By Lukas Baumann
Rodrigo Duterte is the current president of the Philippines. He is well known for his outspoken political statements, like calling Barack Obama ‘a son of a w****’ at a press conference. Who is he and why has he been elected the 14th president of the Philippines?
Rodrigo Duterte started his political career by representing the 1st district of Davao city in the House of Representatives in the Philippines and then moved on to become the vice mayor of Davao city and then the mayor. As mayor of Davao city he openly supported the killing of drug addicts and dealers. However, on the other side he opened a drug rehabilitation and treatment center and aided drug addicts who approached him financially, so that they could stop their drug abuse. He also was the first mayor in the Philippines to represent indigenous people and muslim societies formally.
Duterte then started his presidential bid and won in 2016 with 39% of the votes. After he was elected president, he started his controversial campaign, which was condemned by many other countries, against drug addicts as he previously had done in Davao City. This drug war he initiated already cost 2,400 people their lives according to Times magazine, even though this drug war has only started 3½ months ago. Even though he is responsible for the death of 2,400 people, he still has the support and trust of 91% of the population in the Philippines according to Pulse Asia. Duterte also resumed peace talks with philippine communist rebels and promised muslim people a change in how they are treated. However, the most interesting part of his presidency is his foreign policy. His foreign policy is based on making the Philippines more independent from their allies and ban other countries from meddling in the Philippines. To do so he has increased the budget of the military and forged new alliances with countries in Asia.
So far Duterte's presidency has been unique. On the one hand you have him isolating his country from the western world and a drug war, but on the other hand he gives more rights to minorities in the Philippines and forges new alliances with neighboring states that have a high muslim population, like Indonesia and Brunei.
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