While on our enchanting Philippines vacation was on, my mind was constantly getting diverted by the daily local newspaper headlines. Everyday the publications carried big and bold news of President Rodrigo Duterte’s obsession with war on drugs. Du30 (as he is popularly known now) has forged a bloody war against drugs, dealers, sellers, producers and everyone linked to it. The police have been ordered to ‘encounter’ every seller, buyer, addict and middleman.
Over the last seven months, since he took over (the oldest person to) the seat of Philippines presidency, there has been over 6000 people killed – feared mostly drug addicts, sellers, buyers and middlemen.
Obviously where big money is being lost, there are several stakeholders unhappy, arranging social media campaigns, protests etc all under garbage of human rights, falling peso values and that only small timers are getting caught while the big sharks still escape the net.
They even influenced USA and other nations to speak up but Du30 has only one aim in life, to eradicate this menace and make the streets of Philippines safe forever. Deep inside 80% of population support Du30 including people who lost their drugged relatives to gunshots. There are more cheers than jeers. People have quoted in newspapers feeling safer and thanking the president from permanently striking fear in minds of potential drug addicts.
Rody Du30 has meanwhile minced no words taking jibes at USA, China or anyone who tried to talk about human right issues connected to this war on drugs. He is well aware that every bold step faces a divided jury, and has decided to take it head on.
Rodrigo Duterte’s obsession is very similar to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s vow to eradicate corruption, to the extent possible, from India. From Demonetization, to getting the big sharks scurrying to non stop raids, arrests and change in rules being made everyday as fresh barriers to corruption. Similar to Duterte’s war, there are 80% people who are silently bearing the pain, but most of them supporting the move while opposition leaders, to media personnel, to even global personalities – all having contrarian views.
But Modi rolls on, so does Duterte. Both maybe remembered as dictator generals for their respective countries, but when one reflects on their intent, passion, obsession and un-populist agendas with sole aim of cleaning their respective nations, they maybe thankful. The bad guys are fearing them both, in both nations. While the good guys are finally seeing hope.
Modi and Duterte both feature in Forbes world’s most powerful personalities 2016 list. While as personalities there are little similarities, both came from ordinary families as head of state of a small province. As head of Davao, Duterte, in his own words, had personally gone down on streets, shooting drug sellers – displaying an example to the local police on how to take a war against illegal people head on.