Palace trumpets gains under Duterte midway in his term
The Palace on Saturday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte's achievements and accomplishments to celebrate his third year in office.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo cited in a statement Duterte's "countless and incomparable feats" in his three years as president.
Panelo said Duterte, through his initiative, prioritized peace and order.
He said Duterte ''made the Philippines one of the strongest economies and growth leaders in the region, by changing its business climate that prompted the influx of foreign investments thereby ushering the Golden Age of Infrastructure... with his Build Build Build Program.''
Panelo also cited the Philippines' highest credit rating, a BBB+ upgrade from global debt watcher Standard and Poor's along with the massive infrastructure building program.
Some accomplishments in peace and order, said Panelo, were reducing criminality, dismantling illegal drug industry and apparatus as well as voluntary submission and rehabilitation of "more than a million" drug personalities, and measures to block the spreading of the local communist group.
Panelo added that under the administration, several laws were inked and executive measures to support the general welfare of Filipinos were passed.
"He signed long-pending bills into laws, issued executive measures like: free tuition in state universities and colleges, free irrigation to farmers, (...) universal health care program, free medicines and financial support to indigent patients, (...) prohibition on illegal labor subcontracting resulting in the regularization of hundreds of thousands of workers, and establishment of work-from-home arrangements," he said.
He mentioned the Pantawid Pamilya Program and the Magna Carta of the Poor signed by Duterte, which are targeted to ease poverty and uplift the standard of living of the "underprivileged class."
Among the accomplishments mentioned by Panelo were repatriation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) due to amnesty programs in several country, establishment of OFW banks and livelihood assistance of OFWs, distribution of Certificate of Land Ownership Awards to agrarian reform beneficiaries, and a push to legislate return of coco levy funds benefiting coconut farmers.
Duterte "intensified revenue collections of the government to new record-highs, including the collection of around six billion pesos from Philippine Airlines for overdue navigational fees and the landmark settlement by the government of about forty billion pesos with Mighty Corporation for the latter’s failure to pay excise taxes."
Panelo credited Duterte's efforts to pursue an independent foreign police "by means of removing our country's subservience to the West."
This includes the historic return of Balangiga bells from United States, the reshipment of trash back to Canada, and the improvement of the country's relations with Russia, China, and other countries in the Southeast Asian region.
Duterte has fired several military and high officials in the government, including some close allies, due to alleged corruption or incompetence.
"The Palace has responded to all letters addressed to Malacañang by referring them to various departments, offices or agencies for immediate action. It also launched hotlines for emergencies (911) and citizens’ complaints (8888), 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," Panelo noted.
Panelo said these gains under the leadership of Duterte were done in three years despite commentaries from critics and detractors.
"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," he added.
Panelo said more accomplishments under the Duterte's administration will be achieved for the rest of his term. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS