Why do Filipinos continue to support Duterte?

FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - December 1, 2019 - 12:00am

The question was addressed by Quora, a website for debate. It was an appropriate question to Filipinos, both to those who actively campaigned for him and those who sided with the Liberal party’s candidate Mar Roxas who was roundly defeated.

The score: Rodrigo Duterte PDP-Laban 15,970,01838. (6%) Manuel Roxas Liberal Party 9,700,38223. (4%).

The International Liberal Party helped local Liberals in the elections through two scenarios – the first was by shifting its support for Mar Roxas an oligarch to Benigno Noynoy Aquino III.

The second scenario was to resurrect the memory of EDSA revolution using his mother’s death. Cory Aquino was used to arouse the support of the electorate. It did succeed because it addressed the nechromantic tendency of most Filipinos. Kawawa naman, namatayan ng ina. This was also the voters support that made Cory Aquino. Kawawa naman si Cory namatayan ng asawa.

Roxas was promised the presidential candidacy next time with the oligarchy and help of foreign supporters who put him up as their candidate in 2016 with a campaign that dressed up Mar Roxas as a poor man. This terrible error became the butt of jokes. Did they expect Filipinos to believe Mar Roxas driving a tricycle? They forgot that it would never work because tricycle drivers would not be wearing Gucci or Hamilton shoes. Another laughable image was the well-dressed Roxas carrying sacks of rice as a poor kargador.

I wrote in April 10 in the Philippine STAR newspaper which discussed it. (Pedrosa has been a journalist since 1963 and is a high profile Duterte supporter (Bloomberg, 2016; Pedrosa, 2016). In her column she described speaking to individuals who attended the event held in the overwhelmingly upper and middle-class area of Alabang included supporters from nearby squatter camps.

Filipinos were maturing politically and they understood the message of Duterte’s campaign. It was time to stop the oligarchs’ hold on government.

Moreover there was the question of the Smartmatic-Comelec partnership they feared. It was used but not well enough to overcome Duterte’s majority. Still the formidable odds were defeated by the popularity of Duterte’s campaign. His speeches were simple to understand and cheered especially with his p…ina mo curses. The majority poor loved it because “this man was one of us and spoke like us.” That support was strengthened by the thousands of Filipino voters who flocked to his rallies and reached a million on his miting de abanse days before the election.

He promised strong rule to run after drug dealers and corrupt officials. His governance continues to this day halfway through his term and his supporters fear that there may not be enough time to fulfil his promises. They recommended a revolutionary government or constitutional change to allow him to finish his work.

We copied America’s politics and government without considering the specificity of the country’s conditions. Duterte’s government has many flaws, most of whom can be traced to keeping the Liberal-Aquino bureaucracy. His program of Build, Build, Build program suffers from lack of funds and unexpected delays.

When Aquino visited the US he was praised by former President Obama on Corona’s impeachment. He said explicitly Aquino recently won a major battle in his campaign against corruption with the sacking of the country’s top judge. Aquino also agreed to let more US troops rotate – but not be based – in the Philippines despite the historical baggage,” the US president said in welcoming him.

Whatever oligarch owned newspapers said, Filipinos liked Duterte’s declaration that from here on the country will adopt an independent foreign policy. It was an indirect hit at the continuous US interference in Philippine politics and government. He was in China when he declared this independence. The largely Filipino audience clapped vigorously. They understood.

Yesterday was Bonifacio Day. I will close this column with the remark mistakenly applied to the Philippine struggle for independence. Andres Bonifacio is made to appear as revolutionary while Jose Rizal a mere reformist. It is my opinion that Duterte carries both elements, however flawed in coping with political situation in the Philippines today.

Here is a historical quote: “Jose Rizal is part of the upper class, who created the idea of Filipino nationalism. He understood that Filipinos are further broken down into lineage, tribal, or familial ties. He is a visionary in a sense that he understood that there should be a need to create a Filipino nation, unbounded by geography and focused on national development.

He is also one of the advocates of education.

However, the main difference between Rizal and Bonifacio is that he advocates a peaceful separation of Spain from the Philippines, or if that is not possible, make the Philippines an autonomous region of Spain.

Andres Bonifacio is part of the lower class, who, unlike Rizal, advocated for a violent revolution. He understood the need for action, and though inspired by Rizal, disagreed with Rizal’s method of peaceful resolution and dialogue with the Spaniards. He is credited by many historians as the one who, even without outside support, conscripted tens of thousands of rebels for the eventual 1896 Philippine Revolution, which took years to quell.”

Each has a role to play provided if regulated properly. A good example is the issue on POGO which is earning billions to the envy of Duterte’s opposition and other countries who see a way to acquire funds needed by the Duterte’s program for the poor.

Our main concern and to Duterte’s credit is to use these money from offshore funds to government projects for health centers and education projects for the poor. There are some glitzes but on the whole it is regulated taxation. The offshore gambling brings in funds from outside the Philippines as foreign investments.

Bonifacio’s Day was also Pagcor’s CEO, Andrea Domingo’s birthday. Congratulations to Andres... errrrr Andrea for keeping in mind – Pagcor’s aim we make the money that will fund the education and health needs of the poor. Who knows? There may be talented schoolchildren who can become our future Rizals and Bonifacios.

To followers of Quora debating website. I think it would be silly to debate why President Duterte continues to be popular. He is able to communicate his program for change and that includes both the rich and the poor.

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