The irony of the underdog
ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - April 26, 2019 - 12:00am

Considering that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte continues to enjoy a high satisfaction rating, it is absolutely surprising more so strange, to hear some people still insist that his election into office is a product of disinformation. Such statements only makes one ponder hard because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to explain the over 16 million people who had the power to put a former mayor into the seat of the presidency.

While third-party fact checkers on Facebook seem to see the popularity of this president as a crisis, the unanimous support on social media is unwavering, and certainly this cannot be attributed to disinformation especially when Social Weather Stations proved just how satisfied people are with the duly elected president.

Although I fully agree that disinformation is a global problem, I think it is high time that we actually lay down the cards in fully understanding what disinformation is all about.

Disinformation is purposeful. It is done with the intent to attack the character of a person and destroy his/her credibility using absolutely false information. Simply put, disinformation is fake news.

Although it is moot and academic that fake news is everywhere especially online, one of the biggest challenges stems from the fact that even government news agencies which are reliable news sources are under attack and accused of propagating only government propaganda to be used against those who are not in agreement with the current administration.

Taking part in government activities myself, this to me is really sketchy as government has every right to inform the public of its activity and progress which is not at all a form of propaganda as some people perceive this to be.

Propaganda ­– such an overused word if I may so myself. When people ask me if this administration will listen to criticisms, I always say that government should and such concerns are addressed through proper communication made by government itself.

But the question I would like to toss back is, are people satisfied with the way government addresses concerns? It seems to be clear based on how this president is rating and fact checkers seem to have a problem with it. That is the real issue here.

While it is ironic (perhaps), for an underdog to have won an election, the truth is, this underdog feels the pulse of the people and overwhelmingly so. In my opinion, this is what is hurting those that still do not understand why President Duterte is popular. We have been trained to look for a certain “type” for decades and we got someone that was least expected and that is the truth.

While certainly there is much room for improvement, to still be embattled by such issues after three years into the presidency does not put things in their right perspective. Such issues do not help government to fully serve the people especially when we are confronted by other concerns that need to be addressed in order to push this country forward into real nation building.

Elections are fast coming. Fake news is rampant. Our focus needs to be placed on track records and platforms of public servants that are genuinely aspiring to serve. We cannot allow such a narrow perspective to undermine an electoral process that determines the leaders of our land by constantly presuming that a landslide win in the last elections was due to disinformation when as a matter of fact, it was and still is the power of the people that decides.

It is time to be extra vigilant. We must choose leaders who will push this country forward and we can only do so by knowing our candidates whom, like President Duterte, feel the pulse of the people.

RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE
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