Malacañang is optimistic for 2019, citing that the gains made possible by the President’s strong leadership are now starting to bear fruit.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that President Rodrigo Duterte has displayed leadership that is strong and decisive ever since he assumed office. And that this leadership has helped in advancing the nation’s interests and the people’s concerns.
“2019 will certainly be an exciting year with the following milestones which started this year beginning to bear fruit,” said Panelo during the release of the 2018 accomplishment report.
Among the milestones Panelo cited was the return of the Balangiga bells to its original home in Samar. The bells were taken by American troops in 1901 as war trophies. President Duterte said that the return of the bells were made possible by the “fervent prayers” of the Filipinos, and the “generosity” of the Americans.
Panelo also mentioned the agreement with Kuwait which provides legal protection for Filipino migrant workers. There was also the rehabilitation of Boracay, which he says paves the way to a culture of sustainable tourism in the country.
He also cited improvements related to the government’s campaign against illegal labor practices, saying that a total of 411,449 workers have already become regular employees as of Dec. 3.
In the 56-page accomplishment report are other milestones, including the declaration of the Philippine Rise as a marine resource reserve. Additionally, there’s the establishment of a bank for overseas Filipinos, and the improvements made in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Panelo also cited several landmark legislations signed in the year 2018, namely the following:
- Free irrigation
- Free tuition in 112 state universities and colleges
- A national mental health policy
- A national feeding program for undernourished children
- Executive orders seeking to protect the rights of all workers to security of tenure
- Revival of the barter system in Mindanao
- Increase in employees’ compensation benefits in the private sector
- Career executives’ allowance in the government
“With all these at the helm, the Duterte administration will certainly enter the new year with enthusiasm and vigor in serving the people. The outpouring of support from Filipinos will continue to inspire this administration to work harder for the benefit of the greater populace,” said Panelo.
War on drugs
The report also contained statistics on the government’s anti-drug operations:
- A total of 115,435 operations were conducted, resulting in the arrest of 164,265 persons.
- A total of P25.19 billion worth of narcotics and drug paraphernalia were confiscated.
- P18.43 billion worth of shabu was seized.
- 9,503 barangays were declared drug-free.
Looking forward in 2019
In 2019, the administration is looking forward to achieving more milestones for the country, including the roll-out of the Philippine National Identification System. The holding of the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao also looms. Late in the year, the country is also hosting the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Panelo added that the new major player in the public telecommunications market has also been confirmed. Filipinos have long been clamoring for improved internet services in the country.