Why did Filipinos vote for Duterte?

Duterte's fatal measures

One will have to fear even longer. The curfew in the north of the Philippines, which affects 57 million people, was supposed to end on April 12th. Last week, however, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that they would initially apply until April 30th. Because between the announcement of the first curfew and the day it was extended, the number of infections in the country had meanwhile increased twenty-fold to 3700. Despite all the restrictions that such a measure entails: People should feel safer because the risk of infection in the midst of the corona crisis decreases with quarantine.

But in the Southeast Asian country of 106 million people, an extended lockdown also extends the game with death. Because Rodrigo Duterte gave the order to the police and the military: "Shoot them!" He means everyone who does not adhere to the curfew. After all, according to Duterte, it is of central importance that all people obey the rules in this critical phase. Anyone who does not do this is committing a serious offense and that must be punished accordingly.

In fact, shots have been fired in the streets since then. People who were outside despite instructions for the past few days are no longer alive. It is a policy of disproportionality that in the Philippines can hardly come as a surprise anymore. The Southeast Asian country has been experiencing a civilizational catastrophe for years. In May 2016, the Filipinos elected Rodrigo Duterte, now 75, as their president, who declared intoxicants a demon of society and thus legitimized killing, although the real problem has long been social inequality.

In his election campaign, Duterte had advertised what he had pulled off for over 22 years as mayor of the southern Philippine city of Davao. Under his aegis, a social hotspot had become a supposedly safe place there. Duterte himself once explained his policy as follows: “How do you think I did it? Kill all (criminals). ”Since then, Duterte has been waging this“ drug war ”on a national level. Tens of thousands of drug addicts and those believed to be drug addicts have since been shot. Street crime has since decreased. Killing is rampant for that.

The victims of Duterte’s politics are mainly poor people. Because either they are actually drug addicts, or, as the human rights organization iDefend from Manila criticizes, the police officers are looking for pawn victims. Since policemen are rewarded with lump sums per head, if they cannot find the person they are actually looking for, they occasionally shoot someone else from a poor neighborhood as a substitute. There are now several accusations of this kind.

The current threatening gestures in the middle of the quarantine period are also aimed at the weaker members of society. When Duterte last announced that he was no longer just waging a "war on drugs", but also a campaign against people who went outside, slum dwellers had protested on the street shortly before. In the midst of the lockdown, they no longer received any aid packages. Duterte's answer to what looked like a brazen rule-breaking to him: “Don't challenge the government. You will lose. "

Ironically, the president's harsh rhetoric spreads at least as much horror as security. "Duterte is completely arbitrary," says a 32-year-old Filipino on the phone, who prefers not to give his name. “At least at the beginning of his reign you thought it was clear what the rules were under him. But now he's unpredictable. "A young Manila woman says," Before Duterte came to power, you could go anywhere. Life was easy. Today there are neighborhoods that I prefer to avoid because the police and squadrons often shoot people there. And now it's getting worse. "

But anyone who thinks that the majority will now turn their backs on their president could be mistaken. According to a survey by the market research firm Publicus Asia, two-thirds of the residents of the metropolitan area of ​​Manila are in agreement with Duterte's anti-crisis measures. At the same time, Duterte has been using harsh measures against critical voices for years. Journalists are intimidated, political enemies end up in prison; Freedom of expression has become more difficult. In the fight against the corona virus, Rodrigo Duterte has so far been less powerful. Most recently, he appealed to entrepreneurs and the wealthy in the country to provide financial support. So far nothing has been heard of an order to shoot against those who cancel.

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