By Angelo Lopez on August 25, 2016
In the past few weeks, many people have asked my opinion on the new Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte. At first, I was embarrassed to tell them that I didn't know much about Duterte. During the Philippine election season, I was more focused on learning more about the trials of the Lumad people in Mindanao who were struggling to keep their land from the encroachment of mining companies. So these past few weeks I've been doing all I can to read articles and talk to activists to learn all I can about President Duterte.
Many people have compared Duterte to Donald Trump. Both men have blunt and often vulgar language to express their political points. Duterte is a lot more complex a political figure than Trump though. While Trump has often scapegoated minority groups like Muslims and immigrants, Duterte has been a strong advocate for the rights of minority groups like Muslims and the LGBT community. Trump leans strongly towards the Right side of the political spectrum, while many of Duterte's economic policies lean strongly towards the Left.
Instead of comparing Duterte to Trump, I think a more apt comparison to an American political leader would be President Lyndon Johnson. Like Duterte, LBJ was a course and often vulgar politician. Johnson often used ruthless means to acquire power. Once he acquired that power, though, Johnson often used that power for noble ends. I have very mixed feelings towards Lyndon Johnson's presidency. If I was an adult in the 1960s, I would've supported Lyndon Johnson on civil rights and his Great Society programs to help the poor. But I would've opposed Johnson's policies on the Vietnam War.