The gulf between what President Rodrigo Duterte says and what he does is raising already dangerous levels of cynicism about government and governance even among those who supported him in the 2016 presidential elections. But he doesn’t seem to be aware of it. Even if he were, it’s doubtful if he would at all be concerned, secure as he is in the conviction that his loyalists will continue to support him, anyway.
In the aftermath of President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar announced the availability in that country of scholarships on media and communication studies for his staff, and, presumably, for anyone else qualified and interested in a career in government media.
His defenders and partisans, as well as the trolls his regime pays out of public funds, describe President Rodrigo Duterte’s “leadership” as “decisive.”
They’re referring to the speed with which he tried to address the drug problem — the extent of which his minions, among them Alan Peter Cayetano, and he himself, exaggerate — and his promise to end it within six months. (Cayetano told the United Nations last year that seven million Filipinos are drug addicts, while Mr. Duterte pegs the number at four million. PDEA, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, put it at less than two million in 2016.)
There are two countries that go by the name “Philippines.” The real, historical one is home to the Filipino millions, nearly half of whom are poor and powerless because they’re ruled by one of the most corrupt and most incompetent political classes on the planet. The other is an imaginary one — a creation of those very same rulers to convince the ruled that everything is fine, indeed nearly perfect, in this earthly paradise.
A March 31 statement by the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES), for example, kept referring to “the Philippines.” But it sounded as if it were describing an entirely different country outside of history.