inter-Asean trade, especially with BIMP EAGA (East Asean Growth Area) cluster by removing the roadblocks to the South Mindanao-North Sulawesi ro-ro link.
- Push industrialization in Mindanao so we can produce high-value added products that we can export cheaply to Asean, which for us is only an overnight boat away.
- The Zamboanga Ecozone, Southern Mindanao Growth Corridor (General Santos growth corridor and Davao Gulf Industrial corridor) will be the gateway to Asean while providing jobs and opportunities to local residents.
- Volume reduction programs, like the number coding scheme of vehicles in Metro Manila, need to be studied carefully, since in Metro Manila it hasn’t really worked to ease traffic since it was instituted 20 years ago.
- Affordable, efficient mass transport is a viable sustained alternative to road congestion. This is the key that will encourage people to use their cars less, especially in the core of urban centers. The use of the Pasig and Marikina Rivers, not only for marine transport but the effective utilization of its embankments for mass transport, shall be a major priority.
- The long term goal, of course, is to decongest cities by providing countryside opportunities.
- A National Land Use Program, which shall be the basis for regional and local zoning laws, shall finally be legislated after languishing in Congress for the last 30 years.
- The government needs to invest in rail systems in regions to enable proper transport around major urban centers, not just the greater Manila area.
- The Philippine environmental policy is sustainable development. This can be amended to make climate change adaptation measures to be institutionalized apart from the climate change law.
- We cannot conserve and protect what we do not use. Much of our food comes from the environment. Therefore strict implementation of our environmental and land use laws is vital. Food crop areas should be maintained.
- A climate adaptation fund must be developed per region to enable adaptation in agriculture and food production, which is vulnerable to climate change.
- Climate-smart technologies will be implemented, such as rainwater impoundment and collection regulations.
- While the Philippines is not a significant contributor to greenhouse gases, we still need to pursue a policy that will prevent it from being one even as we industrialize.
- Recognize the Internet as basic infrastructure that needs proper regulation. We will give telecommunication companies a deadline to shape up or else invoke their failure at their public service commitments as reason to revoke franchises.
- Naia, the nation’s international gateway and its domestic air transport hub, is an example of gross mismanagement, structural disorganization and lack of forward planning.
- In the meantime, the more effective use of other gateways must be enhanced, such as Clark, Cebu, Laoag, Davao and other cities. Night-landing and radar facilities in other airports will need to be implemented for rational flight scheduling.
- A well-studied and properly implemented new international airport needs to be prioritized to serve ever-growing air traffic, including its land approaches.
- Under a federal government, cities can play a bigger hand in improving their airports. The current national scheme under the Department of Transportation and Communication impedes airport and seaport development.
- All municipalities must have standard roads connecting them to major Philippine highways. No municipality must remain unreachable due to the lack of a paved road within the first three years of my administration. SP