Monday, 14 December 2015

Why I believe Mayor Duterte is not ready for presidency: Part 2

First, an update in my previous post Why I believe Mayor Duterte is not ready for presidency "Reason no. 1" and that is he doesn't understand how international diplomacy works, nor does he give any importance to it. Somehow, this is reflective to his supporters as well. The media firestorm it had brought focused on "moral standing" and does he have the right to curse the Pope yada yada yada, while the counter-argument was "the traffic congestion in Metro Manila" as if that is the responsibility of the President. I have to point out that Mayor Duterte is, well he says so anyway, a staunch supporter of Federalism, but no one sees the irony of him focusing on Metro Manila traffic if he'll be President *shrug* *shrug* *shrug*

Which brings me to conclude Reason no. 2 - He thinks Philippines is one gigantic Davao City, and plans to implement local ordinances at nationwide scale. A lot of interview excerpts pointed this out, latest of which is Duterte on nationwide smoking, liquor ban: Be brutal to protect public health. Here's what I think on the following points:

1. No Smoking "in implementing an anti-smoking ordinance on a national scale, [Mayor Duterte] would be lenient in the requirements pertaining to the determination of smoking areas... [He says] Just like Davao but you have to soften the rigors of the requirement, that there would be smoking areas but it should not be in a contained area."

  • The President can issue Executive Orders on banning smoking inside buildings and vehicles through DTI (private-owned buildings), DepEd (schools and universities), DILG (government complex),  HUDCC (public housing) and DOTC (terminals, ports, public transport, vehicles in public roads).
  • THAT'S AS FAR AS HE CAN GO. Designation of smoking areas in public spaces are under the responsibility of local governments.
2. Still on No Smoking. "Duterte said that he is prepared to lose votes and is ready to face resistance in implementing the said policy as he only wanted to protect the health of Filipinos, most especially those of non-smokers."
  • Oh please don't be so dramatic like you are Zorro resurrecting out from hell. Like I said, this can be done by Executive Orders (which will expire until the President's term) to be implemented by concerned Departments. The only way this could be a real threat is if he will be passing a bill through Congress, which would be then become law of the land, but he is not running for Senator.
  • This goes to show the mayor doesn't know how our national government works - it has 3 branches, while local governments function as both executive and legislative branches. That is why Mayors have to appeal to the public and the city council if he wants to have an ordinance passed, but the President need only to worry if he and his Secretaries (appointed by himself) will make the EO as their priorities.
3. Curfew for Alcohol. "Another policy that he would like to implement is a nationwide liquor ban and the closure of establishments offering alcoholic beverages by 3 in the morning."

  • Again, curfews can only be issued by local governments UNLESS under emergency powers. Any curfews implemented in long-term is precursor to Martial Law which I think is unconstitutional. Either he just outed himself as a dictator or he forgot he is not running for Mayor of The Philippines. 
  • Public intoxication laws are akin to those BAWAL UMIHI DITO signs you see and I don't want my President to be bothered by such trivial things.
  • Selling of liquor at certain times is controlled by DTI. Saying he is gearing up for public backlash on something within his executive powers is just blatant fear-mongering. Also, what's up with 3AM? looks like he just pulled that number out of his ass.
4. “Bakit ko ginagawa ito? Para sa kapakanan ng mga Pilipino. It is to protect public health… If you have to protect the public, you must brutal about it,” 
  • The only thing brutal here is the obvious signs of the Mayor's simple mindedness. Brutal things are the following (which I iterate for examples' sake but DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN my support of these suggestions):
  • Stricter implementation on legal age of consent. That means even adults passing cigarettes/alcohol to minors (e.g. a father to his 17 year old son) will be persecuted.
  • Changing said legal age of consent accordingly. Like 21 years old if Mayor Duterte really thinks that 18 years old college/university students are still too young and should be at their homes by 1AM.
  • Banning cigarette and alcohol ads in mainstream media. If health hazards on smoking and drinking are really serious concerns, then a radical step, that is practiced in almost all countries now, is to stop their suggestive exposures to minors. This means total ban on these ads in (mainstream) TV, radio, publications. No billboards on these products is allowed anymore. Additionally, this includes stopping sponsorships to PBA teams and that idiotic government signages like MILITARY CHECKPOINT donated by GINEBRA.
  • Reducing the power of tobacco and alcohol industries. 
    • Which would mean further increase of taxes to counter the negative influences of their products (to fund increased healthcare services, further education on public health, etc.). 
    • Further reduction of power can also be done by demotion of brands. You see this in cartons of cigarettes with pictures of lung cancer and aborted babies, while the brand names are reduced according to state-mandated font sizes and styles. 
    • A more radical idea which is already practiced in other countries is the inability of these companies to venture in other industries, thereby eliminating their powers in real estates/development, media, transportation, pharmaceuticals or other bigger industries that can amplify their influence in the economy and government.
I could go on but I leave those to the candidates' creativity, which so far I think Mayor Duterte has none. I am dismayed over the the fundamental belief of his supporters to "make the entire Philippines as peaceful and clean as Davao City". While the sentiment is good, it is just short of naive. FYI no big nations were able to do this except city states like Singapore because they are precisely that: they are first cities that had gained the status of statehood later on.

In conclusion, I suggest to the well-meaning Mayor to do more homework on National governance, because as President he has to share power with other 2 branches of government. And seemingly he doesn't have Senators in his party, so he has to learn domestic as well as international diplomacy. Probably #Duterte2022 along with #Poe2022?

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