Rodrigo Duterte keeps claiming to the Filipino people that he got sexually abused by a priest as a child and now subsequently carries a machine gun as means to protect himself. Duterte once shot a fellow classmate in high school because the kid was poking jokes at him. It’s hard to figure this man out and the reasons behind his apparent flip flops regarding policies in the Philippines.
Duterte has waged a war against drug dealers and drug users. God forbid if you’re a political competitor; some of his minions may accuse you of being one of those drug users. In the last week a drug user’s house was riddled with bullets, after the matter it was discovered that the bullets not only killed the drug-using man, but also his wife and infant child.
He touts Amnesty International to provide evidence of death squads and to bring up these alleged international charges against him. It is my understanding that raiding a house with an unarmed family inside is construed as a death squad. In terms of dealing with extreme terrorist groups, Duterte mentioned, “Parang James Bond na ang larong ito (The game is now played like James Bond),” in reference to the many skills and tactics people should learn to outsmart the enemy.
Duterte stresses the only way to deal with terrorism is with full force until they have nothing left. Then, he goes against exactly what he says by mentioning that terrorist groups such Abu Sayyaf and Maute should not be driven to ‘despair’. Duterte has even gone as far as refusing to use military intervention to deal with extremist issues.
Duterte states, “Instead of the groupings there, they are driven by nationalism. It’s nationalism because the terrorist groups are really the owners of Mindanao long before the Spaniards came.” He further mentioned, “That’s why you cannot finish (the war) because the place belongs to them. And what is the driving force? Nationalism of their land.”
Does this mean Duterte is trying to legitimize terrorism? Does this mean the territorial gains of terrorists in the Philippines are no longer up for negotiation? If so, then why? Where does Duterte get his intelligence from in negotiating with terrorists?
Terrorist groups resort to tactics such as social media and public appearances to increase popular support, recruit trainees, and gain financial support. The leader of the Filipino extremist group Abu Sayyaf has spent a lot of time in the spotlight of local media organizations bragging about the group’s encounters with Filipino security forces. This indirect strategy of extremist groups radically increases their aura of popular support and is very beneficial to the group’s counterintelligence finesse.
There are striking similarities between terrorist groups and Duterte’s administration with the use of propaganda. Duterte loves publicity and seems to thrive when the cameras are rolling. He passes executive orders into law without any backbone. He promised he would double the salaries of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Force of the Philippines. Unfortunately, on December 15 Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno announced that the government would be unable in meeting Duterte’s promises.
Two Canadians have been beheaded in the Philippines by extremist terrorist groups in 2016. The negotiations for them to be freed did not work. Canada imports $1.2 billion worth of Filipino products into our country yearly. The right of the Liberal Party has to come to terms with why Justin Trudeau did not call Duterte to specifically tell him that he should pay the $16.6 million ransom demanded by the terrorists.
This case would’ve been a perfect opportunity to teach Duterte basic economic principles and that Canadians are a national priority. Duterte has a choice between a $16.6 million payout or losing out on $1.2 billion worth of trade revenue. Threats must be carried out in diplomacy; the gap would’ve easily been filled with other trading partners in the likes of Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. A military option should’ve been on the table.
Duterte has been weak in dealing with domestic terrorists in the Philippines and there’s a reason why he doesn’t want foreign intervention in his country. Kickbacks are a real and significant source of income for world leaders, especially petty ones that choose to carry submachine guns. There were options to save these Canadians and if the ultimate decision factor wasn’t military, then by process of elimination it should’ve been economics.
Justin Trudeau states that Canada isn’t a country that ‘beats its chest’ on the international stage. The child needs to learn and must step up to the international plate.