In his first 100 days, President Rodrigo Duterte has become controversial for his administration’s focus on the eradication of illegal drug trade in the country, his colourful language and shocking statements, as well as his serious allegations against Senator Leila De Lima.
More than these issues, Duterte’s administration has brought about changes that completely revolutionized our way of life. Here are some of them:
1. Signing of Freedom of Information Bill
After 25 days in the office, Duterte signed the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, which was filed by the late Senator Raul Roco more than 29 years ago. Under the FOI Executive Order, all government offices under the executive branch must allow every Filipino to have access to “information, official records, public records and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for public-development”.
2. Putting an End to Tanim-Bala
In his first week in the office, Duterte prohibited airport authorities from arresting passengers who allegedly have bullets in the luggage, ending the alleged bullet-planting scheme that has haunted Philippine airports for several months. Instead of getting arrested, passengers in possession of ammunition will be required to undergo immediate profiling in order to clear their links to any criminal group or terrorist as well as of any criminal intention.
3. Launch of Emergency Hotlines
Citizen complaints (8888) and 24/7 emergency (911) hotlines were launched nationwide in August as part of the administration’s crusade to fight crime and corruption. While the 911 hotline receives national emergency calls, the 8888 hotline handles complaints of citizens, which will be relayed to the proper government agency. Davao City has its own 911 system under Duterte’s mayorship.
4. One-Stop Service Center for OFWs
A one-stop shop offering government services for OFWs was launched last August to reduce their transportation expenses and to shorten the processing time of their documents. One-Stop Service Center for OFWs (OSSCO) offers the services of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Overseas Welfare Workers Administration (OWWA), Technical Education and Skills Development (TESDA), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), among many others.
5. Implementation of Curfew for Minors and Liquor Ban
Among the first policies implemented by Duterte was the strict implementation of nationwide curfew for unaccompanied minors and liquor ban, a policy that has taken effect in Davao City for the past years. “Oplan Rody” (Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youths) led to the arrest of unaccompanied minors who remain outside their homes during curfew hours (10 am to 5 pm) as well as adults caught drinking liquor in public places beyond 1 am.
6. Faster Processing Time of Business Permits and Licenses
All cities and municipalities in the Philippines are required to reduce the processing time of business permit and licenses to 1 to 2 days, from the usual period of 5 to 10 days. No additional costs will be charged for this.
7. Validity of Driver’s License Extended
Driver’s licenses issued at the National Capital Region (NCR) will now have a validity of up to five years instead of three years following Duterte’s vow to extend it in his State of the Nation Address. The President also expressed his intention to extend the validity for passports to 10 years.
8. Appointment of Leftists in the Cabinet
In a surprising move, Duterte named four leftist leaders to become part of his administration. Joel Maglungsod, vice chair of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, is now the labor undersecretary, while former human rights lawyer Silvestre Bello was appointed as labor secretary. Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano was tasked to be the agrarian reform secretary, while former University of the Philippines professor Judy Taguiwalo is now the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
9. Increasing Allowance and Incentives of Pinoy Athletes at the Olympics
From $1,000, Duterte increased the allowance of athletes who competed in the Rio 2016 Olympics to $3,000. Officials, who previously received $3,000, were given $5,000 as allowance. Meanwhile, Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz received P5 million as reward.
10. Faster WiFi at Philippine Airports
Several airports in the country including the four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) now offers a Wi-Fi capacity of 1 gigabit per second, which can allow 3,000 users to use the Internet simultaneously. Moreover, airport toilets are now cleaner and more equipped, while several facilities have been upgraded to attract more tourists.