Saturday, July 1, 2017

Despite criticisms, expert says people continue to like Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has marked his first year as the Philippines president on June 30, 2017 (Friday), and despite his political strategies and policies receiving mixed views, expert says the public still favors Duterte.

People like the man [Duterte],” Ricardo Abad, head of sociology and anthropology at Ateneo de Manila University, said.

People may disagree with his policies, or are maybe ambivalent towards them, but because they like him, people will tend to give him the benefit of the doubt,” Abad added.

In a survey conducted by an independent research institute, 75% of adult Filipinos are satisfied with Duterte’s performance as recorded from March 25 to 28.

Duterte won the majority of votes in the 2016 elections because of his promise to end the illegal drug problem, and true to his word, Duterte went on a killing rampage as drug users, pushers, and lords alike were slaughtered in what was a ruthless illegal drug crackdown.

His anti-drug campaign was what initially placed Duterte under a spotlight both locally and internationally. Supporters cheered him on while critics were quick to resort to legal actions that would impeach Duterte.

Despite bloated figures like 8,000, 9,000, or even 12,000, the real numbers would say that 3,171 deaths are reported by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be linked to Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

Duterte’s independent foreign policies were also controversial after weakening ties with the US and establishing a stronger one with China and Russia.

The Philippines is currently set to receive USD 24 billion from China because of improved bilateral ties through the efforts of Duterte’s administration.

USD 15 billion will go into investments while USD 9 billion will be in soft loans.

When the Marawi crisis struck, it prompted Duterte to declare Martial Law in all of Mindanao in order to intensify military action against the ISIS-supported Maute terrorist group, and this became another milestone in Duterte’s first year.

Since the clash started on May 23, 2017, there have been 422 deaths of militants, soldiers, and civilians.

Despite the clashing opinions, majority of the public still supported him.

He brought an entirely new style of leadership, which people probably thought we needed,” Edmund Tayao, a political science professor at the University of Santo Tomas, said.

Amplifying his public support is the supermajority in Congress where only seven opposition members sit while 296 are in support of Duterte.

Congressman Edcel Lagman gave a grudging praise of Duterte despite being an opposition member.

Despite his unpresidential demeanor, profane language, abusive rhetoric and flawed policy statements, President Rodrigo Duterte, in his own inscrutable way, has held the nation together,” he said.

Only time can tell if the current state of Congress would remain a supermajority as Duterte’s term draws out.

Media was eager to know how Duterte assessed his first year, but the President left it to the public to decide.

I do not make any assessment. I [will] only make [an] assessment after my term,” said Duterte.

The President was frank enough to say that it did not matter to him if he was given a passing or failing grade in his first year.

I am not a guy who would want to rate himself. It is for other people to do that. You can rate me good, very good, excellent or very poor, and I don’t mind. I said I’ll just do my duty,” Duterte said.

If I make you happy, good. If you are sad about what I’m doing, I’m sorry,” he added.

Source: Manila Standard

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