Philippines elect their own Donald Trump in Rodrigo Duterte


With eyes focused on the heated American election, most people aren’t paying too much attention to other leaders assuming power across the world. It’s quite a shame, since the Philippines’ new president is incredibly fascinating, and is gaining much ground in the politics of Southeastern Asia. He takes a blunt perspective on geopolitical situations, and prefers to do things the hard way. His name is Rodrigo Duterte, and he is the president-elect of the Philippines, who will be taking office on June 30. Despite differing views on his policies and attitude, he will leave a mark on the Philippines.

Mayor of Davao City and eventual leader of the Philippines, Duterte is known in his country for rather harsh policies and bombastic speeches. Before Davao City became a relatively stable metropolis, it had an incredibly high crime rate, but Duterte turned that around with his hands on approach, which was a subject of controversy.

Duterte’s views on handling criminals are brutal to the point of almost being a war or crusade on crime. He has vowed to kill at least 100,000 criminals and toss their corpses into the ocean. The possibility of him going that far in his war on crime is quite a stretch, according to former president Benigno Aquino III, who states that, “We’re not a dictatorship; we’re bound by laws.” So, while Duterte will try to take crime out of the picture rather brutally (plans to reintroduce the death penalty and hangings), Filipino law will limit how far he can take his purge of criminal activity.
The Davao City Death Squad is a group of vigilantes that run around killing criminals outside of the law. There are rumors floating around stating that Duterte is directly involved with the Death Squad, which is more likely true based on his remarks, “Am I the death squad? True. That is true.” Whether this implies anything or not is unknown, but it is rather suspicious.

Duterte has been compared to Donald Trump. Both men are fierce on their policies, both promise radical changes to society, both gathered a following on certain issues (Duterte with crime, Trump with immigration), and both have interesting views on women. Duterte doesn’t pull punches during his speeches, either; he goes straight for the gut to get the attention of his supporters. And, he talks about women in derogatory terms and makes many jokes about touchy subjects, such as rape.

It may seem coincidental, but it seems the success of Trump is rubbing off on the new president of the Philippines, for better or worse. Duterte’s policies, especially regarding criminal activity, will change that nation forever. Whether his actions in office will make the Philippines great again is still in the air, but that will all be clear beginning in June.