What does one call a multi-million dollar international campaign by liberal neo-imperialists designed to influence Philippine public opinion against President Rodrigo Duterte? Based on every opinion poll on Duterte since the summer of 2016 up to this month’s midterm elections when pro-Duterte candidates virtually swept the board, one ought to call such a campaign a waste of money.
But when it comes to wasting money on anti-Duterte black propaganda, both the US government and foreign private sectors have not been shy about throwing their money down the proverbial yellow drain. In a recent article in the Manila Times, retired diplomat and active journalist Rigoberto Tiglao explicitly details just how desperate the liberal US “deep state” and wealthy liberal individuals and foundations in the US were when it came to trying to turn the Filipino public against Duterte.
But while the amount of money and the extent of the open conspiracy exposed in Tiglao’s crucial piece of writing is shocking due to the immensity of the various anti-Duterte operations, the main point to takeaway is that none of it worked. After just under three years in power, a nationwide election has proved that pro-Duterte candidates are just as popular as ever and that many of these candidates relied on public appearance with Duterte to boost their popularity.
This is an instructive outcome as it makes it clear that even in an age where the world’s wealthiest companies, individuals and governments weaponize online propaganda in order to sway an entire nation’s population, a genuine movement of people power can overcome the devious onslaught.
In the case of today’s Philippines, the peaceful people power comes from the millions of ordinary people who continue to derive inspiration from Duterte’s agenda which seeks to put the concerns and aspirations of the many above the money grabbing corruption of the few. As such, because Duterte has helped to diminish some of the erstwhile monolithic power over society among corporate oligarchs, political dynasties and the oligarchic Roman Catholic Church in The Philippines, Duterte’s popularity is not only widespread but has genuine and sustainable foundations among the public.
The reasons for Duterte’s success are obvious enough and so too are the motivating factors that have led powerful forces opposed to his reformist agenda to spend vast amounts of money on trying to remove him for power. Yet the truth story of the day is that Duterte with his humble style of politics won the day over the international elites. Duterte’s continued success and popularity likewise demonstrates that with a combination of persistence, an unwavering commitment to delivering on key policy matters and a loyal public using independent online resources to engage in genuine democracy, the stalwart underdog can beat the gilded hegamon.
This is all the more reason why Diehard Duterte Supporters (DDS) must use the last years of his term to encourage Rodrigo Duterte to go forward with federal and parliamentary reforms, whilst also encouraging him to push for an open pro-FDI economic model. If it is possible for Duterte to retain and in fact gain popularity in spite of the literal global conspiracy again him as has been outlined by Rigoberto Tiglao, it is also possible to fight what remains of the old guard on all sides of the broken political system.
If Duterte delivers genuine federal-parliamentary +FDI reforms by 2022, he will have not only defied the domestic odds and international millionaire and billionaire conspirators but he will have gone up against a crooked system and turned it into one that is more accountable, straightforward, transparent, efficient, effective, democratic and functional.
If Duterte can stand up to international forces of supreme malignancy, surely he can reform a 1987 Constitution that is well passed total obsolescence.