Decoding Duterte: D30: Digong the Firebrand

D30 is good copy; animated and burlesque way of speaking is entertaining but do those who observe and those who rely on those who observe fully understand the message the DU30 is sending and its reception of the people? Misunderstanding, miscalculating and being consciously and unconsciously biased to DU30 can lead to a flawed report and analysis. Given there is no post, article and news that is perfectly non-biased, even this one, the more the need to read and watch the actual speech and test all viewpoints against each other and the data.

What made DU30?

DU30 no doubt is a populist leader who won a national election and his victory comes decades after the fall of Marcos and the rise of a political elite who espouse democracy and human rights. So what has happened after 1986? While playing lip service to democracy and human rights what has happened?

(i) Crime has increased: just look at the number of crime segment at the news, although this may have been a factor in the public perception of the state of crime.

(ii) Save for some improvements government service has been on a decline.

(iii) There has also been an increase in the cases or stories of corruption in government in all three branches.

(iv)There has also been an increase in the perception of the lack of empathy and more on spin from all past governments.

These and perhaps other things have made it possible for DU30 to win the national election. Majority of Filipinos after witnessing the performance of past government have shifted their preference to tough and decisive government. And among the presidential candidates DU30’s seemed to have fit the bill.

So far what has DU30 done?

Now that DU30 has become president what has he done to name a few things from memory”

(i) DU30 has signed an FOI executive order paving the way to open government documents to the citizens, something past government vacillated on.
(ii) DU30’s cabinet is a mix of personalities from different sectors of society.
(iii) DU30’s DENR has started to police the mining sector.
(iv) DU30’s Government has started peace talks and negotiations with the MILF, MNLF and the NDF
(v) DU30 has also began to improve the working conditions and salary of government workers.
(vi) DU30 has also began the War against Drugs leading to over half a million surrenders – both users, pushers and people behind the drug cartels – including police generals and members of the political elite.
(vii) DU30 has also intensified the campaign against the ASG.
(viii) And DU30 has started to clean government from appointees of the past administration.
(ix) DU30 greenlighted Ferdinand Marcos burial at Lbingan ng mga Bayani.

All of these has been promised by DU30 during the election. These have generated its share of praise, accusation and criticisms.The aftermath and effect of the Double Barrel Campaign in particular the killings has led to speculations and criticisms of the campaign. Predictably this has had advocates of human rights up in arms. Mix to this the penchant of DU30 to deliver speeches and react in a colourful manner and off-the-cuff ignites the controversy further.

What is DU30’s messaging style?

The Populist President messages like a bombastic radio commentator. whose rambling, rich, colourful, expletive laced and undiplomatic delivery grabs the attention of its listeners, whether to shock, fear and even entertain depending on the listener. Like pugilist he gives no quarter to the target of his criticisms whoever they are. A broadside or riposte is equally delivered with the precision of a rapier and the power of a nuclear bomb. One notices that even the most bombastic remarks are quickly followed by clarification that leaves no doubt about the intent of the message. DU30 is not a blundering communicator actually it is quite canny and effective. Cherry picking his statements for headlines, articles and post without reading the whole speech can lead to a misunderstanding. which may have been intentionally placed. In other words each go his statement is closely followed by a caveat that adds meaning to the message. So his statement about getting out of the UN was quickly followed by an if statement – We would leave if they agree to pay us back all our contributions through the years.

And about DU30’s critics

Looking at DU30’s critics it is far from a homogenous group. First you have those who are the constant critics who keeps an eye on government, any government, and point out what is wrong. Second, you have advocates of human rights worried over what has been happening. Third concerned citizens wary and guarded of DU30. And lastly partisans and paid agents of other political interests and groups. So its a mix of valid and biased criticism and actually the same grouping could be said of those defending DU30.

Decoding DU30

Given these things it is important to look critically at all posts ,news and analysis and more importantly to go to DU30s speeches and statements so as to avoid biased and cherry-picking of statements. And even then critically read through it and base it on the nuance and speech style of DU30. Evaluate DU30 based on others is not a wise practice.

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