Newly elected Philippine President Rodrigo “Rody” Roa Duterte, became the 16th President of the Philippines after his election to the country’s highest post. Duterte is a lawyer and politician having served as Mayor of Davao City, a highly urbanized city in the Mindanao Island, for 7 terms, or over 22 years. He also was former Vice-Mayor and Congressman for the city earlier on before becoming its Mayor.
Duterte had been called “The Punisher” by Time magazine, linking him to a vigilante group called the Davao Death Squad, which human rights organizations consider as responsible for extrajudicial killings of petty criminals and drug dealers. Davao City was known for over a period of 20 years as the “murder capital of the Philippines” but, during Duterte’s, the city was “cleaned up”, and is now described as “the most peaceful city in southeast Asia”, to the point that it has been ranked as the world’s 4th safest place. But despite the massive transformation in Davao City, Duterte did not go without criticism from various groups, particularly the press and the Philippine National Police leadership in the Aquino government, that contest the effectiveness of his policies.
For years, Duterte was urged to run for the Philippine presidency but rejected such urges. But in 2015 having considered some “flaws in the government system”, he declared his candidacy for the 2016 elections for the office of the President of the Philippines. The results on his favor went already clear even during the campaign period that Duterte will win despite facing the Administration’s chosen candidate Mar Roxas. Duterte won a landslide victory, receiving 16,601, 997 votes or 39.01% of the votes cast, ahead of this closest rival Mar Roxas by as many as 6.6 million votes. Duterte’s presidency began on 30 June 2016 for a six-year term of office in the Presidency.
Duterte’s campaign promise of ridding the country of drugs, has actually led to his victory and his “maverick style” personality to the point that he was likened to Republican candidate Donald Trump who is running in the November 2016 USA presidential elections.
So far, Duterte has been living up to his “drug war” promise. But the road remains too long to traverse and the way is not “smooth” given the condition the Philippines is in right now, but the country needs an “iron hand”, and Duterte could provide that much needed Philippine re-transformation because for years it has been marred with – graft and corruption, smuggling, illegal drugs and other major problems – so that it is high time for law and order to prevail. Restoring the death penalty which Duterte has promised to bring back, will not be the remedy, but, it shall be a welcome “call card” for the criminals who had been “burying alive” lots and lots of Filipino lives in the past decades, to think twice before proceeding with their unscrupulous trade. Drugs is proliferating in the country, and to think that the business is even being run by some of those in the public service, it is high time that something is done about it before the country falls into the abyss of self-destruction.
Well, we can only “wait and see” what is going to happen in the Philippines in the period when this “maverick President”, does his job and delivers his objectives in making the Philippines a wholesome place to live in, with a clean bill of health though for sure not entirely but, at least the people could live with a new found dignity and become a proud nation as it has been wanting to be.
Congratulations, Mr. President!