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Tugade’s troubles

When the Social Weather Stations came out with its recent survey that President Duterte’s satisfaction and trust ratings were down, I said that there was a re-awakening on the part of the people that the killing spree by the police in connection with the war on drugs must stop.

I also said that the SWS findings are both good and bad for the President. It is good in the sense that the President was given an opportunity to listen to the voice of the people and rethink his strategy in his brutal war on drugs.

It is bad because people now acknowledge that there are extrajudicial killings, which have been roundly criticized here and abroad.

Now the President has decided it should be the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, not the Philippine National Police, who must lead in the war against drugs.

The problem is this—Can the PDEA do it with limited manpower and limited budget? The President should ensure that the PDEA has support so it could enjoy success.

* * *

All talks about the destabilization of the Duterte government are definitely in the realm of speculation.

While the Yellowtards and critics of the President may be wishing it, history tells us that destabilization can only be possible if there are enough people to support it, coupled with military intervention. Edsa One and Two prove that an uprising can succeed if people and the military come together.

The President should realize that all the talk on destabilization coming from his own camp is not good for our image. It may not be unsettling for the people, but do foreigners listen!

* * *

Read this and weep—Metro Manila is one of the most unsafe cities in the world, according to London-based magazine The Economist.

Metro Manila ranked 55th out of 60 cities covered by the Safe Cities Index 2017, in a study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The research looked at the digital, health, infrastructure and personal security of cities included in the sample.

With Manila at the bottom are Cairo, Tehran, Caracas, Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, Dhaka, Yangon and Karachi. According to the report, Metro Manila consistently ranked low in various indicators used for unsafe cities due in terms of deaths due to natural disasters,

Metro Manila was second-most dangerous in terms of digital security next to Jakarta and fifth less safe in infrastructure after Dhaka, Karachi, Yangon and Quito. Metro Manila was 14th in terms of death in vehicular accidents, and 19th in frequency of terror attacks.

The safest cities are Tokyo, Singapore, Osaka, Toronto and Melbourne. Completing the Top Ten are Amsterdam, Sydney, Stockholm, Hong Kong and Zurich.

I still have to see where the Philippines excels in.

* * *

I wonder how Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade would react, if at all, to reports that Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon was among the hundreds of passengers stranded after the MRT broke down three times last Oct. 10.

Biazon, who takes the train at least once a week, was on his way to Congress when he experienced firsthand what long-suffering commuters have to put up with every day. As expected, he took the DoTr to task and demanded action.

Tugade was appointed to his post at the start of the Duterte administration but he and his handpicked men still have to come up with acceptable solutions to the multiple ills plaguing public transport.

Apart from the MRT-3 mess, they seem helpless in dealing with driver’s licenses, car plates, passenger jeepneys, traffic.

They cannot anymore say that this is a problem created by their predecessors. It has been 15 months! I am also curious why in less than a year, four undersecretaries have resigned. The latest was undersecretary for aviation Roberto Dim who quit his post last May, purportedly in the interest of the department. Two weeks later, Assistant Secretary Cherie Mercado, a former TV journalist, also left the agency.

And then, what about this P7-billion Clark project involving the long-term lease and development of a three-hectare lot in the freeport zone?

Is it true that Tugade approved the project without public consultation and bidding? This project has been opposed by the City of Angeles! The area is also said to be beyond the Clark Development Corporation’s jurisdiction and falls within the territory of Angeles City.

Reports also have it that Tugade authorized CDC to shoulder the payment of the bill for waste water of Texas Instruments even if this is not provided for in its contract with the company. If this is true, the Commission on Audit must look into this.

Last July, Tugade started the transfer of DoTr operations to Clark, which is about 100 kilometers from Metro Manila. Employees protested it, who said they have to wake up as early as 3 a.m. to be able to catch the shuttle. Travelling does take a lot of time away from their families.

Santa Banana, office rentals and maintenance in Clark would reportedly cost as much as P50 million compared to the less than P22 million that the agency spends for its offices at Columbia Tower in Mandaluyong!

This is not to point an accusing finger at Tugade, but there is talk that the real reason he wants to move to Clark is that he wants to remain in control of the CDC.

* * *

Residents of Cotabato City are terrified that the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Groups have them as next target, after Marawi.  

Topics: Social Weather Stations survey , President Duterte’s satisfaction and trust ratings , War on drugs , Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency , Philippine National Police , Tugade’s troubles
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