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Philippines – President Duterte’s First Days

It has only been almost 50 days since the 16th president of the Philippines inauguration, but President Duterte has already given the nation a taste of what’s to come for the following 6 years under his leadership. Before his official admission in the presidential office, there were a lot of opinions with his supposed brand of leadership. Some people were scared with it, and some have high hopes and even dubbed it as “Change is Coming.” So far, Duterte has proved to be a proactive president, with so many changes after barely two months in his presidency.

War Against Drugs
Even though the war against drugs has been going on for years, there is a significant change in the state of this war with the new President’s different approach on urging pushers and addicts into surrendering. The police are more active now on chasing pushers, and doing raids on drug dens. Buy bust operations were all over the news especially on his first 30 days in his seat. According to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), as of July 24, at least 25,230 drug users and pushers surrendered to police in Metro Manila alone. Those who surrendered would then take free drug tests and would be given rehabilitation assistance and amnesty.

Duterte also ordered for a nationwide drug tests with police officers.

Freedom of Information Bill
Three weeks after his inauguration, President Duterte signed the Executive Order on Freedom of Information. The order read, “Every Filipino shall have access to information, official records public records and documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions and decision as well as government research data used as basis for public development.”

Also from the order, it covers, “all government offices under the executive branch, including but not limited to the national government and its offices, departments, bureaus, offices and instrumentalities, including government-owned and –controlled corporations, state universities and colleges.”

Filipinos can now have access with official documents, information regarding official government transactions, as well as research data, by request. Those who want to request information may send a letter to the concerned government office along with a valid ID. The request is not for free, the person requesting will shoulder any fees relating to producing/reproducing the requested information. No person shall be denied of any information. Those who refuse to disclose said information will be penalized accordingly.

CAV Processing Time in Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
Duterte promised a faster process for government agencies, and the first to implement this is CHED for the CAV process. Before, the process usually takes 11 days. Now, if you submit the requirements early in the morning up to 12 noon, it will be done before the close of office hours. If you submit the requirements in the afternoon, you can expect the process to be within 2-3 business days.

Validity of Driver’s License
Department of Transportation (DOTr) assured license holders in the Philippines that before the end of the year, the validity period of driver’s license will be extended from 3 years to 5 years. DOTr will start working on this new validity next month.

911 Emergency Hotline
When Duterte was a mayor of Davao City, he implemented an emergency hotline system for the whole city. During his campaigns, he promised that he will make this system nationwide. True to his words, a month after admission in the office, Duterte established a 911 response center. It officially started last August 1, 2016.

8888 Complaint Hotline
Along with the 911 Emergency Hotline, 8888 Complaint Hotline officially started last August 1, 2016. This will be for complaints with poor government service, and corrupt government officials.

Some of his administration’s future plans are to lower personal and corporate income tax, relax bank secrecy law, accelerate the installation of fiber optic cables to improve internet speed, map secondary routes to aid with the current traffic situation in the metro, and transit system projects in Davao and Cebu.

With almost six weeks after he assumed presidency, Duterte has barely warmed his seat. He already showed that he will not be your ordinary president. Citizens still have high hopes that more good things will happen in the country, and he will implement changes that will help the Philippines to move forward.