The Duterte Effect

  The people have spoken.   Come June 30, incumbent president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will stand down as his term ends and a new leader, hailing from the south, becomes the new Philippine President.   Presumptive president Mr. Rodrigo Duterte clearly won the elections held last May 9, 2016 with 38.6 percent of the votes while his closest rival, Mr. Mar Roxas II gathered just 23.4 percent.   But who is the new Philippine president? Aside from his tough image, rough statements, crude jokes and funny comments, who is the Mr. Rodrigo Duterte that captured the hearts and the hopes of more than 15 million voters?  

Quick Bio

  The presumptive president, is the mayor of Davao City in Mindanao. He had held this position for 21 long years.   He loves Davao, however, he consider himself as Cebuano as his father’s side of the family is originally from the Cebu City in Visayas.   In fact he was born in Maasin, Southern Leyte on March 28, 1945 and his father, Vicente Duterte, was former mayor of Danao in Cebu before becoming the governor of Davao.  
Rodrigo Duterte and Media The Duterte Effect

Image Credit: Inquirer.net

His mother, on the other hand, is a school teacher and civic leader of Maranao descent. His relationship with his mom is reportedly a big influence on his favorable decisions regarding indigenous and tribal communities and other minority groups.   Mr. Duterte reportedly prefers to be called President Rody, a moniker given to him by his late mother when he was younger.   During the time of his youth, the new president preferred to befriend the city’s tough environment which helped him become someone who is street smart and someone who masses can easily identify with.   Academically, his record showed two expulsions and a kick out from Ateneo de Davao. Fortunately, he was able to earn his tertiary education at the Lyceum of the Philippines with a degree in Political Science and a law degree at the San Beda College in 1972.

 

Career Highlights

  The presumptive president first served as a special counsel at the City Prosecution Office in Davao City (1977-1979) He worked his way to become the Second Assistant Prosecutor (1983-1986).   His family was believed to be against the dictatorship of the Marcoses at that time, this made the late president Corazon Aquino appoint Mr. Duterte as the OIC vice mayor of the city in 1986.   He won as the city mayor in 1988 and served up to 1998. He was congressman for Davao’s first district in 1998 and reelected as Mayor in 2001, 2004 and 2007. Mr. Duterte never lost in any election polls.   He accomplished several feats and is known for trailblazing decisions such as:  
  • First to designate deputy mayors for the indigenous (Lumad and Moro peoples).

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  • Lead a protest against and burned the flag of Singapore after the execution of Flor Contemplacion in 1995.

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  • Hands-on, tours Davao on his motor bike twice a week to make sure everything is okay in the neighborhood. He also does night patrols to check on precinct police officers and suspects in jail. If not on his motor bike, he drives around incognito as a taxi driver.

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  • Doles out groceries to Davao city police to discourage cops from bribing.

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  • Encourages drug pushers and users to surrender in exchange for some cash and small livelihood.

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  • Built a 12 million drug rehabilitation and treatment facility which offers 24-hour services. Allocated a percentage of the city’s peace and order fund to give out as allowance and compel drug dependents to go to the doctor regularly.

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  • Anti-Discrimination ordinance in Davao city that bans discriminate acts against LGBT and other minority groups.

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    Rodrigo Duterte and Supporters The Duterte Effect

    Image Credit: The Times of Israel

  • Only politician to allow gay candidates (and Muslims and disabled persons) in his ticket.

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  • Passed the Women’s Development Code, reportedly the first and only in the country. It upholds the rights of women and the belief in their worth and dignity as human beings. A comprehensive human rights law seeking discrimination against women.

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  • Gave NPA leader Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao a hero’s burial. Mr. Duterte said he shares the same view of the NPA regarding politics and government but not with the armed conflict.

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  • He also paid P100,000 worth of medical bills for Marvin Luis another NPA member who got hurt in an encounter in Compostela valley, a humanitarian act.

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  • Bans like firecracker ban, liquor ban, and anti-smoking ordinance. The latter earned him an award in the 2010 Anti-Smoking Award from Singapore, which Mr. Duterte also declined to receive.

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  • Donated P3.2 million from smoking violations to cancer patients who are mostly kids. He also spends part of his Valentine’s day and other holidays with these children. He was awarded once again this time from the American Cancer Society, as before, he declined.

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  • Transformed Davao from a crime hotspot to a crime free city with thriving business hubs. Mandated all commercial centers and shopping malls to install a high end, high definition CCTV.

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  • Ranked as 9th safest city in the world according to a user-generated survey by numbeo.com released in April 2015.

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  • Created a working 24/7 emergency hotline, the central 911.

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  • Davao won the National Literacy Hall of Fame Award as the three-time first place winner in the Outstanding Local Government Unit, Highly Urbanized Community.

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  • Offered position as DILG secretary by four presidents of the country (former president Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo and outgoing president Aquino), he declined all offers to keep Davao stable instead.

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  • Anti-crime consultant of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2002.

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  • Davao offered P5000 for couples to avail free tubal ligation and vasectomy services in 2005.

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  • 2010’s Most Trusted individual by Reader’s Digest.

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  • Gave financial aid to earthquake victims in Bohol and Cebu in 2013.

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  • First to reach Tacloban after Typhoon Yolanda. He brought with him P8 million worth of relief goods, financial assistance and his 911 team.

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  • Nominated as “World Mayor” in 2014 by the City Mayors Foundation but Mr. Duterte declined the nomination saying that he merely did what is expected of him by the people.

 

Eight Point Agenda

  During the election campaign period, Mr. Duterte never had a clear platform for the country except to punish all criminals and rid of them in six months. For the rest of the issues, he would usually say that he would copy another candidate’s plan as it seem to be the best way.   Fortunately, days after the partial, unofficial elections results revealed his win for the coveted seat in Malacañang, his team presented an eight-point economic agenda namely:  
  1. Continue and maintain the current macroeconomic policies. Reforms in ax revenue collection efforts will be complemented by reforms within the bureaucracy of tax collecting agents.

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  3. Accelerate spending on infrastructure by addressing major bottlenecks, nd maintain the target of setting aside 5% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to infrastructure spending.

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  5. Ensure attractiveness of the Philippines to foreign investors, and enhancing competitiveness in doing business in the country. This also means reducing crime to attract investors, and increase security of businessmen and consumers.  

  6. Provide support services to small farmers to increase productivity and improve market access. Provide irrigation and better support services to farmers. Promote tourism in rural areas.

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  8. Address bottlenecks in our land administration and management system.

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  10. Strengthen basic education system, and provide scholarships for tertiary education which are relevant to private employer’s needs.

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  12. Improve tax system by indexing tax collection to inflation rate, “to enable those who earn a little to have more in their pockets.

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  14. Expand and improve implementation of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

The Duterte administration’s economic program was shared by Duterte’s close friend and former agriculture secretary, Carlos Dominguez, as reported by CNN Philippines.   News of Mr. Duterte’s win brought about positive and negative opinions, from newsmakers, blog writers, political analysts and other international names, not only about the presumptive president but also about the country and the Filipinos in general.   Mr. Duterte is dubbed as the punisher and likened to Mr. Trump of the US. Although much of the local and international business and governments expressed their congratulations and their willingness to work with the new president, some seem to be holding their breath until after Mr. Duterte’s first 100 days in office.   Hopefully, as Filipinos try their best to follow the law and comply with stricter bans, the incoming president will also try to act with more finesse (as former president Fidel Ramos puts it). His supporters voted for him for being honest, regardless of flaws he may have, in hopes that he can bring about change. Still, there may be nothing wrong in acting more like a president to bring about trust and stability.   The election campaign highlighted the good and the bad sides of all candidates, but as most other candidates conceded, hopefully, those who did not vote for Mr. Duterte will still support the new administration’s efforts.   As the incoming president encouraged everyone to unite, let us do our best to set aside our differences and work together for the country. So that in the nearest future we find ourselves in the reality of a better Philippines and we can tell each other that indeed, positive change has finally come.
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