Too much faith

If you came to Rodrigo Duterte's first State of the Nation Address hoping for some grand statement on what he intends to do with his six years as president, well, there isn't much. Arguably there isn't really much said.

Not that he had an empty speech. If anything, it at least felt a bit more substantial than a typical Noynoy Aquino speech. If you subscribe to the belief that Duterte is a no-bullshit president that gets things done, then that's your showcase.

I wouldn't call it his best showcase, though. He clearly got bored as he read from his prepared address. For a moment I wasn't sure if he believed everything he said. He clearly wanted to speak a bit more freely, and when he found a chance, he did just that. Those off-script moments - often sign-posted with assurances that they are, well, off-script - were when he felt a bit more confident about speaking, although those moments were when he went wildly off course, disrupting what probably should have been a well-constructed speech.

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Freedom, at last, for now

Noynoy Aquino was blocking it, virtually, for years, but now, Rodrigo Duterte has taken that first step: he has signed an executive order guaranteeing freedom of information.

This means ordinary Filipinos now has access to information and data used by those under the executive branch. This is apart from official records that are already available; going through the executive order, this would include data and research used as a basis for government processes and issuances.

Needless to say, this is a very good move. This shows how serious the Duterte administration is in promoting transparency, leading, hopefully, to a stamping out of corruption in government. Say what you want about his predecessor, about how serious he is about transparency, but Aquino's failure to support the long-languishing Freedom of Information bill in the legislature showed that all he really was into was window dressing. (Also add to that how the government failed to build their case against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, resulting in the Supreme Court throwing out one of the cases against her.)

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In control

"Suicide is not an option," I wrote eight years ago, and, yes, I am amazed at how fast things can change.

But then again, that was eight years ago. That was when I still had a good idea of what would, or should happen. That was when I had, as it turns out, no idea what really awaited me when all the shackles are off.

And I thought I was in control.

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And so it goes

I'm 27 years old.

All of the actors who I watched when I was a kid are now playing parents on television. That, or parents hiding a superhero identity.

Most of the pop acts that were around during my childhood have broken up, and reunited again.

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When it became clear that Rodrigo Duterte was going to be president, the country was essentially split. There's the half, give or take, who celebrated the win, claiming that change has indeed come to the Philippines, that only good things could come to it now that the mayor from Davao is going to be in charge. There's the half, give or take, who despaired the losses that's definitely coming our way - investors losing confidence, successes losing traction, freedoms losing its existence altogether.

It all really came down to one choice. Do you want things to continue as it is, or do you want to change things radically?

A significant chunk of the country - while Duterte received over 40% of the popular vote, which is big in itself, it is still not a majority - voted for change, a change away from the failures of Noynoy Aquino, a change away from all that he stood for. After all, they say, why would you keep a government that's insensitive to the plight of the poor, one that bungled the response to Mamasapano, Zamboanga, Yolanda, and Luneta, one that brought the full force of the law down to its opponents, but not on its allies? Are you that stupid, they sometimes imply, to stick with that?

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