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Duterte in 4 years: What if he is not our President right now?

By Nimfa Estrellado
Special Edition, Straight Talk
June 30, 2020

Duterte in 4 years: What if he is not our President right now?
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

I can remember my friends and I seeing the unofficial presidential election results in 2016 and seeing President Rodrigo Roa Duterte win a landslide on the big TV while we're at a coffee shop, oh how fast the time is.

Yes four years ago, Duterte received 6 million votes from the nearest rival, Mar Roxas, thanks to his populist 'barakong' Philippine style of attracting a wider Philippine audience.

Duterte's image and reputation before he became president was at that time his main selling point along with Davao. People wanted what Davao had, they wanted the same kind of peace and order, and so on. People wanted to do things in Davao that they believed Davao had.

He appealed to both urban and rural poor by showing that he could relate to them through sympathy and compassion, courage, a person who curses a lot, facetious, "badass" and a "candidate" for the poor. He was also a man who would shake hands, hug people, take pictures of people, and usually interact with almost anyone with whom he could interact during parades, demonstrations, debates, and more.

He showed the world that he can relate to almost everyone. This technique won him an election due to his ability to communicate with the larger public.

The same ideology holds back in 2016 for the US Republican Nominees.

The reason Donald Trump had a simple cruise during the Republican nomination in 2015, he appeals to non-academic Americans and the Majority of Laborers for his willingness to empathize with them due to his simplicity in speeches. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich all lost against him because of their dull and lackluster speech and demonstration.

It only goes to show that irrespective of how good the proposals sound with all the jargon, and if it can't be grasped, you won't get the vote.

I hold no love for any party or politician. I only look for what's best for my country with the existing options.

Whether you like it or not, make you happy or not, angry or otherwise, I'm sorry, but we have to talk about the past four years and it has been observed that Duterte administration usually utilizes dirty politics. So close to the examples in Chinese history; full of jealousy, revenge, corruption, incompetence, hypocrisy, divide and conquer strategies among people.

I have read countless books and articles on how strong leaders would want themselves to be remembered when they are already out of the picture. But for Duterte he will be remembered by the following: Martial Law, P55M, recycling of incompetent officials, riding in tandem, extrajudicial killings, tokhang, palit-ulo, illegal Chinese workers, fake news and DDS trolls, Polio and Measles outbreak, Galunggong importation, P12B Shabu importation, heresy and sexism, Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) for sale, red-tagging of universities and activist, a surrender of West Philippine Sea, the devastation of Marawi, Release of plunderers, water crisis, bukbok rice, impunity, dismissal of Marcos cases, persecution of critics.

This important part of leadership was brought to the spotlight as the "Duterte Legacy" movement was unveiled on January 17, 2020, just as the Duterte administration entered the penultimate half of its term.

With the goal of providing a broader platform for transparent, progressive, and quality public service by the government, "The Duterte Legacy" highlights three key governance pillars: peace and order, development of infrastructure, and alleviation of poverty.

One of the governance priorities for President Duterte has been the pivot toward China. Three years into his tumultuous term, he still fails to persuade the majority of Filipinos voting age of the importance of that priority. In the September 2019 Social Weather Stations survey, 70 percent of adult Filipinos said they were worried about the increasing number of Chinese foreigners working in the country. In SWS parlance, 31 percent are worried a great deal; 39 percent are somewhat worried. A majority or 52 percent of the respondents agreed (27 percent strongly, 25 percent somewhat) that “that number of foreign Chinese employed here in the Philippines poses a challenge to overall security in the country.”

"When people are afraid and feel that their government has failed them they do things that seem completely mad and unreasonable to those of who are perhaps under less pressure. As unhappy and surprised as I am with the outcome, I'm empathetic to the forces that push people towards what I see as an ultimately self-destructive act. Berlusconi, Putin, Duterte, the world is filled with bad choices, made in pressured times." - Anthony Bourdain

It's already been four years? So little has changed, sometimes it almost seems like no time could have passed.

Had a conversation with some of my colleagues about Coronavirus 2019 (COVID 19) when suddenly all of them said they pity Duterte. I told them how I dislike his administration so we had a small argument till I heard them said: "we will vote for Sara Duterte for President next election" I suddenly lose hope.

Way back before election time, I wrote this. If only people had listened. But what if Duterte is not our President right now? Would we not be in a panic and have better control of COVID 19 spreading now? Duterte appears callous and nonchalant, after all, his fake war against drugs killed 30,000+. But what if?

But sorry to say, the people who banked on faith are the majority. The citizens below and in the poverty line. They lack education so they rely on faith and hope. Why do you think despite everything Duterte has done, his popularity rate is still stable?

I have no issue with people who trust Duterte, and I respect that, however, Duterte has given us reason to doubt. We need accountability and strong confidence-keeping plans. Trust should not be blind but educated, in order to show respect for his people. In these times of crisis, how could we rely solely on trust?

I love the Philippines. Duterte is the best we have at this moment. But if there's anything better I'm going to support him or her because it's about the country and not anyone. I think that even Duterte would agree with me on that.


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