Duterte - The revenge of the Masa
by Amb. Jose V. Romero, Jr., PH.D

The next president must excel in different disciplines. First of he must be a visionary – with a strategic view of the total development of the nation.

Only he can be the architect of the grand design of development. That said, he would need inputs from a competent team with expertise in every aspect of development.

This means that he must be a good judge of character and competence. He must be a good coach who can maximize the contribution of each number of the team and get them to work together so that they can pull in the same direction.

Since he has to work with the other branches of government like the Congress and the judiciary he must be a unifying force and a super salesman who can market his program of government and solicit the support of other branches and instrumentalities of government.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal could not have produced its full employment program and get back the U.S. economy to its feet after the Great Depression, had he not convinced the American people to back up his program.

Thanks to our hybrid-mongrel democracy that resembles neither the Western parliamentary model or the presidential model of the United States in the absence of a two-party, our multiple party system has only produced a vision-less, boom and bust economic cycle, etc. No wonder there is a clamor for a strong man which the new constitution tried very hard to avoid. The Magsaysay and Duterte phenomena is a symptom of this quest for messianic strong man, the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Castro and other “caudillos” of history.

From the debates we only hear of one-liner solutions to complex problems e.g. focus on agriculture, reduce taxes, etc. To the cognoscenti it takes more than reduced taxes to correct a regressive tax system or a flawed budgetary process to improve levels of incomes, productivity and employment and bail-out the agricultural sector, plagued by systemic problems that require holistic solutions.

In other countries political parties with their specific ideologies present complete programs of governance to solve these systemic problems. Here we rely on the magic wand of the political messiahs riding on popularity, backed up by the logistics of vested interests who eventually get reimbursed through regulatory capture by the politically entrenched economic elite and crony capitalists. As the song goes – when will we ever learn? Can the millennials with the use of social media connectivity help?

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