Duterte the Dirty Leader
These past few months I have been observing President Rodrigo Duterte’s crusade in the Philippines. President Duterte, who has built his entire presidential campaign on a War against Drugs, is known for commanding several vigilante groups. He is one of the few leaders who publicly advocate for “peace” through the use of violence. His leadership methodology has been a cause of international outcry especially in the United States. But to my close family members and the majority of the Filipino citizens, Duterte is the man who will “save the next generation from perdition.”
Before becoming the President of the Philippines, Duterte was the mayor Davao, Philippines. As the mayor, he is known for being affiliated with the Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group notorious for executing the local criminals. Since then, Davao has been called the “safest city in the world” (allegedly). Now as the President, Duterte has used his vigilante groups to execute any known criminals specifically targeting drug users and abusers. Since his inauguration this June, there have been over two thousand noted killings. Two thousand killings. That’s at least 36 deaths a day. Surprisingly, most of the Filipino citizens (including my family members) stand by his leadership.
While I do not understand how people can stand behind someone who advocates for violence, his actions make me rethink whether he is the type of leader the Philippines deserves. Duterte and his supporters justify these deaths by claiming it is for the common good of the people. Are these deaths just the small costs of making a great empire?