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Initial Reactions to President Rodrigo Duterte's First State of the Nation Address

President Duterte delivers his SONA. Photo: Screen grab - ABS-CBN broadcast

resident Rodrigo Duterte's first State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a chance for Filipinos to size-up their newly elected president, to listen to what he had to say, then determine for themselves what the next six years will probably be like.

Above all else, the president projected an image of a leader who has the best interest of the country at heart. He realizes that there is much that needs to get done and he has rolled up his sleeves (literally) in order to get things moving as quickly as possible. Duterte is  definitely a man on a mission who realizes that despite the country's economic accomplishments of late, there is still much that is holding the country back and preventing it from achieving the levels of development attained by its Asian neighbors like Japan, Singapore, Taiwan,  or Korea.

Duterte has also made it clear that to achieve his goals, he must have to support of his countrymen. And so far, his current sky-high ratings prove that a vast majority of Filipinos are behind him.

His honesty and sincerity are refreshing as well as endearing. And his simplicity in manner as well as attire is something that many Filipinos should emulate.

However, Duterte's SONA speech highlighted a few of what some might see as his shortcomings as well. He appeared to have a tendency to ramble on whenever he was not reading from the teleprompter. His speech turned into a stream of consciousness that had him bouncing from one disjointed topic to another.

And finally—despite his statements to the contrary—Duterte's facile use of shortcuts and extra-judicial means to achieve his ends, at this point in time appear as dark clouds in the horizon. He must reign-in any and all rogue elements working in his behalf. Otherwise they may likely end up undermining his presidency and prevent him from achieving his lofty goals. Before things begin turning ugly and start spinning out of control, the president must go after all these vigilante groups with the same fervor he is using to stamp-out drugs in the country.

Whether we agree with him or not, Duterte will lead the Philippines for the next six years. He appears sincere in his desire to bring about real change and prosperity. As loyal Filipinos, we must rally behind him to help him achieve those goals. His win will be our win ... for generations to come. Published 7/25/2016

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