Oct. 19 2016, 8:27 p.m. – PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has proven to be a phenomenal leader but has so far only made “hollow” achievements based on a “vague” agenda, according to a political economy professor.

“Is there something significant in [Duterte’s] achievements that we can say we truly need?” asked Mark Anthony Velasco in a forum at the Beato Angelico Audio-Visual Room last Oct. 17.

Velasco, who teaches at the De La Salle College of St. Benilde, criticized Duterte’s “vague” 10-point economic agenda, noting that the country’s economy remains dependent on foreign direct investments for development.

“His economic agenda is good. But the problem is that the vision of his people is different from what they are supposed to implement,” he said.

Antonio La Viña, former dean of the Ateneo School of Government, described Duterte as “the president with the strongest political will ever.”

“He will personally takes risks. The flip side is that is he is reckless. He is the president that is authentic. He is not an elitist. He knows how to act with poor people with a lot of compassion, empathy and a lot of humor,” said La Viña, a policy expert.

La Viña added that Duterte had formed a strong Cabinet composed of “old people who are equipped with passion and potential because of seniority.”

For Marielle Marcaida, who teaches political science in UST, the anti-drug campaign should be addressed as a health concern rather than a crime problem.

More than 3,700 drug suspects have been killed since the government launched its deadly anti-drug campaign, either in police operations or by unknown assailants.

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“You can’t solve it by addressing the supply. You address the demand, particularly the addiction,” Marcaida said.

“View it as a health problem where drug users are patients rather than criminals,” she added.

The event was organized by the Political Science Forum.

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