The Philippine Star

What other people think of Duterte


Southeast Asian Studies expert Gu Xiaosong foresees about the changes that Duterte (who calls himself a socialist) will do. “He is likely to concentrat­e on strengthen­ing the business and economic ties of the Philippine­s with other Southeast Asian countries.

There will be big changes in our relations with China. Unlike the Aquino government, that sounded more American than the Americans, Duterte will cobble a foreign policy that best fulfills his wish to create more jobs and social services. He will deal with China as well as our relations with other countries that we have neglected.

“The average Filipino citizen has not gained much from the six-year presidency of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III, despite the noticeable growth in the country’s economy,” he said. That is the source of the phenomenal support that Duterte got in the last elections. It may be paradoxica­l but the new foreign policy at the same time will be more open to foreign investment­s.

Duterte received “high support rate” from Filipinos, according to Gu, which may translate to the eagerness of the citizens to experience more economic gains. This may trigger the new administra­tion to focus on developing the Philippine economy.

“After the bravado, macho, jet ski statements during the campaign trail, Duterte is a classical realist” – These are the words used by Richard Heydarian, an assistant professor of political science at the De La Salle University in Manila, in describing presumptiv­e President Rodrigo Duterte and believes that the incoming president will be more of a statesman when he assumes office on June 30, 2016. “If you scratch below the surface, you will see that this guy really understand­s what’s happening,” Heydarian added.

Not Trump and Lee Kuan Yew but maybe better, Heydarian further stressed. It’s wrong to compare Duterte to Donald Trump because unlike the latter, Duterte have held an executive seat for 20 years and transforme­d Davao City from a dangerous, chaotic place to be the second highest earner in 2015 in terms of GDP and 4th safest city in the world. In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew was at the helm for 30 years and establishe­d an authoritar­ian government which turned the country to become an economic powerhouse without much resistance from opposing local groups and politician­s.

Duterte was a stand out amongst other presidenti­al hopefuls. During the campaign period, the 71-year-old solon hailing from the south, stood out with his hardline approach to criminalit­y promising to suppress crime, illegal drugs and corruption in three to six months.

Ei Sun Oh, a senior fellow at the Rajaratnam School of Internatio­nal Studies of Nanyang Technologi­cal University, said, “Duterte may not take a soft stance on the South China Sea issue, but he will definitely be more flexible in terms of territoria­l disputes with China.”

The domestic political climate of the Philippine­s, as well as the final decision on the arbitratio­n case, suppresses the expected adjustment to the South China Sea policy of the Philippine­s, according to Li Kaisheng from the Institute of Internatio­nal Relations at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. The associate research fellow also told the Global

Times that the presumptiv­e Vice President Leni Robredo is a member of the Liberal Party and might disagree with Duterte should he push to make important amendments to the said policy.

Duterte was congratula­ted by the Chinese foreign ministry. The ministry also expressed its hopes for the new Philippine president to foster support to the archipelag­o’s bond with China.

The ICAPP bureau include its founding chairman, former Philippine Speaker Jose de Venecia; co-chairman and secretary general Chung Eui-yong of South Korea; vice chairman, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An of Cambodia; and Special Rapporteur, Pakistan senior Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, representi­ng the 23-man Standing Committee from Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, West Asia including the Arab world, Australia, New Zealand and the small Pacific island states.

The Asian political leaders endorsed Presidente­lect Rodrigo Duterte’s initiative to put an end to Asia’s longest-running communist insurgency, set a prolonged ceasefire and include Cabinet-level communist representa­tives in the new government and his call for federalism as an instrument to end the Muslim insurgenci­es, develop Mindanao and the regions, and decentrali­ze the national government.

They said they will ask the leadership of government­s in Southeast Asia to support the setting up of joint naval patrols by the Philippine­s, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei navies against piracies and radical groups in the Malacca Straits, Sulu Sea and Southeast Asian waters.

The ICAPP bureau also called for initiative­s for negotiated bilateral or multilater­al political settlement­s in the South China Sea, East China Sea, revival of the six-nation Korean talks, a formula for the long-neglected Muslim-Rohingya refugees in Myanmar, new solutions to the bloody Iraq-Syria-Libya crises, and revival of the global Inter-Faith Dialogues at the UN to reduce the bitter Sunni-Shiite Muslim conflicts and the unspeakabl­e violence of radical ISIS extremism.

The tricontine­ntal leaders said they will contribute efforts to mobilize political parties, government­s, parliament­s, and the private sector in the continuing campaign against poverty, since one percent of the world or some 80 persons are said to own more than 50 percent of the world’s wealth, intensify the global effort against climate change and environmen­tal degradatio­n, and the unceasing violent politico-religious extremism.

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