The Philippines has a new president, big changes ahead

"In the Philippines, controversial Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte won the Presidential elections by a landslide."

AUTHOR / Madonna Virola

In Mindoro Island selected indigenous Mangyan went to separate polling precincts.  (Photo: Madonna V
In Mindoro Island selected indigenous Mangyan went to separate polling precincts. (Photo: Madonna Virola)

The Philippines held it national elections earlier this week – and controversial Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte won by a landslide.

The tough talking Duterte has promised to crackdown on crime and corruption within six months in office.

But after joking about rape and murder, Duterte, the first president from a conflict-ridden part of the country, has showed a more reflective side.  

Madonna Virola has this story from Baco town.

The Mangyan Alangan people are lining up here on voting day at the country’s first pilot project for indigenous people.

The initiative is designed to make voting more accessible to the Philippines’ indigenous peoples.

Manuel Mintaras is a community leader from the Mangyan Alangan sub-tribe.

“We’re happy now that we’re able to vote without disturbances or manipulation. People look down on us because many of us did not go to school. But we also listen to the radio and watch television, so we know who to vote for.”

Manuel won’t say who he voted for, but for million of Filipinos, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is the answer to the country’s problems.

Duterte made his political name as the mayor of Davao, where he took a hardline approach to drugs and crime, reportedly with the use of extrajudicial killing squads.

Now he’s planning to take his tactics to the national stage.

“I am here because there is so much criminality, drugs is flooding the country. I would get rid of criminality, drugs and corruption just give me 3-6 months, and I will do it for you. Again I said, we cannot go for economic growth unless we start with government for as long as there are incompetent and corrupt officials in our government, we cannot reach our goal.”


On election night it quickly became clear that Duterte had secured a landslide win.

He got the edge with millions more votes than his closest competitor.

Yet the man who has been labeled ‘The Punisher’ and ‘Dirty Harry’ has showed more of a reflective side since. On election night he commented,

“These past few days were quite virulent for all of us. The black propaganda and the false accusations exchanges between two sides. This is part of a day's work in the elections. I would like to reach my hand to my opponents. There's the hurt. Let’s begin to forget and start healing. I extend my hands to opponents, let's be friends. Forget about the travails of the elections.”

Duterte has continued to surprise people. On election night he visited his mother’s tomb and prayed for help in his new role.

He also pledged to be more diplomatic, even contemplating a visit to the Pope, who he cursed last year for causing major traffic during his visit to Manila.

But analysts say Duterte is still light on the details of his governance, even though there has been talk that he prefers a federal system, and will alter the Constitution to allow that.

Earl Parreno is an analyst from the Manila-based Institute for Political and Economic Reform. He’s says it’s hard to evaluate, right now, what type of leader Duterte will be.

“A year will suffice, then we will already be able to see the direction of his governance, his policies. During the campaign, he promised radical change. But if you’re there in governance, you can’t do it just like that, like you said in the campaign. I think he will be more presidential with time, after he takes over the reigns of the executive branch,” said Parreno.

Bishop Warlito Cajandig form the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan, says that now Duterte has been elected, the Philippines must work with him.

“What can we do if we choose a president who is not suppose to be there, we just have to accept it because that’s the reality, then we’ll see how we can work with him and we pray,” Warlito said.

While it’s clear Duterte will be the next man in charge, the vice presidency is yet to be determined.

At this time, it’s likely to be Leni Robredo, a first time politician and widow of good governance champion Jesse Robredo. She is winning by a thin margin.

Back in the mountains of Mindoro, Dindo Dumagol, a volunteer-leader for the Legal Network for Truthful elections shares the wishes of his tribe, with a new leader poised to take over.

“Whoever will be elected, especially as President, we hope they will pay attention to community development, for our rights to be promoted and our many concerns to be addressed,” commented Dumagol.

  • eng
  • Philippines election
  • Rodrigo Duterte
  • Madonna Virola


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