In a departure from her critical stance regarding President Rodrigo Duterte, former socioeconomic planning secretary Solita “Mareng Winnie” Monsod praised the Chief Executive over some decisions he made recently.
Writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer on April 8, Monsod, who now teaches economics at the University of the Philippines Diliman, commended Duterte for approving free land distribution for farmers as part of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Monsod said she has no qualms about the government paying just compensation to landowoners as “farmers have gotten the short end of the stick for so long.”
Allowing farmers to have land at zero cost, she added, makes both economic sense and social justice.
“So, kudos to President Duterte. He is making the right moves to help the poor,” Monsod said.
The second move for which the esteemed economist praised Duterte was his decision to review the lease agreement entered into by the Bureau of Corrections with the Tagum Agricultural Development Corporation (Tadeco) for the use of a 5,000-hectare land inside the Davao Penal Colony as a banana plantation.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has formed a team to look into the deal, which has reportedly robbed the government of millions of taxes.
Of the investigation into Tadeco, Monsod said: “The message is compelling: The country’s interest matters more than friendship. Heartwarming.”
Lastly, Monsod said she was elated by Duterte’s decision to take a firmer stand on the West Philippine Sea by ordering the military to occupy areas which the country claims as its own.
“With regard to the West Philippine Sea, he finally appears to have changed his stance—from his previous let’s-appease-China-because-we-can’t-do-anything-anyway position to a stronger my-country-come-what-may attitude. Hurrah,” Monsod said.