Tiglao: 5 aspects why Duterte remains popular among Filipino people despite challenges

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during his attendance to the 39th Masskara Festival held at the Public Plaza in Bacolod City

Manila, Philippines – It’s been more than years since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power, yet, some political analysts are still in awe as to why he is still gaining the same support from the Filipino people.

It is known that recently, his administration had been hounded by different challenges such as rising prices of basic goods, “shortage of rice”, record high inflation, bold policies especially concerning the foreign relations of the country, challenged Boracay island closure – despite these odds, Duterte is still popular as ever.

This popularity is supported by the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) poll saying that 74 percent of the Filipinos believe that the country is on the right track.

Meanwhile, the net trust rating if the president has showed increase in the third quarter and stayed in “very good” status – as also conducted by the same research firm.

Veteran journalist Rigoberto Tiglao in his Manila Times column, titled “ Duerte’s popularity surges , despite rise in prices” lists down 5 major points as to why the former Davao City mayor stayed robust in political support.

Tiglao said that the president showed efficiency in governance for the past two years, if infrastructure projects that are now being completed will be considered.

The columnist then discussed how Duterte captured “Filipinos’ hearts and minds, with the way he has projected himself and how he has acted as a leader.”

Here are the aspects why the people do love him as their leader:

“First, the one thing about Duterte even his vociferous critics can’t deny is his authenticity, his what-you-see-is-what-you-get portrait, which explains why he seems to have a foul mouth. Having been a full-time journalist through five presidents, I can assert that every one of them tried to be somebody they were really not. Even President Estrada pretended to be one with the masses, even if that was really only his movie persona. The worst pretender of course was the spoiled brat Benigno Aquino 3rd. One could even feel that he was performing whenever he talked to the public. His sidekick Mar Roxas shouting “P***** ina” at a rally was a pathetic attempt to be somebody else.” Tiglao started

“Second, he does what he thinks should be done, even if is unpopular at a moment. A clear instance of this was his order to close down Boracay, which, except for a tiny stratum of environmentalists in the country, was opposed my most. With the reopening of a cleaned-up and more orderly Boracay the other day though, he’s been vindicated.” He said

Tiglao concluded that people might get shock at times especially when he curses, but they also see what the president can do- fighting the illegal drugs, corruption, building infrastructure, and leading the country away from its vassalage to America.

Third, he has “branded” himself in his focused-on-one particular scourge which most Filipinos, especially the lower classes, have most detested: illegal drugs.” Tiglao continued

“But in the meanwhile, his other Cabinet secretaries are doing what they are supposed to do: Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has been undertaking a politically difficult and unpopular tax reform program, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar is implementing the “build, build, build” program while Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu cleaned up the cesspool that a once pristine Boracay had turned into.” He said

Tiglao also pointed out how the president challenged not only the Church but also the worst of the economic elites.

“Fourth, he has been vocal in defying and challenging the powers-that-be, which most Filipinos are keenly aware of and abhor.”

“Duterte has challenged not only the worst of the economic elites who have, among other crimes, evaded taxes and refused to pay rent for prime government property they have held since Marcos’ time; and their weapons—the Catholic Church and the once most-powerful Yellow media tandem, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN TV network.”

Lastly, Tiglao said that the president demonstrated a “strong sense of empathy.”

“What all our past presidents have had, or pretended to have, was sympathy, which the dictionary defines as “feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.” Empathy is not sympathy; it is the “ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”” He said

“Empathy is what Duterte expresses as he embraces the widow of a Marine killed in action, or shakes the hand of a wounded in a military hospital, often with misty eyes. The pretension of sympathy is Benigno Aquino 3rd in a wake, where the camera even catches him guffawing at something that suddenly crossed his mind.” Tiglao added

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