Philippines: Former President Fidel Ramos Says The Nation’s Number One Problem Is Poverty, Urges Nationwide Teamwork — “The national leader must define where he will bring the nation and show the people how to get there”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while addressing the Philippine Coast Guard’s 115th anniversary celebration which was highlighted by the commissioning of its vessel from Japan the BRP Tubbataha, Wednesday Oct. 12, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Duterte said he has instructed his defense chief not to prepare for joint exercises with the U.S. military next year as he moved to realize his threat to scrap the high-profile symbol of his country’s treaty alliance. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — Neither President Rodrigo Duterte nor the government alone can solve the country’s problem, former President Fidel Ramos said.

Ramos stressed that teamwork is needed in eradicating poverty, which continues to be the Philippines’ primary problem.

“P. Du30, therefore, cannot just continue skippering our ship willy-nilly headlong, oblivious of danger signs, without addressing the strategic imperatives of public safety, community harmony, and national development,” Ramos said in a column published in the Manila Bulletin last Saturday.

The former chief executive compared the Philippines to a ship that must be kept “seaworthy, competitive, and fast-moving in the right direction.” Ramos also likened Duterte to a juggler balancing balls which are transnational problems.

“As skipper of our flag carrier ‘Pilipinas,’ P.Du30 must prove his navigational skills, mental stability, and psychological fortitude to steer our leaky and overloaded ship safely to the ‘promised land,'” the former president said.

“The presidency is no place for panicky, self-centered, onion-skinned or fragile characters,” Ramos added.

Ramos cited a BizNewsAsia report which noted the three things that stood out in Duterte’s first 100 days in office: the vicious campaign against illegal drugs, hardening of presidential policy against the United States and failure to cut red tape and corruption in the bureaucracy.

“One can only hope, that in the next 100 days, we will have more of the good than the bad,” Ramos said.

READ: Ramos: Duterte’s first 100 days a letdown

The former president noted that the Philippines should address the threats of climate change and the global economic slowdown.

“For Filipinos, the impacts of global warming amount to more than just inundation and desertification – which are bad enough – but as we have seen, such calamities bring grave impacts upon health, housing, agriculture, food/water, power supply, transport, livelihood, etc.,” Ramos said.

Ramos also noted that Duterte should not be wasting opportunities in his next 100 days in office. He stressed that the president must lead the nation by setting the right example that the citizenry should emulate.

“From day one, a national leader must define where he will bring the nation and show the people how to get there,” Ramos said.

All Filipinos must strive together with one goal in mind — to become a strong nation able to achieve an environment of enduring peace and sustainable development, Ramos said.

“There is real progress when only the totally disabled are jobless. Progress is present when every citizen feels safe at home, in workplaces, and in the streets,” the former president said.

Ramos earlier said that Duterte’s first 100 days in office is a “huge disappointment and let-down.” However, he noted that there is enough time to correct the flaws of the current administration.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that Malacañang respects his analysis of the president’s first 100 days.



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