MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/31 January) — In yet another unflattering assessment of his administration, a Washington-based group said that after his war on drugs that claimed thousands of lives in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte “may continue his extreme policies with strong parliamentary backing”.
In its 2016 report titled “Populists and Autocrats: The Dual Threat to Global Democracy,” Freedom House described the Philippines as among the countries where “unscrupulous leaders…engaged in human rights violations of varying scale with impunity.”
Freedom House included the Philippines as among the 10 countries that “may be approaching important turning points in their democratic trajectory, and deserve special scrutiny.”
The nine other “countries to watch” are Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, Tanzania, the United States and Zimbabwe.
“Donald Trump’s unorthodox presidential campaign left open questions about the incoming administration’s approach to civil liberties and the role of the United States in the world,” the report said of the world’s leading military power.
Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs has claimed some 6,000 lives. Police said the casualties either tried to fight back against law enforcers or were killed by unknown assailants believed to be vigilantes.
As a presidential candidate last year, Duterte won mainly on the platform to stamp out crimes and corruption.
Human rights groups as well as the United Nations and European Union have criticized the Philippine government for the violent outcome of the war on drugs.
Foreign donor agencies even hinted they might withhold assistance to the Philippines if the country’s human rights situation did not improve.
Duterte brushed aside the criticisms and told foreign groups and institutions to not interfere saying he intends to save the country [from the drug menace].
Duterte, however, has ordered the Philippine National Police to suspend its anti-drug campaign after some of its officers were implicated in the kidnap-slay of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.
Allegations surfaced that the suspected police officers tagged Jee as a drug personality and demanded an amount in exchange for his freedom.
On Tuesday, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said majority of Filipinos are satisfied with how democracy works in the Philippines, and that 86 percent of them were “very satisfied” with how it works under Duterte.
The SWS, in a presentation at the Asian Institute of Management, said the figure is the highest percentage among the last five administrations.
The chart presented by SWS covered ratings from November 1991 to September 2016.
The chart for the same period showed that most Filipinos (62 percent) “always prefer democracy” while 19 percent “sometimes prefer authoritarianism.”
SWS also said that last year’s surveys revealed the following:
1.Public morale is very strong, since 2010.
2.Poverty and hunger have been declining since 2014.
3.Surveys of businessmen about corruption: less under PNoy than under PGMA.
4.The 2016 election: clear win for Duterte; Vice-Presidential race uncallable; the debates mattered.
5.The President: a normal honeymoon so far.
6.Satisfaction with other officials and institutions: Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chief Justice – fair; Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court, and Cabinet as a whole – more similar to PNoy time.
7.Report Cards of the National Administration: PNoy time the best of the past 5 admins; PRRD time following suit.
8.Foreign affairs: Support for the West Philippines Sea case against China; much trust in the US, little trust in China and Russia.
9.Public safety: Long-term decline in crime victimization; recent rise in fears for personal security.
10.Government campaign against illegal drugs: Great worries about Extra-Judicial Killings or EJKs; satisfaction with the administration so far.
11.The business climate, according to businessmen: Since 2012, very good for business. (MindaNews)