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The Duterte Presidency So Far—Pass or Fail?


Screen-grab of a President Duterte news conference on TV.

t is now readily apparent that President Rodrigo Duterte’ management style is a far cry from that of former President Benigno Aquino III. If Aquino was the cautious and measured type, Duterte appears to be the stir-up-the-pot type of guy. And it doesn’t matter if he is mouthing out at a small-town mayor of some far-flung city in the Philippines, or the president of the United States. It’s all the same to him. And so far Duterte has managed to hurl insults at Pope Francis, President Obama, and the EU leadership, just to name a few.

From his latest pronouncement, he says he also has no problem cozying up to China and Russia and turning his back on the West. Duterte says he will be visiting China soon to ask the Chinese to allow Filipino Fishermen access to parts of the West Philippine Sea that they now control; which by the way also happen to fall inside the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). According to the UN Arbitral Tribunal in the Hague, those areas actually belong to the Philippines and not to China.

International rating agencies are beginning to express concern with the Duterte Administration’s “War on Drugs” and the way it is being implemented.

On the local front, the president’s supporters have gone after local as well as foreign members of the media who have said or written things critical of Duterte or his administration. Opposition senators like Senator Leila De Lima are also finding that they face stiff opposition at every turn when they get on the wrong side of the president or members of his administration.

From Duterte’s point of view, it appears that he is trying his best to stick to the time schedule he promised during the presidential campaign, to rid the country of drugs and corruption within three to six months. And the last thing he needs now is an opposition to slow him down or gum-up the works and prevent him from accomplishing those lofty goals. Duterte has to show results—and soon—if he is to retain his high approval rating and the overwhelming support of his base.

So far it is a tossup.  Or is it? His detractors say Duterte has overstepped the line numerous times and can be accused of committing human rights violations. Hs supporters on the other hand say what he is doing exactly what the country must do if it is ever to rid itself of the twin scourges of drugs and corruption that have stymied the country’s development, and institutionalized the great disparity between the few haves and the vast majority of have nots. So what do you think? Where does President Duterte stand today? Published 9/17/2016


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Filipinos Need to Understand That Two Wrongs Do Not Make a Right

There With the killings mounting and the global community’s alarm, Filipinos need to realize that there is no quick-fix to the widespread problem of drugs. Sure one can appear to accomplish a lot by trampling over the rights of others to quickly meet their objectives. Published 9/17/2016


What Happened to ASEAN? Will It Become a Lapdog of China

There will be absolutely no mention of the Arbitral Tribunal’s unanimous decision against China and in favor of the Philippines during the current ASEAN summit in Laos. Following the footsteps of Cambodia which in July of this year also blocked any mention of the UN arbitration court’s decision during an earlier meeting ... Published 9/6/2016


The Marcoses Should Be Careful What They Wish For

At the book launching of “Women Against Marcos: Stories of Filipino and Filipino American Women Who Fought A Dictator” held at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco on April 1, a Balitang America reporter from The Filipino Channel (TFC) mentioned that his assignment for the following day was a Bongbong Marcos for Vice President rally in Sacramento ... Published 8/31/2016


A Libingan ng mga Bayani Burial: Is Slyness a Marcos Family Trait?

The Philippines' octogenarian ex-president, Fidel V. Ramos seems to have spilled the beans on whether another former president/dictator, Ferdinand Marcos should be allowed to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (heroes cemetery) in Fort Bonifacio ... Published 8/16/2016


A Libingan ng mga Bayani Burial: Is Slyness a Marcos Family Trait?

The Philippines' octogenarian ex-president, Fidel V. Ramos seems to have spilled the beans on whether another former president/dictator, Ferdinand Marcos should be allowed to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (heroes cemetery) in Fort Bonifacio ... Published 8/16/2016


Shoot to Kill Directive of President Duterte Violates Fundamental Right to Life

Philippine President Duterte’s promise on 5 August 2016 to maintain a “shoot to kill” order in his crackdown on crime is a clear violation of the fundamental human right to life and could lead to further killings in the country. In a further statement, two days later, President Duterte claimed that policemen or soldiers would not be held accountable for conducting such so-called ‘duties.’ This is a deeply alarming call ... Published 8/12/2016


Is China Using Cyber Attacks to Sabotage the Philippines?

On July 12, 2016, shortly after the arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines, internet access for many Filipinos was inexplicably lost. And for several days thereafter, once stable online access fluctuated on and off to the consternation of thousands of Pinoy internet users who found it difficult to go online. Coincidence? Maybe, but the timing seemed highly unusual ... Published 8/9/2016


The Philippine Government Should Start Levying a Tax on Diesel Fuel

A few days ago, the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE)said that it would soon conduct a study that would look into the imposition of additional excise taxes on fuel and how that would impact the country's consumers ... Published 7/31/2016


Initial Reactions to President Rodrigo Duterte's First State of the Nation Address

President Rodrigo Duterte's first State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a chance for Filipinos to size-up their newly elected president, to listen to what he had to say, then determine for themselves what the next six years will probably be like ... Published 7/25/2016


President Duterte, Do Not Make Any Bilateral Agreements With China At This Time

The problem with us Filipinos is we seem to take every opportunity—to miss an opportunity! Case in point: the recent ruling by the arbitral court in the Hague where the judges hearing the case unanimously ruled in favor of the Philippines. It has been only a week since the decision was handed down yet it seems every Pinoy and his brother is itching for some kind of bilateral agreement with China ... Published 7/19/2016


China Loses! UN Tribunal Rules in Favor of Philippines

Now that China has been dealt a black eye by the arbitral tribunal in the Hague, what will the Philippines do? Like it or not, the Philippines is now front-and-center on this global issue. This case has been closely followed by countries big and small, powerful and weak as this UN tribunal's landmark ruling will guide the actions of countries for decades—maybe even centuries—to come ... Published 7/12/2016


The Killing of Cops in Dallas Tell Us That American Law Enforcement Must Change

The seemingly unjustified killings by American police officers of minority males—one in Minnesota and another in Louisiana, this past week—was the main reason a gunman shot and killed five police officers and wounded six others yesterday in downtown Dallas ... Published 7/9/2016


Metro Manila Traffic Will Destroy the Philippines and Every Filipino Shares the Blame

Metro Manila, once the premier city in all of Southeast Asia is now a "Hell-on-Earth" for the 12 million ill-fated souls forced to live in it. The rapid movement of people and goods that epitomize a prosperous, dynamic city is gone. The country's National Capital Region (NCR) is dying and when it dies, it will take the entire country with it ... Published 7/5/2016


Proud Filipinos Celebrate a Peaceful Transition of Power

Filipinos everywhere need to take a bow. Not many countries in Asia—or the world for that matter—can do what we just did: elect a new leader chosen by the people. Thanks to the United States of America, despite its shortcomings during and after our Commonwealth period, Americans instilled in Filipinos the principles of democracy that have endured and continue to grow stronger over the years ... Published 6/30/2016


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