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  World   Asia  01 Jul 2017  Duterte rides high after a ‘rough’ first year

Duterte rides high after a ‘rough’ first year

AFP
Published : Jul 1, 2017, 4:16 am IST
Updated : Jul 1, 2017, 4:16 am IST

Mr Duterte has been heavily criticised for his unprecedented crackdown on drugs.

Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: AP)
 Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: AP)

Manila: Rodrigo Duterte ends his first year as Philippine President on Friday as a hugely popular leader, after taking Filipinos on a promised “rough ride” of drug war killings and foreign policy U-turns.

Mr Duterte has been heavily criticised for his unprecedented crackdown on drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives, and he marks 12 months in office enduring the biggest crisis of his rule as Islamist militants occupy parts of a southern city.

The 72-year-old has also upended decades of foreign policy stability, launching verbal bombs against traditional ally the United States while steering the Philippines closer to authoritarian regimes in China and Russia. Yet an overwhelming majority of Filipinos support him, according to a series of surveys by pollsters over the past 12 months, with the most recent one showing 75 per cent were satisfied with his administration’s performance.

“People like the man,” Ricardo Abad, head of sociology and anthropology at Ateneo University in Manila, said, referring to Mr Duterte’s decisive leadership style.

“People may disagree with his policies, or are maybe ambivalent towards them, but because they like him, people will tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.”

Many people overseas know Duterte for his apparent joy in prosecuting his drug war — he said he was “happy to slaughter” millions of addicts — as well as gutter language in which critics are frequently called “sons of whores”.

Tags: rodrigo duterte, islamist militants