Duterte claims he fulfilled all promises except easing EDSA traffic

MANILA, Philippines – Nearly halfway into his term, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed he has fulfilled all of his campaign promises, except for one: easing traffic along EDSA. 

"Wala akong pangako na hindi ko natupad except 'yang EDSA. Nangako ako na free tuition, nandiyan na ang batas. Nangako ako na free universal health care, pirmado ko na ang batas. Ano pa naman gusto?" Duterte said in his speech Saturday, February 23, at a PDP-Laban event in Laguna, where he campaigned for his senatorial bets.

(There is no promise I haven't fulfilled except for the one about EDSA. I promised free tuition, the law is there. I promised free universal health care, I have signed the law. What else do you want?)

Duterte fulfilled his promise of providing free tertiary education in state colleges and universities when he gave the measure the green light in August 2017. He also signed into law the universal health care measure on Wednesday, February 20.

During his speech on Saturday, Duterte also said he continued the implementation of the 4Ps program under the social welfare department. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed versions of the measure institutionalizing the program.

But aside from these, the President has not fulfilled a number of his promises. Rappler listed Duterte's broken and fulfilled promises in this 2018 special report

His unfulfilled promises include his vow to assert, during his term, the historic ruling the Philippines won against China.

There were also promises that have not been wholly fulfilled, such as his "zero-tolerance" campaign against corruption. (LIST: No to corruption? Duterte's controversial reappointees)

Duterte also decided to extend his controversial campaign against illegal drugs until the end of his term, depite first saying he would stamp out the problem illegal drugs in 3 to 6 months.

Blaming Congress

On the failure to ease EDSA traffic, the President blamed the lack of emergency powers requested from Congress at the beginning of his term. Shortly after winning the presidency in 2016, Duterte said he was considering requesting emergency powers to solve the traffic crisis in Mega Manila.

This, he said, was similar to powers given to former president Fidel V Ramos, who had emergency powers to address electricity and water shortages.

Describing the powers he eyed, Duterte said on Saturday this meant "money to repair or rehabilitate or do away with the present situation." He also said the bidding process will stay in place.

According to Duterte, Congress did not pass the measure as this will be prone to corruption. The President said he decided to take the request "away from the table," following his "zero tolerance" for corruption.

"Anong narinig ko sa Congress? Hindi sila. 'Ah hindi puwede 'to baka, you know, ang graft and corruption papasok dito.' Eh sabi ko nu'ng narinig ko, hindi, it's off. Take it away from the table. Ayaw ko. Sa umpisa walang nag… Kung nag-iistorya ka ng corruption, ay putang ina, inyo na 'yan."

(What did I hear from Congress? They said no. They said, "This isn’t possible, it will be open to graft and corruption." When I heard this, I said it's off. Take it away from the table. From the very beginning… if you are interested in corruption, son of a bitch, I will leave it to you.)

The measure to grant emergency powers against traffic, though, was approved at the House of Representatives.

After being left pending for months in the plenary, the House passed its version of the measure in December 2018 under Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The Senate has yet to pass a similar measure. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

image