Duterte’s New Year Resolutions: My Wishful Thinking

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  • It is that time of year when we take stock of the old year that is winding down and we take a look at the new year with fresh resolve and a lot of hope. It is a time to make New Year resolutions.

    A New Year’s resolution is a tradition that many take on, as in making a promise to try to improve one’s self or carry out a good deed, starting in the New Year. I believe that New Year resolutions are promises to do better and to be better; not its opposites. However, it may be that in most cases, resolutions fall by the wayside, overtaken by life’s interruptions or by a simple weakening of one’s will.

    Grassroots organizations, like individuals, also mark the start of a new year with their plans and programs, with the added firm resolve to carry out these plans and maybe even do more. Grassroots organizations are nothing more than groups of individuals of like minds working together towards common goals; like individuals, they too have their new year’s resolutions, so to speak. These are goals and objectives to move their organizations forward, for instance, to consolidate its membership, expand and strengthen its network , and undertake campaigns or political actions. Year-long programs are the Resolutions of grassroots organizations.

    Presidents are probably no exceptions when it comes to making resolutions. Will President Duterte make New Year’s resolutions?

    I would like to think so, more so when he has at his command several departments, committees of all sorts, his own Cabinet and advisers, even an Army!

    Now, if I had the President’s ear, I would take the risk of presenting several New Year’s Resolutions for him to consider.  Wishful thinking? Maybe so. Putting myself in Duterte’s  presidential  shoes, I would seriously consider these resolutions. Still wearing his shoes, as President, I can easily resolve that I will:

    • Free all political prisoners. And honour my statements by making it happen soon;
    • Continue with the peace talks between the Government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and let its success be one of my legacies as President;
    • Exercise restraint when I speak. Resolve to be more thoughtful because words like one’s breath cannot be taken back when it’s been let out. Rudeness and boorish behavior, when done regularly, becomes tiring, quite frankly;
    • Stop all the extrajudicial killings and uphold human rights. Listen to the clamor for justice and human rights from the church, youth, urban poor, the international community, and from families of the victims of alleged drug users and peddlers;
    • Stop Oplan Bayanihan which allows the military to continue the militarization and occupation of villages and communities around the country;
    • Try to match my actions with my patriotic positioning and rhetoric on national sovereignty and independent foreign policy (knowing that I have allowed joint US-Phil war exercises and the continuing presence of US troops in the guise of humanitarian aid or disaster relief) because no one is fooled for long when my statements have no teeth;
    • Stop threatening to declare martial law;
    • Listen to the people who voted for me because they wanted change, change for the better. In the greater scheme of things, it is the people’s mass movement for change that is decisive and that will drive the change.

    Yes, this is indeed wishful thinking.

    Putting aside the President’s shoes, what is left is my own particular New Year’s resolution. This is to actively work with the movement for change in the Philippines, like the K4C or Kababayan For Change, and know full well that change comes not from one individual but from the many.

    Let us not forget the expression that says the reason why there is evil in this world is because  good men and women do nothing.

    Tinig Migrante by E. Maestro

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