Thu Oct 6, 2016 | 12:02am EDT
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has been rated “very good” in an opinion poll on his first 90 days in office, which has been defined largely by his deadly war on drugs and vitriol against Western leaders.
Only 11 percent of 1,200 Filipinos surveyed by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) agency said they were dissatisfied with his performance. That gave Duterte a net satisfaction rating of 64 percent, getting him off to a better start than predecessors Benigno Aquino, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, but short of the 66 percent achieved by Fidel Ramos in 1992.
The rating, announced on Thursday, was calculated by deducting the 11 percent from the 76 percent of respondents who said they were satisfied with Duterte’s presidency, then rounding it off. Thirteen percent were undecided.
The SWS survey did not ask respondents to give a reason for the rating. It was conducted in face-to-face interviews held from Sept. 24-27, after Duterte had a spat with President Barack Obama over criticism of his anti-dugs campaign but before he said he was seeking new alliances with China and Russia.
A survey by Pulse Asia, another polling agency, less than a month after he took office on June 30 said Duterte had a record 91 percent trust rating. The two polls are not comparable.
Duterte won the May 9 election by a substantial margin after promising to expand a ruthless anti-crime campaign he started while mayor of Davao City, which had earned him nicknames like “the Punisher” and “Duterte Harry”.
Political analyst Nelson Navarro said the SWS survey suggested Filipinos felt safer because Duterte had followed through with his promised war on crime and drugs, in which over 3,400 people have been killed.
He said Duterte’s abrasive style and his sometimes profane outbursts against the United States, European Union and United Nations were not discrediting him either, and supporters would rally in his defense amid criticism at home and abroad.
“This is not going to be good manners and right conduct. What you see here is exactly what you get. His tough stance has gained him popularity across the Philippines,” Navarro said.
“Everyone likes to dump on President Duterte for the extra-judicial killings but … there is a kind of backlash on the perception of the West.”
The SWS poll considers a net approval rating of over 70 percent as “excellent” and 50-69 percent as “very good”.
(Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
Philippine defense chief says Duterte may be ‘misinformed’ on U.S. alliance
Wed Oct 5, 2016 | 8:23am EDT
The Philippine defense minister sought to patch up cracks in a military alliance with the United States on Wednesday, saying President Rodrigo Duterte, who has appeared intent on scrapping joint programs, might be misinformed about their value.
Referring to recent strongly worded comments by Duterte, in which he has declared that the Philippines military gained little from U.S. security ties, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the armed forces were still weak and the country got a lot out of the U.S. relationship.
“That’s why I said the president was misinformed, because I think the information he is getting is incomplete,” Lorenzana told reporters, a day after the launch of the latest round of PHIBLEX military exercises involving troops from both sides.
“Maybe, the defense ministry and the armed forces were remiss in providing him the correct information. This, we will address in the coming days.”
The United States has been on the receiving end of a torrent of hostility from Duterte, who was angered by U.S. expressions of concern over his war on drugs.
On Tuesday, Duterte said U.S. President Barack Obama should “go to hell” and that in his time, he might “break up” with Washington, with which Manila has had a security treaty since 1951.
Last week, he also caused a stir when he said the PHIBLEX exercises would be “the last one” and on Sunday said a U.S.-Philippines Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement would be reviewed.
That deal includes setting up storage facilities for maritime security, humanitarian and disaster response operations and grants U.S. troops some access to Philippine bases.
Lorenzana said the ongoing exercises gave Philippine troops exposure to new guns, technology and body armor and training in warfare tactics, marksmanship and quick responses to natural disasters.
“According to him, only the American troops are benefiting from those exercises,” he said, referring to his president.
“But based on what we gathered from the GHQ (general headquarters) and army, there are (benefits).”
U.S. officials have played down Duterte’s remarks, focusing instead on the decades-long alliance which they have sought to bolster in recent years in response to China’s moves to enforce its claims over the South China Sea.
The White House said on Tuesday the United States had not received any formal communications from Duterte’s government about changing the relationship.
(Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Tags: alliances with China and Russia, anti-crime campaign, China, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Duterte, EDCA, enhanced defence cooperation agreement, European Union, extrajudicial killings, human rights, Nelson Navarro, Philippine President Duterte, Philippines, Philippines military, poll numbers, polling, Russia, Social Weather Stations, South China Sea, SWS, U.S., United Nations, United States, war on drugs