Duterte did outstanding job in Year 1, says Andanar
Editor’s Note: Starting June 25, the Inquirer will run on its print, online, and social media platforms a series of stories, reports and commentaries on the socioeconomic impact – positive and negative – that President Duterte has made in his first year in office. The articles will focus on how the former Davao City mayor has coped with the challenges of the presidency in five major areas that Filipinos consider most important in their lives: peace and order, traffic, economy, governance and foreign policy. This evaluation of the administration’s achievements and shortcomings will take into account what Mr. Duterte had promised to do during last year’s presidential campaign, his June 30 inaugural speech and his July 25 State of the Nation Address.
President Rodrigo Duterte did an “outstanding” job in his first year in office, particularly on peace and order, investments and agrarian reform, Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said on Sunday.
He said the President also showed political will in issuing executive orders banning smoking in public places, institutionalizing freedom of information and regulating the use of firecrackers.
“He was outstanding on law and order—including the campaign against illegal drugs—his handling of the economy and agrarian reform,” Andanar said.
“On a scale of outstanding, very good, passing to fail, I’d say he gets an outstanding grade,” he said.
Andanar said that the Duterte administration’s war on drugs in just one year had led to 1.3 million illegal drug users and pushers to surrender while illegal drugs and paraphernalia worth P18 billion had been confiscated.
Human rights advocates have criticized the war on drugs, claiming 7,000 drug suspects have been killed. The Philippine National Police disputes this figure.
Andanar said the antidrug campaign’s success was evidenced by higher drug prices as supplies tightened.
“There was a rise in the price of drugs, particularly ‘shabu’ (crystal meth). Before, it was P200 to P300 per sachet but now, it varies from P3,000 to up to P15,000,” he said, citing Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency data.
Andanar said the President also did an “outstanding” job in bringing in investments to the country.
“In his one year of service as President of the country, he was able to to invite all of these investors from China, Japan, the Middle East and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). That’s $35 billion and more in investments,” he said.
The PCOO chief said Mr. Duterte should also get an “outstanding grade” in implementing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
On Mr. Duterte’s watch, around 700 hectares of land in Hacienda Luisita, which is owned by the family of former President Benigno Aquino III, were finally distributed to farmers, Andanar said.
“That’s the most prominent of the big agricultural lands but he was able to distribute a lot more,” he added.
On the peace process with communist insurgents and Moro separatists, Andanar gave the President a grade of “very good.”
“I would give a grade of ‘very good’ because, after more than a decade, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines has agreed to go back to the negotiating table to talk to the Philippine government in order for us to craft a peace agreement,” Andanar said.
He also noted that the President expanded the membership of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission from 14 to 21 to make it “more inclusive.”
The commission was tasked with drafting the enabling law that would implement the comprehensive peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
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