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Friday, August 19, 2016

DU30@50FirstDays: Leadership by fear or political will?

by Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY, Basilan – Drug users, pushers scamper to turn themselves in to the barangay chairman then to the police authorities. One after another, in groups, hundreds, and now thousands have been documented by the local police of Isabela City.

Police authorities were also pressured to be on their feet all the time as President Rodrigo R. Duterte gave a marching order to eradicate the drug menace in their area of responsibility, otherwise…?...hmmm…some may end up dead or locked up in jail.

The impact of the President’s leadership in fighting criminalities and illegal drugs is immediately felt by the public. And many praised him, and the leadership of his police chief, whose nickname is as solid as a rock.

The President is indeed tough. And we need this kind of leadership at this time when drugs as the silent killer of society are evolving into its terminal cancer stage. The symptoms have revealed itself with the overwhelming turnout of drug personalities who surrendered to authorities. Many were stunned by the turnout. In Region 9 alone, the police reported that around 38,000 personalities have already surrendered, investigated, and documented.

The tough-talking President and his equally hardliner and spirited PNP chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa has gained local and international attention for their rough leadership styles that made everyone wet on their pants. For the locals, this leadership by fear may have seemed to work even as critics against impunity and extrajudicial killings were all over the news.

It seems that most ordinary people support the strong pronouncement of the President against criminals, especially for drug pushers and the president’s ultimatum against the Abu Sayyaf. I feel that even the local government officials and the people of Basilan are one with the President to once and for all put an end to the atrocities of the Abu Sayyaf and the drug menace.

For Basileños who wanted to put an end to terrorism brought about by self-proclaimed ISIS supporter Abu Sayyaf, the tough stand and leadership of the president is the POLITICAL WILL that the people had been waiting for. The people have grown tired and weary due to years of neglect and complacency of national and local government in addressing the problem of terrorism and drugs in the island province of Basilan.

Tough yet loved by the people in Basilan, the President received a warm welcome and even hugs from the local people during his recent visit.

I remembered a Jedi of Star Wars who said that “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear is to anger, anger is to hate, hate is to suffering…”, when Yoda spoke to the young Sky Walker in one of his training as a Jedi warrior. There is a reason for criminals, drug pushers and addicts, and the terrorist Abu Sayyaf to fear now with the tough leadership. And they will continue to live in fear and eventually suffer if they will not heed the call to change.

People here believe that change is not coming. Change has come.