With an approval rating of 83% in the Philippines and dubbed "The Trump of the east".

Were there any significant political events that led to the popularity of Rodrigo Duterte amongst Filipinos thus resulting in him becoming president last year?

As the number one priority of the administration and currently over 2000+ deaths and 40,000 arrests is the War on Drugs. (Project Double Barrel Alpha and Project Tokhang).

He has already stated that he "doesn't care about human rights" and is 'heavily' criticised by The West.

Seeing as his actions have sparked criticism from The West, what makes the Philippines different in accommodating such extreme views towards drug addicts/dealers (e.g. were there any significant political events that has led to Philippines going this way about it?)

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    He was mayor of the city of Davao before he became President and he implemented many measure that lowered the crime rate in the city. Thus, many supported him, hoping that he would lower the crime in the country overall.
    – Panda
    Mar 20, 2017 at 2:23
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    Having someone you care about be hurt or killed by a drug dealer or a drug addict seeking a fix; or a relative die of overdose, is not strictly speaking a "political event". Yet, it very likely can easily sway a citizen to vote for someone who promises to remove the druggy presence from the society, theoretical concerns about "human rights" being the furthest in minds of those whose loved ones were victimized.
    – user4012
    Mar 20, 2017 at 6:36
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    Also, given all the embellishments in this question, this sounds more like a rant masquerading as a question than anything else. What does Trump or West's criticism have to do with the question's subject?
    – user4012
    Mar 20, 2017 at 6:38
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    This isn't a rant at all. I was wondering what climate phillipines currently has to accommodate such extreme views against Drug Addicts and Drug Dealers as it has sparked criticism from The West. Whereas Portugal has a totally different mindset towards drug addicts, so why is phillipines different? Far from a rant. If it was in the Netherlands or Philippines I would still ask the same question. Mar 20, 2017 at 6:48
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    @BradleyWilson - you didn't explain what Trump or Western "human rights" criticism has anything to do with the question.
    – user4012
    Mar 20, 2017 at 6:59

2 Answers 2


TL;DR: the "significant political event" was a drastic lowering of reported crime rate since he took office

(CNN Philippines):

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said the crime rate in the country dipped 31 percent in July, compared to the same period last year.

During the second day of the Senate's hearing on alleged extrajudicial killings Tuesday, PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa reported "a very significant decrease" in rape incidents. Dela Rosa said there is also a "downward trend" in the so-called "focus crimes," including murder, homicide, robbery, theft, "carnaping" (car theft), "motornapping" (motor theft), and physical injuries.

A total of 11,800 crimes were reported in July 2016, lower than the 17,105 crimes listed in July 2015.


Data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) show there are 11,321 out of 30,715 barangays (districts) nationwide considered "drug-affected."

So... for a Philippine citizen worried that their loved one will be a victim, let's weigh their concerns:

  • On one hand, they could be a victim of a crime (140K index crimes a year as per ABC) - meaning, in 8 months since the election, that's ~100K index crimes; and 13% drop means 13K less crimes - which the populace attributes to Duterte (regardless of whether that's correct). And at least 2000 of them were murders that didn't involve war on drugs (that was 2015 stats).

  • On the other hand, they could be a victim of a War on Drugs - there are 2,200 as you noted; and if we assume that as much as 25% of those were innocent (unlikely but let's be generous and assume hitmen hired by police killed drug dealers only 50% of time), that means 500 innocent victims.

So, an average citizen bases their favorable view of him on the fact that unless they are involved with the drug trade, they are 13x times less likely to be a victim of a rogue crime that's part of war drugs; than a non-victim of a crime that war on drugs is percieved to have prevented.


Rodrigo Duterte was mayor of Davao City, known for notorious drug related violence. After 10 years of his rule the city is considered safe by its citizens. The population of the city grew by 30%, so the city also attracted new inhabitants. Among local businessmen the Duterte's administration was considered less corrupted. It also seems that the police is trusted and people feel safe.


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