LP: DUTERTE IS OVERRATED

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Others could have pushed Davao City to greater heights if given the chance to rule the city for more than 20 years as its mayor, Rodrigo Duterte did, said Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez.

This line, an apparent smear at Duterte’s leadership, was fired by an ally of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) as the Davao City Mayor announced his presidential bid over the weekend.

Fernandez also said Duterte is “overrated” adding he was not impressed by his record as Davao City Mayor.

The LP is fielding Mar Roxas, former Interior Secretary of the administration of President Benigno Aquino, as standard bearer in the 2016 presidential election.

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Campaigners of Duterte anchor his presidential credentials on, among others, his accomplishment as mayor of Davao City for more than two decades.

A hotbed of criminality and the communist insurgency when he assumed his first term in 1988, the city was then known as the Philippines’ “Killing Field” likened to Cambodia during the violent and murderous rampage of the Khmer Rouge occupation. Under grip of communist rebels like Cambodia, the city was then the laboratory for urban warfare of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), which was blamed for hundreds of executions of police and military personnel and civilians. There was capital flight and the economy was in shambles as business owners pack their bags for safer grounds to escape the violence and mayhem and kidnapping and extortion by rebels and criminal elements.

The Duterte leadership restored public and business confidence on the local government and soon the city was back to its feet.

Davao City today is one of the country’s most progressive cities and widely known for its excellent peace and order situation.

It has emerged as one of the country’s top investment destinations and is in the elite Top 5 of Billionaire Cities. It’s annual budget for 2016 breached the P6 billion mark, one of the biggest among local government units.

Duterte’s campaign against graft and corruption and iron-fist policy against criminals also led to high ranking in surveys for preferential preference and eventually to public clamor for him to run for President in the 2016 elections.

Duterte can replicate these accomplishments nationwide if he is the President, his drumbeaters say.

But Fernandez said the LP can do more for the country if given the same length of time that Duterte had as mayor.

Other than belittling Duterte’s accomplishment, Fernandez also thinks the mayor is “overrated.”

Fernandez said that if he were the mayor of Davao City for only ten years,  he could have surpassed Duterte’s record  in the 22 years of his leadership.

“Ilang taon siya naging mayor? Twenty-two years, di ba? Naging congressman pa siya, tapos naging vice mayor pa siya. Ako, bigyan mo ako ng kalahati lang ng term niya, 10 taon, dodoblihin ko ang nangyari sa Davao City,” said Fernandez in a report in ABS/CBNNEWS.COM.

He said the situation in Davao City improved not because Duterte was the mayor but because Duterte had over 22 years to serve as mayor.

     If he had three years as mayor, do you think he would have done what he had done in 22 years? Fernandez asked.

  Fernandez doubts Duterte can do miracles in three years if he is elected President.

     He then rooted for Roxas whom he said will continue Aquino’s Daan Matuwid program of governance.

“We will convert this country from a developing nation to a developed nation. We will be Number One,” he said.

Fernandez’s blast at Duterte jibed with the statement of political analyst Ramon Casiple that Duterte should expect black propaganda to be thrown in his way after announcing that his presidential bid is “now on the table.”

In latest surveys of the Social Weather Station (SWS) and Pulse Asia, Duterte ranked behind Roxas who was in the fourth spot, and front runner Senator Grace Poe and second placer Vice President Jejomar Binay.

roxas 2Casiple said Roxas would be the most affected by Duterte’s entry into the presidential race.

Months ago way ahead of his November 21 announcement that he will run for President, Duterte fingered Roxas as behind a journalist who peddled the yarn that he had cancer of the throat.

Duterte denied he had cancer and described the lie as black propaganda sparked by reports he was running for President. Then, Duterte has said that he was not interested in the presidency.

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