Please, Rodrigo Duterte is not Donald Trump

16

ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

THERE are many reasons why I hate Donald Trump.

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And one of these is that he forces me to argue that President Rodrigo Duterte is not Donald Trump.

There are those who say that Donald Trump will be good for the Philippines. In fact, many of President Duterte’s supporters are pro-Donald Trump at heart. They celebrate the uncanny similarity in the political temperaments of these two Presidents, from their devil-may-care attitude towards mainstream media, to their iconoclastic perspectives on foreign relations. They both say ridiculous things to the discomfort of the liberals and the political establishments. The election of both can be considered as an outcome of a tidal wave of protest votes by the ordinary people against the political institutions that have long ruled over their respective countries.

On the other hand, there are those who hate both Presidents, and would use their similarities to further fuel their dislike for our President.

After all, both have the tendency to make controversial, politically incorrect statements that offend women. Trump was pilloried for his boasting of grabbing female genitalia, while Duterte offends many when he tells sex jokes.

Trump was taken to task when he made fun of a physically challenged journalist during a campaign sortie in South Carolina in February 2016, even as Duterte was criticized when he joked about the physical disability of his friend and made fun of an elderly person in one of his campaign appearances in Aklan in April 2016.

Indeed, it is easy to argue that Donald and Digong have many similarities.

But while these similarities may tempt one to imply a similarity in their politics, such is stopped on its tracks by the screaming reality that their populist politics actually fight for diametrically different causes. Their being iconoclasts and loud-mouths, their thinking out loud, and their dislike for traditional media are merely structural similarities that do not render justice to the deep-seated divergence of the nature of what they are fighting for.

Trump takes advantage of the disgust of the ordinary American voter with the Washington D.C. political establishment and its traditional politicians, and turns this around to favor big business and the wealthy. He brings to the presidency a lot of baggage, including his enormous private business interests from which he refuses to divest. He surrounds himself with a Cabinet of people that embody conflicts of interest.

Trump founded his campaign on a politics of fear of immigrants and Muslims that he wanted to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, and that he is poised to evict from the US millions of immigrants, mostly from countries that he identified as breeding grounds for terrorists, which incidentally for him includes the Philippines.

This you could not say of President Duterte. He tapped into the anger and fear of the people not towards the alien other, but towards the festering problem of drugs and criminality. He does not despise foreigners, but only those who bear foreign interests that compromise our sovereignty.

He may have made offensive jokes about women, but he made sure that the reproductive health law which favored them will be fully implemented. This, even as Trump is poised to preside over the massive defunding of planned parenthood programs.

Trump and his allies are raring to gut universal affordable health care, even as President Duterte is determined to make health care affordable and available to poor Filipinos.

President Duterte is not in office to protect the interest of business, as he is initiating reforms that would spur growth that is balanced towards the interest of both business and the ordinary working classes. He is pushing for a tax reform law that would ensure a fairer tax regime. He has approved the increase in the pensions of SSS beneficiaries. He is pushing for an educational reform agenda biased towards the poor.

The only thing that Trump may not have which may be to his advantage is that he is not accused by human rights activists for alleged involvement in state-sponsored killings, unlike President Duterte. But then again, our President can be accused of many things, but not of being racist, and of espousing hate speech that inspired racial and ethnic violence.

President Trump denies the existence of climate change. President Duterte does not deny climate change, but is only critical of the institutional arrangements that would govern how states will deal with it.

In sum, it is not only Trump’s speech that offends. The totality of his politics does.

On the other hand, one can grant the fact that President Duterte’s speech can be offensive to liberal sensitivities. But most of his policy directives, except his war on drugs and his support for the death penalty, enable and support progressively liberal political positions.

Rodrigo Duterte is not Donald Trump. And if you celebrate Duterte for their alleged similarities, or hate him even more for these, obviously, you really have not looked at Duterte beyond his speeches.

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16 Comments

  1. This writer should also watch or read fox news not just CNN and other mainstream media they say.
    one is with the right wing party and the other is not.

  2. George PalaItot on

    Trump and Duterte. both TSISMOSO and LIARS, but trump never killed anybody nor opioid Fentanyl addict.

  3. You are seemed very brutal to trump when you do not have enough basis, especially If your reference of some of your post is huffingtonpost. That media site has never been good to TRUMP I think almost of the media outlets. You should have know idea of what is happening on the US soil, before jumping to conclusion, just gather first the facts not just some information came from various media outlets. Remember when USA collapse, filipinos will be severely affected. I do not think the rhetoric of Pres. Duterte against USA will continue since trump now is now in power, you know that GUY has the balls and the utimate power to change everything.

    • This writer certainly had not done extensive research about Trump and just cherry picked info from the same main stream biased alphabet media that’s reporting fake news about Trump. Must’ve not listen to the full entirety how that conversation went between Pres. Trump and Billy Bush which was supposed to be in private but somehow got recorded and leaked. Must’ve not watched the full video clip of which the US lamestream media had cut to paint a picture of Pres. Trump like making fun of a handicapped person. Must’ve not paid full attention on the full speech of Pres. Trump whereby stating about defunding only PART of Planned Parenthood using US taxpayers’ money for abortion (my tax money should not be used to kill someone’s child, that’s that woman’s choice, pay for murder a human being yourself)…. And on and on and on! You could not grasp the problems in the USA and it’s citizens if you’re not in the US. So, this writer is half-baked!

  4. The next Trump of the Philippines is just around the corner. I mean corner in the boxing scene. Hope not, but ….. .
    To be serious, our leader right now is a man of his making and is governing.the best he can. Please leave him alone. At present he is very much occupied putting out fires started by our previous leaders. Our President in place, will rise to the occasion and show his real character and colors.at time of crises.

  5. Sorry, you have to reside in the US to have a gut-feel of who or what Trump is all about. I share your love with Duterte, but you obviously have no idea what’s happening on the American ground zero right now.

    • Yup, this is just uninformed hypocrisy. It’s an opinion based on emotions and not facts. Funny too, it wreaks of left wing, liberal propaganda, which we are fighting against here in the Phils.

    • i agree. the writer should also read or watch foxnews not just CNN and other mainstream media. one is with the right wing party and the other is not.

    • Living in the US does not necessarily mean you are more informed than those who do not live there.

    • WRONG! That family and the yellowtards could be compared to the same puppets like Obama and Clinton that the globalists put in high positions in their respective nations to destroy their own countries from within (create chaos, voter fraud, etc) to benefit only themselves. God does exists as HE paved the way for the Philippines to have Pres. Duterte and for the USA to have Pres. Trump AGAINST ALL ODDS and beyond. Now we just keep praying and keep on keeping on!