[Trending Now] The Guardian Says Filipinos Like Duterte's First 100 Days: 'He Says What He Thinks Without Filter, But He Is also Honest'
The Guardian, an international media outlet, looked into the opinions of different Filipinos for diversity and what they found was that...
The Guardian, an international media outlet, looked into the opinions of different Filipinos for diversity and what they found was that the majority of Filipinos still praise Duterte for making them feel safe.
Over the past three months he has followed through on his election promise to tackle the drug trade in the country; a campaign that has seen more than 3,000 people killed. Duterte’s public encouragement for civilians to take matters into their own hands and alleged use of secret death squads have outraged human rights groups and foreign governments.
Duterte’s approach to the war on drugs may come as unorthodox to the international community but many are of the opinion that desperate times call for desperate measures.
Bong, 31, from Cebu said: “I think it’s good that he is addressing issues like crime, drugs and corruption. I used to worry about getting robbed downtown but it’s much safer now to walk around.”
Ferdinand A Almoradie, who lives in Cagayan de Oro, says drugs were frequently sold near his home. “You could buy them on the roadside as easily as you would buy rice,” he said. “Duterte has accomplished a lot and is the right leader to serve and protect the integrity of all Filipinos. I hope that one day the Philippines will be a drug free country so that my children and grandchildren can feel safe.”
Carla from Tacloban, the city largely destroyed by typhoon Haiyan, believes that regardless of what one may think of the president personally, there have been visible changes to the everyday lives of Filipinos. “I have friends and acquaintances who have been using meth for years, their families destroyed by their addiction. But today they are back with their families and trying to make up for their mistakes.
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“He is a man of and for the people. Yes, he is vulgar, foul-mouthed, and says what he thinks without a filter. But he is also sincere, honest, and hardworking, and he loves the poor and the weak. And he has a sense of humour to boot. Despite his rough rhetoric and unpolished behaviour, he is intelligent and clever and he thinks and plans strategically.”
Of course, there are also people who don't like the way Duterte handles the media or his presidential choices.
Chili Sal, a 44-year-old banker living in Manila, thinks Duterte is unfit for the job. “He has and continues to exhibit appalling, unstatesmanlike behavior when faced with criticisms of his policy in addressing the war on drugs. His blabbering blustering machismo attitude clearly shows he is inept.
“What is more worrying is his attitude that he is beyond reproach, thereby seemingly encouraging a somewhat culture of impunity amongst the ranks fighting his drug war for him. He is also a major failure in diplomacy and foreign relations. I can’t even begin to fathom the damage or strain in relations with the US and EU he has caused during the short time that he has been president. He is an embarrassment.”
Opening the gates in July, the agrarian reform secretary, Rafael Mariano, one of Duterte’s cabinet ministers, said he hoped to break down walls. “This symbolises that DAR, on all levels, will maintain open. We will follow a policy of continuing open and productive dialogues between the officials and employees of DAR and other stakeholders of agrarian reform, especially our farmers and agricultural workers, and advocates.”
There has also been a decrease in laglag bala (literally “drop bullet”) incidents at airports, after Duterte prevented authorities from arresting passengers who were found with bullets in their baggage. The tanim bala (bullet planting) scam saw staff insert bullets into the luggage of passengers as a means to extort them for money.
Nique, from Baguio, thinks that Duterte is the right president for the Philippines.
“I think he has his hits and misses but more so on the hits. He did warn us that the war against drugs would be bloody, and here it is happening. Foreigners expect that a president should be prim and proper but he was voted by the majority of the Filipinos despite knowing his reputation as then-mayor of Davao.”
Forty-seven-year-old driver and father of two LeeMar thinks people seem disillusioned by Duterte.
“Many Filipinos seem to be under a spell. They have become fanatical and smug in defending Duterte from any criticism, and have become intolerant towards others who dare to speak against him. I am deeply troubled of what I am seeing. I see a people with their good values slowly being destroyed.”
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Duterte also ignited an international backlash after calling both Barack Obama and Pope Francis“son of a whore”.
He has said he would end joint US-Philippine military drills, and more recently appeared to compare himself to Hitler. Responding to questions on the criticism he has received Duterte said: “Masyado kayong bilib sa America, bumilib kayo dito sa atin.”
The undersecretary and presidential spokesman for Duterte, Ernesto Abella, was also reported as saying, “Let’s try to use our creative imagination OK? Wag tayo masyadong literal [Let’s not be too literal].”
Father Joey Evangelista, a Roman Catholic priest based in Mindanao, says Duterte’s way of simplifying things is his major flaw. “He is unable to perceive nuances in many delicate issues. He looks at things in black or white, which is dangerous when you are in a position of power.”
A 35-year-old woman from Taguig says she is no supporter of Duterte’s war on drugs but some of the things he says are misunderstood. “He never swore at Obama. That was a misunderstanding of Tagalog vernacular. I also think the international media are ignoring the fact that he is outspoken about the control the United States has on the Philippines for their failure to answer for the abuses they committed during their occupation of our country.
“As a nationalist, I absolutely agree with him that the US has been abusing its relationship with the Philippines to gain unfair strategic military advantage in south-east Asia.”
Randal, who originally voted for presidential candidate Grace Poe but now supports Duterte, said: “His implementation is coming in fast. He did more for our country in just three months compared to other past presidents. I believe he is the right kind of leader in this point in our nation’s history. I believe he will wipe out crime and corruption more than anyone can, and will also bring order and discipline which we desperately need. He is a wonderful president but needs to shut up sometimes.”
But for an anonymous 28-year-old government employee, Duterte’s performance so far has been dismal.
“He is singlehandedly destroying democracy and decency in our country. If there is any move to kick him out of office, count me in.”
According to a survey by leading Philippine public opinion polling body Social Weather Stations, Duterte’s first 100 days as president have been “very good”, with 76% of the 1,200 respondents saying they were satisfied with his performance.
Filipinos may be divided in what they think of their president, but for the majority of the population he is seen as someone fighting for the dignity of the country and doing so with a can-do attitude.