HAWAII'S ONLY WEEKLY FILIPINO-AMERICAN NEWSPAPER
SERVING THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY SINCE 1993
JULY 7, 2018

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

The Dilemma Called Duterte

by Seneca MORALEDA-PUGUAN

In the 33 years of my existence and all the presidents that have led the Philippines in my lifetime, there has been no one as divisive as the election of President Rodrigo Duterte. All the presidents that I grew up knowing, from former President Cory Aquino to her son, Noynoy, have had their fair share of controversies but only President Duterte created so much political debate on social media. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter.

Having leaders who were oligarchs, corrupt and incompetent, the Filipino people wanted change. Duterte, popularly known as Digong, offered this change when he was running for office. Though his election was not by the majority but by plurality, he still won the hearts of many who had high hopes of a leader who is against corruption and oligarchy. uing advanced degrees, or anything that you will interest you just to get some experience. You will be young adults at the time and your need for a future career will come knocking at your door.

Two years of being the highest leader in the land, Digong has created ripples of issues that made headlines not just locally, but internationally- his war on drugs that has taken the lives of thousands of suspected drug pushers and addicts (and collateral damage), his foul mouth that is always ahot topic on the internet, his views on women, his relation with China and many more. Just recently, he called God ‘stupid’ and this made the ears of many tingle, especially the religious ones.

I know of friends who have ‘unfriended’ each other on Facebook because of their difference in political views. I know many who argue with each other online just because the other one is ‘anti’ and the other one is ‘pro’. Social media has become so noisy and dirty. It is frustrating, discouraging, and truly heartbreaking.

It is sometimes tempting to join the bandwagon and post my political views on Facebook (though I hate Politics) but I always think about its effects on my relationships. Will my view make a difference or will it be just a rant that will stir unnecessary discussion online? Will it be beneficial? My husband and I usually have healthy discussions when it comes to politics. We are on the same boat. We both value our relationships that we have decided to only post significant and encouraging things online. Since we are out of the country and we cannot contribute change physically, we choose to always pray for the Philippines and its leaders. But we always speak prayers of blessings and hope upon the country we love despite the seemingly hopeless situations. It’s the most that we can do. It’s the best that we can give.

I rooted for Duterte. I still do. I couldn’t think of anyone leading the country right now other than him. I am optimistic that he could bring about the changes he promised to the Filipino people. I believe that he is a hardworking leader given his old age. I trust that he wants to pursue and fulfill the promises he made. Knowing that he is not a people-pleaser, whatever he says, he follows through. Even if the media only highlight the negative things he does, I am confident that there are many good things that his leadership brings about. But he has a lot of pronouncements that break my heart. He has decisions that make me think twice. He has gestures that make me cringe. Truly, he is a big dilemma.

Therefore my hope is not in him. My hope is in the One who allowed him to be in position and lead the country at this time. My confidence is in the God who can change Duterte’s heart even if he thinks He is stupid. My faith is in Him who loves the Philippines and its people with all His heart. We may have a president who is a big dilemma but we have a King who is constant, firm and unchanging. We may have a president whose mouth is dirty but we have a Father whose words are good and true.

In the midst of the troubling circumstances that our country is in right now and a leadership that brings division instead of unity, my heart has peace and my soul secure.

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