Why Ordinary Filipinos Love President Duterte?

By Vic Odarve

For almost three decades, the Philippines is struggling in pain over the crippling culture of corruption, illegal drug trades, and crimes that bankrupted an already poor country which appears impossible to remedy. They are very much tired of the sweet talking politicians who often promise heavens and earth for an exchange of government elected positions yet failed to perform. To many ordinary Filipinos, they are looking for a man who can give hope to leap the country to a better tomorrow. Duterte, whose unorthodox behaviour and outrageous statements are often highlighted in media forum, appeared to be their only hope to challenge and can deliver result!

     Thousands of OFW at the Dubai Airport

It is common knowledge that the country is mired by graft and corruption, illegal drug trades, and street criminals. There are rampant graft and corruptions in almost all government offices. Diversion of budgets, awarding of contracts, and various government transactions from ordinary people such as getting a medical card, passport, drivers licence, etc., take several weeks are among the few.  For several decades, the same political clans have dominated Filipino politics and businesses; worst, some of these oligarchs did not pay proper taxes amounting to significant billions of pesos. Illegal drugs are spiralling and out of control. The success of De Lima in politics and accumulation of wealth of the Espinosas in the province of Leyte were associated with the illegal drugs network.  The mayor of Ozamis city, despite the history of crime, had gained trust and admiration by the residents for sharing the loot from illegal drugs. For several decades, the elected presidents are always after popularity. They want to be seen in a good light and they don’t want to affect the relationships with the oligarchs who control the country’s economy.

    Poor neighborhood in Metro Manila

Unlike any sweet talking politicians, Duterte promises a change is definitely coming during his term. Ordinary Filipinos feel that Duterte will stand his ground when oligarchs try to influence him. That is, after a few months at Malacanang office and because of his political will, the government earned around P 6B from Lucio Tan from tax evasion, 1.7B w/o Tax from Mile Long Property, and 25B from Mighty Cigarettes.  Senator De Lima, once the most sought-after lawyers and powerful government officials, is now imprisoned for alleged involvement in illegal drugs. Several cabinet secretaries and government officers’ were fired out after found enriching themselves while holding a position. Such were the case of Peter Lavina, former National Irrigation Administration chief, Ismael Sueno, former interior secretary, and the several others. Nowadays, medical card, passport, business permits, etc., that takes several weeks before can be available within three days or less.  Enforcement agencies are more active in monitoring and in implementing rules; hence, drug lords and users are afraid of resulting to a safer environment.

Demonstrations and rallies are the same old songs as in past regimes

To many ordinary Filipinos, they are looking for a man who can give hope to leap the country to a better tomorrow. They feel that Duterte will not be swayed by the oligarchs for what is best for the Filipinos. His sincerity to fight graft and corruption rises investor confidence. People think they are now safer due to illegal drugs. Street crimes related to drugs are now reduced. Despite all the shortcomings of his unorthodox behaviour, ordinary Filipinos welcomed the development as shown by his high-performance rating. Although it provokes outrage in some quarters, most ordinary Filipinos are unfazed but love Duterte!

For several decades the past presidents have tried almost all possible strategies to improve our country but failed. Filipinos feel they have been voting for liars and cheaters and for political dynasties for too long. Because of the poor job opportunity at home, most able bodied Filipinos have to work abroad as OFW. The outrage in the American and European media over the extrajudicial killings or Duterte’s more inflammatory statements on the Catholic church about God still keep the Filipinos unfazed on their faith in his leadership. They believed that the time for a change has come. The Bible puts it;

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 

2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 

3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 

6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 

7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 

8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

 That is why the ordinary Filipinos love Duterte for the time to change has come.

 

 

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