Matt Forney
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rodrigo duterte

Rodrigo Duterte, Donald Trump, and the Worldwide Nationalist Revolt

NOTE: This article was originally published at Right On on May 12, 2016. I’m re-posting it here as the site is now defunct.

Rodrigo Duterte’s triumph in this week’s presidential election in the Philippines is yet another sign that the tide is turning against globalism. While comparisons between Duterte and Donald Trump are overdone, they and other nationalist politicians are tapping into the same vein of discontent with world elites.

The Philippines is a country few think about if they don’t have to. Most people know it as a one-time American colony that now serves as a bottomless vat of call center employees and LBFMs. Culturally, the Philippines resides in a dead zone between the first and third worlds: it’s too kleptocratic to be a tax haven, it’s too Catholic to be a hotspot for sex tourists, and it’s not edgy enough to interest hipster backpackers, most of whom stick to drug-filled fleshpits like Cambodia or Thailand.

Which means that nobody knew how to react when Rodrigo Duterte, long-time mayor of the southern Philippine city of Davao, won the presidential election earlier this week. When I first heard the news, I referred to Duterte as “the Donald Trump of Asia” on social media, which I thought was witty and original… until I realized that every other news outlet on Earth beat me to it. In a more disturbing parallel with the U.S. presidential race, “Duterte Harry” beat out his own version of Lyin’ Ted Cruz: Grace Poe, a globalist muppet who’s lived most of her adult life in D.C.’s Virginia suburbs, didn’t acquire Philippine citizenship until a decade ago, and may have been constitutionally ineligible for the job.

Foreign coverage of the Philippine presidential election has focused on Duterte’s womanizing and “outlandish” public remarks, from his offer to sleep with the brides at a mass wedding to his comments on an Australian missionary who was gang-raped and murdered in a prison break during his mayoralty. Soros-funded “human rights” groups have lambasted him for his support for killing violent criminals. In another parallel with Trump’s campaign, near the end of the race, outgoing president and feckless inbred Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III urged contenders to drop out and unite behind a single anti-Duterte candidate.

To both the Filipino chattering classes and the international media, Rodrigo Duterte is a murderous, misogynistic madman who will dismantle the Philippines’ hard-won democracy and pile the skulls as high as the sun. The only reason the Left hasn’t been insulting his supporters in the same way they insult Trump’s is because they’re afraid of being seen as racist. None of them have bothered to examine Duterte’s record as Davao’s mayor.

Unlike most foreigners commenting on the election, I’ve actually lived in Davao, meaning I’ve seen the fruits of Duterte’s labor first-hand. Rodrigo Duterte is far from a perfect man, but he’s the leader the Philippines desperately needs. His three-decade-long reign as Davao mayor has transformed it into one of the safest, most pleasant cities I’ve ever lived in, in any country.

For those who don’t know, Davao is situated on the southern end of the island of Mindanao, itself the southernmost large island in the Philippine archipelago. Despite having a population of over a million, the city has relatively few tourists thanks to the State Department warning people to stay away due to the Muslim-led civil war… which is happening on the complete other side of Mindanao. That’s like refusing to set foot anywhere in Illinois because of gang shootings in Chicago’s South Side.

Beigeists who assail Duterte as an “authoritarian” neglect to mention that his political rise was due to the People Power Revolution in 1986, in which dictator Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown and Philippine democracy was restored. As an ally of Corazon Aquino (the mother of current President Aquino), Duterte was elected mayor in 1988, a period in which Davao was one of the most violent and dangerous cities in the world, both due to the civil war and the incompetence of the local government.

Duterte Harry’s innovative solution to dealing with bandits, insurgents, and drug smugglers was to allow death squads to shut them down, doing an end-run around the city’s hopelessly corrupt judicial system. If this offends your Amnesty International sensibilities, I’d like to know how you’d react if Muslims and communists were waging war in your backyard. Actually wait, you don’t need to imagine that, because it’s already happening across Europe.

The results of Duterte’s efforts are evident: Davao’s crime rate plummeted from African war zone levels in 1985 to a mere 0.8 per 10,000 inhabitants in 2005. For comparison, Chicago (where I currently live) has a violent crime rate of 88.4 per 10,000 inhabitants. When I lived in the former city, I could look out my apartment window and see little kids playing in a landfill; living in the latter, I see elderly Whites getting beaten by teenage thugs.

But Duterte went beyond sending criminals to their Maker: his mayoralty has revolved around infusing Davao’s residents with morality and civic pride. His administration was among the first to end discrimination against Muslims and other indigenous minorities, akin to how Lee Kuan Yew reconciled the different ethnic groups of Singapore by building a meritocracy-based society. Duterte also funded rehabilitation programs for drug users, improved the city’s literacy rate, and worked to keep the ever-present beggars of the Philippines off of Davao’s streets. He even cracked down on speeding and reckless driving, no small deal considering that traffic accidents are the number one cause of death for Americans abroad.

I saw all of this when I lived in Davao. During my two-month stay, not one mugger tried to rob me, not one shopkeeper tried to cheat me, and not one taxi driver tried to rip me off. Everyone I met, from police officers to random passersby, was unfailingly polite and helpful. In fact, one day, I was walking past a playground when all the kids stood up and started waving and cheering at me, probably because I was the first White man they’d ever seen in their lives. Contrast this to Manila, where half my mental energy was wasted on keeping hookers and street urchins from hustling me.

Moreover, the women of Davao are a world apart from the money-grubbing whores that Filipinas are typically stereotyped as. I once referred to the city as the Des Moines of Southeast Asia: a quiet, family-friendly place. Whenever a city is described as “a good place to raise a family,” it’s usually code for “boring,” but in a country where people are shot for exercising their right to vote, quiet and boring is an ideal to aspire to. Davao girls are sweet, feminine, and chaste, often remaining virgins until their wedding day, making it the perfect place to find a devoted girlfriend or wife.

Why do Filipinos love Rodrigo Duterte? Why wouldn’t they? Who wouldn’t vote for a man who transformed his city from a dumpster fire into a model for the rest of the nation? I can even back some of Duterte’s more questionable (by American standards) initiatives, because they’re measures that the Philippines desperately needs. For example, he instituted a ban on smoking in public places, a necessary step to curtail the country’s horrific smog and air pollution. During my time in the Philippines, the air was so filthy that my eyes had to produce extra moisture to keep from drying up; when I returned to Chicago, the extra moisture made it look like I was crying for the first few days afterwards.

To put it simply, Rodrigo Duterte is a political enema. The Philippines’ corrupt elite has done nothing to ameliorate the country’s poverty and crime, making this backlash inevitable. Duterte has even promised to revise the bootlicking policies of his predecessor, Aquino, who spat on his mother’s legacy by trying to reopen the American military bases she shuttered during her presidency. If the best the Filipino elite could manage is Grace Poe—a New England-educated stooge who didn’t even renounce her American citizenship until five years ago—they could give our elites a run in the incompetency department.

Duterte, Trump, Le Pen, Farage: the nationalists are rising, and there’s nothing our globalist mandarins can do to stop them. Like all elites, they got drunk off their own power, too arrogant to think that anyone could challenge their rule. With Rodrigo Duterte taking office next month and Trump’s poll numbers rising every day, the globalists should be afraid.

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