Presidency of Rodrigo Duterte
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|Since June 30, 2016 – (Incumbent)|
President of the Philippines
Vice Mayor of Davao City
The presidency of Rodrigo Duterte began at noontime of June 30, 2016 following his inauguration as the 16th President of the Philippines, succeeding Benigno Aquino III. His term is expected to end at noontime of June 30, 2022. Congresswoman Leni Robredo from the 3rd district of Camarines Sur also took office as the 14th Vice President of the Philippines on the same day, succeeding Jejomar Binay.
Duterte is the first president from Mindanao and the oldest person to be elected president of the Philippines. He is also the first Philippine president who have experience in the three branches of the government. He is also the first graduate of Lyceum of the Philippines University and San Beda College of Law to become president, the first president who had his marriage annulled, the second Cebuano to become president (the first being Sergio Osmeña), the third Cebuano-speaking to become president (the first being Osmeña and second was Carlos P. Garcia), the fourth Visayan to become president (the first was Osmeña, second was Manuel Roxas, and the third was Garcia) and the third mayor (of Davao City in his case) to be elected president (the first former-mayor president was Emilio Aguinaldo of Cavite El Viejo, and the second was Joseph Estrada of San Juan, Metro Manila).
Duterte is known for his rhetoric such as his comments over adultery and rape He has insulted international dignitaries from the United Nations He had poor relations with the Roman Catholic Church, due to his alleged history of being sexually abused by members of the clergy and has repeatedly criticized and insulted aspects of Christianity and its God. The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines has been a critic of his human rights record since he was still a Mayor of Davao City.
Building on the progress of the preceding Aquino administration, the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) has been signed into law which will establish the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region which has greater autonomy than the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The new autonomous region will replace the ARMM upon the ratification of the BOL in a plebiscite to be held in 2019. Armed conflict continued in Mindanao. Following the Maute Group-led occupation of Marawi, Duterte has declared martial law throughout Mindanao which was later extended for two years despite the resolution of the Marawi skirmish in a bid to ensure order in the island.
In terms of foreign relations, Duterte has pursued a foreign policy described by his administration as an "independent foreign policy" and pursued greater foreign relations with China and Russia and has distanced his country from its traditional ally the United States. He has adopted a more friendly stance towards China compared to his predecessor and has set aside the previous government policy of using the Philippines v. China international arbitration ruling to assert the Philippines' claims over the South China Sea and its islands.
- 1 Transition
- 2 Inauguration
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Judicial appointments
- 5 Changes
- 6 Major activities
- 7 First year
- 8 Domestic policy
- 8.1 Burial of Ferdinand Marcos
- 8.2 Communist insurgency
- 8.3 Death penalty
- 8.4 Drugs
- 8.5 Education
- 8.6 Environment
- 8.7 Federalism
- 8.8 Islamic insurgency in Mindanao
- 8.9 Labor
- 8.10 Land reform
- 8.11 Law and order
- 8.12 Lumads
- 8.13 Poverty
- 8.14 Tax reform
- 8.15 Terrorism
- 8.16 Tourism
- 8.17 Transportation
- 9 Economic policy
- 10 Foreign policy
- 11 Trust ratings
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Duterte's presidential transition began on May 30, 2016 when the Congress of the Philippines proclaimed his candidacy the winner of the 2016 Philippine presidential election held on May 9, 2016. Duterte's transition team was in charge of preparing the new presidential residence, cabinet appointments and cordial meetings between them and the outgoing administration. At the time the transition team was organized, Duterte was leading by a significant margin at the unofficial count by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV). Duterte met with various personalities during his transition period, notably, Eduardo V. Manalo, the executive minister of Iglesia ni Cristo religious group. In May 10, Duterte 'promised' that he will 'behave' once he assumes full presidential control.
The transition lasted until the day of Duterte's inauguration on June 30, 2016.
The inauguration of Rodrigo Duterte as the sixteenth President of the Philippines took place on June 30, 2016 at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of the Malacañang Palace in Manila. The oath of office was administered by Bienvenido L. Reyes, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. It was the fourth Philippine presidential inauguration to be held in Malacañang, and the first since the Fifth Philippine Republic was started.
The inauguration of Leni Robredo as Vice President commenced at 9:00 a.m. PHT at the Quezon City Reception House, Robredo's official office. By her request, Robredo's oath was administered by two village chiefs, Ronaldo D. Coner, the chief of Barangay Punta Tarawal in Calabanga, Camarines Sur, described as the "smallest, farthest and poorest barangay" in Robredo's home province, Camarines Sur, and Regina Celeste San Miguel, the chief of Barangay Mariana, Quezon City where Robredo's office is located.
Duterte appointed the following to the Supreme Court of the Philippines:
- Teresita Leonardo-de Castro - August 28, 2018 as Chief Justice.
- Lucas Bersamin - November 28, 2018 as Chief Justice.
- Samuel Martires - March 6, 2017 (as Associate Justice), July 26, 2018 (as Ombudsman).
- Noel G. Tijam - March 8, 2017
- Andres Reyes Jr. - July 12, 2017
- Alexander Gesmundo - August 14, 2017
- Jose C. Reyes - August 10, 2018
- Ramon Paul Hernando - October 10, 2018
- Rosmari D. Carandang - November 28, 2018
Duterte has fired, removed, resigned, replaced, relieved, rejected and designated several appointed members of his cabinet, some of which were reappointed to other agencies a few weeks after being fired or removed.
|1||Leni Robredo||Chairperson||Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council||December 5, 2016||Leoncio Evasco Jr. |
Eduardo Del Rosario
|2||Al Argosino||Deputy Commissioner||Bureau of Immigration||December 16, 2016||Estanislao Canta (OIC) |
|3||Michael Robles||Jose Carlitos Licas (OIC) |
|1||Rolando Asuncion||Director||Bureau of Corrections||January 6, 2017||Benjamin Delos Santos|
|2||Peter T. Laviña||Administrator||National Irrigation Administration||March 1, 2017||Ret. Gen. Ricardo Visaya|
|3||Perfecto Yasay Jr.||Secretary||Department of Foreign Affairs||March 8, 2017||Enrique Manalo (Acting) |
Alan Peter Cayetano
|4||Avelino Andal 1||Administrator||Philippine Coconut Authority||March 15, 2017||Romulo Dela Rosa|
|5||Ismael Sueno||Secretary||Department of Interior and Local Government||April 4, 2017||Catalino Cuy |
Ret. Gen. Eduardo Año
|6||Gina Lopez||Secretary||Department of Environment and Natural Resources||May 3, 2017||Ret. Gen. Roy Cimatu|
|7||Cherie Mercado||Spokesperson||Department of Transportation||May 19, 2017||Atty. Leah Quimabao|
|8||Benjamin P. Reyes||Chairman||Dangerous Drugs Board||May 24, 2017||Ret. Gen. Dionisio Santiago|
|9||Benjamin Delos Santos||Director||Bureau of Corrections||July 13, 2017||Rey Raagas (OIC)|
Ret. Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa
|10||Judy Taguiwalo||Secretary||Department of Social Welfare and Development||August 16, 2017||Emmanuel A. Leyco (OIC)|
Virginia Orogo (Acting)
Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista
|11||Ret. Capt. Nicanor Faeldon2||Commissioner||Bureau of Customs||August 21, 2017||Ret. Supt. Isidro Lapeña12|
|12||Rafael V. Mariano||Secretary||Department of Agrarian Reform||September 6, 2017||Rosalina Bistoyong (OIC) |
|13||Rodolfo Salalima||Secretary||Department of Information and Communications Technology||September 22, 2017||Ret. BGen. Eliseo M. Rio, Jr.|
|14||Martin Diño3||Chairperson||Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority||September 27, 2017||Wilma Esima|
|15||Jose Vicente Salazar||Chairperson||Energy Regulatory Commission||October 9, 2017||Agnes Devanadera|
|16||Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial||Secretary||Department of Health||October 10, 2017||Herminigildo V. Valle (OIC) |
|17||Gertrudo de Leon||Undersecretary||Department of Budget and Management||October 20, 2017|
|18||Ernesto Abella4||Presidential Spokesman||Presidential Communications Group||October 27, 2017||Harry Roque|
|19||Isko Moreno5||Chairman||North Luzon Railways Corporation|
|20||Ret. Gen. Dionisio Santiago||Chairman||Dangerous Drugs Board||November 6, 2017||Catalino Cuy|
|21||Cesar Chavez||Undersecretary||Department of Transportation||November 23, 2017||Timothy James Batan|
|22||Terry Ridon||Chairman||Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor||December 11, 2017||Noel Felongco14|
|23||Melissa A. Aradanas6||Commissioners||Romeo Halasan Janduga|
|24||Manuel Serra Jr.7||Randy Halasan|
|25||Joan Lagunda8||Norman Brillantes Baloro|
|26||Noel Indonto||Melvin Mitra|
|27||Atty. Elba Cruz||President||Development Academy of the Philippines||December 21, 2017||Magdalena Mendoza (OIC) |
Engelbert Caronan Jr.
|1||Marcial Amaro III||Administrator||Maritime Industry Authority||January 4, 2018||Ret. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero13|
|2||Jose Jorge E. Corpuz||Chairman||Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office||January 12, 2018||Ret. Gen. Anselmo Pinili|
|3||Patricia Licuanan||Chairperson||Commission on Higher Education||January 15, 2018||Prospero de Vera III|
|4||Amado Valdez||Chairman||Social Security System||February 12, 2018||Aurora Cruz-Ignacio|
|5||Jose Gabriel La Viña9||Commissioner||Ricardo Moldez|
|6||Vitaliano Aguirre II||Secretary||Department of Justice||April 5, 2018||Menardo I. Guevara|
|7||Aiza Seguerra||Chairperson||National Youth Commission||Ronald Gian Cardema|
|8||Dominador Say||Undersecretary||Department of Labor and Employment||April 17, 2018|
|9||Atty. Karen Jimeno10||Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Priority Projects||Department of Public Works and Highways||April 22, 2018|
|10||Atty. Aimee Torrecampo-Neri||Deputy Commissioner||Bureau of Immigration||May 2, 2018||Marc Red Mariñas (OIC)|
|11||Roberto Teo||Board Member||Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority||May 7, 2018|
|12||Wanda Corazon Teo||Secretary||Department of Tourism||May 8, 2018||Bernadette Romulo-Puyat|
|13||Tingagun Umpa||Assistant Secretary||Department of Public Works and Highways||May 15, 2018|
|14||Moslemen Macarambon Sr.||Assistant Secretary||Department of Justice|
|15||Frederick Alegre||Assistant Secretary||Department of Tourism||Myra Abubakar|
|16||Cesar Montano||Head||Tourism Promotions Board||May 21, 2018||Arnold Gonzales (OIC)|
Maria Venus Tan
|17||Mark Tolentino||Assistant Secretary||Department of Transportation||May 22, 2018|
|18||Rudolf Jurado||Chief||Office of the Government Corporate Counsel||May 28, 2018|
|19||Noel Patrick Prudente||Deputy Commissioner||Bureau of Customs||May 30, 2018|
|20||Celestina dela Serna||Officer-in-Charge||Philippine Health Insurance Corporation||June 5, 2018||Roy Ferrer|
|21||Patricia Yvette Ocampo||Chairperson||Nayong Pilipino Foundation||August 7, 2018|
|22||Petronilo L. Ilagan||Undersecretary||Department of Energy||August 15, 2018|
|23||Liza Maza||Lead Convenor||National Anti-Poverty Commission||August 20, 2018||Noel Folengco|
|24||Katherine de Castro11||Undersecretary of Tourism Advocacy and Public Affairs||Department of Tourism||August 22, 2018||Edwin R. Enrile|
|25||Ret. Maj. Jason Aquino||Administrator||National Food Authority||September 11, 2018||Judy Carol L. Dansal (OIC)|
|26||Mocha Uson||Assistant Secretary||Presidential Communications Operations Office||October 1, 2018|
|27||Joel Maglunsod||Undersecretary||Department of Labor and Employment||October 2, 2018|
|28||Ret. Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa||Director-General||Bureau of Corrections||October 12, 2018||Ret. Capt. Nicanor Faeldon|
|29||Alan Peter Cayetano||Secretary||Department of Foreign Affairs||Teodoro Locsin, Jr.|
|30||Marc Red Mariñas||Deputy Commissioner||Bureau of Immigration||Atty. Jose Ronaldo P. Ledesma (OIC)|
|31||Harry Roque||Presidential Spokesman||Presidential Communications Group||October 15, 2018||Salvador Panelo|
|32||Christopher Go||Special Assistant to the President||Presidential Management Staff||Jesus Melchor Quitain (OIC)|
|33||Leoncio Evasco Jr.||Cabinet Secretary||Office of the Cabinet Secretary||October 16, 2018||Karlo Nograles|
|34||Francis Tolentino||Political Adviser||Office of Political Adviser||October 17, 2018|
|35||Thomas Orbos||Undersecretary||Department of Transportation|
|36||Guiling A. Mamondiong||Director-General||Technical Education and Skills Development Authority||Ret. Supt. Isidro Lapeña|
|37||Maria Lourdes Turalde-Jarabe||Undersecretary for Promotive Operations and Programs||Department of Social Welfare and Development||November 18, 2018|
|38||Mae Ancheta-Templa||Undersecretary for Protective Operations and Programs|
|39||Hope Hervilla||Undersecretary for Disaster Response Management|
|40||Ret. BGen. Eliseo M. Rio, Jr.||Secretary||Department of Information and Communications Technology||November 19, 2018||Gregorio Honasan|
|41||Falconi Millar||Secretary-General||Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council||Marcelino Escalada Jr.|
|42||Jesus Dureza||Presidential Adviser||Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process||November 27, 2018||Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr.|
|44||Yeshtern Donn Baccay||Assistant Secretary|
- ^1 As Board Member of Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
- ^2 As Deputy Administrator of the Office of the Civil Defense, later as Director-General of the Bureau of Corrections.
- ^3 As Interior Undersecretary.
- ^4 As Foreign Affairs Undersecretary.
- ^5 As Social Welfare Undersecretary, later resigned on October 11, 2018.
- ^6 As Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Deputy Director General.
- ^7 As Member of Philippine Coconut Authority Governing Board
- ^8 As Assistant Secretary of DENR
- ^9 As Tourism Undersecretary, later as Agriculture Undersecretary, now resigned on October 17, 2018.
- ^10 As Undersecretary for Disaster Resiliency of the Presidential Management Staff, later resigned.
- ^11 As Board Member of IBC-13
- ^12 As Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, later he was designated as Director-General of TESDA.
- ^13 As Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs
- ^14 As Lead Convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission
- Inaugural Address, (30 June 2016)
- First State of the Nation Address, (25 July 2016)
- Second State of the Nation Address, (24 July 2017)
- Third State of the Nation Address, (23 July 2018)
|R. A. No.||Title / Description||Principal Author||Date signed|
|10870||Philippine Credit Card Industry Regulation Law||July 17, 2016|
|10871||Basic Life Support Training in Schools Act|
|10881||Amending investment restrictions in specific laws governing adjustment companies|
|10882||AFP Derivative Retirement Pension for Children/Survivors Act of 2016|
|10883||New Anti-Carnapping Act of 2016|
|10884||Balanced Housing Development Program Amendments|
|10905||An Act requiring all franchise holders or operators of television stations and producers of television programs to broadcast or present their programs with closed captions option, and for other purposes|
|10906||Anti-Mail Order Spouse Act||July 21, 2016|
|10908||Integrated History Act of 2016|
|10909||No Shortchanging Act of 2016|
|10911||Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act|
|10912||Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016|
|10913||Anti-Distracted Driving Act|
|10915||Philippine Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Act of 2016|
|10916||Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016|
|10918||Philippine Pharmacy Act|
|10922||Economic and Financial Literacy Act||July 22, 2016|
|10929||Free Internet Access in Public Places Act||Bam Aquino||August 2, 2017|
|10931||Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act||Bam Aquino||August 3, 2017|
|10932||Anti-Hospital Deposit Law||August 5, 2017|
|10962||Gift Check Act of 2017||December 19, 2017|
|10963||Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act||Koko Pimentel, Tito Sotto|
|10968||Philippine Qualifications Framework Act||January 16, 2018|
|10969||Free Irrigation Service Act||February 2, 2018|
|11032||Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act||Bam Aquino||May 28, 2018|
|11035||Balik Scientist Act
(lit. Returning Scientist Act)
|Bam Aquino||June 15, 2018|
|11036||Mental Health Act||Risa Hontiveros||June 20, 2018|
|11037||Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act
(lit. Nutritious Food for the Filipino Youth Act)
|11038||Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act||Loren Legarda, Sonny Angara||June 22, 2018|
|11039||Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Act||June 29, 2018|
|11052||Philippine Food Technology Act|
|11053||Anti-Hazing Act of 2018|
|11054||Bangsamoro Organic Law||Juan Miguel Zubiri||July 26, 2018|
|11055||Philippine Identification System Act of 2018||Panfilo Lacson||August 6, 2018|
|11057||Personal Property Security Act||Bam Aquino||August 17, 2018|
|11058||Occupational Safety and Health Standards Law||Joel Villanueva||August 20, 2018|
|11106||Filipino Sign Language Act||Nancy Binay||November 12, 2018|
|11148||Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act
(lit. Health and Nutrition for Mother and Child Act)
|Ralph Recto||November 29, 2018|
|11663||National Bible Day Act||Manny Pacquiao||December 20, 2018|
|11665||Telecommuting Act||Joel Villanueva|
|11666||Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018||Risa Hontiveros, JV Ejercito|
|R. A. No.||Title / Description||Principal Author||Date signed|
|10878||Amending Section 74 of Republic Act No. 3844, as amended by Republic Act No. 10374 known as the "Agricultural Land Reform Code"||July 17, 2016|
|10910||Section 11 of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act||July 21, 2016|
|10917||An Act Amending Certain Provisions of Republic Act No. 9547, known as an Act Strengthening and Expanding the Coverage of the Special Program for Employment of Students, Amending for the Purpose Provisions of Republic Act No. 7323, known as the Special Program for Employment of Students|
|10923||An Act postponing the October 2016 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 9164, as amended by Republic Act No. 9340 and Republic Act No. 10656, Prescribing Additional Rules Governing the Conduct of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections and for Other Purposes||October 15, 2016|
|10927||An Act Designating Casinos as Covered Persons under Republic Act No. 9160, known as the "Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001"||July 14, 2017|
|10928||Amending Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8239, known as the "Philippine Passport Act of 1996"||August 2, 2017|
|10930||An Act Rationalizing and Strengthening the Policy Regarding Driver’s License by Extending the Validity Period of Drivers’ Licenses, and Penalizing Acts in Violation of its Issuance and Application, Amending for Those Purposes Section 23 of Republic Act No. 4136, as Amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 398 and Executive Order No. 1011, Otherwise Known as The Land Transportation and Traffic Code|
|10932||An Act Strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law by Increasing the Penalties for the Refusal of Hospitals and Medical Clinics to Admintster Appropriate Initial Medical Treatment and Support in Emergency or Serious Cases, Amending for the Purpose Batas Pambansa Bilang 702, Otherwlse Known as “An Act Prohibiting the Demand of Deposits or Advance Payments for the Confinement or Treatment of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics in Certain Cases”, As Amended by Republic Act No. 8344, and for Other Purposes||Risa Hontiveros||August 3, 2017|
|10951||An Act Adjusting the Amount or the Value of Property and Damage on Which a Penalty is Based and the Fines Imposed Under the Revised Penal Code, Amending for the Purpose Act No. 3815, Otherwise Known as “The Revised Penal Code”, as Amended||August 29, 2017|
|10952||An Act Postponing the October 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Katabaan Elections, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 9164, as Amended by Republic Act No. 9340, Republic Act No. 10632, Republic Act No. 10656, and Republic Act No. 10923, and for Other Purposes||October 2, 2017|
|R. A. No.||Title||Principal Sponsor||Date signed|
|10924||General Appropriations Act of 2017||Loren Legarda||December 22, 2016|
|10964||General Appropriations Act of 2018||Loren Legarda||December 19, 2017|
Shortly after his inauguration, Duterte held his first Cabinet meeting to lay out his plans for the Cabinet, which included the establishment of a 24-hour complaint office covering the entire country and advancing the country's disaster risk reduction management, lamenting its current status after recalling his personal encounter with the previous administration's failure to address the lack of basic needs of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013. He laid out his plan to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, the country's main gateway, by transferring the operations of domestic flights to Clark International Airport in Angeles, Pampanga and constructing a road network between Angeles and Manila while his government reviews the possibility of constructing a new airport at the Naval Station Sangley Point in Cavite. He also advised the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines not to provide him and his Cabinet officials with special priority treatment different from ordinary citizens. Duterte pointed out the healthcare in the Philippines, saying that the country could learn from the healthcare in Cuba and ordered his Health Secretary, Paulyn Ubial, to travel to Cuba. Occurring twelve days prior to the announcement of the outcome of the Philippines' arbitration case against China over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, Duterte said that he and his Foreign Secretary, Perfecto Yasay, Jr., will study the implications of the ruling in order to better plan any further steps taken by the government to address the issue. Duterte also expressed his willingness to stop the online gambling industry. After the Cabinet meeting, President Duterte met with representatives from militant groups to discuss the "People’s Agenda for Change" plan.
On July 1, 2016, a day after the inauguration, President Duterte attended the change-of-command ceremonies for the new Philippine National Police chief Ronald de la Rosa and the new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Ricardo Visaya. During the AFP's change-of-command rites, Duterte personally and briefly met his Vice President Leni Robredo for the first time.
Robredo later paid a courtesy call on Duterte in the Malacañang Palace on July 4, 2016. Three days later, Duterte appointed Robredo to a Cabinet position (as the head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council). Duterte earlier said that he had no plans to appoint Robredo to a Cabinet position due to his unfamiliarity with her and his friendship with Bongbong Marcos, Robredo's closest rival in the vice presidential election. (In relation to this friendship with Marcos, Duterte had earlier announced on May 23 that he would make good his campaign promise to allow the immediate transfer of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' remains from the former President's home province to the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The controversial burial with honors has been scheduled for September.
President Duterte issued his first executive order on July 4, entitled "Reengineering the Office of the President Towards Greater Responsiveness to the Attainment of Development Goals". In the executive order, 12 agencies under the Office of the President who focused on anti-poverty programs, including Cooperative Development Authority, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, National Anti-Poverty Commission, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, National Food Authority, National Youth Commission, Office of the President-Presidential Action Center, Philippine Coconut Authority, Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor, Philippine Commission on Women, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, will be placed under the supervision of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. Duterte said he will end insurgency and war conflicts in the Mindanao, before the term ends, through peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and other Moro groups. Duterte noted that the intervention of foreign countries, including the United States, caused the worsened war situation in the Middle East countries including Iraq and Libya.
On 12 July 2016 the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) tribunal agreed unanimously with the Philippines in the international case, Philippines v. China, which former president Noynoy Aquino initiated in January 2013. In its award, it concluded that there is no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources, hence there was "no legal basis for China to claim historic rights" over the area within the nine-dash line. The tribunal also judged that the PRC had caused "severe harm to the coral reef environment", and that it had violated the Philippines' sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone by interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration by, for example, restricting the traditional fishing rights of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal. The PRC rejected the ruling, calling it "ill-founded"". PRC president Xi Jinping insisted that "China's territorial sovereignty and marine rights in the South China Sea will not be affected by the so-called Philippines South China Sea ruling in any way", nevertheless the PRC would still be "committed to resolving disputes" with its neighbours. China afterwards sent more warships in the Scarborough Shoal. On the same day, President Duterte has named Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran as the "Anti-Red Tape Czar". The following day, Duterte met with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., and her daughter, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, the top officials of the Asian Development Bank and Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal for a series of courtesy calls and meetings. On July 14, President Duterte attended the thanksgiving dinner organized by his fellow alumni from the San Beda College of Law at the Club Filipino, San Juan. President Duterte has offered former President Fidel V. Ramos to become the Philippines' special envoy to China on the planned bilateral talks between two countries, in connection with the ongoing South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) dispute.
On July 18, 2016, President Duterte, together with Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose Cojuangco Jr., led the send-off ceremonies for the Philippine delegation in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang. After the send-off, Duterte met with Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach for a courtesy call to discuss the possibility of the Philippines hosting next year's Miss Universe. Two days before his first State of the Nation Address, on July 23, President Duterte signed the Freedom of Information Order that covered all offices under the executive branch.
On July 27, 2016, President Duterte met with United States Secretary of State John Kerry, the first foreign minister Duterte met with as president and the highest ranking diplomat he met with since his inauguration, to discuss cooperation between the Philippines and the United States under the Duterte administration following the Permanent Court of Arbitration's ruling in favor of the Philippines against China's claim over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Later that day, the first National Security Council meeting under the Duterte presidency was held. It was attended by former presidents and NSC members Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III, together with Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Koko Pimentel, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and other cabinet secretaries. By the end of July, opposition to a charter change (cha-cha) was at 44% of the population, while opposition to a shift to a federal form of government was at 33%.
On August 1, 2016, President Duterte led a mass oath-taking ceremony of 23 newly appointed government officials. Shortly after the oath taking, Duterte made a press conference to the journalists of the privately owned media outfits, ending Duterte's boycott on media. In August 5, Duterte criticized CPP founder Joma Sison for having no capability to control even a single barangay, communist rebels for being 'arrogant', and former US ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg due to an argument which led to Duterte calling Goldberg a 'homosexual'. On the same day, Pamplona, Cagayan vice mayor Aaron Sampaga was shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
On August 7, 2016, President Duterte, who was at the wake of four soldiers killed in an encounter with communist rebels in Camp Panacan, Davao City, delivered a speech wherein he named local government officials, court judges and police officers who are all involved in illegal drug trade. In August 17, Duterte accused senator and drug war critic Leila de Lima for being an 'immoral woman' due to an alleged sex video, repeating the backlash again in August 21.
On September 2, an bomb exploded in Duterte’s hometown, Davao City. The bombing was later blamed on members of local terrorists known as Maute Group. The incident prompted Duterte to declare a "state of lawlessness" in the country, which would remain in effect for over a year. In early September, Duterte made his first foreign trip as head of state, attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Laos. Before leaving for his first international summit, Duterte quickly made international headlines after slamming then-US president Barack Obama and calling him a "son of a whore” in Filipino language, warning the US leader not to criticize him on human rights issues brought about by the Philippines’ controversial drug war. During this time in the House of Representatives, Duterte critic Leila de Lima faced a series of investigations on the alleged drug trade in the NBP, with De Lima refusing to attend, calling it a “sham inquiry” and a mere ploy to discredit her. In the Senate’s probe on extrajudicial killings related to the drug war, De Lima presented Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed hitman and member of the so-called Davao Death Squad. Matobato testifies that Duterte ordered the group to execute people back when he was Davao City mayor. However, this was later refuted and disproven,. and it was labeled as 'hearsay' and 'lies' by Duterte. By the end of September, Duterte again stirred up international reactions when he drawn parallels between his drug war and the annihilation of 3 million Jews during the Holocaust Duterte also proudly said that he was being portrayed as a “cousin” of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. He later apologized for his remarks, saying "There was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of 6 million Jews murdered by the Germans". In September 22, Duterte told media that he does not 'know the name of that fool', referring to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. On the same day, he criticized the European Union for criticizing his speeches and campaign against drugs.
In October 4, Duterte again hit Barack Obama, this time calling on Obama to 'go to hell'. In October 10, Duterte resumed his word war with the Catholic Church, cursing bishops and priests who criticized his war against drugs. In October 13, the President signed an administrative order creating a presidential task force to probe media killings. This comes several months after he was criticized for remarks he made as president-elect, when he justified the killing of allegedly corrupt members of the media. In October 18, Duterte visited China to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries amid tensions in disputed South China Sea territories. During a trade and investment forum in Beijing, Duterte announced the Philippines’ separation from the United States and his decision to move closer to China, although the US embassy reports that no formal request was made to severe Philippine-US ties. Duterte’s Cabinet members later clarified the President’s statements, and Duterte himself said two days later he was not cutting ties with the US. In October 19, police clashed with protesters outside the US embassy in Manila. Several protesters, mostly indigenous peoples protesting alleged military and US presence in their ancestral lands, were injured after a police van repeatedly ran over the them. In October 28, Datu Saudi-Ampatuan, Maguindanao mayor Samsudin Dimaukom was killed in an alleged shootout with state operatives in Makilala, Cotabato.
In November 5, Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, who has allegedly linked to the drug trade, was killed inside his jail cell in a reported shootout with personnel from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG). In November 8, the Supreme Court issued its verdict which paved the way for a Duterte campaign promise to the bury the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery). Thousands rallied in protest against the verdict. In November 14, the Philippine peso dropped to an almost 8-year low against the US dollar. In November 16, Duterte's allies downplayed the President's earlier statements that he was "tempted" to declare martial law to solve the drug problem in the country. In November 18, Ferdinand Marcos was buried with full military honors at the Heroes’ Cemetery, without advance notice to the media. The sudden burial of Marcos, “like a thief in the night,” as critics called it, sparked national outrage, especially among those who suffered human rights abuses under the Marcos regime. Thousands of protesters, organized by the youth and democracy groups, staged protests nationwide to express their strong disappointment and rage against the heroic burial of the dictator who killed thousands of Filipinos under his martial regime. The protests also aimed to be a form of defiance against the intense rise of drug war killings in the country since Duterte took office last June 30. The protest was continuously held from November 18 to November 30, becoming the longest continuous protest in the Philippines in 2016. In November 20, the Judicial and Bar Council also held public interviews for candidates vying for the seats of two retiring Supreme Court justices. In November 26, Datu Saudi-Ampatuan, Maguindanao vice mayor Anwar Sindatok was shot dead at close range.
In December 4, five months after the President offered Vice President Leni Robredo a Cabinet post through a phone call, the Vice President resigned from the Cabinet. Robredo announced her resignation from her post as housing chair after she received a text message from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco Jr, “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings starting December 5.” In December 6, the National Bureau of Investigation said that the death of Albuera Mayor Espinosa was a "rubout" and recommended criminal charges against the 24 CIDG operatives involved, which included police superintendent Marvin Marcos. In December 7, a bill for the reimposition of the death penalty hurdled the House committee level. In response, the United Nations warned that the Philippines will violate international law if it reintroduces capital punishment. In December 11, celebrating International Human Rights Day, militant groups march to Mendiola Street in Manila. This was the first protest to feature a mixed effigy of Duterte, along with Ferdinand Marcos, and the United States flag.
In December 18, Duterte admitted that he was taking the addictive opioid drug Fentanyl, a powerful painkiller often prescribed for cancer pain and other chronic ailments, beyond the recommended dose because of a spinal injury from previous motorcycle accidents., which have the side-effects including confusion, anxiety and hallucinations. In December 17, Duterte endorsed senator Manny Pacquiao as his possible successor when his term ends in 2022. Additionally, Duterte suffers from Buerger's disease and Barrett's esophagus, but has denied insider reports that he has throat cancer. In December 19, a survey showed that most Filipinos are worried about becoming the next victims of the drug war. In December 22, Duterte said that UN High Commission for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein has 'lack' of knowledge in international law, further saying that he pays the commissioner's salary. On Christmas Eve, an explosion outside a church in Midsayap, Cotabato injured at least 13 people. Duterte linked the bombing, as well as the September blast in Davao City, to the international terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In December 29, Pantar, Lanao del Norte mayor Mohammad Exchan Limbona was killed in an ambush in Iligan.
Burial of Ferdinand Marcos
In November 8, the Supreme Court issued its verdict which paved the way for a Duterte campaign promise to the bury the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery). Thousands rallied in protest against the verdict. In November 14, the Philippine peso dropped to an almost 8-year low against the US dollar. In November 16, Duterte's allies downplayed the President's earlier statements that he was "tempted" to declare martial law to solve the drug problem in the country. In November 18, Ferdinand Marcos was buried with full military honors at the Heroes’ Cemetery, without advance notice to the media. The sudden burial of Marcos, “like a thief in the night,” as critics called it, sparked national outrage, especially among those who suffered human rights abuses under the Marcos regime. Thousands of protesters, organized by the youth and democracy groups, staged protests nationwide to express their strong disappointment and rage against the heroic burial of the dictator who killed thousands of Filipinos under his martial regime.
In July 2016, Duterte directed his peace process advisor for the CPP–NPA–NDF rebellion, Silvestre Bello III, to lead a government panel in resuming peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People's Army (NPA), and the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Oslo, Norway, expressing hope that a peace treaty between the rebellions would be reached within a year. The first talks began on August 22–26, 2016, in which the parties agreed upon "the affirmation of previously signed agreements, the reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees which 'protects the rights of negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel involved in peace negotiations', and the accelerated progress for negotiations." In February 2017, due to recent attacks and kidnapping of soldiers by members of the NPA despite the imposed ceasefire by the government and the rebel groups, President Duterte cancelled all negotiations with the CPP–NPA–NDF and labeled them a terrorist group. He also ordered the arrest of all NDF negotiators. Military offensive against the group resumed after Duterte's cancellation of ceasefire.
During the 2016 election, Duterte campaigned to restore the death penalty in the Philippines. Duterte, who won the election in May 2016, supports restoration of the death penalty by hanging. It has been reported that he wants capital punishment for criminals involved in illegal drugs, gun-for-hire syndicates and those who commit "heinous crimes" such as rape, robbery or car theft where the victim is murdered. Duterte has theatrically vowed "to litter Manila Bay with the bodies of criminals". In December 2016, the bill to resume capital punishment for certain "heinous offenses" swiftly passed out of Committee in the House of Representatives; it passed the full House of Representatives in February 2017. In March 7, despite fierce criticism, especially from the Catholic Church, the House of Representatives approved on 3rd and final reading the controversial bill. However, the law reinstating the death penalty stalled in the Senate in April 2017, where it did not appear to have enough votes to pass.
After his inauguration, Duterte spoke to journalists in Tondo, Manila, where he urged Filipino citizens to voluntarily kill drug pushers and addicts. A day after his inauguration, Duterte requested for the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, to "disarm and arrest" drug lords.
On July 5, 2016, Duterte revealed the names of five police officials who were allegedly involved in illegal drug trade. On July 7, during a press conference, Duterte presented a chart identifying three Chinese nationals who serve as drug lords in the Philippines.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer published a "kill list". Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat urged the Philippine House of Representatives to investigate the "spate of extrajudicial killings and/or summary executions of suspected violators of laws on illegal drugs and other suspected criminals". Senator and former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima urged Duterte's administration to cease the extrajudicial killings and said that she would file a resolution for the Philippine Senate to conduct an investigation. The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan also asked Duterte to investigate the increasing number of extrajudicial killings. The Duterte administration demanded critics to provide evidence.
Duterte has justified the drug war by claiming that the Philippines was becoming a "narco-state". According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the prevalence of drug use in the country is lower than the global average. Duterte has dismissed human rights concerns by dehumanizing drug users, stating in August 2016: "Crime against humanity? In the first place, I'd like to be frank with you. Are they humans? What is your definition of a human being?" In the first three months of Duterte's term in office, according to police figures, over 3,000 killings were attributed to his nationwide anti-drug campaign. More than half were attributed to vigilantes. At the beginning of October, a senior police officer told The Guardian that ten "special ops" official police death squads had been operating, and that he had personally been involved in killing 87 suspects. He described how the corpses were dumped at the roadside ("salvage" victims), or had their heads wrapped in masking tape with a cardboard placard labelling them as a drug offender, so that the killing would not be investigated. The chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, Chito Gascon, was quoted in the report: "I am not surprised, I have heard of this." The Philippine National Police declined to comment. The report stated: "although The Guardian can verify the policeman's rank and his service history, there is no independent, official confirmation for the allegations of state complicity and police coordination in mass murder."
On April 3, 2017, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, authored by senator Bam Aquino, was signed into law, paving the way for free college education in all state universities and colleges nationwide. The law came into force in August 3, the date colleges and universities begin their classes.
On February 2, 2017, the mining sector was shaken up after environment secretary Gina Lopez announced the closure of 23 mining operations. Duterte, who has expressed support for Lopez, said that there was nothing he could do about the closures. In May 3, Lopez's appointment as Environment Secretary was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA) in a vote of 8–16 on May 3, 2017, amid issues over her controversial policies and alleged incompetence.
In April 4, Duterte announced that the government shall 'close down' all operations within the island of Boracay, the country's number one tourism destination, due to 'environmental concerns'. In April 10, Duterte admitted that the government has 'no master plan' in how to clean-up Boracay, which he called a 'cesspool'. In April 24, more than 600 military personnel were deployed by Duterte in Boracay, confusing the natives on the government's initial environmental wordings. In April 26, Boracay's 6-month closure began, and entire island was officially closed to the public.
Duterte advocates federalism as a better system of governance for the Philippines. He argues that regions outside Metro Manila receive unfairly small budgets from the Internal Revenue Allotment. For example, of the ₱5 billion Davao sends monthly to Metro Manila, only 2 or 3 billion ever returns. He also highlights that money remitted to national government is misused by corrupt politicians in the Philippine Congress. However, Duterte said to Muslim leaders in July 2016 that if the majority of Filipinos are against the proposal of federalism, he will push for the Bangsamoro Basic Law, in which only Bangsamoro would become autonomous. He would also revise the law in such a way that the Moro National Liberation Front would receive the same deal as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Islamic insurgency in Mindanao
Nur Misuari's wife Tarhata Misuari received help from Duterte when he interceded on their behalf after the events of Zamboanga. Duterte has said that Moro dignity is what the MILF and MNLF are struggling for, and that they are not terrorists. He acknowledged that the Moros were subjected to wrongdoing, historical and in territory.
Duterte was endorsed in the election by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari due to his background in Mindanao. Jesus Dureza was his second choice. Other Muslims also supported Duterte and denounced Roxas, the Aquino-supported pick.
During the Mindanao Hariraya Eid al-Fitr 2016 convention in Davao City on July 8, 2016, Duterte vowed to address the Moro conflict and bring peace in Mindanao, assuring the Filipino Muslim community that "something will change" before the end of his term. He said that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) both support his proposal for federalism in the Philippines, which he says is the only solution to the Bangsamoro peace process. Duterte said that if the proposal for the country's shift to federalism fails or is not desired by the Filipino people, he will vow to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which would establish the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. He also added that the Basic Law should benefit both MILF and MNLF, saying he is willing to negotiate with both secessionists to initiate a "reconfiguration" of territory.
A crowd of Muslims were attending the speech by Duterte where he accused America of bringing terrorism to themselves, saying that terrorism is not the result of the Middle East. He railed against the actions undertaken in the Middle East by the USA. Duterte blamed the war on Mindanao on colonialist Christianity being brought to the Philippines in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan, saying there was peace before that and that they were made to fight their "Malay brothers" by Christians.
The Bud Dajo Massacre inflicted upon the Moros was mentioned by President Duterte to criticize the United States and its President Barack Obama. The massacre was cited a second time by Duterte in criticizing America while calling for the exit of American troops.
On November 6, 2016, Duterte signed an executive order to expand the Bangsamoro Transition Commission to 21 members from 15, in which 11 will be decided by the MILF and 10 will be nominated by the government. The commission was formed in December 2013 and is tasked to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law in accordance with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro
During his campaign for the 2016 presidential election, one of Rodrigo Duterte’s promises was the phasing out of contractualization and improvement to labor in the Philippines. Upon his election, he appointed Silvestre Bello III as Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, who considers making all companies put at least 80% of all employees under contract as per the president’s orders. By the end of 2016, around 36000 workers have been regularized. Going into 2017, Duterte and Bello aimed for a new permanent policy that would end labor-only contractualization by the end of February, but Bello wound up not signing it. Instead he decided first for dialogue between the president and labor groups in order to get feedback. Eventually President Duterte met with the labor groups as Bello drafts a new Department Order that would stop labor contractualization. However, by March 16 Bello signs Department Order 174 which sets stricter guidelines on contractualization but doesn’t immediately illegalize it. Duterte however continued his stand against contractualization, promising to sign an Executive Order against it. However, the Marawi crisis ends up postponing the signing. As of 2018, no Executive Order has been signed by President Duterte regarding the complete abolishment of contractualization. A rally was organized by labor groups on March 15, 2018 in protest against the president’s delay of the EO. Eventually on May 1, Duterte signs an EO that would put an end to contractualization, although labor groups criticized the president for his actions since the one signed was not the draft agreed upon with them.
Law and order
On June 13, 2018, the Philippine National Police launched "Oplan RODY" or "Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youths" . The campaign targeted to arrest the youth, notably students and jobless young adults who loiter outside their homes. In June 21, records showed that 7,291 youth were arrested by the police just 9 days after the "Oplan RODY" or "Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youths" campaign was launched, sparking protests nationwide. The record of arrests released were only from Metro Manila, one of the 18 regions in the country. In June 22, Duterte withdrew his position and denied that he ordered the initiation of "Oplan RODY", however, he did not call for the stopping of the campaign.
The anti-loitering campaign met public backlash from various militant groups, the religious sector and human rights activists. On June 27, militant and religious groups protested against the campaign, also called "Oplan Tambay". On June 30, 25-year-old Genesis Argoncillo was arrested by the police for 'not wearing a shirt' under the Oplan RODY campaign of Duterte. Argoncillo was killed a few days later while in prison. On July 6, members of Anakbayan gathered outside QCPD Station 4 to call for justice for Genesis 'Tisoy' Argoncillo, who was allegedly killed by the detainees following his arrest during the Oplan Tambay, by protest.
Duterte ordered the bombing of Lumad community schools because of suspicions that they shelter communist rebels. On May 20, 2017, the Armed Forces of the Philippines burned down an entire community of Lumad people, which included a school and 35 houses in the Soccksargen region of Mindanao. On December 8, the Karapatan group asked the United Nations to probe the killings of the Lumad (indigenous peoples of Mindanao), after eight T'boli and Dulangan Manobo farmers were killed by members of the 27th and 33rd Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army.
On February 5, 2018, it was confirmed that the military-conducted killings of Lumad peoples in Mindanao continued. Duterte ordered the military to bomb Lumad schools last July 2017, and has never withdrawn the threat. On July 16, military presence in Surigao del Sur, a traditional Lumad indigenous territory, prompted an expansive Lumad evacuation due to fear from military bombings, leading to protests against Duterte's anti-Lumad campaigns. On July 23, Barug Katungod, a group that monitors the human rights situation in Mindanao, announced that Duterte's Mindanao martial law has shifted focus from terrorism to tribes fighting for ancestral domain, which has caused the massive military killings and threats against the indigenous Lumad peoples. On July 25, it was reported that Lumad evacuees face harassment, and lack of water and food due to constant military attacks and threats. On July 26, Lumad groups demanding the reopening of schools for their children brought their protest by holding the wake for one of their leaders right at the doorsteps of the Department of Education (DepEd) office. On July 26, Lumad groups demanding the reopening of schools for their children brought their protest by holding the wake for one of their leaders right at the doorsteps of the Department of Education (DepEd) office. On August 9, Lumad evacuees formally returned to their homes after days to months in evacuation camps. However, military presence in some areas have continued as Duterte never officially withdrew his statements to bomb Lumad schools.
On December 19, Duterte signed into law the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN Law), which slightly increased the take-home pay of workers but also increased the taxes on and prices of goods nationwide. The signing of the law exponentially increased the country's inflation rate and diminished the strength of the Philippine peso.
The implementation of the TRAIN Law triggered protests from various left-wing groups. On January 15, protesters gathered at various public market sites, calling for the revocation of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, a law that has increased the cost of goods exponentially since December 2017. TRAIN law and other issues are also tackled in student protests called "Pambansang Walkout". On May 21, several groups gathered at numerous gas station sites in the country to protest the continuous increase of oil prices, citing the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN Law) as the main cause.
The Maute group, an ISIS-inspired terrorist group, had reportedly been able to establish a stronghold in Lanao del Sur since early 2016. The group had been blamed for the 2016 Davao City bombing and two attacks in Butig, Lanao del Sur, a town located south of Marawi, in 2016. Before the Duterte administration, the Philippine government had downplayed the threat of ISIS in the Philippines. Even after the February 2016 Butig clash with the Maute group, then-President Benigno Aquino III discounted the possibility of the Islamic State's presence in the country. He said that those behind the attack were just mercenaries wanting to be recognized by the Middle East-based terror group.
In November 2016, President Duterte confirmed the Maute group's affiliation with the Islamic State. Amidst fierce fighting in Butig on November 30, 2016, Duterte, in a command briefing in Lanao del Sur, warned the Maute group: "Ayaw ko makipag-away sa inyo. Ayaw ko makipag-patayan, (I do not want to fight with you. I don't want us killing each other) but please, do not force my hand. I cannot be forever traveling here every month para lang makipag-usap (just to talk), at pagtalikod ko patayan na naman (and when I turn around, there's killing again). I do not want to mention anything, but please do not force my hand into it." On December 2, 2016, as the military regained control of Butig, the retreating Maute fighters reportedly left a note threatening to behead Duterte.
On May 23, 2017, clashes between Philippine government security forces and militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Salafi jihadist groups erupted in the city of Marawi.
On the same day, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 216 declaring a 60-day martial law in Mindanao following clashes between the AFP and the Maute group in Marawi, Lanao del Sur. He said that the implementation is similar to Proclamation No. 1081 and expressed the possibility of extending the scope of the martial law nationwide if deemed necessary.
According to the Philippine government, the clashes began during an offensive in Marawi to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of the ISIL-affiliated Abu Sayyaf group. A deadly firefight erupted when Hapilon's forces opened fire on the combined Army and police teams and called for reinforcements from the Maute group.
Maute group militants attacked Camp Ranao and occupied several buildings in the city, including Marawi City Hall, Mindanao State University, a hospital, and the city jail. They also occupied the main street and set fire to Saint Mary's Cathedral, Ninoy Aquino School, and Dansalan College, which is run by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP). The militants also took a priest and several churchgoers hostage.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines stated that some of the terrorists were foreigners who had been in the country for a long time, offering support to the Maute group in Marawi. Their main objective was to raise an ISIS flag at the Lanao del Sur Provincial Capitol and declare a wilayat or provincial ISIS territory in Lanao del Sur.
The fighting lasted for five months until October 17, 2017, the day after the deaths of militant leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon. President Duterte declared Marawi as "liberated from terrorist influence". This was followed by another October 23, 2017 pronouncement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that the five-month battle against the terrorists in Marawi had finally ended.
Part of DuterteNomics is the Build! Build! Build! Infrastructure Plan which according to the administration will usher in the "Golden Age of Infrastructure". The goals of the program are to reduce poverty, encourage economic growth and reduce congestion in Metro Manila.
Infrastructure projects include:
- Subic-Clark Railway
- North-South Commuter Railway from New Clark City to Calamba, Laguna
- New Clark City
- Expansion of Clark International Airport
- Mindanao Railway (Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment)
- Luzon Spine Expressway Network
Early in his term, Duterte's expletive-laden outbursts triggered the biggest exodus from stocks in a year and made the peso Asia's worst performer in September 2016. The Philippine currency was at a seven-year low and rounding out its worst month since May 2010. In the same month, the Philippine peso completed its biggest monthly decline since October 2000 amid the biggest outflow from the nation's stocks in a year. According to the Philippines' Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, the peso's slump this year is "mainly due to a deteriorating trade outlook because of rising imports of capital goods, which is normal for a country that is growing very fast". Currency strategists have, however, "predicted a rebound once investors see beyond Duterte's words".
After 100 days in office, former president Ramos, a political ally-mentor of Duterte said that "Duterte has been a huge disappointment and letdown" and "the government was losing badly by prioritizing a war on drugs at the expense of issues like poverty, living costs, foreign investment, and jobs". Based on subsequent surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations, optimism in the economic prospects under the Duterte administration remains "excellent" with more Filipinos believing that the quality of their lives will improve in the next 12 months. This is supported by polls conducted by Pulse Asia one year after Duterte took office, wherein approval (82%) and trust (81%) ratings for Duterte still remain very high.
Duterte's verbal attacks especially to the US and EU are viewed by many Filipinos as a threat to their jobs especially those working for foreign companies. Mark Williams, chief of Asia economist at Capital Economics, said, "Certainly, investors are worried by some of the things he's saying, he's really unnerved people". The Philippine government, however, expects that employment, especially in BPO industries, will continue to keep on rising. Despite Duterte's bluster and the messy local politics however, the long-term view for the Philippine economy looks good and has even pessimists conceding that gross domestic product should grow close to 7% over the next three to five years. "Twin catalysts of infrastructure spending and tax reform will drive the market over the next two years", Dante Tinga, head of research at BDO Nomura in Manila, tells Barron's. "There's an investment boom under way, which I believe will help in rerating the market over the next 12 months."
In December, government data revealed that the Philippines' output of nickel ore fell 16 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, after the country, which is the world's top supplier of the metal, suspended some mines in a clampdown on environmental violations. Production dropped to 19.8 million tonnes in the nine months to September from 25.97 million tonnes a year ago, according to the data. According to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, the "Philippine economy is delivering the performance we anticipated, notwithstanding the political noise and a significant terrorist event in Mindanao". Dominguez gave the assessment during the Banyan Tree Leadership Forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Duterte administration has vowed to pursue an "independent foreign policy" that would reject any meddling by foreign governments, reiterating Article II, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution which states: "The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination." In September 2016, Duterte said: "We will observe and must insist on the time-honored principle of sovereignty, sovereign equality, non-interference and the commitment of peaceful settlements of dispute that will serve our people and protect the interests of our country."
Duterte has placed great importance on the Philippines' diplomatic relations with its ASEAN neighbors. Following tradition, his first trips outside the country were to Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, and Singapore.
In 2017 the Philippines was chair and host to the ASEAN summits, a series of diplomatic conferences centering on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The culminating event was held in Manila on 10–14 November (31st summit). It was attended by ten Asean leaders.
China and Russia
Following his inauguration as president, Duterte mentioned his willingness to "reorient" his foreign policy towards China and Russia, particularly in the areas of trade and commerce. During an interview with Al Jazeera, he expressed his willingness to conduct joint military exercises with China and Russia. In September, Duterte said that he is considering purchasing military equipment, particularly weaponries and armaments, from China and Russia to strengthen the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in addressing insurgency and counter-terrorism, saying that deals between the Philippines and the two countries are already in discussion and that the Chinese and Russian governments have offered the Philippines soft loans that would be payable in 2025.
On October 18–21, 2016, Duterte visited Beijing to meet with Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. While announcing his "separation" from the United States in front of Chinese and Filipino businessmen at the Philippines–China Trade and Investment Forum in Beijing on October 20, Duterte also said that he would realign himself with the Chinese ideological flow and that he might also travel to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin to "tell him that there are three of us against the world – China, Philippines, and Russia".
On November 20, 2016, Duterte met with Putin during the sidelines of the APEC summit in Lima, Peru. Duterte has praised Putin's leadership skills and called him his "idol". Putin also invited Duterte to visit Moscow. Duterte said that he would visit Moscow on May 25, 2017, where a defense cooperation agreement between the Philippines and Russia is expected to be finalized.
During an interview with RT in November, Duterte said that the Philippines is "not ready" for military alliances with China and Russia due to the Mutual Defense Treaty signed between the Philippines and the U.S.; however, he clarified that the Philippines could seek stronger diplomatic cooperation with China and Russia, as well as other countries, "to make the world more peaceful". Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev expounded on Duterte's statement by saying that the Russian government is offering a strategic partnership with the Philippines, not a military alliance, and added that Russia does not believe in establishing military alliances with Asia. However, Khovaev explained that the Russian government is open to assisting the Philippines in purchasing Russian-made weaponry.
On May 1, 2017, following a visit to three Chinese naval ships at the Port of Davao, Duterte expressed interest in conducting joint military exercises between the Philippine Armed Forces and China's People's Liberation Army in Mindanao, particularly in the Sulu Sea.
On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal in the Hague announced its ruling in favor of the Philippines in its case filed under the Benigno Aquino III administration in 2013 against China on issues regarding the South China Sea under the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including the latter's nine-dash line claim which the tribunal ruled had no legal basis. Three days after, during a testimonial dinner in San Juan, Duterte asked former President Fidel Ramos to lead the Philippine envoy to Beijing for bilateral negotiations with China over the disputes. Ramos accepted the offer on July 23, but resigned on October 31. During his first State of the Nation Address on July 25, Duterte said that his administration "strongly affirms and respects" the ruling and would use it as a guide to negotiate for a resolution on the territorial disputes. Duterte prefers to discuss the issue quietly and directly with China and has vowed not to raise the issue before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Duterte said "he would not want to antagonize China" and would want to "maintain good relations with China" to "create an environment where we sit down and talk directly".
On October 12, Duterte declared his intention to terminate joint US–Philippine naval patrols in the South China Sea, which he believes could needlessly antagonize China. His reticent approach with China contrasts with his otherwise "belligerent rhetoric and swaggering persona"; he has received support for some political ads from an anonymous Chinese donor.
When then U.S. Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson threatened China's positions on the islands, the Philippines said that Tillerson was speaking for the U.S. only in the U.S.'s interest and prerogatives. Delfin Lorenzana, Duterte's Defense Secretary, rejected the possibility of war against China over the islands in the South China Sea.
On April 6, 2017, Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to occupy and fortify at least nine uninhabited islands in the South China Sea. He announced plans to visit the Philippine-administered Thitu (Pag-asa) Island during Independence Day and raise a Philippine flag there. Duterte also ordered the Philippine Navy to build structures on the Benham Rise in order to reassure the Philippines' sovereignty over the undersea region, following the sighting of Chinese survey vessels. He also announced plans to rename the Benham Rise to the Philippine Ridge. On April 12, Duterte canceled his plan to visit the Thitu (Pag-asa) Island, citing goodwill and friendship with China. On April 21, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced the allocation of ₱1.6 billion to develop the Thitu (Pag-asa) Island, despite rejection from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The development of the island is expected to include the construction of a marine research center, beaching facilities, a radio station, an ice plant, and a power station, as well as the improvement of the Rancudo airstrip runway. On May 16, 2017, Duterte signed an executive order formally renaming the Benham Rise to the Philippine Rise.
In February 2018, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published aerial surveillance photos of Chinese military fortifications in the South China Sea which showed runways, hangars, control towers, helipads, radomes and multi-storey buildings on reefs across the region, described by the newspaper as "island fortresses". The photos, which were mostly taken in late 2017, were authenticated by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which described them as "the most complete, detailed batch of aerial pics available", and stated that the "photos show China is nearly done with its militarization of South China Sea". Duterte's spokesman told reporters: "[The region has] long been militarized. And the question is, what can we do?" - which led to accusations of dereliction of his "sacred core duty" of defending Philippine territory.
On September 12, 2016, Duterte said that he is "not a fan of the Americans" and that he wants to "reorient" foreign policy with the United States. He requested that U.S. forces in Mindanao should leave the Philippines, specifically those who are part of the Operation Enduring Freedom, saying that it would "inflame the situation with the Abu Sayyaf". Duterte said on September 13 that he does not plan to cut ties with the United States, but wants to reiterate the administration's pursuit of an "independent foreign policy" in accordance with the Constitution; the administration will continue to honor mutual agreements like the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. On September 20, Duterte said: "I never said get out of the Philippines, for after all, we need them there in the China Sea. We don't have armaments."
On September 27, Duterte vowed not to allow the U.S. government to interfere with the policies of his administration. He criticized the U.S. government for "lecturing" his administration on human rights amidst their campaign on illegal drugs and said that he will "cross the Rubicon with the U.S." Duterte added that he plans to forge "new alliances" with China and Russia in trade and commerce. U.S. Department of State deputy spokesperson Mark Toner responded to Duterte's criticisms by saying that the Philippine–U.S. relations could still remain "strong and unabated" despite Duterte's criticisms. The following day, while addressing the Filipino community in Hanoi, Duterte said that the Balikatan military exercises and the joint naval patrols in the South China Sea between the Philippines and the U.S. in October would be "its last" in order to avoid provoking conflict with China.
On October 5, Duterte accused the U.S. of refusing to sell armaments to the Philippines and said that he would rather purchase armaments from China and Russia. In an attempt to repair relations with the U.S., Duterte's Defense Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, said Duterte was "misinformed" about the U.S. alliance: "Maybe, the defense ministry and the armed forces were remiss in providing him the correct information."
On October 6, Duterte's then-Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. denounced the idea of the Philippines being regarded as a "little brown brother" by the U.S. Yasay said that the Philippines had been "failed" by the U.S.
On October 20, while on a trip to Beijing, Duterte declared a "separation" from the United States which he stated had lost militarily, socially, and economically, and emphasized a realignment of the Philippines to move closer to China. During a press conference after arriving from Beijing, Duterte clarified that what he meant by "separation" was a "separation of a foreign policy" and not a severance of diplomatic ties, saying that it would not be feasible to cut diplomatic ties with the U.S. due to the large number of Filipino Americans. U.S. Department of State spokesperson John Kirby responded by saying: "We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the president meant when he talked about separation from the U.S.; it's not clear what that means and all its ramifications." On October 23, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel R. Russel traveled to Manila to seek clarification and explanation for Duterte's comments with Philippine officials, including Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
On November 7, Secretary Lorenzana clarified that the joint Balikatan exercises will continue along with the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, but the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training amphibious landing exercises between the Philippine Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy would be discontinued. He specified that bilateral drills on counter-terrorism, humanitarian response, special operations, engineering projects, and civic action will remain, all of which have been approved by Duterte.
Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar offered "warm congratulations" to Donald Trump on his election victory. He said that Duterte "look[ed] forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippines–US relations anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law". While in Kuala Lumpur, Duterte personally congratulated Trump by greeting him "Mabuhay!" and expressed hope that the Trump administration would honor obligations and treaties signed between the Philippines and the U.S. On December 2, Duterte called then President-elect Trump to personally congratulate him once more and invited him to visit the Philippines for the Twelfth East Asia Summit in 2017, while Trump invited Duterte to visit him in New York City and Washington, D.C. after the former's inauguration. On April 29, 2017, President Trump called Duterte to inform him of his planned visit to the Philippines in November for the East Asia Summit. Trump also extended an invitation to Duterte to visit him at the White House. During their call, Duterte urged Trump to show restraint in dealing with North Korea over their nuclear weapons program, warning him that the region could suffer "immensely". Trump also praised Duterte's drug war during the call, telling him "I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem".
Two weeks into Duterte's presidency, on July 13, 2016, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted the first survey on his presidency since his inauguration on June 30, where Duterte received an "excellent" trust rating of 79% among 1,200 adults nationwide. A week later, on July 20, Pulse Asia released a poll conducted on July 2–8 which showed that 91% of Filipinos trust Duterte, making him the most trusted official in the Philippines since 1999, according to Pulse Asia. On January 8, 2018, Duterte's trust ratings fell to 82% according to an SWS poll. On April 26, 2018, Duterte's trust ratings further fell to 65%. A SWS survey released in September 2018 found that Duterte's trust ratings fell again to 57%. On the third quarter of 2018, Duterte's trust rating increased to 62%.
- Protests against Rodrigo Duterte
- Political positions of Rodrigo Duterte
- Rodrigo Duterte presidential campaign, 2016
- Philippine War on Drugs
- Burial of Ferdinand Marcos
- List of international presidential trips made by Rodrigo Duterte
- List of executive orders by Rodrigo Duterte
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