The Philippines has a strong democracy and a free press

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D: Filipino president hated in his country and for good reason – October 19D: It’s easy to admire a dictator from a safe distance – October 21

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, sentenced for his bloody war on drugs, human rights abuses and the unwavering insolence of some global allies, achieved an approval rating of 62 to 87 percent, as the ‘several independent Asian polling centers recently showed.

A reporter explains: Duterte personifies the anger of the Filipinos against the monopoly economic elites and corrupt political dynasties that have invaded the country for decades.

Time magazine describes Duterte’s appeal as an explosive brand that can cleanse the crime-ridden nation and eradicate rampant corruption. He is crude, aggressive and fearless, but decisive, credible, delivers and takes responsibility for his actions.

Maria Ressa is a brilliant journalist and activist, but her media outlet, Rappler, has not been without controversy. A Filipino journalist believes the Nobel Prize portrays the country as ruled by a brutal dictator with cowardly citizens and the press is doing nothing about it except for Ressa’s Rappler.

The Filipino press and media, as well as the Catholic Church, have openly criticized Duterte relentlessly. They are free, very much alive.

We Filipino expatriates know that democracy has never left the Philippines. We communicate daily with the Philippines via Filipino TV networks and with our relatives and friends there via social media. We go back there too, whenever we have the chance.

Rosemary Wycoco, Kitchener


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