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Filipinos at Albany High Support Rodrigo Duterte

Adam Aleksic, Editor in Chief

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Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, has been denounced by most of Western media for his unethical and unorthodox practices. However, he is immensely popular with a majority of Filipinos, and that reflects in Philippines-born students here at Albany High School.

Duterte, a former mayor of Davao City who ran on an anti-corruption campaign, has been criticized for highly controversial policy of supporting the killings of noncompliant drug users, his boasts of killing people (including one claim that he pushed a man out of a helicopter, all unnoticed by Filipino voters), and his language: he has called everyone from former President Obama to Pope Francis the “son of a wh–e”, his favorite and often-used insult. These are just a few of his many scandals, another one of which was his expressing regret that he didn’t get to participate in the rape of a missionary. He does, however, seem to be improving the drastic crime rates in the Philippines through his policy of terror and cult of personality, and has become well-respected by the rather large Filipino community here for that.

“I thought he was a cool guy,” said junior Ken Lee.

“I think he’s good for the country; he provides protection… I just like him”, said fellow junior Gian Mission.

“I like what he’s doing for the country, but I don’t like the way he’s doing it,” said sophomore Janara Delima. When asked if she supported his presidency, she answered “yes” without hesitation.

“He’s doing what’s just,” affirmed another student, who wished to remain anonymous.

“I’m well aware of his controversial decisions and actions, and disagree with them, but I understand why he appeals to the people of the Philippines,” said sophomore Mary Cabuhat. “After having several ineffective presidents, he’s been able to appeal to us by removing those who harm us as a whole.”

“He’s great,” added twelfth grader Rafael Cabahug.

“I think he’s a very good leader,” said Rafael’s sophomore brother Jonas. “He’s making changes that no one else has dared to do. I don’t care that he’s calling Obama and the Pope such names if he’s getting rid of the drug addicts.”

“I think what he’s doing is going to help the Philippines,” said senior Andrew Ampatuan.

The final verdict: of the twelve Filipino students interviewed, all of them supported the man virtually no journalist in the Western hemisphere has written favorably about. Though much of this is undoubtedly influenced from home, much of it is not, and the fact stands that here in Albany the majority of the Filipino community favors Duterte. This is especially shocking considering that many of these same people are strict Catholics (and Duterte has done many things that go against traditional Catholic doctrine). Perhaps they understand, as Americans cannot, that the Philippines are in such bad shape that they need dramatic change. When asked for the rationale behind their support, all interviewed students’ responses can be encompassed by that of junior Aejay Gonzales.

“First of all, the media is wrong,” he began. “Duterte is not ordering the deaths of the drug users. He’s encouraging them to surrender. Those that do are spared. Those who resist are resisting the police, who then have full authority to shoot them. What he’s done is really nice… it’s something previous presidents didn’t do,” Aejay continued, echoing Mary Cabuhat’s words. “Millions have surrendered. He’s stopping corruption; many drug pushers were police and now that’s changed. He did not do many of the terrible things he’s been accused of.

For better or for worse, Duterte seems bent on cleansing the islands of the Philippines. What we can glean from this is that many residents (and former residents) of those islands actively encouraged that cleansing, and remain to do so today.

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You Can't Hide That Falcon Pride!
Filipinos at Albany High Support Rodrigo Duterte