As The Bamboos Sway: Rudderless Digong Peter principled


“The Peter principle is a concept in management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter and published in 1969. It states that the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and “managers rise to the level of their incompetence.” — Wikipedia

True to his request to be just called mayor during the early days after his election as the 16th president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte had the mentality of a mayor to which he had been used to for almost three decades in running the Government of the Philippines as the Island’s chief executive.

Unfortunately, the crime incidence, the graft and corruption, and other government anomalies in the country became the background for Duterte, who became Davao City mayor in 1988, and was reelected six times after forging a reputation for being tough on crime, to come to the fore as the banner for change. The 16M who voted him president had his Davao City as a showcase. Davao City was touted as peaceful, crime free, drug free, graft and corruption free, and could reflect what the Philippines should be. Plus, one must consider the financial backing Digong said he got from Governor Imee Marcos although the governor denies it.

As he said he cleaned Davao City and made it peaceful, Digong promised to make the Philippines peaceful by getting rid of the drug menace within six months. Operation Tokhang, however, became awry. Tokhang is a Cebuano for katok at pakiusap (knock and persuade or give a warning) whereby the police should knock at houses to give warnings to drug users and pushers. Instead of simply doing katok and pakiusap, the police also were given the mandate to kill “if the users or pushers engage the police who must defend themselves if they are threatened to be harmed.” These resulted to extra judicial killings at a rate of 700-1,000 killed a month since Digong sat as president. Criticisms point that those killed are from the poor and those supposed drug lords are set free. Most of those in the government who he has also presented in his so-called matrix are still very alive and free.

While he also claims to be leftist (although hanggang kilikili lang) because he says he was a member of the Kabataang Makabayan, a former student of Communist Party of the Philippines Founding Chairman Joma Sison, and in close contact with the New People’s Army (NPA) in Davao, he had become inconsistent with his peace talks demeanor with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. One of his campaign promises was to free all political prisoners. At least 400 are still languishing in jail. Moreover, when unilateral ceasefires were agreed upon, he did not order members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to vacate the country sides and continued their stay there masquerading as units for peace and development while in fact spying on supporters of the NPA and terrorizing the residents. This resulted to the situation becoming untenable and the NPA had to lift their unilateral ceasefire. With the AFP suffering casualties, Digong resulted to ordering the AFP to use their planes and bomb the NPAs out even “flattening the mountains” and if there are collateral damages., “sorry na lang”. He seems not to have learned that the Vietnamese resolve to liberate themselves were heightened when the US decided to carpet bomb Vietnam. In effect, Digong has become the latest most effective NPA recruiter.

Apart from other promises that he has not fulfilled, it is now apparent that he was only six-months tract minded. In six months, he said, he would have cleaned the country of the drug menace, eradicated corruption, and solved crime. He would have also placed a government team that is super without a tinge of graft. It is now over six months and he was not able to do those. Now he has no clue of how to proceed and apart from requesting for extension, he dangles martial law as a solution against everything including terrorism. This, despite ridiculing it as “it does not work” during his campaign.

Stuck to his six-month program, he does not have a general plan to really industrialize the Philippines, devise a comprehensive land reform, really eradicate ENDO or contractualization of workers. Generally, while he did some changes at the International Airport, and other government agencies, he does not really have a general plan for his whole term to bring about changes in the graft and corruption situation in the country. How could he when he coddled the burial of the oligarch of them all, Ferdinand Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani?

Clearly, Digong is now rudderless, unsure of what to do daily and reacts, without clear plans for the future, merely to situations at hand.

Clearly, instead of him acting as president, he is now busier with thwarting issues about his past in his admitted Davao Death Squad, attacks from Senator Leila Delima, Arturo Lascanas, Edgar Matobato, international bodies regarding the extra judicial killings, and the progressive left; while the right wingers in the Philippines wait patiently for his eventual fall.

Unfortunately, a friend of mine was right when he foresaw what could happen to a populist voted president. Promoted to a level of incompetence, the manager would have to be eventually fired. #


Leave a Reply