Rodrigo Duterte: The 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines

Duterte: The first Mindaoan President, and the history he made

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During the 2016 presidential race, one of the candidates that drew the most attention was Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who had just previously served as president. Before he ran for president, he served as the mayor of Davao City, which is one of the most populous and prosperous cities on the island of Mindanao. He was a Visayan who was born on March 28, 1945, in Maasin Leyte to Vicente Duterte, a government employee, and Soledad Roa, a teacher. He grew up in Danao, Cebu, the same place where his father was born. His family relocated to the then-undivided province of Davao in Mindanao when he was four years old. Vicente, his father, was governor of the province from 1959 until 1965, succeeding Alejandro Almendras, who had been elected to the Senate. His father was also a lawyer.

After graduating from the Lyceum of the Philippines University in 1968, Duterte was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. The next year, in 1972, he graduated from San Beda College of Law with a Juris Doctor degree. In that particular year, he passed the bar exam with flying colors. Before he was appointed OIC Vice Mayor, he worked in Davao City as a special attorney and municipal prosecutor from 1977 to 1986. He was appointed Vice Mayor of the OIC in 1986.

In the 1988 election, he was successful in his candidacy for the position of mayor. Since then, Duterte has not been defeated in any of his battles. He served as Mayor of Davao City seven times for more than 22 years. His term of office extended throughout the city. He represented the city’s first electoral district while also serving as deputy mayor. As a result of his leadership, Davao City was thrust into the national and international spotlight. As a result, both local and foreign investors and tourists are becoming more interested in the city as a place to visit.

Photo by Wiiliam Llano via Pinterest

Before becoming the first President of Mindanao, Rodrigo Duterte created history by being the first government official to file his candidacy after the deadline for candidates to file their certificates of candidacy (COC) ended. Several candidates had previously filed their candidacy certificates days before the formal period ended. On the other hand, Duterte has left his supporters and the media guessing whether he will run for the presidency in the 2016 election or not. His aide submitted his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the position of mayor of Davao City on October 15, 2015. However, more than a month later, Duterte withdrew his mayoral campaign and had his representative file his COC for president under the PDP-Laban, replacing the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chairperson Martin Diño. This move by Duterte rocked the country and gave hope to his supporters.

Another piece of history was written by Duterte when he became the first president to simultaneously serve in two different positions within the government. He held the position of the municipal chief administrator of Davao City and later went on to become the 16th President of the Philippines. In addition to this, he was the first president to openly identify as a socialist. On May 7, 2016, at his miting de avance, he made the declaration that he would be a president who leans to the left, and this sparked disagreements among the people of the Philippines. However, given that he is a lawyer, his fans assumed that because he took such a hard line, he knew exactly what he was doing from the moment he announced it. And when Duterte took the oath of office in June of 2016, he became the first lawyer to hold the office of President of the Philippines since Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the country’s former president who passed away in 1989.

He was the legendary president who was notorious for his harsh and vulgar words. His supporters adored him for being true to himself and for being “unfiltered.” Since he takes such a hard line against criminal activity, supporters of Duterte have dubbed him “The Punisher.” His campaign promises centered on bringing about a swift transformation in the country, or what the supporters refer to as the “Tunay na Pagbabago.” His campaign centered on the elimination of criminal activity, corrupt government officials, and the distribution of illegal drugs across the nation. Even before he took office, Duterte made it clear that he would step down as president if he was unable to fulfill his campaign pledges and bring stability to the Philippines within the first six months of his term. All of these things together have been a source of light for his fellow countrymen and have been a source of pride for his fellow Mindanaoans. His platform won the hearts of the Filipino citizens and helped him thrive.

With more than 16.6 million votes, Duterte won the presidential election in 2016 by a landslide, defeating his closest challenger, former Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas, who had the support of the president who was in office at that time, Benigno Aquino III. Duterte won the election by a margin greater than six million votes, and he was declared the winner. Duterte became the first person from the island of Mindanao to be seated in the highest position in the country. He was 71 years old when he became president of the Philippines, making him the oldest person to ever hold that job. Since 2016, Mindanao has seen a rise in investment, and numbers confirmed this year that it was attributable to his triumph. From January to April 2019, 94.7 billion pesos were spent in Mindanao, a 420 percent increase over the same time in 2018.

As aforementioned earlier, Duterte followed through stringently with the implementation of his primary platform. Like how he promised that he would kill everyone suspected of being in the drug trade or other sorts of criminal activity, on the same day that President Rodrigo Duterte took office, June 30, 2016, his government promptly launched a war against illegal drugs on a scale that had never been seen before. He committed to addressing the problem of illegal drugs in the country, which, in his view, was wreaking havoc in the day-to-day lives of a great number of Filipino families and obliterating the prospects for the future of the Filipino youth. He made this commitment to address the issue of illegal drugs in the country. As of the year 2021, the “war on drugs” campaign of this president has resulted in the deaths of more than 6,000 prominent drug figures.

Rodrigo Duterte has been welcomed with both praise and criticism during his presidency, most notably for his anti-drug campaign and his diplomatic strategies, which are more focused on China than on other countries. Despite this, the net satisfaction scores for the Duterte government in earlier surveys ranged from “excellent” to “outstanding.” His supporters have expressed their gratitude and love for their “Tatay” through posts on various social media platforms. His supporters believe that he has been true to his words and has assisted the country he vowed to serve during his six years of service to the country.

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