Bishops weigh ‘achievements’ of Duterte administration
MANILA, Philippines — Catholic bishops have their own take on the “achievements” of President Rodrigo Duterte, who starts the second half of his term on Monday with an address to a joint session of Congress.
For Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the Presend’s achievement “is that he has been able to consolidate power by creating a culture of fear and impunity.”
“He himself does not follow the law but uses the law to press down his critics,” Pabillo told reporters in an interview on Friday.
“I also see the growing presence and influence of the Chinese in the country without any benefit to the ordinary Filipinos,” Pabillo said.
Mysterious high rating
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said President Duterte’s biggest achievement was being able to maintain a high public approval rating.
“[But it’s] a fact [that] is a mystery to me because of his utter lack of respect for human rights,” Bastes said on Friday.
“This is a sign that there is something wrong in the sense of judgment of values among Filipinos — to our shame,” he added.
Bastes acknowledged that the economy is healthy, but said this was not due to work of the Duterte administration, as the country’s economic growth started during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
“However, as in the past, only few are enjoying true prosperity. The majority remain poor,” Bastes said.
Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos believes the President has achieved much, especially in promoting the welfare of Filipino migrant workers.
Appreciation for migrants
“For [the migrants], his biggest achievements are eradication of syndicated tanim-bala, abolishment of P550 terminal fee and opening of balikbayan boxes which led rampant stealing and bribery,” Santos said on Friday, urging the President to use his address to the opening of the 18th Congress to express appreciation of the migrants.
“To show more his compassion and concern [for the migrants], it is opportune that [he speak] of his gratitude [to them for their sacrifices for their families and their] country,” Santos said.
He also expressed hope that the Presdiwould pursue his plan to establish a department for migrant workers.
“He should make sure that his promise to create the [migrants] department will materialize. As the President’s focus is to improve our lives, this is tantamount to protect[ing] human life and promot[ing] human rights,” Santos said.
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