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The Philippines Elects a New President

May 12, 2016
Plain English Version
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte leaves the voting precint after casting his vote. He is the new president of the Philippines. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte leaves the voting precinct after casting his vote. He is the new president of the Philippines. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images

Filipinos chose Rodrigo Duterte as their new president. The outcome of the election was not a surprise. He was leading in the polls. He is the mayor of the city of Davao.

Mr. Duterte is not like other politicians. He is a hands-on person. As mayor, he sometimes drove a cab at night. He wanted to see first-hand what was happening in the city. When stuck in a traffic jam, he might get out of the cab and try to fix things.

He has a strong personality. A friend said, “He is willing to try anything new. He is not afraid to be innovative. He is not afraid to go against the traditional way.”

He is well known for his hard line on crime. He cited his record in making Davao safe. He uses extreme measures. He said his plan on criminals was to “kill them all.” He said he would pursue those who break the law. He said he would kill them himself. Then he would grant himself a presidential pardon.

His blunt talk appeals to most voters. Some worry that he may become too authoritarian. Supporters are saying he is not as bad as he sounds.

Crime is not the biggest worry in the Philippines. There are high levels of poverty. There is warfare. The southern part of the country has insurgents. There are kidnap-for-ransom gangs. Some think that Mr. Duterte’s approach might bring an end to the violence.

Mr. Duterte replaces President Benigno S. Aquino III. Term limits barred Mr. Aquino from running again.

An observer said this about the new president. “He expresses what others are not able to say in polite society. He is friendly and open to all sides. This is what is exciting for his presidency.”

Source: The New York Times May 10, 2016

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