The US-Philippine relations and the “Duterte phenomenon” in Philippine elections


Why is presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor such a phenomenon in the May 9 elections.

In this part 3 of the May 7, 2016 episode of ASEAN in Focus weekend, two political experts tackle this and the importance of the having good foreign relations with the international community, particularly the United States.

ASEAN in Focus resident resource person Dr. Carlos Tabunda Jr., an executive fellow of the Development Academy of the Philippines, interviews two political analysts — international expert former Philippine Ambassador Jose V. Romero Jr., Ph.D, Chairman and President Philippine Council for Foreign Relations and the  Asian Center for Study of Democracy; and University of the Philippines Professor Aries Arugay, Executive Director of the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies.

Both experts explained how it is important for the next President to maintain good relations with the international community, and not just the US.

“I think it’s a good stategy to diversify… The US is just one ally of many,” said Prof. Arugay.  “I hope that the new government — its foreign policy thrusts is not only to rekindle old relations but to nurture new ones.”

Ambassador Romero, for his part, stressed that the US is the one superpower that can promote peace and order in the region.

“The United States has the biggest military establishment in the world and there are flashpoints in the region,” he said as he mentioned the situation in the South China Sea.

The two experts were also interviewed on why Duterte ticks.

Romero explains how Duterte has a mass appeal that cuts across all classes.

He said Duterte’s campaign to fight drugs resonated with a lot of people.

Prof. Arugay described this as the “Duterte phenomenon.”   He said Duterte’s “catch-all” campaign to implement peace and order, and fight  crime was a key to this phenomenon.

Arugay said Duterte was able to cut across all classes with his campaign, as he differentiated Duterte from the “Erap para sa Mahirap” slogan of former President Joseph Estrada that targeted only the lower classes of society.