- Politics and Social Issues»
- Asia Political & Social Issues
The Duterte Presidency
As of this writing, Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte has just been sworn in as the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines.
He is the only political personality who has expressed strong political will even before the elections, and has successfully transmitted to the voters an image of a man who will make a huge and radical change in the political economy of the Philippines.
People have seen how he turned Davao City into one of the most peaceful, economically progressive, stable and disaster-ready cities in the world, and this has been his success model that made 17 million people vote for a man who said would bring change in the country.
Voters are not after the technicalities of change. They want illegal drugs and crime to stop pronto, no matter what it takes. Citizens are fed up with political promises from one administration to another. They are fed up with soft approaches to the solution of corruption and criminality in the country.
The silent majority are fed up with high profile politicians like presidents and senators being imprisoned for graft, corruption and plunder of the country. They are fed up with all the rationalization that goes with defending corruption in the country.
Most of all people are fed up with the growing menace of narcopolitics. People want a tough personality to take over the country, a toughie who would not compromise his principles, renege on his promises, who would fight till the end. And this is what they saw in Rodrigo Duterte.
When 17 million people wanted a ‘dictator’ to change the conditions in the Republic of the Philippines, the voice of 1,000 philosophers would not matter, the voice of 10,000 priests, religious leaders and moralists who think they are closer to God than a dictator would not matter, and the voice of 1,000,000 diplomats, political advisers, legal luminaries, and experts in whatever field would not matter.
No matter in what image he is painted by the national media, there are certain possible events that can be predicted out of the behavioral characteristics and pronouncements made by Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte who is bent on changing the macro and micro political landscapes in the country.
Expectations ran high during the campaign period, and when Duterte won by a landslide, the public expectations for Duterte to make significant, deep-seated, high impact changes in society even zoomed up beyond normal expectations. The danger is when the public would over-expect.
Rodrigo Duterte moves fast. He and his tandem for Vice President, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano promised crime and illegal drugs to stop in 6 months time. From the time he won as president to the time he would be sworn in, about 25 high profile drug personalities known as “drug lords” have already been killed by the Philippine National Police during raids, where the drug leaders allegedly fought back.
He has assembled his cabinet from a varied mix of ideologies and political orientations in his Davao City headquarters just in time for his swearing in on June 30, 2016. He has successfully formed an alliance with congressmen who were once against him, to be with him. He now controls congress.
As early as the second week of June 2016, he made initial overtures with rebels by conducting preliminary negotiations with the leftist rebels and the Moro rebels and was able to get their commitment towards a peaceful negotiation. On June 15, Duterte’s team went to Oslo, Norway to make informal talks with leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Duterte was also able to secure the release a few days ago of female Filipino hostage Marites Flor from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf, one of those kidnapped in Samal Island resort along with some foreigners. The New People’s Army has also released most of their army and police captives from May to June. Duterte even invited the members of the CPP-NPA-NDF to apply for government positions.
As for the Moro rebels, the MNLF and MILF, Duterte sees federalism as the solution to the Mindanao problem. He sees a constitutional change as the basic legal framework to attain a federal form of government. Along with this would be the reinstatement of the death penalty for heinous crimes as a mechanism to make the wheels of justice tighter.
From Caterpillar to Butterfly
He promised a metamorphosis to happen when he is sworn in and assumes the presidency. In May 2016, after winning the elections and after being criticized by some quarters for being uncouth, brutally frank, irreverent and care-less in his bad jokes, he said to the effect, that “right now I am a caterpillar, but will soon become a butterfly.”
Duterte uses affirmative action to put his message across populations based on his political experience as a successful mayor in Davao.
He uses the language of the tough guy on the streets—impolite, irreverent, and even vulgar to the point, who can berate the Pope and the Catholic Church leaders, who can tell the UN it has not solved the wars in Africa, who can tell a top business leader critical of his stance that he is just a puppet of a foreign conglomerate “…while I am the President of the Republic of the Philippines.” Assertive, he is true to his point.
An international author and former diplomat, Narciso Reyes, Jr. said in his commentary, “In our image: the rise of Duterte,” it is Duterte’s dark side that attracts people and “many Filipinos have, in desperation, come to see Duterte as the savior and solution to the nation’s problems.”
While Duterte could be tough and harsh especially to criminals, he does not show any sign of being vindictive. As quoted in a local Davao-based media outlet, Duterte said, “There will be a metamorphosis …once I become president …similar to a caterpillar that will blossom into a butterfly.”
Why did Rodrigo Duterte chose the symbol of the butterfly as a representative of his personality? Why not dragon, or tiger or a black panther which suits more his warrior character? A butterfly is associated with yin energy, female, light, but faster than a caterpillar.
If he has fast tracked his agenda and requirements while in a state of being a “caterpillar,” it means that dazzling changes are most likely to happen once he is sworn in as President of the Republic of the Philippines on June 30, 2016 when he is transformed into a “butterfly.”
What does it mean for Duterte to be transformed into a butterfly? Will this mean that his language would change from crude to fine? Will this mean he would be less seen by the public because he would be “here, there and everywhere” as part of his management lifestyle? Or will these mean faster and higher apprehensions of criminals and drug lords?
With the uncompromising character of President Rodrigo Duterte, only time will tell. But he has already shown his light side on June 30 in his speech after being sworn in as President.
Ending Narcopolitics before it Begins
Duterte knows that what weakens the moral fabric of society today are not the dangerous ideas that each man harbors into himself but the chemical reactions of prohibited and dangerous drugs that go into the bloodstream of a user and addict that can wreck havoc on himself, his family and society for many years.
Mayors or other elected and, or appointed political officials are not supposed to be drug lords. They’re supposed to be anti-drug advocates and fighters for their communities. The same goes for police officers who are hired by drug syndicates.
Duterte warned recently that he knows a number of mayors who are protectors of drug lords in different places of the Philippines. The stern warning that the now Butterfly gave to all public officials will most likely be felt once a number of illegal drug marketers are “sampled out” in public.
Duterte wants to end narcopolitics before it takes root on a massive scale and destroy millions of families, especially children. Permitting harmful, dangerous and illegal drugs to be ingested by the youth is like creating a nation of zombies who would be willing to kill their parents, brothers or sisters, peers, or in the case of addicted parents, the possibility of killing their children in a state of chemical-enhanced paranoia.
Duterte’s experienced-based course of action, no matter how Neanderthal is before the drug lords, drug pushers and drug addicts would kill us, let’s kill them. The resounding response is that 17 million people support this idea. This gives more teeth to the unpopular “citizen’s arrest” that many fear to implement in their communities in the past.
Narcopolitics is an imported concept and marketing system introduced in the country. Most of the apprehended “shabu” drugs are allegedly manufactured in China and Taiwan and smuggled into the country.
The entry of illegal drugs into the social mainstream is impossible without the secret support of high government officials. Its marketing on a massive scale would need the cooperation of local officials. When the Butterfly flies in the air on July one, will this mean the public would know who among the high-flying as well as local government officials are under the payroll of the drug lords? And what would be done to them?
$4 Million Drug Buy-Bust
The DU30 Parallel Organizations
Possible Event Vectors
Based on a number of data sources and trends we have seen, it is possible that a number of events significantly related to the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte could emerge on the horizon. These are (not in order of importance):
The establishment of an official Malacañang of the South in Davao City, and the shift of a new presidential power base in Mindanao. Along with this would be the influx of tourists and business investments in the Davao area that would lead to its accelerated development.
The flight of major drug financiers and marketing organizations, foreign-based or local from the Philippines to other destinations.
The cessation of hostilities between the government and the leftist rebels, including the Moro rebels in 2016.
The most-awaited charter change or Constitutional Convention to shift into a federal system of government that could happen in 2017.
The radical rehabilitation, reorganization and expansion of the prison systems in the country.
A significant shift in the policies of the business sector in dealing with the new administration, and the possibility of amending some provisions of the Public Private Partnership program.
A significant increase in the budget allocations for Visayas and Mindanao, especially the depressed areas of Mindanao.
A forced decongestion of Metropolitan Manila as work and business opportunities are created in the Bicol region, the Visayas and Mindanao by 2017.
There will be a radical change in existing government policies and procedures, and a change in the public perception of public service by government officials in the first 6 months of the administration of President Duterte.
Vacancies in the positions of local governments as a result of the apprehension of government officials found to be involved in illegal drugs and crime.
The Voice of the People is the Voice of God
Excerpts from Duterte’s Speech
As this article is being written, the event at the Malacañang Palace in Manila is ongoing, and here are some excerpts from his speech captured live at Malacanang palace after his swearing in as President on June 30, 2016 as he said:
“We have to listen to the murmurings of the people, feel their pulse, supply their needs, and fortify their faith and trust in us… I have seen how illegal drugs destroyed individuals and have ruined families… As a lawyer and former prosecutor, I know what is legal and what is illegal… My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising. You mind your work and I will mind mine. Change must start with us and in us… We have become our worst own enemies, and we must have the courage and the will to change all that… Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first steps… the erosion of faith in the government is the real problem.
“I direct all department secretaries and heads of agencies to reduce requirements, processing and time in all applications, and remove redundant requirements, to refrain from changing and bending the rules of government contracts, constructions and projects already approved…
“The Republic of the Philippines will honor all treaties and obligations. I look forward to the participation of our stakeholders particularly our indigenous peoples… I was elected to the presidency to serve our country. I was not elected to serve any group or one person… I have no friends to serve and I get no enemies in return… (He added) Our condolences to the Republic of Turkey for what happened to them recently (referring to the Ataturk Airport attack in Istanbul)…
“Why I am here, have you asked that question? I am here because I love my country. I am here because I am ready to start my work for our nation.”