Despite criticism, Duterte remains popular at home

World Today

Since becoming the Philippine president over five months ago, Rodrigo Duterte has made headlines, often for his controversial statements and a deadly war on drugs. But among Filipinos, he has remained popular.

CCTV’s Barnaby Lo reports. 

Lenin Baylon’s family was preparing to celebrate his 10th birthday. But instead, now they’re mourning. Lenin was hit by a bullet as gunmen fired on three alleged drug pushers as they were walking past Lenin, just three days before his birthday.

His father blames Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown on illegal drugs for his son’s untimely death. But his eldest sister, Maoline says, it isn’t Duterte’s fault. 

Maoline had voted Duterte for president in May because she wanted change. 16 million other Filipinos took the same stand. More than 5 months into his presidency, Duterte remains immensely popular.

The most recent survey, released in October, showed more than 80 percent of Filipinos trusted Duterte. According to another survey, most Filipinos also support his war on drugs. 

However, if there’s one issue that has somehow dented Duterte’s popularity, it would be the burial at the national heroes’ cemetery of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, widely known as a dictator. That burial happened weeks ago and yet people continue to take to the streets. 

Whether it’s enough to break the alliance Duterte has with the left, many of whom were victims of torture and forced disappearances during Marcos’ martial rule, and whether it’s enough to turn public opinion against Duterte, both remain to be seen.