WHEN President Duterte assumed the presidency a year ago on June 30, most Pangassinenses had high hopes for better life in the country given his campaign promises that catapulted him to the presidency.
For senior citizen, Nestor Gutierrez from Barangay Poblacion of Binmaley, said people can see the big difference under the Duterte administration.
“Takot na ang mga adik ngayon (Drug addicts are now afraid),” Gutierrez said, adding that he can now walk freely even at wee hours after Duterte waged an all-out war against drugs.
Franklin Baniqued, 41, of Tonton, Lingayen who works as a security guard, said if there is one big accomplishment that Duterte did well in his first year in his office, “it’s about the fight against illegal drugs”.
“I used to see young people obviously under the influence in front of the establishment where I work at,” Baniqued said.
“Now they are gone. They now fear for their lives possibly because they know they would be subjected to Tokhang,” Baniqued said, referring to the police’s Oplan Tokhang, the strategy by PNP visiting suspected drug personalities being in their homes with the appeal to mend their ways.
For Elvis Austria, 43, driver from Barangay Magtaking , San Carlos City, discipline among people is more evident now, especially in transacting in government offices.
“Matatakot na sila ngayon na hindi agad umaksyon sa kailangan ng mga tao kasi isusumbong sila sa 8888 Hotline ni Duterte (They are afraid now not to act promptly to what the people need as they will be complained to 8888 Hotline of Duterte,)” Austria said.
Shernan Castillo, a garbage collector from Iloilo City who is married to a Pangasinense from Sta. Barbara, said rogue policemen have no place under Duterte’s administration.
“Mabuti yun, yung tinatanggal nya kung mga tiwaling pulis o kaya itatapon sila sa malayong lugar para bigyan sila ng leksyon.” Castillo said.
Aileen Vallo, 25, from Barangay San Miguel, Calasiao who works in an internet shop in a mall in Dagupan City, said she does not like Duterte’s style, especially his habit of cussing in public.
Vallo said she voted for the late Miriam Defensor Santiago.
“At kung minsan, may mga sinsabi siyang hindi naman niya ginagawa (And sometimes he says something but he does not do them),” she added.
She said she could not forget when the president promised to stop cussing but he continues to do it up to now.
But, like the others, Vallo said it is but fair to give the president enough time to fulfill what he says.
“He is not a superman. People should give him a chance. One year is too short to turn around the situation,” said Maribel Bautista, 35, a laundrywoman from Barangay Caloocan Sur, Binmaley.
While Bautista, who did not vote Duterte in the May 9, 2016 elections, admitted she was initially impressed by the president’s all-out war on drugs, she said
“the poor people who are killed allegedly because of drugs are unimaginable”.
“Masyadong matapang, nakakatakot kasi may mga nababalitaan ako na hindi naman pala nag dro-droga pero pinapatay daw,” Bautista said.
Amelia Apan, 19, a caregiver from Barangay Tombor, Binmaley, said she does not like the way Duterte rules the country.
“Pareho rin naman (It’s the same),” she said, adding that many people like her remain poor. (Tita Roces)