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Friday, June 1, 2018

American magazine: The secret of Duterte’s electoral success was transforming a third world hellhole into a pleasant place

The Weekly Standard'S Christopher Caldwell and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte | Photo CTTO
'Here comes the mayor', says the article from The Weekly Standard. 

In what seemed to be another hard-hitting column from an American media against the Philippine government, a prominent American magazine surprisingly chose to defy the odds.

This, after the said magazine published a write-up that highlighted the qualities of Pres. Duterte that sets him apart from the other politicians

In its recently released article authored by Christopher Caldwell, he presented to the international audience why President Rodrigo Duterte, despite being demonized overseas by a large number of media outfits, won the 2016 presidential election in a landslide victory. 

The American magazine even compared the Philippine's firebrand president to Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

'There is no world leader quite like Duterte, but in his special claim to run a country being drawn at lightning speed into modernity, he bears a resemblance to Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who also made the leap from big-city mayor to maximum leader. As Erdogan once was in Istanbul, Duterte was an extraordinary boss of Davao, the largest city on the vast and violent island of Mindanao. Duterte is political royalty there—his father was a governor of the province of Davao', it said.
  
Taking us back to the time when Pres. Duterte was in his younger years, Caldwell took the liberty to share to his readers that the Mindanaoan President did not win for nothing. 

With hopes of opening the eyes of the foreign readers, especially his critics, who were only fed with biased news from the international media, the The Weekly Standard correspondent narrated the history of how the great President captured the hearts of the Filipinos which eventually resulted to his victorious win.
Photo CTTO
'When Duterte himself became mayor in 1988, Davao City was one of the most violent places in Southeast Asia—racked by both the New People’s Army (the Maoist armed wing of the Philippine Communist party) and radical Islamic terrorism. Islam moved through Indonesia to what is now the southern Philippines centuries ago, and Muslims make up 5 percent of the population. Most of them live just west of Davao and many want self-determination and even independence. Last year ISIS-inspired guerrillas took over the city of Marawi and were rooted out only after the army and air force waged a Stalingrad-style house-to-house campaign of urban warfare that k!lled hundreds. Muslims have brought their war to Davao with terror attacks, and Manila’s malls will remind Israelis of home, with bag-opening guards at the doorways of coffeehouses and sneaker stores', the American journalist wrote.

The maganize's correspondent even called Duterte's capability to have turned the killing fields into a peaceful and progressive land has been his secret of winning gloriously.

'That is the secret of Duterte’s electoral success. Over two decades, at a time when Davao was doubling in size to over 1.5 million, Duterte transformed the city from a Third World hellhole into a pleasant place for a law-abiding person to live—even a business hub. He pulled this off by mixing wiles and ruthlessness, offering Muslims and Communists financial incentives to carry their campaigns elsewhere and threatening them with retribution should they not. Many human rights groups hold him responsible for about 1,000 unsolved k!llings during his tenure, carried out by shadowy assailants who came to be called the Davao De@th Squad', Caldwell added.

Indeed, Pres. Duterte's proved his excellency in his leadership by turning a place that was once a war zone into a peaceful haven of law-abiding citizens. 

Because of his sincere love for the country, he made his way to presidency effortlessly. 

Below are some of the excerpted parts on Christopher Caldwell's article on The Weekly Standard:

In the days before local elections in the Philippines in early May, the government of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte released a list of 200 neighborhood officials involved in the dr*g trade. 

It is not a list anyone would want to wind up on. Duterte came to power in a landslide two years ago, promising to wage a war on dr*gs. He did not use “war” as a metaphor. “You destroy our country, I’ll k!ll you,” Duterte said as his presidency began. “You destroy our children, I’ll k!ll you.”
Photo CTTO
 An addict, as Duterte views things, will betray his loved ones to find money for his dealer. Often he will become a dealer himself, drawing young innocents into the maelstrom of addiction. Small-time users, not just big-time pushers, are targets for aggressive police operations. A bloodbath has resulted. Last August, the government’s “One-Time Bigtime” busts left 52 de@d in one night.
  
By the turn of this year, 4,075 people had d!ed in anti-dr*g operations, according to the government. But that does not include thousands more k!llings tallied up by human-rights organizations and investigative journalists. These have been carried out by masked men and pairs of assassins on motorbikes. Whether the k!llers are out-of-uniform policemen silencing witnesses to their own corruption or neighborhood hoodlums using the dr*g war as a cover to settle scores, the violence has been immense.

Dr*g addicts have surrendered en masse and asked for treatment. A 10 p.m. curfew has been introduced for teenagers. Lowering the age of adult responsibility in criminal prosecutions from 15 to 9 has been proposed. Those who have wound up on lists like the one Duterte released in May have fared poorly. Melvin Odicta and his wife, the dr*g bosses of the provincial city of Iloilo who had built a reputation as local Robin Hoods and lived in a mansion surrounded by mendicants and squatters, were singled out by the Philippine Dr*g Enforcement Agency. After traveling to Manila to try to clear their names, they were assassinated by a mysterious gunman as they stepped off a ferry. Months after Duterte placed him on a list of corrupt officials, the mayor of Albuera, Rolando Espinosa, was sh0t de@d in jail.
Photo CTTO
 From outside the Philippines, there is an obvious question: If you think government leaders are corrupt, why not just arrest them and bring them to trial? Inside the Philippines, the question answers itself: Because government leaders are corrupt. They cannot be trusted to clean their own stables. Duterte can. The six-million vote plurality that Duterte won in an insurgent campaign against the country’s political establishment mobilized what political scientist Aries Arugay calls a “cross-class coalition of conservative Filipinos, overseas labor migrants, the educated middle class, the urban poor, and informal workers.” Since his May 2016 election, the president’s approval rating has never been far from 80 percent, and his dr*g war is an important element of his popularity. According to a detailed poll carried out last year by Manila-based Social Weather Stations, voters approved of the dr*g war 77-14.

Sh@bu, the lab-made dr*g that Americans know as crystal methamphetamine, is common in the warrens of corrugated iron and cinderblocks where a lot of the country’s urban poor have squatted. It renders its users alert, euphoric, and sometimes psychotic. Other street kids have come to be known as “Rugby boys,” not because they studied under Thomas Arnold but because the rubber cement that they sniff out of plastic baggies bears that trade name. Crime has spread along with dr*gs. Those who live in the walkable neighborhoods of Quezon City, near the big universities, have pooled their money to purchase road gates. These allow their (de jure) public streets to be sealed off as (de facto) gated communities once night falls. Certainly the press does not stint on stories of dr*g violence. Whenever you read in the tabloids about a family held hogtied for days or the murder of a child or a pile of bodies thrown into a rice paddy, sh@bu plays a big role.
  
And yet it is not clear that Filipinos actually see dr*g use as that serious a problem. The political pollsters at Pulse Asia ask voters every election season about their top five concerns, and dr*gs have never made the list.

That’s hardly surprising in a country where a quarter of the population lives hand-to-mouth. The pollsters at Social Weather Stations register high approval for the dr*g war in general. People think it is making their neighborhoods safer. But they also fear that their family members will get k!lled and are almost unanimous in their preference that suspects be captured alive rather than murdered. Half worry that violent people are using the dr*g war as a cover for settling grudges. Finally, Filipinos are skeptical of police claims about how often suspects are sh0t resisting arrest. Their skepticism is warranted: The ratio of suspects k!lled to police k!lled in Filipino dr*g operations is 223 to 1. In the United States it is 9 to 1.
Photo CTTO
 The closer one looks at it, the more it seems that the war on dr*gs is only a symbol of some ulterior real predicament and of citizens’ resolve to accept desperate and brutal measures to get out of it. This predicament may have something to do with the position the country occupies in the global economy.

The Philippines is scenic and sympathetic. It is also squalid, unequal, and impoverished. Certain neighborhoods of Manila—Makati, Ortigas, Bonifacio Global City, and the restaurant areas and malls near the university neighborhood of Katipunan—are outposts of Internet Age capitalism. You could walk for several blocks believing you are in a nice part of Los Angeles. The economy is growing at 6.8 percent a year, but these neighborhoods, and similar ones in Cebu and Davao, seem to get all of it. Elsewhere, in what the rich sometimes refer to as the bowels of the city, tricycle-drivers and street sweepers make about $10 a day (that is the minimum wage) and buy their provisions from rickety roadside “sari-sari” stores in sachet-sized quantities: a mango or a teaspoon of instant coffee here, a cigarette there. The country has grown from 30 million people in the 1970s to more than 100 million now. Manila has 15 million of them.

Its public transportation consists of two sporadically functioning train lines, which are so overcrowded that to preclude indecencies, the front car, or the front two, must be reserved for women. For most of the day, traffic makes the city nearly impassable. People are trapped in their neighborhoods, however nice some of them may be, as surely as they would have been in the days before the internal combustion engine.

Here comes the mayor

There is no world leader quite like Duterte, but in his special claim to run a country being drawn at lightning speed into modernity, he bears a resemblance to Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who also made the leap from big-city mayor to maximum leader. As Erdogan once was in Istanbul, Duterte was an extraordinary boss of Davao, the largest city on the vast and violent island of Mindanao. Duterte is political royalty there—his father was a governor of the province of Davao. When Duterte himself became mayor in 1988, Davao City was one of the most violent places in Southeast Asia—racked by both the New People’s Army (the Maoist armed wing of the Philippine Communist party) and radical Islamic terrorism. 
  
Islam moved through Indonesia to what is now the southern Philippines centuries ago, and Muslims make up 5 percent of the population. 

Most of them live just west of Davao and many want self-determination and even independence. Last year ISIS-inspired guerrillas took over the city of Marawi and were rooted out only after the army and air force waged a Stalingrad-style house-to-house campaign of urban warfare that k!lled hundreds. Muslims have brought their war to Davao with terror attacks, and Manila’s malls will remind Israelis of home, with bag-opening guards at the doorways of coffeehouses and sneaker stores.
The Weekly Standard Logo | Photo CTTO
That is the secret of Duterte’s electoral success. Over two decades, at a time when Davao was doubling in size to over 1.5 million, Duterte transformed the city from a Third World hellhole into a pleasant place for a law-abiding person to live—even a business hub. He pulled this off by mixing wiles and ruthlessness, offering Muslims and Communists financial incentives to carry their campaigns elsewhere and threatening them with retribution should they not.
  
Many human rights groups hold him responsible for about 1,000 unsolved k!llings during his tenure, carried out by shadowy assailants who came to be called the Davao De@th Squad.

Duterte is immensely proud of this record. He still likes to be called “mayor.” He is proud, too, of his mixed Mindanaoan background, with a Chinese grandfather and a grandmother descended from Muslim Maranaos. Having won the presidency on his promise to replicate Davao’s success at the national level, he brought to Manila his trusted Davao political machine, including the thus far highly successful finance secretary Carlos Dominguez and the somewhat less successful justice secretary Vitalicio Aguirre, since replaced. He put three Communists in his cabinet.

Rough though his methods may have been, Duterte had a modern and highly progressive idea of what an orderly city looked like. For one thing it was under surveillance by hundreds of closed-circuit cameras. For another it didn’t have smoking. Duterte paid a heavy price for his own youthful smoking. He limps from Buerger’s disease and has a severe case of Barrett’s esophagus. He often chews gum to mitigate the pain and has said he took fentanyl after a fall several years ago. (He later claimed to have been joking.) Davao passed the first smoking ban in the Philippines in 2002, with fines so steep that passengers on flights landing in Davao were warned about them. Duterte was even said to have forced a tourist to eat a cigarette he tried to smoke. He has since extended a ban on smoking to public places nationwide. Duterte is open to medical marijuana, gay marriage, and divorce, which Philippine law presently bans. He is obsessed with climate change in the country at large, and alludes to it in all his economic-development projects. Just as controversial domestically as his anti-dr*g crusade is his plan to phase out old-fashioned “jeepneys,” the colorful minibuses that serve as poor people’s transportation throughout the country.

Against elitism

Because he speaks with an unpredictability and bluntness that sometimes cracks people up and sometimes embarrasses his countrymen, Duterte has been called an Asian Donald Trump. At certain points in his 2017 State of the Nation speech, his sign-language translator was laughing too hard to go on. Speaking to a group of former Communist rebels he had invited to the Malacañang presidential palace in February, he joked that if one shot female guerrillas in the bisong (a term in his native Visayan language), they would be useless to the cause. It was arguably a subtle and anti-sexist remark, exposing the subordinate position of women even in leftist insurgencies, but the impression left was ghastly.

Like Trump, Duterte the orator sometimes likes to drift and wing it. But he is also a trained prosecutor with a vast English vocabulary and a gift for oratorical parallelisms. In this he is more like, say, Viktor Orbán of Hungary, capable of laying out convincingly the ideology in the name of which he and his followers demand justice and the grounds on which his dastardly adversaries are seeking to thwart him.

http://www.thedailysentry.net/2018/05/american-magazine-secret-of-dutertes.html

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