Before you ask the President “where is the change?” ask yourself if you have changed


Traffic chaos in Manila is partly due to motorists who don’t follow the rules.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics are getting impatient. “Where is the change that he promised?” they ask. After a year in office, his fiercest critics are reminding him of the promises he made before the election. For instance, they cite his promise to end criminality within three to six months after election. It’s quite laughable to see them ask that actually. Were they really expecting Duterte to totally eliminate crime within three to six months? I think only a fool would believe someone who promises something unrealistic. Duterte’s supporters know the problem cannot be solved within a short time frame. But what they like about him is his resolve to solve them.

First of all, most of the people who are expecting him to “stop criminality within three to six months” are the same people who ignored the fact that the crime rate in the Philippines kept going up during former President BS Aquino’s term. Yes, BS Aquino’s supporters turned a blind eye to criminality particularly the ones committed by his own cabinet secretaries. Now they can’t stop highlighting the crimes in the country including the ones that have already existed for decades. An example are the incidences of drive by shootings. They make it appear as if there were no drive by shootings until Duterte started his term. Never mind that assassins on motorbikes were already in vogue for years especially in the previous years prior to Duterte winning the Presidency. The Inquirer even published an article mentioning a police report stating that “’Riding in tandem’ motorcyclists committed over 3,000 crimes in Metro Manila in 2013”.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

Duterte’s critics also cite that there is no improvement in the horrendous traffic conditions in Metro Manila and commuters using the Metro Rail Transit still have to endure long queues plus long delays in transit time going from point A to B. They mention all these as if the solution to them can be implemented within a few months. Each of these issues have very complex problems that were made worse by the previous cabinet members under BS Aquino. As mentioned before, it was the previous Department of Communication and Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya who messed up. He allegedly entered into a dodgy contract worth P3.8 billion with a Chinese firm for the supply of coaches to the MRT. Abaya is in fact, being sued for mismanagement of the MRT by anti-corrupt groups Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines (ATM), Liga ng Eksplosibong Pagbabago (LEP) and United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC):

The complaint stemmed from the DOTC’s awarding of contract amounting P3.769,382,400 to Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. in January 2014 for the supply of 48 coaches to MRT 3.

“Dalian miserably failed to deliver what were required in the Contract, thereby causing undue injury to the Filipino people and the government. The non-operational Dalian-made coaches likewise resulted in lost farebox revenues amounting to millions of pesos,” the complaint read.

The complainants said that while all the 48 coaches were already delivered early this year none of them was operational.

The complainants also said the delivered coaches were not equipped with any signaling system despite the technical specifications provision of the contract stating that all the coaches should be equipped with automatic train protection (ATP) signals.

With that information, surely Duterte’s critics should understand that it will take a while before the mess Abaya left behind gets sorted. Unfortunately, they refuse to acknowledge the root of the problem.

With regard to the traffic in Metro Manila, it will not improve unless some private roads in posh villages that can serve as alternate route are opened to motorists. The Duterte government cannot do much about that especially since most of the elite members of Philippine society live in those enclaves and would be up in arms if the roads are opened to the public. They prefer that their little havens away from the masses remain heavenly. This and other challenges will remain formidable until, of course, Congress gives Duterte emergency powers to fix things. But we all know that a lot of the congressmen are also part of the rich and would never dream of allowing the people they supposedly serve to drive by their mansions.

At the moment, motorists have very few options to choose from. EDSA turns into a parking lot at various times during the day. During those times, vehicles hardly move for hours. So since the public accepts that roads in exclusive villages are off limits, they will not complain or even think about the possibility of using those roads to ease traffic congestion on Manila’s roads. This situation is actually telling of how submissive Filipinos are to the elite. In a truly egalitarian society, the roads would be open to all motorists. Roads inaccessible to the general public would be unthinkable in Western societies. Governments in progressive societies would priorities the welfare of the majority before the minority. But that is not the case in the Philippines.

I have always said that the problem with the Philippines has less to do with the tyranny of the few, but more to do with the tyranny of the majority – those who give power to the few members of the elite or oligarchy. What I am trying to say is, the Filipino people need to find their strength. They do not realise that they can demand that the government compel the elite to do something. Private villages should be compelled to open up private roads to ease the traffic conditions on main roads, for instance.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte inherited most of the problems BS Aquino ignored and neglected to address.

Duterte’s critics also blame him for the chaos in Marawi City, Mindanao. They think it is Duterte’s fault that there is now war in the city. They even contradict themselves. While they say it wasn’t necessary for Duterte to declare Martial Law in Mindanao, they think that he could have prevented the rise of ISIS in the region. Never mind that BS Aquino failed to act on the intelligence report that the Maute brothers — Omarkhayam and Abdullah — were already a threat during his term. Duterte’s critics do not even laud the military for capturing both brothers and their parents who are the heart of the organisation. They were caught in different cities in Mindanao, which justifies extending Martial Law across the region.

The American publication The New York Times, quite bafflingly, also joined the chorus of critics by saying Duterte’s “braggadocio” is to blame for the chaos in Marawi City. A President has to do what he has to do for his country. He relies on military information in deciding when and where to strike. Considering the editors of the New York Times are not privy to sensitive military intel, they have a lot of nerve stating that “braggadocio” is to blame for what is happening in a city thousands of miles away from them. The New York Times editor could have sent someone to dig deeper and further into how and why terrorism festered in the Philippines. They would have trace it to BS Aquino’s neglect. Speaking of “braggadocio”, It would have been fair for The New York Times to use the term to describe other leaders like George W Bush, Barrack Obama, Tony Blair, et al for their foreign policies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those who ask “where is the change”? have to ask themselves the same question. Have they changed? Have they started following the road rules and stopped being nuisances on the road themselves? Have they stopped throwing garbage indiscriminately when they are out and about? Have they started caring about their neighbours? As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Filipinos cannot keep relying on the police to solve everything. The police also need everyone’s cooperation to keep things in order. Filipinos should stop acting like unruly children when authorities are not around. Filipinos should learn to behave even when the police are not in sight.

Filipinos cannot expect Duterte to perform miracles. They need to do their part in helping the government. They can’t just criticise for the sake of criticising. Clearly, some of Duterte’s critics just hate him and want him out. They don’t care if a transition to another leader would set back the Philippines again. They don’t care that Duterte was elected and was chosen by the Filipino voter. A lot of Duterte’s critics just care about their own agendas – which is to get back in power. To quote senator JV Ejercito: On the contrary instead of helping the government achieve its goals, there are some who are hoping that the admin fails.

Yes, a lot of those who ask “where is the change” are part of the reason change is slow. They are a hindrance to Philippine society reaching its full potential. They do not want to change the status quo because they benefit from it. They do not have the right to ask “where is the change?”

19 Replies to “Before you ask the President “where is the change?” ask yourself if you have changed”

  1. You don’t seem to have a problem with him making absurd and dishonest promises like “six months,” “I’ll resign” and “you can kill me” in the first place. Only with the simple minds who take them literally, which was presumably the effect intended. Why doesn’t the “no-nonsense” president say what he means?

    1. @Dave: I am not pro-DU30. In fact I even called him then during the campaign the Pied Piper from Davao City. But I support him now because he is the winner and to me his Constitutional successor is to me worse and would bring this country to chaos or civil war.

    2. @Dave

      What makes you think I don’t have a problem with unrealistic promises? I actually laughed and found them ridiculous when I first heard them. The difference between you and me is that I am quite aware that Duterte is a politician. Like all politicians, Duterte would say things that would appeal to the crowd. Now the difference between a politician like Duterte and Noynoy is that Duterte doesn’t pretend the problems don’t exist. He actually tries to address them, unlike Noynoy who pretends everything is peachy in the Philippines.

  2. OH BULL-SHIT, asking that just gives Duterte and excuse and an out ! The Man PROMISED CHANGE, SO WHERE IS IT ALREADY ? HUH OH, you got nothing, thats what I figured and Duterte needs an excuse for his miserable failings.

    1. the problem with you is that you are impatient, he is just One Year in the Office and there are lots of mess of previews government to clean up and if you think you are better than the President why don’t run for president before?

  3. As I had always pointed; we are not a Democracy, we are Feudal Oligarchy. The Spanish Colonizers are gone; they are replaced by the Feudal Filipino Oligarchs. We are the “Peasants”; they are the “Feudal Lords”.

    We will never change, unless, we can change our mindsets. It took many centuries, to put these mindsets to us by the Colonizers. It will take many years, for us to remove it.

    I find the same “Feudal Oligarchy” mindset to people in South America, colonized by the Spanish Colonizers. The ruling class is the Oligarchy. Most of them are white skinned, sharp noses, and European looking.

    Ever wonder, why the business of Dr. Bello’s skin whitening is popular , in the Philippines ?

    In Peru, the Spaniards stole almost all the gold and silvers of the Incas, during the conquest of Peru by Pizzaro. These gold and silvers were shipped to Spain, in Spanish galleons.

    The mindset of most Filipinos, especially the Oligarchs is: “Ako Muna”…the Spanish colonizers mindset is: ” Yo soy primero “… or translated to , “Ako Muna”…or: “Me First”..

    Corruption, mismanagement, thievery, etc… will always be there; unless, we the majority of the Filipinos, will start, to demand accountability to these people, who ruled us. We should start , jailing and hanging them. We must not let them enjoy, what they have stolen from us…

    New York Times is a failing American newspaper. It is a liberal propaganda newspapers. It is pro-Hilary Clinton; pro Obama; pro democrat; etc…it is a trash newspaper..

    1. @GEN X-er

      Please enlighten which promise of change he broke? Because so far, he was able to deliver although not as drastic as originally promised?

      Also, if he steps down from his post due to those broken promises, will things get better than when he is around?

  4. “…ask yourself if you have changed?” How TRUE this is! You see we demand the politicians to change. We demand people to change. We demand the World to change. We demand THIS and THAT to change. If ALL this change then I WILL CHANGE. This way of demanding does NOT work. The only ONE that works is to DEMAND MYSELF this: LET ME CHANGE FIRST and the rest will take care of themselves. We ALL know that change begins with ONESELF.

    We’ve been programmed, trained, brain-washed, educated and eduCASTRATED that “Others should and must change before I change!” It’s so easy to demand everyone else to change, but myself. “Be the change you want to see in the world (out thee)”, they say for whatever we experience out there IS a reflection of WHAT and WHO in here. Does this make sense?
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    Ross Galán, Ph. D.
    NLP Spiritual Life Coach

  5. Now President Duterte signed an Executive Order on nationwide ban on firecrackers, and I wonder if the Filipinos will follow that law today especially if they’ll gonna celebrate New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, 2018 without the use of firecrackers which they’ll ended up on broken hands & feet or burned skin. Will their attitude & cultures change that? Only time will tell…

  6. The lowest hanging fruit to show that change is coming is at the top of the tree.

    If Pres Duterte wants to show that he is serious, a good start would be to demand responsibility and accountability from members of the government and its various departments, even if they are his appointees.

    The Resorts World incident would make an excellent starting point. Rather than throwing the contracted security staff under the bus for not wearing uniform shirts, how about asking why the police had no night vision equipment and became involved in a fire fight with casino security staff,with remarkable lack of bloodshed. The fire services who had no flame resistant wear or breathing equipment. The Philippine Economic Zone Authority,who apparently were handed safety oversight from the Dept of Fire Safety under an opinion of none other than then Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima.

    Maybe ,firing a few of the top people in these departments might let the relatives of the victims feel they did not die in vain.

  7. If you don’t think it’s nearly impossible to change someone who is not willing to change, just think how hard it is to change yourself, and you are willing.

  8. The traffic problem isn’t going to be sorted out by just opening shortcuts. Just remember the major highways are already congested by itself. They are overused and nobody has the guts to control consumer behavior. Not enough infrastructure is being built and it will take years once they decide before they initiate any project.

    I would sincerely like Duterte to succeed but it’s more like because whatever promises he’s made will benefit a lot of people. I don’t necessarily believe that drugs are a huge problem here but rather remove the root of drugs. They have to come somewhere or there’s an innate psychology to a drug addict that needs to be sorted out on a social level.

    And considering about people and change, are you first willing to sacrifice something? And what if you’re the only one? The traffic can only be sorted out first at the per person level, are people all willing to give up individual conveniences just to benefit the entire whole? It can’t be just one person doing it. With regard to drugs, it is something that the actual people who even condone such activity in the first place that can fix that problem. I am only a simple tax payer.

    I don’t like the campaign promises of giving a time line, it sounds like Miriam’s ‘I lied’ line. Do people in power have a word of honor anymore?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.