President Rodrigo Duterte did not seem to like the praises from veteran columnist Solita “Winnie” Monsod, who is known to be one of his critics.
Monsod, in her latest column published December 14, congratulated the administration for its efforts in reducing the poverty rate in the country.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said they were surprised that Monsod said something good about Duterte since she “has not said any good word” about him.
“The President asked me to give his response to this columnist. He said: ‘Tell her, I hate being patronized! F*** you!’” Panelo relayed.
Decreasing poverty incidence
In the entitled “What the latest poverty data tell us,” the former socioeconomic planning secretary hailed the lowering poverty incidence in the Philippines since Duterte’s stint.
She said, citing the 2018 Family Income and Expenditures Survey, that the percentage of families below the poverty line dropped from 17.9% to 12.1% while the rate of the population who were poor was recorded 16.6% from then 23.3%.
“The Duterte administration must be congratulated,” Monsod said.
“Not since the Ramos administration has the war on poverty been so effectively pursued; it managed to reduce family and population poverty incidence by 8.8 and 8.3 percentage points respectively between 1994 and 1997,” she added.
However, Monsod inquired of the President about his plans to lower rural poverty in its Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.
“May we know how rural poverty fared? And since poverty is a mostly agricultural/rural phenomenon, as shown among others by the very low poverty incidence in the highly urbanized cities, tell us how the war on poverty has also fared in the agriculture sector. Hopefully then, we can rejoice even more,” she said.
Duterte’s camp doubtful on Monsod’s motives
Despite that, the President’s camp did not welcome Monsod’s praise as they doubt her motives.
“Aren’t you surprised with that column? I’m asking: Aren’t you surprised suddenly this columnist is praising, is heaping praise on the President?” Panelo said.
Also, he added that Monsod “has not said any good word and then suddenly there is praising.”
“There must be some reason. Is she laying a predicate?” Panelo questioned.
The columnist has written about the President, his health status, as well as his attacks on detained Sen. Leila de Lima.
Monsod has also compared Duterte to US President Donald Trump, just that the former was “more intellectually gifted than Trump.”
In the meantime, Monsod has remained close-mouthed about Duterte’s response.