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  • On May 9th, the 2016 Philippines Presidential election was won by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

  • Although the formal results will not be released for a few weeks, his primary opponent conceded

  • the win. But Duterte is not an altogether popular figure. In the United States he has

  • been directly compared to candidate Donald Trump for his inflammatory and often inappropriate

  • remarks. So, who exactly is this Donald Trump of the East?

  • Well, for the last two decades, Rodrigo Duterte has been the mayor of Davao City in southern

  • Philippines. His time in office has been marked by an unorthodox style, described as being

  • strong on crime, and earning him the nickname ofThe Punisher”. He was regularly known

  • to ride his Harley Davidson motorcycle to patrol the city while carrying a .38 caliber

  • handgun in his waistband. While mayor, crime rates fell significantly, however, his methods

  • have been widely criticized. He has openly tolerated the killing of alleged criminals

  • by an unauthorized death squad that patrols the city, and has himself said that those

  • committing illegal activity were legitimate targets of assassination. While human rights

  • groups have condemned his remarks and actions, others agree that the Philippine justice system

  • is inadequate to deal with dangerous crime. Duterte has even promised to kill thousands

  • of criminals if elected, saying "I do not want to be president. I do not want to kill

  • people so do not elect me as president."

  • Nonetheless, Duterte won the presidency with an estimated 39% of the vote compared to his

  • two main opponent’s who received roughly 21 and 23%. And his popularity is not entirely

  • surprising. As in the United States with Trump, many voters are tired of dynastic, elite,

  • establishment candidates. The incumbent president was the son of the 11th Philippine president,

  • and Duterte’s leading opponent is the grandson of the fifth president. And under the last

  • few presidents, crime has continued to be a major problem, and the US state department

  • has even put out warning against travel to certain parts of the Philippines. Like Trump,

  • Duterte is an outsider, although unlike Trump, Duterte is from a lower class background,

  • and relatively progressive on some social issues. He is openly pro-LGBT rights, and

  • while mayor he passed the first and onlyWomen Development Codewhich upholds women’s

  • civil rights and works to end discrimination. The Philippines is actually one of the most

  • female-friendly countries in Southeast Asia, ranking sixth worldwide according to the Global

  • Gender Gap Report.

  • Still, Duterte has also been criticized for his misogynistic comments, and in 2015 admitted

  • to being a “womanizer”. The 71-year old politician also said he couldn’t live without

  • Viagra, and in 2016 he also joked about raping a murdered Australian female missionary during

  • a campaign event, although he later apologized for his language, stating that it was a “bad

  • remarkmade out of anger. During a visit by Pope Francis to the 86% Catholic country,

  • Dutetre called the Pope a “son of a whore”, for which he also apologized. And besides

  • his controversial remarks, Duterte has promised to be a dictator againstevilas president,

  • which includes abolishing Congress if they were to threaten impeachment, and pardoning

  • himself for mass murder.

  • Clearly, despite his popularity and socially progressive stances, Duterte has also admitted

  • his involvement with extrajudicial murder squads, and his comments about women and others

  • like Pope Francis have been wholly inappropriate. At the very least, Trump isn’t confirmed

  • to have killed people in the street, although he HAS said that such an act would not lose

  • him any voters. In both the Philippines and the US, aggressive and upfront rhetoric is

  • clearly an effective political tool.

  • Duterte’s presidency could have a big impact on regional disputes like the South China

  • Sea. While the former president refused to negotiate with China, Duterte said he will

  • take a conciliatory stance, which may change the nature of the conflict. To learn more

  • about the tensions in the South China Sea, watch our video at the top. And to learn more

  • about the political climate that has led to Duterte’s election, watch this video on

  • Phillipines' Power. Thanks for checking out Seeker Daily, don’t forget to like and subscribe

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On May 9th, the 2016 Philippines Presidential election was won by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.


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