The Philippine Islands is a beautiful archipelago made up of more than 7,000 islands in Southeast Asia. The country has been a great ally of the United States since the U.S. first liberated them from Spain during the Spanish American War, and then again from the Japanese during WWII. At one point, the nation was even a territory of the U.S. until they sought, and were given, their independence.
Today, America plays the role of key watchdog, protecting the small island nation from an ever more aggressive China, who has already taken over the Philippine economy and is set to take over the land, according to those who understand Chinese thinking well.
The culture of the Philippines is long overdue change. Though the people will smile, outwardly acting warm toward foreigners, especially Westerners, foreigners (whom would rather be called visitors, or tourists, though they’re not even granted that much real respect) are viewed as little more than money by the overwhelming majority of Filipinos. The culture, often, is one of deception, where sociopath behavior and thinking is deeply rooted in poverty, where the people have unfortunately learned over generations to justify deception via the search of meeting one’s daily needs. And with daily wages among the lowest in the world (on average, $8 for a day’s work), it’s become the norm to lie, scam, cheat or steal rather than work for a living.
Ironically, the Philippines, based upon GDP, is not a poor nation. They actually fall into the top 25’th percentile of all nations, in simple English, meaning that for every country that is wealthier than the Philippines, there are three who are not.
The cause of the lack of wealth the nation produces, mostly through exporting tropical fruits such as bananas and coconuts (oh, are they rich in natural resources!) trickling down to the masses is two fold. Number one- they still largely practice Feudalism, where a select few in the private sector own most of the resources, and they have for many generations, and the majority of the population live as peasants, or serfs at best, squatting on the large patches of privately owned land and working as laborers during the harvest, in return for the free living space and the bare minimum requirements to meet their existence. There is no prevailing middle class among the people to flourish financially and provide a strong tax base with which the Government can meet much desired infrastructural needs.
The second reason wealth does not trickle down as it should is due to the extremely high level of corruption within the Government. Even when the country is hard hit by natural disasters, which is common due to their location in the Pacific Rim, where mother nature assaults the landmasses with fierce typhoons, earthquakes and occasional tsunamis and massive flooding, it is more common than not, to see people in power within Government, stealing aid sent to the nation from foreign Governments to sell in their privately owned businesses. Instead of food and other much needed supplies making its way to the afflicted peasants along the coastal regions during these times of disaster, you’ll often find the products in shops owned by local Burungay (neighborhood) captains, Mayors, Governors and Congressmen/women, while the people go with their needs unmet.
The southern most major island, Mindanao, is plagued with three major terror groups, two Islamic radical groups (Aby Sayyif and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front ((MILF))) and a communist sect known as the NPA. Ironically, the safest city in Mindanao, the Philippines, and one of the safest cities in the world is Davao City, nestled comfortably on the Bay of Davao in Mindanao.
Why then, in a country so corrupt, and on an island ridden with terror, is one of the safest cities in the world located on Mindanao? One reason! Their Mayor, Rudy Duterte!
Duterte has ruled Davao city with an iron fist for most of the past two decades. When he’s not been in office, the role of Mayor was filled by his daughter, Sarah, though people still walked the line because they knew her father was still running the show. He usually filled the role as vice-mayor during his daughter’s terms, but everyone knew he was still calling the shots.
Democracy is a great concept, and it’s the form of Government practiced by the Philippines, but as the West has learned through history, Democracy only works when you have a strong, educated, prosperous middle class to keep politicians in check. As stated earlier, the Philippines has no such middle class, thus, crooked politicians and criminals alike have been able to run a-muck, while the word “Democracy” has been just that, a word, mostly thrown around by Western allies as an excuse to back the Philippines politically.
Sad to say, some nations truly need to be run by Dictatorship, these nations being those without a strong, educated, prosperous middle class, and the Philippines falls into this category. However, as we’ve seen with other dictatorships, the peasants are often as neglected as they are under Feudalism.
Enter Rudy Duterte.
Duterte has proven through his actions that peasants are not a third class citizenry. Though the man is independently wealthy, and despite now being 70 years old, he works relentlessly to see that the people in his city are having their needs met and being protected, as long as they are playing their part as productive citizens. If they work, and are honest, and are not thieves and connivers, he will go to bat for them as if they were members of the Aristocracy. He does not allow them to be mistreated.
Duterte spends several nights a week, after putting in long hours at his office, actually driving around the city in a taxi, keeping an eye on the goings-on of the city. When violence had become too rampant in the wee-hours, he imposed a 10 p.m. liquor ban, meaning that last call at the bars was 10 p.m. and the stores could not sell alcohol past that point either. The action drastically cut down on late night crime and violence.
Stories abound of Duterte walking the streets at night, breaking up fights (he served as a soldier in his youth) and taking beggar children to their homes and ‘getting up close and personal’ with their parents, even imprisoning some of the fathers until they agreed to work and support their families.
Duterte has addressed the rampant drug dealer and cartel issue within his city by having what is known locally as a ‘death squad’ weed them out. Human Rights groups have long come after him for such practice, but the facts speak for themselves. How else would it be possible for a city, surrounded by such danger and corruption, be able to sport the reputation of safety as it does? Duterte believes all people have a right to live and carry on business as they’d like, as long as they are not hurting others and committing crime and corruption, and once they’ve proven to do so, he deals with them accordingly, and though they may no longer exist after being dealt with, neither do their evil ways, and the innocent people are now safer.
It is still up in the air whether Duterte will seek the Presidency of the Philippines in 2016, however, he already leads in the polls and he’s not even announced that he is running!
His popularity among the Filipino people is evidence that they have had enough. They want to actively join the 21’st century. There is another way to live, they know it, and they are ready. The people of the Philippines are as wonderful as any other people around the world. Unfortunately, much of the lying, scamming, cheating and stealing that they are known for doing by the West, is done as actions in regard to choosing the lesser of two evils. They act inappropriately or their children starve. However, being in the top 25’th percentile in GDP among all nations, there is another way to conduct their daily affairs and they know this. They, too, can work honest jobs, and with Feudalism and corruption in Government out of the way, they can also earn a livable wage in so doing. The middle class that they so desperately need to provide a tax base for infrastructure and social programs will naturally appear once the opportunity is there with the removal of the corrupt politicians and a more equal share trickling down from the Lords to the peasants with Feudalism a way of the past. Within one generation, they can be an affluent society. Davao City Mayor Rudy Duterte is the man who can make these things happen. He truly is the last best hope for the Philippines.