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‘Incomparable feats,’ Palace says of Duterte’s first 3 years

/ 05:50 AM July 20, 2019

Days before the State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, Malacanang assured Filipinos anew that the “best is still to come” as it underscored the Duterte administration’s achievements in the past year.

The administration released on Friday a 72-page report of its key accomplishments in economic and infrastructure development, human development and social welfare, governance, justice, peace and security and communications and technology.

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The data were also presented during the three separate pre-Sona forums organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office in Manila, Cebu and Davao earlier this month.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that President Duterte has already attained “countless and incomparable feats,” halfway into his six-year term that ends in 2022.

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“While the President has given priority to the improvement of peace and order in the country, he laid the foundation that will propel the nation to progress and reach new heights,” Panelo said in the introduction to the report.

The report noted that Mr. Duterte made the Philippines “one of the strongest economies and growth leaders in the region” through his Build, Build, Build infrastructure program and changing its business climate that prompted the influx of foreign investments.

The Palace also hailed the recent entry of a third telecommunications company as an example of his bold and assertive governance.

“Under his leadership, the Philippines earned the highest credit rating in our economic history with a BBB+ upgrade from global debt watcher Standard and Poor’s,” Panelo said.

The report noted the intensified revenue collections of the government, citing the collection of P6 billion from Philippine Airlines for overdue navigational fees, the P40 billion tax settlement with Mighty Corp., and the collection of P142 million in rental fees for the Mile Long property.

The Palace also underscored Mr. Duterte’s pursuit of an independent foreign policy “by means of removing our country’s subservience to the West.”

It cited the return of the historic Balangiga bells from the United States, the return of the trash to Canada, and the improved foreign ties with Russia, China, and other Southeast Asian nations.

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“He has also strengthened local domestic regions such as the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law to transform Mindanao from ‘an island of promise’ to ‘an island of fulfillment.’ After the successful plebiscite that established the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the normalization under the comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro is now on track,” the report said.

This year, the report said, the President signed 27 laws and 13 executive orders aimed at uplifting the general welfare of the people, such as the free tuition in state universities and colleges, the universal healthcare law, improved wages for government employees and uniformed personnel, student fare discounts, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, etc.

The Palace also took note of the distribution of thousands of certificates of land ownership awards to land reform beneficiaries, and the President’s push for the return of the coco levy fund to coconut farmers.

The report also boasted of the government’s efforts in dismantling the illegal drug trade and the rehabilitation of a million drug dependents, and its efforts in thwarting the communist insurgency in the countryside.

It also stressed the government’s hardline stance against corruption, even against high-ranking military and government officials, including the President’s own friends and allies.

“The Palace has responded to all letters addressed to Malacanang by referring them to various departments, offices or agencies for immediate action. It also launched hotlines for emergencies and citizens’ complaints, and reduced government spending by prohibiting the use of luxury cars and air travels in business class, and scrapping junket foreign travels of government officials, among others,” the report said.

It added: “He has exemplified modesty in public service by forbidding the hanging of his portrait in all government offices and serving inexpensive and simple food in government social events.”

The report also cited the successful closure, rehabilitation and reopening of Boracay, as well as the ongoing efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay and the prohibition on open-pit mining.

“The President has done all these, and these are just some examples, in his three years of national service, while giving his critics and detractors the free space to air their grievances. Despite the political noise and virulent black propaganda against him and his family, initiated by his political enemies, he has not filed a single case against them,” the Palace said.

It added: “The Filipino people can expect the same number of significant achievements, if not more, in the remainder of the President’s term. Even as the majority of the Filipinos are in awe of the President’s accomplishments, the best is still to come.”

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