Rodrigo Roa Duterte is elected as the 16th president of the Republic of the Philippines. He is well known globally as the foul mouth president and so much more.
Before he became the president, he was first a mayor of Davao City located in the island of Mindanao Philippines. He loves women, guns and fast bikes. He actually prefers riding his bike than to ride a car. During the presidential elections, he has the most interesting characters of them all, that’s why even if he has a lot of issues he was the person who stands out the most.
One of the issues that he was accused of is the extra judicial killings of more than 7,000 people due to drugs. They were either killed by the police or an assassin. According to president Duterte, his campaign against drugs will not stop until the end of his term until the last drugs pushers and drug lord will die. During his term as a mayor, human rights group accused him of killing people by creating death squads to get rid of crime, Duterte denied it saying he don’t need to set up death squads and it is the job of every policeman to make the arrest.
When he won the presidential election the first thing he did was to warn the drug addicts to surrender and to stop using drugs so that they won’t be arrested and he even offered them to be on rehab for free. But if they will not stop they will be hunted, arrested or worst killed.
Many has been said about the controversial war on drugs. Needless to say, termination of drugs important. And for this, the President must be commended. We are all too familiar with the harmful effects of illegal drugs to the victims and to their families. Yet, the prosecution of this war is causing havoc on human rights.
President Duterte, made his political name as the militantly anticrime mayor of Davao City, has joked about rape, insulted the Pope and flippantly discussed his sex life while on the campaign trail, and yet voters in the Philippines which is a conservative and Catholic country, overwhelmingly supported him at the polls. Many say there’s more to him than meets the eye:
He stands in support of LGBT rights. Though he sometimes publicly throws around disapproving terms like strange, Duterte has also firmly condemned discrimination against the LGBT community in the Philippines. He has said that as President, he would consider legalizing same-sex marriage and supports allowing LGBT people to serve in the military. In an appearance on a Philippine talk show last summer, he said that he’d have no issue with his son if he came out as gay, Duterte condemned gay bullying because “he has always hated oppression.” As for his view on same-sex marriage, the president only said: “Everyone deserves to be happy.”
Women’s rights too. He happily admits to being a womanizer, makes jokes about participating in gang rapes and says Viagra changed his life, but he’s also earned the support of several prominent women’s-rights activists, who say his actions speak louder than his words. The New York Times reports that during his time as mayor of Davao City, Duterte codified a system that aimed to improve opportunities for women in government. The program received praise from the Philippine federal administration, which enacted a similar code at the national level.
“I’ve known him for many years and have been so impressed by the women-centered programs they had in Davao,” Philippine Senator Pia Cayetano, who is one of the country’s most prominent female political figures and a vocal defender of women’s rights, told TIME on Wednesday. “I’ve told him that he needs to improve his language drastically, because it distracts people from the work he’s done.”
Senator Cayetano said that Duterte took his hallmark hands-on approach to women’s issues, assembling lawyers to assist women in domestic-violence cases and personally paying the legal fees himself. She recalled being “pleasantly surprised” to learn that a beauty pageant did away with its swimsuit competition after Duterte said he wanted to better emphasize the “talents of women, rather than the objectification of them.”
He cares for indigenous and tribal peoples. While the needs of indigenous groups are often neglected in several parts of the country, the same cannot be said for Davao City. As a matter of fact, Duterte was among the first politicians who appointed deputy mayors to represent the Muslim and Lumad people in the city government. He believes that these tribal leaders are in “a better position to tackle particular issues and problems of priority and special concern to native tribal and Muslim constituent groups of the city.”
Duterte’s sincere concern for the welfare of indigenous groups can be traced to his mother’s advocacy. Fondly called Nanay Soling by her friends, Soledad Roa Duterte was involved in several programs which were aimed at improving the lives of Aetas, Bagobos, and the Badjao communities.
He used to give groceries to police officers so they wouldn’t be tempted to ask for bribes. Riding a Harvey big bike, Mayor Duterte would usually drive around Davao City twice a week to ensure things are well taken care of. During these night patrols, he would usually check the precinct houses to make sure the cops were not sleeping and to see “who’s in the holding cells and why.”
According to a TIME Magazine article, Duterte reportedly made a policy of “doling out groceries to cops as a way of curbing their temptation to elicit bribes.”
He encouraged drug pushers/users to surrender by giving them cash and livelihood. Although he has long been linked to the infamous DDS (Davao Death Squad), Duterte doesn’t believe death is the only option to fight illegal drugs. In 2003, for instance, he encouraged people involved in drugs to surrender in exchange for cash and a “little livelihood.”
The money–which amounted to 2,000 pesos–would serve as pocket money of surrenderers while undergoing a drug rehabilitation program. Duterte also used part of his peace and order fund to give allowance and therefore compel the drug dependents to see the doctor regularly.
He declined several awards. In April 2014, Mayor Duterte was nominated for the “World Mayor” award which is given every two years by The City Mayors Foundation to outstanding leaders who served their communities well. However, Duterte politely refused the nod, saying “I did it not for my own glory, but because that was what the people expected me to do.”
It was not the first time that Duterte declined an award though. In the past, he refused to accept awards for Davao City, including the one given by the American Cancer Society and the 2010 anti-smoking award in Singapore.
Rodrigo Duterte on religion and being “sexually abused as a child.” Although raised a Catholic, Mayor Duterte has never been a regular churchgoer. In January 2016, he told the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) that he no longer goes to church because he can’t perform his duties as mayor and be a devout Catholic at the same time.
However, he clarified that he only forfeited his religion for the meantime, and hasn’t completely abandoned his faith. This shouldn’t be surprising as Duterte has never been a fan of the Catholic Church, specifically the priests.
Amidst the controversy he faced after “cursing” Pope Francis, Duterte revealed that he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest while studying at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Davao University. He said:
“I was abused by one of you when I was young….I will tell you the names of the prominent persons who were my batch mates in the Ateneo. All of us were victims of sexual abuses committed against minors at that time, including me. And I will tell you my story…We are all abused! Sexually!”
He’s known for some unusual (but perhaps successful) political tactics. Duterte’s tough-on-crime legacy is a cliché at this point, but many might know the unorthodox strategies he used to clean Davao City of crime and corruption. He also had a reputation of taking justice into his own hands, beating up cops who were drunk on the job and whipping pickpockets at the city hall.
He could help ease mounting regional tensions. In recent years, Asia’s biggest geopolitical story has been the South China Sea, where China has brazenly constructed holdings in waters claimed by its smaller neighbors including the Philippines. Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has refused to negotiate directly with Beijing, but Duterte has indicated that he’d take a conciliatory stance in matters concerning the superpower. He has mentioned the possibility of joint ventures. Most significantly, he has criticized the U.S. which is the Philippines’ former colonizer and today its closest and most significant ally for not better handling the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
Despite ‘challenges,’ the Philippines and China remain true to their ‘friendship,’ says President Rodrigo Duterte during the portion of his meeting with Xi Jinping. “To be sure, there had been challenges. Yet we are living out our commitment to define our ties as a comprehensive strategic cooperation,” said Duterte. He mentioned the need for “trust and respect” and “mutual benefit” as defining characteristics of the two countries’ relationship.
Duterte also have a good relationship with Trump. Even though Duterte decided to turn away from America, he remained friends with Trump. He says that Trump is very good, a regular guy, he’s pragmatic very practical. He was actually compared to Trump because he likes to shock with his statements, he can be very irreverent and very reckless.
I think the reason why Duterte get along pretty well with these two leaders is because with his social skills. Duterte and Trump have basically the same attitude except for their ways of leading a nation thus they easily get acquainted, while his relationship with Xi is very professional because they choose to put aside the territorial disputes and choose to have a joint ventures instead for the betterment of the economy.
According to some foreigners Duterte has completely thrown due process out the window and his implicit approval to let members of the general public act as judge, jury and executioner when it comes rooting out the criminal element is downright psychotic.
But then they have to understand why Filipinos elected him and continue to support his ways. For decades the Philippines has been brought down by corruption, criminality and violence, both inside and outside government. Filipinos are looking for a lifeline. They’re looking for a captain to change course as soon as possible. Duterte’s record as mayor Davao City is well known. It’s one of the most stable cities in the nation and it’s mainly due to Duterte’s willingness to rule with an iron fist. Filipinos believe that if a similar approach is used to lead the nation, the Philippines as a whole can be safe and stable too.
You can’t blame the Filipino one bit for voting him in despite his crazy ways. The Philippines is a beautiful country with a wonderful people, a population that for the most part is hardworking and honest, but that has been dragged down for too long by politicians that had no desire to tackle crime and corruption. Filipinos view Duterte as one politician that can finally reverse this negative trend.
Philippines is a lovely beautiful country, such happy, friendly and helpful citizens and Duterte has done what needed to be done.
As a Filipino I am aware that the Philippines before president Duterte is a country that has hopeless, corrupt and filled with politicians who only wants to benefit from their power. I think president Duterte has done a tremendous job as a leader of this nation. He is strong yet soft hearted. He is exactly the change that the Philippines need, someone with an iron fist. For me he is the type of person that gets the dirty jobs done with his own reputation, career and even life at risk. I remember one time when he said he eats death threats for breakfast, it’s because his enemies are his fellow politicians and it’s amazing how he face it courageously and goes on with his duties. He is also good at how not to pick a side among powers and benefit from that. I would consider myself lucky to have him as the president.
I know someone who is drug addict and chose to surrender and stop using drugs due to Duterte’s order and fear of course, he didn’t want to be assassinated at night. He’s now changed and have a decent business that he runs together with his friends. Many public markets were cleaned up and organized. The cleanup drive in Boracay and Manila bay are remarkable. I remember the first time I walked at the seaside at Manila bay, it was awful, dirty and it stinks but now it is the perfect spot in Manila to have a view of sunset. All of this and many more because of the President’s order.
And here’s another story of a drug addict who changed her lifestyle because of Duterte.
A FORMER DRUG DEPENDENT’S THANKSGIVING
“I was 14 years old when I got into trouble due to drug addiction. I got associated with the wrong crowd in the slums of Davao City and it was a downward spiral after.
“Until one day, I found myself with 16 other teenaged drug dependents inside the detention cell.
“The city mayor lined us up and gave us a sermon.
“Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was like a strict father who pinched our ears one by one. He came to me and told me, “You are only 14?! Dapat sa imoha didto kang Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy para matarong nang imong kinabuhi.” (You should be with Pastor Quiboloy for your life to be changed)
“I used to only hear Pastor’s name before. I haven’t met him in person.
“Days after, Pastor took me with the recommendation of Mayor Duterte. The good mayor also promised to provide a yearly allowance to my impoverished parents just so I would stop wasting away my young life peddling and using drugs.
“It was 1993. Mayor Duterte never stopped giving financial support to my parents until now, even when my father already passed away two years ago.
“I would like to meet him again and tell him, ‘MAYOR, I was the 14-year-old drug dependent you endorsed to Pastor ACQ. Here I am, a full grown woman who has traveled the world, has finished her studies, learned valuable skills in life and most of all, has seen the importance of saving the lost youth from evil vices.
“Thanks to you and your friend, Pastor ACQ, I am a reformed woman.”
President Duterte still have up until June 2022 to serve the country and he still have a lot of things to fix in our country. Philippines may never be perfect nation but at least it will be a better country and I never regret that I voted President Rodrigo Duterte.