Why the Philippines' Duterte Isn't Exactly Another Trump

Why the Philippines' Duterte Isn't Exactly Another Trump

"Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte may seem similar to Donald Trump in his outrageous rhetoric, but he's not another Trump."

On June 30, 2016, former mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated as the Philippines' 16th President. Duterte won the Philippine presidential election in May. It just so happens that the Philippine presidential race coincided with the United States' presidential nominee race. Back in the U.S., Republican presidential nominee (then Republican presidential front-runner) Donald Trump was taking the media by storm with his outrageous rhetoric (think his proposal to build a wall at the Mexican border, as well as other statements he's made) beating the rest of his Republican opponents in the battle for media coverage. While Trump was making headlines in the U.S., and abroad (I actually saw presidential race coverage of Trump on a magazine while I was in Milan), Trump was making headlines in the Philippines.

International media outlets took notice of Duterte's similarly outrageous campaign rhetoric (think him joking about gang rape) and immediately named him the "the Philippine's Trump", even "Asia's Trump" or "The Trump of the East".

When he won the presidential race, international media condemned the Philippines to the end of the world.

To be honest, I was even a little worried. My parents followed the Filipino election closely. Of course, they would. They have family still living in the country and they are obviously worried for their own welfare. With their enthusiasm in keeping up-to-date with Philippine politics, I also followed Philippine news outlets to check on the election.

When the Philippine election process had first started, Duterte was not mentioned at all. The next time I heard about Duterte, he was making waves in the media with his infamous gang rape joke. He continued with his unapologetic, outrageous rhetoric, like his admission that he has mistresses.

(yah, that happened. Not exactly the clean, family man image that American presidents live on)

While I was trying to make up my mind on how I felt about Détente, I met Filipino students at my school who showed positive support for the former Davao City mayor, especially for his promise of instilling federalism into the Philippine government and promising to bring jobs out of the overcrowded nation's capital, Manila. While many media outlets, even within the Philippines, were immediately condemning Duterte as another Trump, some correspondents were willing to look more closely at the new Philippine president.

One thing that both these article got right was that Duterte wasn't just 'anybody' that joined the Philippine presidential race. For over two decades, Duterte stood as mayor of Davao City. (For a decade before his stint as a mayor, he was already working in public office.) During his stint as mayor of Davao City, he successfully changed the former murder capital of the Philippines into "the most peaceful city in Southeast Asia". (Although he has drawn criticism for his supposed Davao Death Squad and their apparent extrajudicial killings of petty criminals and drug dealers.) Nonetheless, he's a seasoned man of the public office, and his current accomplishments as the newly minted Philippine president hold to prove that.

1. He's made general admission to the National Museum of the Philippines free.

This is important, because, as one of my history teachers had told me, we study the past to learn from our mistakes and make sure they aren't repeated. I think of this as a pretty important lesson considering that history has proven to be cyclical and that life occurs through cause and effect. As so, how is a citizen able to make well-informed decisions without having any access to information. Making the Philippines' national museum free to a population with around 30% of the population being surveyed as falling below the poverty line is an important step to aiding the public.

2. In recognition of the present Muslim population in the approximately 88% Christian nation, Duterte signed an executive order in the Philippine version of the White House, Malacañang, that July 6 is a non-working holiday in honor of the Muslim tradition of Eid’l Fitr.

Duterte is known to be supportive of the Moro Muslim minority in the Philippines. He's been fighting to support greater national unity by backing the Moro Muslim community.

3. Probably, most important, Duterte finally ended "tanim bala" [plant bullet] / "laglag-bala" [drop bullet]

For a little background of this charade, basically, the main airport of th Philippines' national capital Manilla, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, faced controversy since September 2015. Security personnel of the Philippine airport had been planting bullets in unsuspecting airline passengers as a means of extorting money. The airport security personnel would offer a fine to the airline passengers to avoid questioning and detention and then pocket the fine money for themselves, therefore making money for themselves.

Duterte ended the continuation of the extortion scheme by instructing the Aviation Security Group not to arrest, detain, or file charges against passengers who are found with bullets in their luggage.

These are just 3 of Duterte's accomplishments as President of the Philippines.

In conclusion, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte may seem similar to Donald Trump in his outrageous rhetoric, but he's not another Trump. Although, his first state of the union has incited some controversial results.

Nonetheless, Duterte's a seasoned public official who has provided substance behind his seemingly empty words. He's created action that has proven that the country is in safe hands. In addition, he has three decade long track record in public office to prove that he's more than worthy to serve the Philippine people. Experience in public office that Trump doesn't have.

Like Time Asia Correspondent Charlie Campbell stated in his article People Keep Calling Rodrigo Duterte the Philippine Donald Trump. They're Wrong: "The Philippines knows what it is getting. With Trump, America is looking at the unknown."

Cover Image Credit: jpupdates

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.

Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?


This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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