Author Topic: The role of a "Strong Man" in a democracy  (Read 2457 times)

adroth

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The role of a "Strong Man" in a democracy
« on: November 05, 2018, 12:41:34 AM »
Let's talk about this meme that's been going around.



The term "strong man" has come to be associated with Ferdinand Marcos and his 20 year rule. The atrocities and excesses of that period are well documented and frequently held up as an example of virtues of the democratic process. For good or ill, the term has also been used to vilify any Chief Executive who chooses to explore the boundaries of what his/her office allows.

Democracy is a process. The fact that the Philippine constitution defines the powers of the three branches of government in very broad terms acknowledges this fact and provides scope for adjustments in the balance of power between these branches. Different times call for different approaches to governance, and the fundamental law of land actually provides sufficient scope to accommodate these approaches. Strong men recognize the need to adjust their approach to suit the times -- and have the intestinal fortitude to see these adjustments through.

While strong men do indeed present dangers, that danger is NOT in their strength and in their willingness to do what is not explicitly forbidden, it is in their agenda . . . or interpretations of that agenda.

Therefore wholesale vilification of leaders with political will either reflects an ignorance of the how the "pendulum swings" between the three branches of government . . .

. . . or is simply an example of partisan disagreement with the policies of the Executive-in-office rather than an objective critique of "strong men" in general.

Given how Philippine political discourse predominantly looks to the United States for examples of governance, here are examples of "Strong Men" in US history.

John Adams - championed the Alien and Seditions act to muzzle dissent at time when the future of the Republic was in doubt given geopolitical circumstances
 
Thomas Jefferson - unilaterally purchased Louisiana from France because he was not explicitly not allowed to do so

Abraham Lincoln - suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus and held together the Union, despite not having any clear-cut basis for rejecting the rights of the southern states to secede, and unilaterally issued an emancipation proclamation for African slaves

Theodore Roosevelt - unilaterally declared public lands as public parks, and aggressively pursued a politically-corrosive campaign to regulate large corporations -- referred to as "trusts" -- to implement a semblance of a level economic playing field.

Franklin Roosevelt - pursued an aggressive legislative agenda that has since become the gold-standard for how President's after him were judged -- his famous "first 100 days". In violation of the isolationist position of the general population, he implemented a "partial neutrality" position in dealings with Nazi Germany, and once hostilities commenced, he brushed aside term limits in pursuit of the war. Infamously he illegally imprisoned Japanese Americans in interment camps as a self-defense measure in the early days of World War II

During their time, their actions were controversial. Only in hindsight were their actions viewed in their historical perspective. Imagine how the course of events would have unfolded if these leaders didn't do what they did at the time they did it.

Every course of action has it's pros and cons. But to blindly label a leader "weak" for exercising political initiative is fundamentally flawed.

« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 09:26:18 AM by adroth »

adroth

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Re: The role man of a "Strong Man" in a democracy
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 02:59:09 AM »
Arguably this is the development that triggered Heydarian's statement

Duterte temporarily puts Bureau of Customs under military control
ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2018 12:00 AM | Updated as of Oct 29 2018 12:10 AM

https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/10/29/18/duterte-temporarily-puts-bureau-of-customs-under-military-control?fbclid=IwAR3cJSiuDGMDTX1pJIkN9FPmIx5XlG-hMGPwwb5xfzgIghJ5OZypLiNPI0c

All Customs employees to report directly to Malacañang

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte has put the Bureau of Customs (BOC) under the control of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The President said he will ask the AFP to temporarily take over the BOC.

"They will be replaced, all of them, by military men. It will be a takeover of the Armed Forces in the matter of operating, in the meantime, while we are sorting out how to effectively meet the challenges of corruption in this country," Duterte said.

"With these kinds of games they are playing, dirty games, I am forced now to ask the Armed Forces to take over," he added.

Duterte also said all of the employees of the BOC will be on floating status and will be required to report directly to the Office of the President.

< Edited >

According to Duterte, his decision is part of his declaration of a state of lawlessness in the country back in 2016.

Duterte declares 'state of lawlessness'

"Remember I have issued, during the first days of my term, this is the declaration of lawlessness. Part of the lawless elements is there inside the Bureau of Customs," he said.

The President also said that although not everyone working for the BOC is corrupt, he has no time to sort everyone out. Instead, he decided to just remove everyone and just let them go back to the government if they are indeed innocent.

< Edited >

Duterte recently transferred former Customs chief Isidro Lapeña to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). He was replaced by former Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) administrator Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

The movement comes as Lapeña came under fire after four empty magnetic lifters suspected to have contained shabu were found in Cavite in August.

At the time the magnetic lifters were found in Cavite, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the BOC had just intercepted 500 kilograms of shabu concealed in two other magnetic lifters at the Manila International Container Port, raising suspicion that those found empty in Cavite had also contained shabu.

Lapeña initially belied PDEA's allegation then recently backtracked.

I for one, do not approve of using the AFP as a replacement for the BoC. Retired AFP personnel have tried running the organization, and reportedly even the most upright officers have not been left their positions unscathed. The AFP has its own internal demons to deal with, and exposure to a cancerous organization like the BoC would, arguably, have a detrimental effect on the organization.

Only time will tell if the President actually intended to perform a top-to-bottom substitution of the BoC with AFP personnel, or if this was yet another example of how he uses threats and fear to achieve the desired effect, which to put the fear of God into BoC personnel.

But the INTENT of the statement is clear. A drastic change was needed.

While Heydarian's statement about the importance of strengthening institutions is fundamentally correct, and is the only sustainable way for the country to move forward, leaders must take stock of what they have to work with and adjust approaches accordingly.

Like Boracay, and the "cesspool" it had become, certain situations require drastic changes in direction for any semblance of progress can be made.

What's happening in Boracay, the island paradise ruined by tourism?
Hugh Morris, travel writer
13 SEPTEMBER 2018 • 1:09PM

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/philippines/articles/boracay-closure-when-will-island-reopen/

Boracay, a tiny island once considered among the world’s most idyllic – but closed to visitors earlier this year due to the effects of overtourism, is in a race against the clock to be ready for its reopening date next month.

The tiny outcrop in the Philippines has been off-limits since April, when a six-month period of repair and restoration was announced after the country’s president described it as a “cesspool”. But now, with the reopening date just six weeks away, tourism experts say the island is still recovering.

What is Boracay and why was it shut?

The Philippines has experienced a surge in tourists in recent years. Just over one million went there in 1990 – last year it was 6.6m. And almost a third of those tourists - more than two million - visited Boracay, which measures just 3.98 square miles and has a resident population of just 30,000. That’s all the more remarkable when you consider that the Philippines has 7,640 other islands to choose from, according to the most recent estimate from the country’s National Mapping and Resource Information Authority.

A decade ago, Boracay certainly was worth visiting. The magazine Travel+Leisure declared it the best island in the world back in 2012, thanks largely to the powder soft sand of White Beach. But back in April Rodrigo Duterte called it a “cesspool”. His verdict came after a video showing sewage flowing directly into Boracay’s blue waters went viral. The controversial leader castigated local authorities for permitting unchecked development and dispatched an emergency government taskforce to save the island from an ecological catastrophe. Inspectors found over 800 environmental violations. Figures showed that rubbish generated per person on Boracay was more than three times higher than in the capital, Manila.

< Edited >


Such changes can only be made by strong leaders with the will to face the avalanche of criticism that their actions will face. Nestled within these critiques will be the inevitable allegations of impropriety and allusions to incompetence and similar assertions.

BEFORE

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/04/1830547/duterte-moral-obligation-not-financial-interest-behind-boracay-cleanup





https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/03/26/lucio-tan-offers-to-install-drainage-system-in-boracay/





=====



AFTER


https://www.philstar.com/other-sections/newsmakers/2018/11/01/1864780/history-wont-be-washed-away-time?fbclid=IwAR1Un8t88Ges_sHduPUn74liUuxt7GqTwuqFsqJ468ENH2dBejbsfDLWums





https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/boracay-philippines-reopen-trial-run-intl/index.html


« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 05:17:09 AM by adroth »

adroth

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Re: The role man of a "Strong Man" in a democracy
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2018, 12:45:57 AM »
From: https://www.facebook.com/groups/587923644611471/permalink/2312343345502817/



John Adams simply has the benefit of over 200 years of hindsight. Any historian will tell you that a President's legacy is never understood DURING his/her Presidency. John Adams was actually unpopular during his term, and as cited above, his actions that abridged freedom of speech would -- by today's verbiage -- be called the actions of a "strong man". Duterte is still in the middle of his term, so a proper assessment of his actions won't be had till years after 2020. Those who have watched -- and experienced -- his management style for decades understand the man's strengths and many flaws, tend to believe that the outcome will, when all is said and done, be for the country's benefit.

redcomet_m

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Re: The role man of a "Strong Man" in a democracy
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2018, 08:11:51 AM »
Adroth, just my rant. Filipinos vilify authority, driving in Manila and you get to see first hand the propensity of Filipinos to not follow rules especially when no one is looking. Watch local telenovelas, ginebra mentality kicks in and anyone with a badge and barong is considered corrupt, the enemy of the opressed. Ingrained within our very core, whoever has authority abuses it.

Its tiring really to make sense of all these rants of ellites/the more educated/iskolars, a drop of exercise of authority and here they go with their vitriol and idealist views. pfft

OFWs experienced first hand the results of what strong men, and their strong decisions, do for their turf. And i can see why a lot of Filipinos favor PD even with all the flak he has been getting with this drama in PDEA, pulong etc.

Pfft elites. They only care 3 things, their stocks, the gas prices, the roads.

adroth

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Re: The role of a "Strong Man" in a democracy
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2019, 10:43:13 AM »
Locsin, PH top diplomat, minces no words at UN General Assembly
Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
Posted at Sep 29 2019 12:38 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2019 11:36 PM

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/09/29/19/locsin-ph-top-diplomat-minces-no-words-at-un-general-assembly

UNITED NATIONS, United States - (UPDATE) The Philippines' top diplomat minced no words in his speech at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly's high-level open debate on Saturday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the international body should not interfere in the Philippines' affairs when it comes to how it is handling the South China Sea dispute and its anti-narcotics campaign.

"All democracies are pretentions to some degrees and that the growing electoral trend toward strong governments does not change its democratic character," he said.

"Weak governments, unable to protect their people, appear desirable because they make the case for multilateral intervention at the prompting of conscience of course, but sometimes at the unilateral prompting of great powers or violent or civil non-state actors."

< Edited >