Roundup: Duterte enters 2nd year in office, paving path for prosperous Philippines

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-30 22:58:14|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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MANILA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte entered the second year in office on Friday after having laid a foundation for a prosperous Philippines with a population of over 100 million people.

"The first 12 months of the Duterte administration has been an extraordinary year - highly audacious, very productive and marked by political will, making the nation the real winner," Duterte's office said in a statement.

Duterte, who hails from Davao City, took office on June 30 last year to become the first president of the country who comes from the southern Philippines.

As he entered in his second year in office, the statement said Duterte "has laid the foundation to sustain current successes and transform the Philippines to a prosperous, predominantly middle class society."

The statement said Duterte introduced several anti-poverty initiatives, including the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, a blueprint for the country's development.

Under the Duterte administration, the Philippine economy registered three quarters of economic expansion.

"Gross domestic product (GDP) posted a 6.4-percent growth in the first quarter of 2017, making the country one of the strongest performers among major emerging economies in Asia," the statement said.

It added that foreign direct investments (FDI) registered 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in net inflows in the first quarter of 2017, 16.6 percent higher than in the same period last year. "This signifies investors' confidence in the country's leadership," it said.

To sustain the country's growth momentum, the Duterte administration launched the Build-Build-Build Infrastructure Plan that could usher the country in a "Golden Age of Infrastructure."

To cap his first year in office, the statement said Duterte has approved 11 infrastructure projects, cumulatively worth some 304 billion pesos (6 billion U.S. dollars), for implementation in its June 27 cabinet meeting.

"The infrastructure plan of the Duterte administration is not only limited to a network of roads, bridges and highways," the statement said.

To ensure economic prosperity, Duterte also addressed the country's lawlessness and waged a campaign to stamp out corruption in the government.

"The public is fully aware that the spread of prohibited drugs has reached an alarmingly high level, the rationale behind the (Duterte's) centerpiece program of law and order," the statement said.

Indeed, Duterte fought the spread of illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.

"More than a security problem, the Duterte administration treats the drug situation in the Philippines as a public health issue. A year has passed and the Filipino people are seeing the fulfillment of his promise achieving many firsts in the fight against illegal drugs," the statement said.

"The unprecedented anti-drug crusade taken by the Duterte administration has led to the decrease in crime rates by 27.02 percent from July 2016 to May 2017," it added.

Citing a recent Pulse Asia survey, the statement said a total of 82 percent of residents in Metro Manila feel safer because of the intensified illegal drugs crackdown by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The anti-drug campaign also led to the voluntary surrender of 1,304,795 drug personalities for the period July 1, 2016 to June 6, 2017, and the confiscation of 2,340.74 kilos of "shabu" (metamphetamine) with street value of 12.1 billion pesos (239.6 million U.S. dollars) for the period July 1, 2016 to June 6, 2017, the statement said.

Apart from halting illegal drug trade and criminality, it said the Duterte administration's law and order agenda is also designed to regain the people's trust in government. "It spearheaded innovative initiatives to make the government accountable, open and transparent and the delivery of government services efficient," it said.

The 72-year-old leader also acted as a peacemaker, reopening the peace table with the Muslim rebels. Duterte is also looking at the possibility of resuming stalled peace talks between the government and the local communist party.

"Much has been done (during the first of his six-year term of office) but much more would be achieved in the next five years," the statement said.

It said Duterte hopes to launch food security initiatives to increase rice and fish production.

Another is that Duterte also wants to create a separate department for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and to set up an OFW Bank.

"He likewise wishes the continuing upgrade of military hospitals such as in Quezon City and Jolo, Sulu, among others, the procurement of more modern equipment and assets and the establishment of education fund for soldiers' children," the statement read.