Presidency of Rodrigo Duterte

The presidency of Rodrigo Duterte began at noon on June 30, 2016, following his inauguration as the 16th president of the Philippines, succeeding Benigno Aquino III. His term is expected to end exactly six years later.

Rodrigo Duterte
Presidency of Rodrigo Duterte
June 30, 2016 – present
CabinetSee list
PartyPDP–Laban
Election2016
SeatMalacañang Palace, Manila

Duterte is the first president from Mindanao[1] and oldest person to be elected president of the Philippines.[1] He is also the first Philippine president to have worked in the three branches of the government.[1] Duterte was the mayor of Davao City at the time of his 2016 presidential election victory, garnering over 16 million votes or about 39% of total votes, beating his closest rival by over 6.6 million votes.[2] His election victory was propelled by growing public frustration over the tumultuous post-EDSA democratic governance, which favored political and economic elite over ordinary Filipinos.[3][4]

Duterte started a nationwide campaign to rid the country of crime, corruption, and illegal drugs.[5][6] He implemented an intensified war on drugs which saw about 6,600 persons linked to the illegal drug trade killed as of July 2019,[7] garnering international criticism. His administration withdrew the Philippines from the International Criminal Court following the court's launch of a preliminary examination into crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Duterte and other top officials.

Duterte prioritized infrastructure spending, initiating the Build! Build! Build! infrastructure program.[8] He initiated liberal economic reforms by amending the Foreign Investment Act of 1991 and Public Service Act to attract foreign investors, and reformed the country's tax system by signing the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law[9] and Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act while raising sin taxes on non-essential goods. He took measures to eliminate corruption, red tape, and money laundering by establishing the freedom of information under the Executive branch, signing the Ease of Doing Business Act, creating the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, and strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Act. In agricultural policy, he liberalized rice imports by signing the Rice Tariffication Law to stabilize rice prices, granted free irrigation to small farmers, signed the Sagip Saka Act, and created a trust fund for coconut farmers.

Duterte implemented an intensified campaign against terrorism and communist insurgency. He signed the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, and oversaw the five-month long Battle of Marawi, declaring martial law throughout Mindanao[10] and extending it for two years to ensure order in the island.[11] He initially pursued peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines and appointed several left-leaning individuals to government positions, but cancelled all negotiations in February 2017 following attacks and kidnapping of soldiers by New Peoples Army rebels, officially declaring the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group.[12] He ordered the creation of a task force to end local communist armed conflict and the Task Force Balik-Loob for the reintegration of former communist rebels. He signed into law the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), establishing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,[13] and signed proclamations granting amnesty to members of the Moro National Liberation Front, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Duterte signed free college education in all state universities and colleges through the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act,[14] provided medical scholarships through the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act, institutionalized the alternative learning system, established transnational higher education in the country, and signed the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act. He signed the automatic enrollment of all Filipinos under the government's health insurance program through the Universal Health Care Act, signed the Philippine Mental Health Law, signed a law establishing Malasakit Centers in public hospitals, ordered the full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law, banned smoking in public places nationwide, and set a price cap on select medicines. He oversaw the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, implementing strict lockdown measures causing in 2020 a 9.5% contraction in the country's GDP, which eventually recovered to 5.6% in 2021 following gradual reopening of the economy and implementing a nationwide vaccination drive.

Duterte signed laws creating the Philippine Space Agency and the departments of housing and urban development, and migrant workers. He institutionalized a national identification system and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, raised the age of sexual consent to 16, criminalized child marriage, simplified the adoption process, and launched the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

Duterte has pursued an "independent foreign policy", pursuing improved relations with China and Russia, and lessening the country's dependence on its traditional ally — the United States.[15] He has adopted a cautious, pragmatic, and conciliatory stance towards China compared to his predecessor,[16] and has set aside the previous government policy of using the Philippines v. China ruling to assert the Philippines' claims over the South China Sea and its islands.

Duterte's domestic approval rating has been relatively high throughout his presidency despite criticism and international opposition to his anti-narcotics drive.[17][18]

2016 electionEdit

 
  Duterte won solid votes from Mindanao, Metro Manila, and Cebu during the 2016 presidential election.[19]

Duterte ran for president on a platform of combating crime, corruption, and illegal drugs,[20] and on a popular campaign slogan of "Change is coming".[21][22] He won the 2016 presidential elections, receiving 16,601,997 (39.02%) votes out of a total of 42,552,835 votes, beating his closest rival, Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas, by over 6.6 million votes.[2]

TransitionEdit

 
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte (left) and outgoing President Noynoy Aquino (right).

Duterte's presidential transition began on May 30, 2016, when the Congress of the Philippines proclaimed him the winner of the 2016 Philippine presidential election held on May 9, 2016.[23][24][25] Duterte's transition team was organized after Duterte led by a significant margin at the unofficial count by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).[26] The transition team prepared the new presidential residence and cabinet appointments, and held cordial meetings with the outgoing administration.[27] Duterte met with various personalities during his transition period, notably, Eduardo V. Manalo, the executive minister of Iglesia ni Cristo religious group.[28]

The transition lasted until the day of Duterte's inauguration on June 30, 2016.

InaugurationEdit

 
Duterte is joined by his children as he takes his oath as the 16th President of the Philippines.[29]

Duterte was inaugurated as the sixteenth president of the Philippines on June 30, 2016, at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall, the largest room of the Malacañang Palace, in Manila, in accordance with Duterte's wish to keep the ceremony simple and modest.[29][30] He was sworn in by Bienvenido L. Reyes, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines and Duterte's fraternity brother.[31] Duterte's inauguration was the fourth Philippine presidential inauguration to be held in Malacañang, and the first since the Fifth Philippine Republic was established.[30][29]

Administration and cabinetEdit

 
Duterte presides over the 29th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañang Palace on September 11, 2018.

On May 31, 2016, a few weeks before his presidential inauguration, Duterte named his Cabinet members,[32] which comprised a diverse selection of former military generals, childhood friends, classmates, and leftists.[33] Following his presidential inauguration, he administered a mass oath-taking for his Cabinet officials, and held his first Cabinet meeting on June 30.[34][35]

During his tenure, he appointed several retired military generals and police directors to the Cabinet and other government agencies,[36] stressing they are honest and competent.[37] He initially offered four executive departments to left-leaning individuals,[38] who later resigned, were fired, or rejected by the Commission on Appointments after relations between the government and the communist rebels deteriorated.[39][40] He fired several Cabinet members and officials linked to corruption,[41][42] but has been accused by critics of "recycling" people he fired when he reappointed some of them to other government positions.[43][44] Admitting he is not an economist,[45] he appointed several technocrats in his Cabinet, which he relied upon on economic affairs.[46] In February 2022, a few months before leaving office, he said he got the "best minds" in his Cabinet, whom he praised for their good works, and expressed his willingness to pass his Cabinet members to the succeeding administration for the benefit of the people.[47]

Judicial appointmentsEdit

Duterte appointed the following to the Supreme Court of the Philippines:

Chief JusticeEdit

  1. Teresita Leonardo-De Castro - August 28, 2018[104]
  2. Lucas Bersamin - November 28, 2018[105]
  3. Diosdado Peralta - October 23, 2019[106]
  4. Alexander Gesmundo - April 5, 2021 (his last SC Chief Justice appointee)[107]

Associate JusticesEdit

  1. Samuel Martires - March 6, 2017 (as Associate Justice),[108] July 26, 2018 (as Ombudsman).[109]
  2. Noel G. Tijam - March 8, 2017[110]
  3. Andres Reyes Jr. - July 12, 2017[111]
  4. Alexander Gesmundo - August 14, 2017 (as Associate Justice)[112]
  5. Jose C. Reyes - August 10, 2018[113]
  6. Ramon Paul Hernando - October 10, 2018[114]
  7. Rosmari D. Carandang - November 28, 2018[115]
  8. Amy C. Lazaro-Javier - March 7, 2019[116]
  9. Henri Jean Paul Inting - May 27, 2019[117]
  10. Rodil V. Zalameda - August 5, 2019[118]
  11. Edgardo L. de Los Santos - December 3, 2019[119]
  12. Mario V. Lopez - December 3, 2019[119]
  13. Samuel H. Gaerlan - January 8, 2020[120]
  14. Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla - July 16, 2020[121]
  15. Ricardo Rosario - October 8, 2020[122]
  16. Jhosep Lopez - January 26, 2021[123]
  17. Japar Dimaampao - July 2, 2021[124]
  18. Midas Marquez - September 27, 2021[125]
  19. Antonio Kho Jr. - February 23, 2022[126]
  20. Maria Filomena Singh - May 18, 2022 (his last SC appointee)[127]

Major activitiesEdit

SpeechesEdit

Major acts and legislationEdit

Executive ordersEdit

National budgetEdit

R. A. No. Title Principal Sponsor Date signed
10924 General Appropriations Act of 2017 Loren Legarda December 22, 2016[135]
10964 General Appropriations Act of 2018 Loren Legarda December 19, 2017[136]
11260 General Appropriations Act of 2019 Loren Legarda April 15, 2019[137]
11464 Extension of General Appropriations Act of 2019 Nancy Binay December 20, 2019[138]
11465 General Appropriations Act of 2020 Nancy Binay January 6, 2020[139]
11520 General Appropriations Act of 2021 Nancy Binay December 29, 2020[140]
11640 General Appropriations Act of 2022 Nancy Binay December 30, 2021[141]

Leadership styleEdit

Duterte is known for his authoritarian leadership style, decisiveness, fiery rhetoric, and man-of-the-people persona.[142][143][144] He frequently deviates from prepared speeches and occasionally mentions humorous, controversial and outrageous remarks and expletives during his speeches,[145][146] for which his spokesperson and advisers would later interpret and clarify, sometimes through conflicting statements.[147] His erratic way of speaking has attracted concern from some observers, who stress his public statements may be misconstrued as government policy.[148][146] He has also been criticized for his sexist jokes and low tolerance for dissent.[142][143] His man-of-the-people style contributes to his popularity among many Filipinos,[143] who see in him a strict father figure, Tatay Digong (Father Digong), who instills order and discipline within the nation.[142][149][150]

Duterte believes an "iron fist" is needed to inculcate discipline in his administration.[151] Amid the community quarantines during the COVID-19 pandemic, he asked the public for discipline in following quarantine rules as he employed the military and police in enforcing social distancing guidelines.[152]

Duterte described himself as a night person, typically starting his working day at 1:00 to 2:00 in the afternoon. He called for news conferences that begin at midnight and stressed that, "unlike others", he reads and scrutinizes piles of documents "several inches thick" at his office before signing them.[153][154][155]

First 100 daysEdit

During his first 100 days in office, Duterte issued an executive order on freedom of information,[156] launched an intensified campaign against illegal drugs, sought to resume peace talks with communist insurgents, formulated a comprehensive tax reform plan, led efforts to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law, made efforts to streamline government transactions, launched the nationwide 9–1–1 rescue and 8888 complaint hotlines, established a one-stop service center for overseas Filipino workers, and increased in the combat and incentive pay of soldiers and police personnel.[157]

Duterte made moves to limit US visiting troops in the country, and has reached out to China and Russia to improve relations. He launched tirades against international critics, particularly, United States President Barack Obama, the US government, the United Nations, and the European Union, which expressed condemnation to his unprecedented war on drugs that led to the deaths of about 3,300 people, half of which were killed by unknown assailants, and the arrest of 22,000 drug suspects and surrender of about 731,000 people.[157][158]

Following the September 2 bombing in Davao City that killed 14 people in the city's central business district, on September 3 Duterte declared a "state of lawlessness", and on the following day issued Proclamation No. 55 to officially declare a "state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao".[159][160]

Domestic affairsEdit

Drug policyEdit

 
Duterte presents a chart which he claims illustrates a drug trade network of drug syndicates, on July 7, 2016.
 
Protesters against the War on Drugs gather in front of the Philippine Consulate General in New York City on October 11, 2016.

Duterte claimed that the Philippines was at risk of becoming a narco-state.[161] Following his inauguration, Duterte started a nationwide anti-drug campaign, urging the Filipinos, including the New People's Army, to join the fight against illegal drugs.[162][163] On July 7, Duterte presented a chart identifying three Chinese nationals who serve as drug lords in the Philippines.[164][165] In early July, the Philippine National Police (PNP) launched its own Oplan Katok at Pakiusap or Oplan Tokhang campaign, a house-to-house strategy to convince known drug pushers and users to give up their involvement in the illegal drug trade and surrender to the police.[166] On August 7, Duterte disclosed the names of about 150 public officials, including mayors, congressmen, legislators, police, military and judges, reportedly involved in illegal drug trades.[167]

In Duterte's first 100 days in office, a rough estimate of 3,600 killings were attributed to his intensified campaign against illegal drugs, which included more than 1,300 suspects killed in gunbattles with police,[168] and about half of them killed by unknown assailants.[169] There were more than 23,500 raids and 22,500 arrests conducted by the police on suspected drug dealers and addicts, and more than 1.6 million houses of drug suspects visited by police to invite them to surrender and disengage from the drug trade. Approximately 732,000 addicts and dealers have surrendered to authorities, overwhelming the administration and prompting them to build more rehabilitation centers.[168] The growing number of extrajudicial executions since the campaign started garnered worldwide attention and prompted the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, human rights watchdogs, and opposition groups to probe into the killings which were believed to be state-sanctioned.[168][169][170][171][172] The Duterte administration welcomed any investigation on the anti-drug campaign and stressed that criticism be based on substantial evidence.[173]

In March 2017, Duterte issued an executive order creating the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD), composed of 21 government entities, headed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), tasked to lead the fight against illegal drugs.[174]

On October 10, 2017, amid public outrage over alleged police abuse in the continuing crackdown, Duterte barred the PNP from joining anti-drug raids and designated the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the "sole agency" in charge of the war on drugs.[175] The PNP launched on October 2 a recovery and wellness program for drug dependents,[176][177] which as of October 2021, was availed of by 783,005 drug surrenderees.[178] The PNP was allowed back to join the campaign on December 5, 2017, with the PDEA still being the lead agency.[179]

In October 2018, Duterte signed an executive order institutionalizing the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy, which prescribes a more balanced government approach in the fight against illegal drugs by directing all government departments and agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, and state universities and colleges to craft their own plans relative to the strategy.[180]

On March 17, 2019, the Philippines withdrew from the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the tribunal's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in February launched a preliminary examination into crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Duterte and other top officials of the war on drugs.[181][182] On September 16, 2021, the ICC authorized a formal investigation into the war on drugs,[183] focusing on crimes committed when Duterte took office in 2016 until March 2019.[184] Following a deferral request by the Philippine government via a letter sent to ICC prosecutor Karim Khan on November informing the ICC that local authorities are conducting thorough investigations of all reported deaths during anti-narcotic operations in the country, the ICC suspended its investigation in December 2021 to assess the scope and effect of the deferral request.[185]

Part of the Duterte administration's strategy on anti-illegal drugs is the Barangay Drug Clearing Program, which aims to eradicate illegal drugs in the country's remaining drug-affected barangays.[186] As of February 2022, the PDEA reported that a total of 24,379 (58%) out of the 42,045 barangays have been declared drug-cleared, 6,606 (16%) barangays were drug unaffected/drug-free, while 11,060 (26%) have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs.[187]

Duterte has since admitted to underestimating the illegal drug problem when he promised to rid the country of illegal drugs within six months of his presidency, citing the difficulty in border control against illegal drugs due to the country's long coastline and lamented that government officials and law enforcers themselves were involved in the drug trade.[188] Toward the end of his term, he acknowledged the possible retaliation from drug syndicates and said that he gains nothing from the drug war but hate.[189] He asked president-elect Bongbong Marcos to continue the war on illegal drugs in Marcos' own way, to protect the youth,[190] but declined the possibility of being appointed as Marcos' drug czar, saying he is looking forward to his retirement, and said he might find a way to address the drug problem as a civilian.[191]

The war on drugs remains overwhelmingly popular among majority of Filipinos, with a poll by the Social Weather Stations in September 2019 returning a rating of "excellent" for Duterte's three-year campaign, with 82% satisfied due to a perception of less drugs and crime in the country.[192]

Insurgency and terrorismEdit

Islamic insurgency in MindanaoEdit

 
Duterte meets with MNLF chairman, founder and former ARMM Governor Nur Misuari, November 3, 2016

Duterte was endorsed in the 2016 election by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari[193] due to his background in Mindanao.[194][195] Other Muslim groups also supported Duterte and denounced Mar Roxas, President Benigno Aquino III's supported pick.[196]

Duterte stressed that Moro dignity is what the MNLF and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are struggling for, and that they are not terrorists. He acknowledged that the Moros were subjected to wrongdoing, historical and in territory.[197] He blamed the violence on Mindanao on colonial Christianity being brought to the Philippines in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan, saying there was peace in the nation before the colonizers arrived.[198] He blamed the United States for the bloody conflicts in the Middle East,[199] and accused the US of "importing" terrorism themselves, stressing that terrorism is not "exported" by the Middle East.[200] He cited the Bud Dajo Massacre inflicted upon the Moros while criticizing the US and President Barack Obama,[201] and while calling for the exit of American troops in September 2016.[202]

Early in his term, Duterte said federalism is the only solution to the Bangsamoro peace process. During the Mindanao Hariraya (Eid al-Fitr) 2016 convention in Davao City on July 8, 2016, he vowed to address the Moro conflict and bring peace in Mindanao, assuring the Filipino Muslim community that he will pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which would establish the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, if the proposal for the country's shift to federalism, which the MILF and the MNLF both support, fails or is not desired by the Filipino people. He also added that the BBL should benefit both the MILF and MNLF, saying he is willing to negotiate with both secessionists to initiate a "reconfiguration" of territory.[203][204] On November 6, 2016, he signed an executive order expanding the Bangsamoro Transition Commission from 15 members to 21, 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 BBL in accordance with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.[205]

 
Duterte (center) with other officials during the presentation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law to the MILF at Malacañang Palace on August 6, 2018

On July 26, 2018, Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law,[206][207] which abolished the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and provided for the basic structure of government for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), following the agreements set forth in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines, under President Benigno Aquino III, and the MILF in 2014.[208] Duterte signed in April 2019 an executive order implementing the normalization program of the CAB peace agreement, paving the way for the decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons.[209] From June 2019[210] to May 2022, a total of about 19,200 former MILF combatants and 2,100 weapons were decommissioned.[211][212] Following the clamor of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and several Bangsamoro communities to extend the Bangsamoro transition period to allow the BTA to establish the foundations of effective autonomy, Duterte signed a law resetting the first parliamentary elections of BARMM from 2022 to 2025.[213][214]

Campaign against terrorismEdit

 
Duterte welcomes Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad on September 18, 2016, following his release from Abu Sayyaf captivity.

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.[215] Prior to Duterte's tenure, President Benigno Aquino III had downplayed the threat of ISIS in the Philippines,[216] maintaining that the Maute group during the February 2016 Butig clash were merely mercenaries wanting to be recognized by the Middle East-based terror group.[217]

In November 2016, Duterte confirmed the Maute group's affiliation with the Islamic State.[215] Amidst fierce fighting in Butig on November 30, Duterte, in a command briefing in Lanao del Sur, warned the Maute group not to force him to declare war.[218] On December 2, as the military regained control of Butig, the retreating Maute fighters reportedly left a note threatening to behead Duterte.[219]

 
A building in Marawi set ablaze after the Philippine Air Force conducted airstrikes against the terrorists in the city during the Battle of Marawi

On May 23, 2017, clashes erupted between Philippine security forces and ISIL-affiliated militants Maute and Abu Sayyaf Salafi jihadist groups in the city of Marawi during an offensive to capture Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, prompting Duterte to sign Proclamation No. 216 declaring a 60-day martial law in the entire of Mindanao.[220][221][222] Maute group militants attacked Camp Ranao, occupied and set fire to several key buildings in the city[223][221] and the main street, and took a priest and several churchgoers hostage.[224] 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 the city, and whose 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.[225][226] The city suffered extensive damage resulting from militant fire[227] and military airstrikes to drive the terrorists out of the urban areas.[228] On June 28, Duterte issued an administrative order creating an inter-agency task force to facilitate the rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction efforts in the conflict-torn city.[229] Duterte declared Marawi as "liberated from terrorist influence" on October 18, a day after the deaths of militant leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon.[227] Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana subsequently announced on October 23 that the five-month battle, the longest urban battle in the country's modern history,[230] had finally ended.[231]

Congress granted Duterte's requests to extend martial law in Mindanao from July 22, 2017, to December 31, 2017,[232] from January 1 to December 31, 2018,[233] and from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019, citing necessity to quell hostile activities perpetrated by terrorist groups.[234] Martial law in Mindanao was lifted on December 31, 2019, after Duterte decided not to extend it.[235][236]

 
Duterte (center) inspects the Jolo Cathedral interior on January 28, 2019, a day after the twin explosions

On January 29, 2019, following the 2019 Jolo Cathedral bombings that killed 20 people, the military conducted airstrikes in Sulu against the Abu Sayyaf Group after Duterte's order to "pulverize" the terrorist group.[237]

On March 18, 2020, Duterte signed an administrative order including former violent extremists as beneficiaries of the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).[238]

In July 2020, Duterte signed the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which aims to give more surveillance powers to government forces to curb terror threats and acts.[239] The law has become the subject of criticisms as critics claim the legislation relaxes safeguards on human rights and is prone to abuse, but authors and sponsors of the bill said it is at par with the laws of other countries and will not be used against law-abiding citizens.[240]

Following the 2020 Jolo bombings in August 2020 which killed 15 people, Duterte visited the blast site and kissed the ground to honor the lives lost,[241][242] and vowed to crush the militants.[243]

Campaign against communist insurgencyEdit

 
Duterte (foreground, 3rd from right) presides over a meeting with the NTF-ELCAC at the Malacañan Palace on April 15, 2019

Earlier in his term, Duterte reached out to communist rebels to talk peace.[40] In July 2016, Duterte directed his peace process advisor for the communist rebellion in the Philippines, 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.[244] 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',[245] and the accelerated progress for negotiations."[246] Duterte also appointed several left-leaning individuals to top government positions.[247][248][40]

Due to continued rebel attacks on soldiers despite the peace talks, Duterte's relation with the communists deteriorated.[40][249] Several officials with leftist affiliations who were initially appointed by Duterte have either resigned, been fired, or rejected by the Commission on Appointments.[40][249] Following attacks and kidnapping of soldiers by NPA members despite the imposed ceasefire by the government and rebel groups, Duterte in February 2017 cancelled all negotiations with the CPP–NPA–NDF, signing a proclamation declaring them as a terrorist organization,[12] and ordered the arrest of all NDF negotiators.[250] Military offensive against the group resumed after Duterte's cancellation of ceasefire.[251] On March 21, 2019, Duterte officially announced the permanent termination of the peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF, and said the communist rebels' call for land reform is already being done under his administration.[252][253]

On April 3, 2018, Duterte on signed an administrative order creating the Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL), the coordinating body tasked to centralize all government efforts, which include the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the DILG, and the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program of the OPAPP,[254] for the reintegration of former communist rebels.[255]

On December 4, Duterte signed an executive order creating a task force to end local communist armed conflict and institutionalizing a "whole-of-nation approach", as agreed upon by the world leaders of the ASEAN in their previous joint communiques, in combating extremism and terrorism.[256]

In July 2017, Duterte threatened the bombing of Lumad community schools alleging that they shelter communist rebels and teach students rebellion and subversion against the government.[257] On October 2019, the Department of Education shut down 55 Salugpungan schools in the Davao Region, following the schools' suspension for four months, for discovering several irregularities against the schools which include not using government-approved curriculum, and for allegedly teaching communist ideologies.[258][259][260]

From 2016 to 2019, the NTF-ELCAC had identified a total of 822 barangays that have been cleared of NPA influence.[261] On March 6, 2021, the NTF-ELCAC said each of the 822 barangays are set to receive 20 million worth of projects each, aimed at uplifting the lives of its inhabitants and as a "reward" for ridding their localities of NPA rebels.[262][263]

Duterte supported the military assertion that the left-wing partylists of the Makabayan Bloc are legal fronts of the CPP, repudiating red-tagging claims by saying "We are not red-tagging you. We are identifying you as members in a grand conspiracy comprising all the legal fronts that you have organized headed by NDF and Communist Party of the Philippines".[264][265]

On November 29, 2021, the NTF-ELCAC disclosed that a total of 20,579 communist rebels surrendered, which included 5,262 NPA fighters, 3,414 members of Militia ng Bayan, 7,626 mass supporters, and 2,224 underground mass organization members since the start of the Duterte administration, and said that the government has spent over half a billion pesos in various programs aimed at aiding former rebels in living peaceful and productive lives.[266]

On June 23, 2021, the Anti-Terrorism Council designated the National Democratic Front (NDF) as a terrorist organization, citing it as an "integral and inseparable part" of the CPP-NPA.[267][268]

DefenseEdit

In October 2016, the Duterte administration approved and signed the contract initiated by President Benigno Aquino III with South Korean firm Hyundai Heavy Industries for the construction of two new frigates for the Philippine Navy worth 15.74 billion.[269] The two missile frigates were delivered to the Philippines in May 2020 and February 2021,[270][271] and were officially commissioned in July 2020 as BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), the country's first missile-capable frigate, and in March 2021 as BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), respectively.[272][273]

On June 20, 2018, Duterte approved the shopping list of Horizon 2, the second phase of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program, which will be implemented from 2018 to 2022, with a budget of about 300 billion.[274][275]

To prevent the "revolving door" system and create excellence in leadership in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Duterte, on April 13, 2022, signed a law granting the chief of staff and other senior military officers of the AFP a fixed three-year term, unless sooner terminated by the President. The law also allows the President to extend the term "in times of war or other national emergency declared by Congress".[276]

Law and orderEdit

Duterte campaigned to bring law and order to the country.[277] Following Duterte's order of a crackdown against loiterers (tambays), whom he described as "potential trouble for the public", the Philippine National Police on June 13, 2018, launched Oplan Tambay or "Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youths", an anti-criminality campaign meant to enforce city and municipal ordinances, such as those against drinking, gambling in streets, urinating in public, roaming half-naked, making too much noise,[278][279] and minors violating the curfew.[280] On June 21, records showed that 7,291 youth in Metro Manila were arrested by the police just 9 days after the "Oplan RODY" campaign was launched.[281] Concerns arose about the campaign following the death of 22-year-old Genesis "Tisoy" Argoncillo while in detention, who was arrested and jailed for allegedly causing alarm and scandal.[282] Two inmates who allegedly mauled Argoncillo have been charged for murder.[283] On June 25, Senator Bam Aquino and the Makabayan Bloc filed resolutions pushing for an investigation into what they call anti-poor arrests of thousands of loiterers.[284] Duterte denied that he ordered the arrests of tambays.[279] Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde denounced critics for allegedly conditioning the minds of the public that rights are being violated in the intensified campaign,[281] and stressed that those arrested had violated local ordinances, which included smoking in public, being half-naked, and karaoke singing past 10 p.m.[279][285]

In October 2016, Duterte signed an administrative order creating the Presidential Task Force Against Media Killings (later renamed Presidential Task Force on Media Security)[286] to ensure a safe environment for media workers and the speedy probe of new cases on media killings.[287] In April 2022, he signed a law creating the Office of the Judiciary Marshals tasked to ensure the security and protection of the judiciary members, officials, personnel, and property.[288] Duterte made efforts to address law and order and shortage of prosecutors in the country, appointing, during his tenure, at least 1,700 new prosecutors, the most number of appointments in any previous presidency, in the National Prosecution Service.[289]

Duterte denounced hazing,[290] signing into law the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 prohibiting all forms of hazing in fraternities, sororities, and organizations in schools,[291][292] but said it would be difficult to stop it unless fraternities were banned.[293] In April 2019, he signed into law the Safe Spaces Act imposing heftier penalties for gender-based sexual harassment including wolf-whistling and catcalling in public spaces.[294][295]

Duterte made efforts to strengthen border control, issuing an executive order mandating the adoption and implementation of an Advance Passenger Information System, effectively requiring commercial carriers to submit to the Bureau of Immigration their passengers' information prior to departure to or arrival from the Philippines.[296] In May 2022, he signed a law easing gun application requirements for persons considered to be in imminent danger, and extending the validity of firearms license from two years to five to 10 years, at the option of the licensee.[297][298] He also signed the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act, providing consumers more protection against fraud committed through financial services,[299] and another law in April 2022 establishing Timbangan ng Bayan centers in all public and private markets and supermarkets to protect consumers from unfair practices by assisting them in accurately checking the weight and quantity of goods they purchase.[300]

Except for killings related to the war on drugs during his early presidency, crime rate significantly dropped under Duterte's watch.[301][302] In October 2021, the Philippine National Police reported that the total number of crimes in the country dropped by almost 50 percent over the past 63 months since July 2016, with police data showing that from 2.67 million crimes reported from 2010 to 2015, it went down by 49.6 percent to 1.36 million from 2016 to September that year.[303]

Criminal justiceEdit

Support for death penaltyEdit

 
Duterte speaks with PNP Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa in the Malacañang Palace on August 16, 2016.

Duterte campaigned to restore death penalty by hanging in the country 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,[304][305] theatrically vowing "to litter Manila Bay with the bodies of criminals".[306] 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.[307] On March 7, despite fierce criticism, especially from the Catholic Church, the House of Representatives approved on 3rd and final reading the controversial bill.[308] 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.[309][310]

Presidential pardons and amnestyEdit

Earlier in his term, Duterte pardoned several communist rebels and political prisoners as part of pursuing peace talks with the communists.[311][312] He granted pardon to elderly and sickly prisoners,[313] and to Philippine Military Academy and Philippine National Police Academy upperclassmen and graduating cadets with outstanding punishments and demerits.[314][315] In November 2016, upon the recommendation of the Board of Parole, which is under the Department of Justice, he granted absolute pardon to actor Robin Padilla, who was convicted for illegal possession of firearms in 1994.[316]

In August 2018, Duterte signed a proclamation revoking staunch critic Senator Antonio Trillanes's amnesty granted by President Benigno Aquino III in 2010, stressing that the amnesty was void ab initio as Trillanes did not apply for amnesty and failed to admit guilt for his roles in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.[317][318]

Following an Olongapo local court ruling ordering the early release of convicted murderer US Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton as he had shown good behavior while in prison and therefore served an equivalent of his maximum 10-year sentence, Duterte, on September 7, 2020, granted absolute pardon to Pemberton who served less than six years in prison for killing Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude in 2014.[319]

In February 2021, Duterte signed an executive order creating the National Amnesty Commission tasked to process applications for amnesty of former rebels and determine those who are eligible.[320] He also signed four proclamations granting amnesty to members of the Moro National Liberation Front, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as well as to members of the communist movement and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB).[321]

Anti-corruption and streamlining initiativesEdit

 
Duterte signs the Freedom of Information executive order in Davao City on July 24, 2016.

During his presidency, Duterte made corruption eradication one of his key priorities.[322] He described corruption in the government as "endemic", and stressed it cannot be stopped unless everyone in the government is fired and a new generation is allowed to come in.[323] Barely a month after his inauguration as president, he issued his second Executive Order or the Freedom of Information order,[324] allowing Filipinos to obtain documents and records from public offices under the executive branch to promote transparency in the government.[325][322] In October 2017, he issued an executive order creating the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) tasked to eliminate all forms of corruption and red tape in the executive department.[326][327]

 
Duterte (center) signs into law the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

Duterte took several initiatives to streamline government processes, after complaining about the slow government transactions causing inconvenience to the people.[328] In May 2018, he signed the Ease of Doing Business Act,[329][330] which enhanced the Anti-Red Tape Law of 2007,[322] and aims to reduce processing time, cut bureaucratic red tape, and eliminate corrupt practices to create a better business environment.[331] The law also created the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), which is under the Office of the President, as key implementer of the said law.[331] In January 2021, the ARTA and other government agencies launched the Central Business Portal, an online one-stop shop for business registration, which aims to lower the current 33 days required in registering a business to less than a day and replace the manual process of 13 steps to only one.[332]

Duterte ordered government agencies to remove all processes which are "redundant or burdensome" to the public,[333] and created the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Streamlining of Government Processes tasked to recommend to the President or the ARTA policies and programs that would cut red tape in the Executive branch and local government units.[334] In December 2020, he signed a law authorizing the President to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses, and certifications, by suspending its requirements, in times of national emergency.[335]

In October 2016, Duterte issued an executive order institutionalizing the 8888 Citizens' Complaint Hotline, allowing the public to report complaints on poor government front-line services and corrupt practices in all government agencies.[336] In November 2020, the government started allowing citizens to send their complaints to the hotline via text message free of charge.[337]

Duterte took measures to address money laundering, issuing in November 2018 an executive order adopting a national strategy on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism in the country,[338][339] and signing a law in January 2021 strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Act.[340]

In July 2017, Duterte ordered the finance department to accept cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corporation's offer of 25-billion to pay its tax liabilities, which was described as the country's "biggest tax settlement on record".[341]

 
Duterte inspects smuggled luxury cars before they were destroyed at Port Irene in Santa Ana, Cagayan on March 14, 2018.

Duterte had a policy to destroy smuggled luxury vehicles to discourage smugglers.[342] In March 2018, Duterte led the destruction of 27 million worth of smuggled cars in Port Irene, Cagayan.[343]

In March 2019, Duterte signed a law abolishing the graft-ridden Road Board, stressing that the agency was "nothing but a depository of money and for corruption."[344][345]

Amid the corruption allegations within the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Duterte in August 2020, issued a memorandum directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to create a task force that will investigate the widespread corruption and irregularities within the PhilHealth.[346] On October 27, he ordered the DOJ and a newly created mega-task-force to investigate allegations of corruption in the entire government.[347][348]

Federalism and constitutional reformEdit

Duterte advocates federalism as a better system of governance for the Philippines, arguing that regions outside Metro Manila receive unfairly small budgets from the Internal Revenue Allotment. He also highlights that money remitted to national government is misused by corrupt politicians in the Philippine Congress.[349] He expressed his willingness to end his term early once federalism is passed.[350]

On December 7, 2016, Duterte signed an executive order creating a 25-member Consultative Committee tasked to review the 1987 Constitution within six months.[351] On January 23, 2018, he appointed members of the Consultative Committee comprising Justices, ex-legislators, lawyers, academics, and other experts, with former Chief Justice Reynato Puno as chairman. The Consultative Committee held its first session on February 19, and on July 3, unanimously approved a federal charter, which includes provisions on a ban on political dynasties, political turncoatism, and monopolies and oligopolies, and provisions on additional powers for the Ombudsman and Commission on Audit. Duterte approved the Consultative Committee's draft federal Constitution and said he will endorse it to the Congress.[352] However, on October 8, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments approved and recommended the adoption of a new draft federal Constitution filed by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 21 other lawmakers, which was heavily criticized by the Consultative Committee and the public as Arroyo's draft deleted several key provisions of the original version which include safeguards against political dynasties, turncoatism, and federated regions. Arroyo's draft was also denounced as it removed term limits of Congress members and removed the vice president from the presidential line of succession.[353] Duterte, meanwhile on November 5, formed an inter-agency task force to raise public awareness on the proposed federal system of government, after poll results showed it is the least of Filipinos' concerns.[354] On December 11, the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading Arroyo's draft federal charter, Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 , but the Senate rejected it.[355][356]

Since June 2019, after several issues continued to surround Arroyo's draft charter, Duterte acknowledged that federalism may not be established in his remaining time.[353] On December 10, 2021, months before leaving office, Duterte, at a democracy summit hosted by US President Joe Biden, admitted that he failed in his push to establish a federal system of government in the country, and cited the lack of congressional support for his campaign promise.[357][358]

"My government also sought to broaden democratic participation through federalism but my constitutional project did not get Congress support. So be it. I respect the separation of powers [that is] vital for democracy."

— Duterte, December 10, 2021[357][358]

Early in his term in 2017, Duterte raised the idea of setting up a revolutionary government as a way for the country to make real progress[359] and to prevent chaos from ruling the streets if the opposition attempts to oust him as president,[360] but later rejected calls for its establishment.[361][362] In August 2020, Duterte denied having ties with Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NEC), a private group of Duterte supporters, after the group launched an event pushing for a revolutionary government to be headed by Duterte until his term ends in June 2022 which the group says will hasten the shift to federalism.[363]

Duterte criticized the party-list system, which he described as "evil",[364] and called for its abolition, citing the system no longer represented the marginalized as it has been infiltrated and exploited by communist legal fronts and the country's elite.[365][366] He called for the amendment or removal of the provision on the party-list system in the 1987 Constitution.[367][368]

On June 1, 2021, Duterte issued an executive order directing the devolution of some functions of the executive branch to local governments.[369]

AgricultureEdit

Following spikes in rice prices in 2018 which drove inflation higher, Duterte urged Congress to replace the rice import limits with a system of tariffs.[370] In February 2019, Duterte signed the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), which aims to stabilize rice prices for consumers by removing quantitative restrictions on rice imports and replacing them with a 35 percent import tariff,[371][372][373] allowing private traders to import rice, ending the rice importation monopoly of the National Food Authority.[374][375] The law also established the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), which would use the revenue from import tariffs to support domestic rice farmers improve their productivity.[372][373] Following its passage, the RTL had met vehement criticism and opposition by leftist groups,[376] members of Congress, farmers groups, and some academia members,[377] but has been supported by business groups,[378] and resulted in the drop in prices of palay and retailed rice,[379] and caused rice prices to stabilize despite successive typhoons and the COVID-19 pandemic.[371] In December 2021, Duterte signed the "Cash Assistance for Filipino Farmers Act", authorizing the Department of Agriculture to directly provide annual cash assistance until 2024 to small farmers tilling 2 hectares (4.9 acres) and below of rice land by utilizing any funds exceeding 10 billion of the annual tariff revenues from rice importation pursuant to Rice Tariffication Law.[380]

On February 2, 2018, Duterte signed the Free Irrigation Service Act, granting free irrigation to farmers owning not more than 8 hectares (20 acres) of land.[381]

In 2019, the African swine fever reached the Philippines and caused an outbreak, prompting the government to tighten animal quarantine and ban imported pork from several countries.[382] More than 3 million hogs were culled from 2020 to 2021, causing a huge supply deficit in pork and a rise in domestic pork price. Duterte issued an executive order temporarily lowering tariffs on imported pork meat for one year.[383] The order reduced tariff rates for imported pork meat to 5% to 20% from the current 30% to 40%.[384] Hog population significantly increased after the administration initiated a massive repopulation program to boost domestic pork supply.[385] On May 10, 2021, Duterte issued a proclamation declaring a one-year nationwide state of calamity due to the continued spread of the disease despite government interventions.[386]

On February 22, 2019, Duterte signed the Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act, seeking to ease the Commonwealth-era restrictions on agricultural free patents issued to farmers, and allowing agricultural land titles to be immediately available for trade.[387][388]

On April 17, 2019, Duterte signed the Sagip Saka Act, establishing the "Farmers and Fisherfolk Enterprise Development Program", which promotes the establishment of enterprises and partnerships between farmers, fisherfolk and the private sector to boost farmers' and fishermen's income. The law also created the Farmers and Fisherfolk Enterprise Development Council tasked to oversee the implementation of the program,[389][390] and strengthened direct purchase of agricultural goods from farmers, eliminating the need for middlemen.[391]

In an effort to prevent shortage of farmers by encouraging the youth to venture into agriculture, Duterte,[392] in 2020, signed an administrative order awarding qualified fresh graduates of agricultural degrees at most 3 hectares (7.4 acres) of land.[393][394]

On December 23, 2020, Duterte signed a law amending the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, making certification of organic produce by farmers and fishermen more accessible and affordable. The law establishes the Participatory Guarantee System, a quality assurance system developed and practiced by people engaged in organic agriculture.[395][396]

On February 26, 2021, Duterte signed the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, creating a trust fund for the country's coconut farmers.[397] In June 2022, he signed an executive order implementing the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan, which aims to increase productivity and income of coconut farmers, modernize the coconut industry, and pave the way for the release of the 75 billion trust fund for coconut farmers consisting of coco levy assets declared state property by the Supreme Court.[398][399]

As of July 2021, a total of 2,025 kilometres (1,258 mi) farm-to-market roads, and 94.99 kilometres (59.02 mi) farm-to-mill roads have been completed by the Duterte administration under the Build! Build! Build! program.[400]

Disaster resilienceEdit

 
Duterte and Senator Bong Go during an aerial inspection of areas affected by Tropical Storm Agaton in Capiz on April 16, 2022

Since 2017,[401][402] Duterte called on Congress to pass a bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience, a department dedicated to disaster response and rehabilitation efforts. The bill has been approved by the House of Representatives, but has faced opposition by some senators, who see the bill as bloating the already "bloated" bureaucracy.[403]

In July 2019, Duterte approved the Department of Science and Technology-led GeoRisk PH, or the "Geospatial Information Management & Analysis Project for Hazards & Risk Assessment in the Philippines", a multi-agency government initiative to serve as the central resource of natural hazards and risk assessment information in the country through web applications.[404][405]

Following the 2020 Taal Volcano eruption, Duterte called for the construction of more evacuation centers in areas prone to disasters.[406] In April 2022, the government inaugurated three evacuation centers in Batangas province strategically located outside the 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) Taal Volcano danger zone.[407] As of July 2021, 223 new evacuation centers under the Build! Build! Build! program were constructed.[408]

After typhoons Rolly and Ulysses ravaged the country, Duterte issued an executive order on November 2020 creating the Build Back Better Task Force, a permanent inter-agency body assigned to streamline and hasten post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery efforts of typhoon-affected areas.[409]

In September 2021, Duterte signed the BFP Modernization Act, mandating the implementation of a 10-year program to modernize the Bureau of Fire Protection. The law also expanded the bureau's mandate by including disaster risk response, and emergency management.[410]

EconomyEdit

 
Duterte speaks at the World Economic Forum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 11, 2017
Real GDP growth rate (year-on-year)[411][412]
Year Quarter Growth
rate
2016[411] 1st 6.9%
2nd 7.4%
3rd 7.3%
4th 6.9%
2017[411] 1st 6.4%
2nd 7.2%
3rd 7.5%
4th 6.6%
2018[411] 1st 6.5%
2nd 6.4%
3rd 6.1%
4th 6.4%
2019[412] 1st 5.9%
2nd 5.6%
3rd 6.3%
4th 6.6%
2020[412] 1st -0.7%
2nd -17.0%
3rd -11.6%
4th -8.3%
2021[412] 1st -3.9%
2nd 12.0%
3rd 6.9%
4th 7.7%
2022 1st 8.3%[413]

Duterte inherited from the Aquino administration both a strong economy and a poor performance in public infrastructure investment.[414][415] He vowed to continue Aquino's macroeconomic policies while increasing infrastructure spending, through his economic team's 10-point socioeconomic agenda.[416][417][418] Early in his term, his 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.[419] According to the Philippines' Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, 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".[420] Currency strategists have, however, "predicted a rebound once investors see beyond Duterte's words".[421]

The Duterte administration sought to attract more investors by easing restrictions on international retailers.[422] In February 2019, he signed a law updating the 38-year-old Corporation Code of the Philippines, allowing a single person to form a corporation.[423] In March 2022, he signed into laws Republic Act No. 11647 which amended the Foreign Investment Act of 1991, effectively relaxing several restrictions on foreign investments,[424] and Republic Act No. 11659 which amended the 85-year old Public Service Act, effectively allowing full foreign ownership of public services which include airports, expressways, railways, telecommunications, and shipping industries in the country.[425][426]

Following the devastation of Typhoon Ompong to agriculture in September 2018, the inflation rate of the country soared to 6.7%, its highest in 9 years.[427][428] On September 21, 2018, Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 13, removing non-tariff barriers in the importation of agricultural products, to address soaring inflation rates.[429][430] Inflation decreased in November 2018, at 5.8 to 6.6 percent.[431] BSP decreased its inflation forecast for 2019, after the passage of the rice tariffication bill.[432] Inflation further decreased from 6.7 percent in October 2018 to 0.8 percent in October 2019, the lowest inflation rate recorded since May 2016.[433]

The Duterte administration made initiatives to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).[434] In January 2017, the Department of Trade and Industry launched the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso Program (P3), a microfinancing program to assist MSMEs and provide them an alternative to resorting to loan sharks and the usurious "5-6" lending scheme.[435][436] The P3, which charged only 2 to 2.5 percent interest per month compared to the 20% interest rate in the "5-6" lending scheme, allowed MSMEs to borrow an amount of 5,000 to 100,000.[435][437] The administration also increased nationwide the number of Negosyo Centers, which provide efficient services for MSMEs.[438] As of August 2021, 996 of these centers have been established since 2016, out of a total of 1,212.[439]

After several reforms such as Ease of Doing Business Law[440][441] were introduced, the Philippines' ease of doing business ranking improved from 124th to 95th, and the country's overall ease of doing business score rose to 62.8, according to the World Bank's 2020 Doing Business Report.[442]

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic reached the country and caused the economy to enter a recession following government lockdowns and restrictions to contain the virus. Gross domestic product (GDP) shrunk by 9.5% in 2020, prompting the administration to further loosen restrictions to revive the economy.[443] GDP grew by 5.6% in 2021 after the administration initiated a nationwide vaccination drive and eased pandemic-related restrictions,[444][445] while the country's debt-to-GDP ratio soared from 39.6% in pre-pandemic 2020 to 60.4% as of end-June 2021 due to loans incurred by the government to address the pandemic.[446]

On March 21, 2022, Duterte signed an executive order adopting a 10-point policy agenda to hasten economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.[447][448] To reduce the country's debt, the Duterte administration's economic team proposed in May 2022 to the incoming Marcos administration a fiscal consolidation plan containing corrective tax measures, which include the expansion of value-added tax to raise government revenues.[449]

Infrastructure developmentEdit

 
The Athletic Stadium of the New Clark City sports complex, completed on October 12, 2019, 50 days before the opening of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.[450]

Part of Duterte's socioeconomic policy is the Build! Build! Build! Infrastructure Program 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.[451] The Duterte administration in 2017 shifted its infrastructure funding policy from public-private partnerships (PPPs) of previous administrations to government revenues and official development assistance (ODA), particularly from Japan and China,[452] but has since October 2019 engaged with the private sector for additional funding.[453][454]

The administration revised its list of Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs) under the Build, Build, Build program from 75 to 100 in November 2019,[455][456] then to 104 and finally to 112 in 2020,[457] expanding its scope to include health, information and communications technology, and water infrastructure projects to support the country's economic growth and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some major projects include[456] the Subic-Clark Railway,[458] the North–South Commuter Railway from New Clark City to Calamba, Laguna,[458] the Metro Manila Subway,[459] the expansion of Clark International Airport[458] the Mindanao Railway (Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment),[460] and the Luzon Spine Expressway Network[461][462] By April 2022, 12 IFPs had been completed by the administration, while 88 IFPs, which were on their "advanced stage", will be inherited by the succeeding administration.[457]

As of July 2021, since Duterte assumed position in June 2016, a total of 29,264 kilometres (18,184 mi) of roads, 5,950 bridges, 11,340 flood control projects, 222 evacuation centers, and 150,149 elementary and secondary classrooms, and 653 COVID-19 facilities under the Build, Build, Build program were completed.[463][464]

TaxationEdit

In an effort to make the country's tax system fairer, simpler, and more efficient, the Duterte administration initiated the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP).[465] On December 19, 2017, Duterte signed into law Package 1 of the CRTP, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (TRAIN Law), which overhauls the country's 20-year-old tax regime by adjusting personal income tax rates to "to shift the tax burden from the lower 99 percent of the community to the wealthiest 1 percent". The law excludes those earning an annual taxable income of 250,000 and below from paying the personal income tax and raised the tax exemption for 13th month pay and other bonuses to 90,000. The law also imposes higher consumption tax, particularly excise taxes on vehicles, sugar-sweetened beverages, petroleum products, tobacco and non-essential goods.[466] Duterte said that revenues collected from the TRAIN law will help fund the administration's massive infrastructure program.[9][467]

On February 14, 2019, Duterte signed the Tax Amnesty Law of 2019, allowing errant taxpayers affordably settle their tax liabilities while raising revenue for the government's infrastructure and social projects. Under the law, from the previous 20 percent, only six percent of the net estate tax for properties owned by those who died on or before December 31, 2017, will be collected by the government.[468]

To fund the Universal Health Care Act and to reduce incidence of deaths and diseases associated with smoking and alcohol consumption, Duterte signed laws raising sin taxes on tobacco and vapor products in July 2019,[469] and alcohol beverages and electronic cigarettes in January 2020.[470]

On March 26, 2021, Duterte signed into law the second package of the CTRP, the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE Act), which cuts corporate income tax rate to 25 percent from the current 30 percent, to attract more investments and maintain fiscal stability.[471]

On September 24, 2021, Duterte signed a law taxing Philippine offshore gaming operators, imposing a 5% tax on gross gaming receipts of offshore gaming licensees and a 25% tax on gross income for nonresident aliens working for service providers of offshore gaming operators.[472]

On March 29, 2019, Duterte signed a law amending the National Internal Revenue Code, effectively excluding small-scale miners from paying income and excise taxes for gold that they sell to the central bank.[473][474]

TradeEdit

On September 2, 2021, Duterte ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, an ASEAN-led free trade agreement involving 10 ASEAN members and Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. The agreement was sent to the Senate for its concurrence, but its ratification has been delayed after the Senate adjourned sessions for the May 2022 election break.[475] In June 2022, the Senate deferred the agreement's ratification to the incoming 19th Congress after some senators raised concerns over the lack of safeguards for the country's agricultural sector, and following president-elect Bongbong Marcos' pronouncement of intending to review the agreement.[476]

Education and researchEdit

The Duterte administration sought initiatives to make the learning environment of Filipino students more conducive.[477] Stressing that the long-term effects of education would outweigh any budgetary problems, Duterte signed in August 2017 a landmark law granting free tuition on all state universities and colleges, after his economic managers earlier expressed opposition to the bill.[478] In February 2019, he signed the Tulong-Trabaho Act mandating free access to technical-vocational education in an effort to address unemployment and job mismatch in the country.[479] In December 2020, he signed the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act, providing for medical scholarships for deserving students in state universities and colleges or partner private higher education institutions.[480] In April 2022, he signed the Excellence in Teacher Education Act, improving quality of teacher education and establishing a scholarship program for students pursuing teacher education degree programs.[481][482]

In March 2022, Duterte signed a law granting inclusive education for learners with disabilities.[483] He approved in January 2021 a law institutionalizing the alternative learning system (ALS), which provides a parallel learning system for non-formal sources of knowledge and skills,[484] and provides free education to those out of school.[485] In October 2018, he signed a law declaring Filipino Sign Language as the national sign language of the Filipino deaf and requiring the language be taught as a separate subject in the curriculum for deaf learners.[486]

In June 2020, Duterte signed a law restoring Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC) and Values Education as core subjects in the K-12 curriculum in both public and private schools.[487] In tertiary education, he signed in August 2019 a law expanding access to educational services through the establishment and administration of transnational higher education (TNHE), allowing foreign universities to offer degree programs in the Philippines in an effort to modernize the higher education sector and bring international quality standards and expertise into the country.[488][489] He signed in May 2021 a law integrating labor education in the higher education curriculum,[490] and in August 2019 another law requiring the creation of an advanced energy and green building technologies curriculum for both undergraduate and graduate students.[491]

 
Duterte signs into law the establishment of the National Academy of Sports on June 9, 2020.

In February 2019, Duterte signed a law establishing a career guidance and counseling program for all secondary schools nationwide to assist students in pursuing a proper college education.[492]

Duterte recognized the role of a sports academy to sports development.[493] In June 2020, he signed a law establishing the country's first National Academy of Sports in New Clark City, Capas, Tarlac.[494]

In an effort to boost research and development in the country, Duterte signed in June 2018 the Balik Scientist Act providing incentives to Filipino scientists abroad to motivate them to return to the country and share their expertise.[495][496]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-2020, Duterte rejected the resumption of face-to-face classes in COVID-19 low-risk areas until vaccines became available in the country,[497] stressing he will not risk putting the lives of students and teachers in danger.[498] On October 5, 2020, the Department of Education reopened classes after months of closure due to the pandemic, implementing distance or blended learning which involve a mix of modular learning, online learning, and TV and radio broadcasts.[499][500] Duterte approved in September 2021 a two-month pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes in COVID-19 low-risk areas,[501] and in January 2022, approved the education department's proposal to expand face-to-face classes.[502]

EnergyEdit

 
Duterte leads the ocular inspection of the FDC Misamis 3x135 MW Circulating Fluid Bed Coal Thermal Plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental on September 22, 2016

The Duterte administration adopted a "technology neutral" approach and included renewable sources of energy such as hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, and solar in the power producing mix.[503] Earlier in Duterte's term, the administration stressed that coal remains the most viable source of energy if the Philippines is to accelerate industrialization,[504] and questioned the sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union on smaller countries including the Philippines when the country's carbon footprint is not significant compared to the superpowers.[505]

The administration pursued policies for the country to transition to renewable energy as a source of power.[506] At his fourth State of the Nation address in July 2019, Duterte issued a directive to cut coal dependence and fast-track a transition to renewable energy.[507][508] In August 2017, Duterte inaugurated the first Filipino solar module manufacturing facility at Santo Tomas, Batangas, owned by renewable energy firm Solar Philippines.[509][510] In October 2020, the energy department issued a moratorium on the construction of new coal power plants and favored renewable energy sources.[511]

To hasten the expansion of the nation's power capacity, Duterte signed an order on June 28, 2017, establishing the inter-agency Energy Investment Coordinating Council tasked with simplifying and streamlining the approval process of big-ticket projects.[503] On January 21, 2022, Duterte signed a law promoting the use of microgrid systems in unserved and underserved areas to accelerate total electrification of the country.[512]

The administration sought new energy sources.[506] With the impending depletion of the Malampaya gas field, Duterte on October 15, 2020, approved the Department of Energy's recommendation to lift the moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea imposed by President Benigno Aquino III in 2012.[513] The administration's energy department partnered with Australian company Star Scientific Ltd. and Japanese company Hydrogen Technology Inc. (HTI) to study hydrogen as a possible energy source.[514][515] On February 28, 2022, Duterte signed an executive order approving the inclusion of nuclear power in the country's energy mix.[516][517]

The administration pursued to liberalize the energy sector.[506][518] In October 2020, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi confirmed that the Philippines would now allow 100% foreign ownership in large-scale geothermal projects.[519][520]

The energy department reported in September 2021 that the country's system capacity increased from 21,424 megawatts in 2016 to 26,287 megawatts in 2020, and household electrification level rose from 90.7% in 2016 to 94.5% in 2020.[521]

EnvironmentEdit

Duterte signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in March 2017, after initially having misgivings about the deal which he says might limit the country's industrialization.[522] The Agreement was ratified by the Senate on March 15, 2017.[523] Duterte said that rich countries producing the most carbon emissions should pay developing nations for the damage caused by climate change.[524]

In March 2018, Duterte issued a presidential proclamation declaring parts of the Philippine Rise, which the United Nations ruled as part of the country's exclusive economic zone, as a marine protected area.[525]

In June 2018, Duterte signed the E-NIPAS Act of 2018, a landmark legislation protecting an additional 94 critical habitats nationwide and declaring them as national parks, increasing the number of protected areas from 13 to 107 covering a total of 3 million hectares (30,000 km2).[526][527] In April 2022, he signed laws declaring Mount Pulag, Mount Arayat, Tirad Pass, and two other areas as protected landscapes under the National Integrated Protected Areas System.[528]

MiningEdit

In May 2016, Duterte offered staunch environmental activist Gina Lopez to be the environment secretary of his administration. Gina accepted the offer, and was later reappointed by Duterte after she was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments (CA) and highly criticized following her decision to close down 23 mining operations in functional watersheds and suspend six others in February 2017.[529][530][66] Duterte, who has expressed support for Lopez, said that there was nothing he could do about the closures.[531] On May 9, Duterte appointed former military chief Roy Cimatu as the new environment secretary,[532] after the CA rejected Lopez's appointment as environment secretary in a vote of 8–16 on May 3, amid issues over her order to close and suspend mining operations.[66][533] The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, which vehemently opposed Lopez's appointment,[66] welcomed the appointment of Cimatu and expressed hope that Cimatu would take a more balanced approach to the job.[532] In July 2018, Duterte floated a "conspiracy" behind Congress' decision in May 2017 to reject Lopez's appointment as environment secretary.[534]

In April 2018, Duterte ordered mining companies to conduct reforestation activities and reiterated that he will ban open-pit mining.[535]

On April 15, 2021, Duterte lifted the nine-year moratorium on new mining agreements imposed in 2012 to boost government revenue and the pandemic-battered economy, a move which was hailed by mining companies but has dismayed environmental activists and progressive groups.[536]

On December 23, 2021, environment secretary Roy Cimatu signed a Department Administrative Order repealing the ban on open-pit mine on copper, gold, silver, and complex ores imposed in 2017 by Gina Lopez.[537]

Boracay clean-upEdit

 
Algae bloom in Boracay on April 25, 2018, a day prior to the island's closure.

On 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'.[538] On April 9, Duterte said that the government had 'no master plan' on how to clean-up Boracay, which he called a 'cesspool', and said the island will be a land reform area once its rehabilitation is done.[539] On April 24, about 600 soldiers, police, and coast guard members were deployed to Boracay to maintain peace and order amid possible protests during the closure,[540][541] causing alarm among residents.[542] On April 26, Boracay's 6-month closure began, and the entire island was officially closed to the public.[543] Two weeks after the closure, Duterte ordered the creation a Boracay inter-agency task force to review and consolidate existing master plans and formulate an action plan to reverse the degradation of the island resort.[544]

Boracay was officially reopened to the public on October 26, 2019, following a six-month extensive clean-up.[545] A limit for visitors to the island had been set by the government, where only 6,000 would be allowed on any given day, as studies have shown Boracay's capacity to be only at 6,000.[546]

On September 14, 2021, Duterte signed an executive order extending the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force's term until June 2022 to "ensure completion of the remaining milestones of the Boracay Action Plan until 2022".[547]

Manila Bay cleanupEdit

 
Manila Bay Beach during its temporary opening on September 19, 2020

Following the Boracay cleanup, the Duterte administration pursued to rehabilitate the Manila Bay.[548][549] On January 8, 2019, Duterte ordered for the cleanup of Manila Bay, instructing Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Roy Cimatu and Department of the Interior and Local Government secretary Eduardo Año to initiate the cleanup. Duterte warned hotels along the bay to install water treatment systems or risk being shut down.[550] Rehabilitation of the bay started on January 27,[551] with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority collecting more than 45 tons of garbage that day.[552] In February 2019, Duterte issued an administrative order creating the Manila Bay Task Force tasked to hasten the rehabilitation of the bay.[549] Coliform levels in several parts of the bay had significantly dropped since the cleanup.[553]

In September 2020, the DENR began overlaying crushed dolomite rock on a portion of Manila Bay to create an artificial beach as part of the bay's rehabilitation.[554] The move has drawn criticism from environmental advocates,[555] and the opposition,[554] but has drawn support from the general populace.[556]

Land reclamationEdit

Amid imminent reclamation projects in Manila Bay in February 2019, Duterte signed an executive order transferring the power to approve reclamation projects from the National Economic and Development Authority to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), which he placed under his office, the Office of the President.[557] In February 2020, he rejected reclamation projects in the bay from the private sector, citing the damage they will cause to the city, and said only government-related reclamation projects including those approved by the PRA will be allowed to proceed.[558]

In April 2022, he ordered DENR acting secretary Jim Sampulna to stop the processing of applications for all reclamation projects in the country stressing that massive land reclamation proposals are "nothing but a breeding ground for corruption".[559]

Illegal loggingEdit

After Cagayan Valley experienced massive flooding due to Typhoon Ulysses, Duterte on November 15, 2020, ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to look into reports of illegal logging and mining, lamenting that despite being discussed in various meetings, "nothing" has been done to address the issues.[560] He vowed to improve efforts against illegal logging and mining to prevent a repeat of the disaster. Interior Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the Philippine National Police to begin a campaign against illegal logging.[561] On August 26, 2021, Duterte revealed that the New People's Army is protecting illegal loggers in exchange for money.[562]

HealthEdit

Duterte vowed to improve the country's health care system,[563] signing several health-related bills into law.[564] In February 2019, he signed the Universal Health Care Act which mandates the automatic enrollment of all Filipinos under the government's health insurance program,[565] and the National Integrated Cancer Control Act which institutionalizes a "national integrated" program to control and prevent cancer, a leading cause of death in the Philippines.[566] In June 2018, he signed the Philippine Mental Health Law which establishes a national policy seeking to enhance the delivery of integrated mental health services in the country and protect the rights of persons using psychiatric, neurologic and psychosocial health services.[567] He signed the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act in December 2018, making health services for HIV and AIDS more accessible to Filipinos.[568] In December 2019, he signed a law which seeks to establish Malasakit Centers in all hospitals run by the Department of Health.[569] He issued executive orders prohibiting smoking in public places nationwide,[570] and regulating the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.[571]

Duterte made efforts to address hunger and malnutrition among Filipinos. In June 2018, he signed a law institutionalizing a national feeding program for undernourished children in public schools.[572] In November 2018, he signed the "First 1,000 Days Law", also known as the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act,[573] which seeks to provide health and nutrition services for all children from birth to the first 1,000 days of their lives and to their mothers before, during, and after giving birth.[574][575] In January 2020, he signed an executive order creating an inter-agency task force on zero hunger which will formulate a National Food Policy and provide a roadmap for achieving zero hunger.[576]

In 2017, Duterte launched a 1 billion medical program funded under Office of the President's socio-civic projects fund. The program, Lingap at Gabay Para sa May Sakit (LinGAP sa MaSa), implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development,[577][578] provided free medicines, prosthesis, assistive devices, radiology, and chemotherapy assistance to indigent citizens.[579]

In an effort to make medicines more affordable for all Filipinos, Duterte issued an executive order in February 2020 setting a price cap on select medicines.[580] In December 2021, he issued another executive order enforcing stricter price regulation of drugs and medicines used in addressing the leading causes of morbidity in the country.[581]

COVID-19 pandemicEdit

 
Duterte (right) during a meeting with IATF-EID members at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City on June 4, 2020.

Following the first confirmed case of "novel coronavirus 2019" in the country, Duterte on January 31, 2020, ordered a temporary ban on the entry of Chinese nationals from China's Hubei province,[582] expanding the ban to the whole of China in February 2020.[583] On March 8, he issued a proclamation declaring a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the country due to the COVID-19,[584] and four days later, placed Metro Manila on lockdown.[585] On March 16, he declared a State of National Calamity for the next six months,[586] and a day later, placed the entire Luzon under Enhanced Community Quarantine which resulted to the temporary closure of borders and suspension of work and public transport, while instructing people to stay home.[587] On March 24, Congress passed the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,[588] which Duterte subsequently signed the following day. Under the law, the President was granted the authority to realign the 2020 national budget to address the COVID-19 crisis in the country, and to temporarily take over or direct the operations of private establishments which include private hospitals, hotels, and public transport which will be used in addressing the health crisis.[589]

On July 2, 2020, the Duterte administration launched the National Action Plan (NAP) Phase II which seeks to gradually open the economy while protecting the people's health against the virus through the "Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treatment-Reintegration" Strategy (PDITR).[590] On April 4, the administration started requiring the public to use face masks when leaving home.[591][592] Millions of reusable cloth face masks were distributed to poor citizens.[593][594] In May 2021, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) started issuing Safety Seal certifications to establishments compliant with the government's health protocols.[595][596]

To expand the country's testing capacity for COVID-19, the administration established sub-national laboratories of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in several hospitals across the country.[597][598] Extension laboratories were also set up in private hospitals,[599][600] while "mega swabbing centers" were established in parts of Metro Manila and Bulacan to further expand testing.[601][602] On November 4, 2020, Duterte issued an executive order directing the Department of Health and the DTI to place a price cap on COVID-19 tests to make them more affordable.[603] The health department authorized the Philippine Red Cross laboratories to conduct saliva-based RT-PCR tests starting January 25, 2021,[604] and collaborated with the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center[605] and the UP-National Institutes of Health in conducting genome sequencing of COVID-19 samples.[606]

The administration adopted "a national-government-enabled, LGU-led, and people-centered response" to the COVID-19 crisis. In April 2020, the Inter-Agency Task Force passed a resolution giving the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) the responsibility to lead contact tracing efforts.[607] The DILG ordered local government units to increase their contact tracing teams to monitor the status of COVID-19 suspect and probable cases,[608] and also hired thousands of contact tracers.[609][610] The DILG also ordered barangay captains to form Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams composed of an executive officer, a barangay tanod, and two barangay health workers as first-line COVID-19 respondents in their communities.[611][612] The administration launched StaySafe, a digital contact tracing mobile application, to improve efforts to contain the spread of the virus.[613]

To reduce the risk of local transmission and properly implement home quarantine protocols, the administration launched the Oplan Kalinga program, which directs local government units to fetch COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms and transport them to government quarantine facilities. The program focuses on patients whose homes have no separate room or toilet for isolation, or patients living with elderly or people with comorbidities.[614] Hotels and accommodation establishments were temporarily converted into quarantine and isolation facilities.[615]

In August 2020, the administration launched the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC) to monitor hospital capacity and assist infected patients in finding an appropriate health facility.[616] On July 12, 2021, the OHCC was strengthened and relaunched as the National Patient Navigation and Referral System,[617] which aims to interconnect health facilities and government agencies to provide immediate health services to COVID-19 patients.[618]

The administration purchased and distributed medical equipment and supplies.[619] In March 30, 2020, the health department purchased 1 million personal protective equipment (PPEs) worth 1.8 billion for COVID-19 health workers, prompting the Senate to call for a probe on alleged overpricing.[620] On May 20, Duterte took full responsibility for the procurement of the PPEs, saying he ordered health secretary Francisco Duque III to expedite the procurement of the PPEs regardless of cost so as not to compromise the health workers' safety.[621][619] The DTI also boosted local production of medical equipment through its Shared Service Facility Fabrication Laboratories (SSF FabLabs) project.[622][623]

The administration provided hazard pay, special risk allowance (SRA),[624] and sickness and death benefits[625][626] to health workers.[627] In November 2020, Duterte signed two administrative orders granting hazard pay and SRA to medical frontliners.[628] In mid-2021, the COVID-19 Delta variant caused a rise in daily infections in the country, causing some medical workers groups to conduct protest and resignation threats. The health department disbursed 237 million for health care workers, after Duterte ordered for the distribution of the special risk allowance within 10 days.[629] In January 2022, the health department replaced the hazard pay and SRAs benefits with the One COVID-19 Allowance (OCA), which would be distributed monthly to all health care workers, taking into consideration their COVID-19 risk exposure classification.[627]

 
Duterte shows an AstraZeneca-developed COVID-19 vaccine vial following a ceremonial turnover in Pasay City on March 4, 2021.

The Department of Science and Technology conducted studies and clinical trials on supplementary treatment for COVID-19 which include virgin coconut oil, tawa-tawa, lagundi, and melatonin.[630][631]

In September 2020, Congress passed the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), which replaced the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. On September 11, Duterte signed the Bayanihan 2 into law, which includes a 165 billion fund that aims to stimulate the economy while strengthening the health sector and the administration's pandemic responses. The law also allows the President to realign funds for pandemic-related expenditures.[632]

Duterte appointed various czars to respond to the pandemic. In November 2020, he designated Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. as "vaccine czar", and tasked him to secure COVID-19 vaccines for the country once available.[633]

The administration started its COVID-19 vaccination program on March 1, 2021, a day after the arrival of the country's first vaccine doses which were donated by the Chinese government.[634] Under the program, priority was given to medical workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.[635] The administration initially had a target of vaccinating 90 million Filipinos before Duterte's term ends, but lowered it to 77-80 million in April 2022 due to persisting vaccine hesitancy among the public, especially in rural areas and in the Bangsamoro and SOCCSKSARGEN regions, where vaccination rate remained low.[636][637] By early June 2022, over 245 million vaccine doses have been secured by the administration, of which, 151.2 million had been administered. 69.4 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated, 14.3 million individuals received their booster shots, while about 67 million received their first dose, and 407,074 received their second booster shot.[638]

Housing and urban developmentEdit

In February 2019, Duterte signed a law merging the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board to create the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), which is tasked to establish Housing One-Stop Processing Centers in the country's regions to centralize the processing of all documents related to housing.[639]

The DHSUD reported in October 2021 that the Duterte administration has financed and produced 1,076,277 housing units from 2016 to June 2021 and had the highest yearly output average of 195,687 housing units per year since 1975.[640][641]

On March 8, 2017, an estimated 12,000 people led by members of militant urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) illegally occupied about 5,000 housing units in six government housing projects in Pandi, Bulacan intended for National Housing Authority (NHA) beneficiaries, informal settlers displaced from danger zones in Metro Manila, and uniformed personnel.[642] Duterte initially said he will not tolerate the illegal occupation, which he described as anarchy, and said the issue should be settled with dialogue.[643] The NHA issued eviction notices[644] but failed to evict the thousands of illegal occupants from the housing units, prompting Duterte on April 4 to allow the illegal dwellers to live in the units they occupied as long as they do not expel military and police officers already living in the other units.[645][646] In June 2018, Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police to stop Kadamay from taking over more NHA housing units after Kadamay members attempted to occupy another housing project intended for military and police in Rizal.[645][647]

In March 2022, the government started its first housing project for indigenous peoples.[648]

LaborEdit

Effort vs. contractualizationEdit

 
Duterte (right) convenes with government and non-government stakeholders from the labor sector at the Malacañang Palace on February 7, 2018.

Duterte campaigned to phase out contractualization (locally known as endo, derived from "end of contract") and improve labor policies 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.[649] By the end of 2016, around 32,000 workers have been regularized.[650] In 2017, Duterte and Bello aimed for a new permanent policy that would end labor-only contractualization by the end of February, but Bello did not sign it, deciding instead to hold a dialogue between the president and labor groups to get feedback.[651][652] Duterte eventually met with the labor groups as Bello drafts a new Department Order that would stop labor contractualization. However, by March 16, Bello signed Department Order 174 which sets stricter guidelines on contractualization but doesn't immediately outlaw it.[653] Duterte however continued his stand against contractualization, promising to sign an Executive Order (EO) against it.[654] However, terrorist attacks perpetuated by the Maute group in Marawi City ended up postponing the signing.[649] A rally was organized by labor groups on March 15, 2018, in protest against the president's delay of the EO.[655] On May 1, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 51 which prohibits illegal contracting and subcontracting,[656][657] although labor groups criticized the president for his actions since the one signed was not the draft agreed upon with them.[649] Malacañang admitted it was powerless in enforcing a ban on contractualization, stating that an Executive Order is not sufficient to enforce a total ban on it, and said that lawmakers should amend the Labor Code of the Philippines for contractual work arrangements to be abolished.[658]

On September 21, 2018, Duterte certified as urgent a Senate bill prohibiting contractualization and labor-only contracting, which was stated to benefit over 40 million workers in the country.[659] Several business groups, however, urged Duterte to veto the bill, which they claim is redundant by existing laws and may force businesses to adopt automation and artificial intelligence instead, and cited the bill violates the constitutional rights of businesses to contract labor.[660] In July 2019, Duterte vetoed the Security of Tenure Bill, stressing that the bill broadened the scope and definition of illegal "labor-only contracting" and prohibited legitimate forms of contractualization not unfavorable to employees. He added that "our goal, however, has always been to target the abuse, while leaving businesses free to engage in those practices beneficial to both management and the workforce." The decision was welcomed by employers, with some labor groups criticizing the move as a failure to deliver a campaign promise,[661] while the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines blamed business groups for "scare tactics" and deception that allegedly misled Duterte in rejecting the bill because it would discourage investments.[662] Malacañang defended Duterte's veto, stating that his administration remained in its promise to end unfair practices of contractualization.[663]

In November 2019, the labor department reported that over 564,000 contractual workers have been regularized by their employers as part of the administration's effort to end contractualization.[664]

Support for migrant workersEdit

 
Duterte shakes hands with overseas Filipinos in Brunei on October 16, 2016
 
Duterte signs the bill creating the Department of Migrant Workers during the signing ceremony at the Malacañang Palace on December 30, 2021.

Duterte vowed to make the concerns of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) his top labor priority.[665] In December 2021, he signed Republic Act No. 11641 creating the Department of Migrant Workers to improve coordination among government agencies concerned with OFW affairs.[666] He issued executive orders creating the Overseas Filipino Bank in September 2017 and the Overseas Filipino Workers Hospital in December 2021 that will cater primarily to OFWs.[667][668][669] In August 2017, he signed a law extending the validity of Philippine passports from 5 years to 10 years.[670]

On August 15, 2016, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) launched its first one-stop shop for OFWs where they can efficiently access all government front-line services to be able to secure their required employment documents.[671] In September 2016, the POEA exempted OFWs returning to their jobs or same employers abroad from paying travel tax, securing overseas employment certificate, and paying the agency's processing fee.[672]

In November 2018, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) launched the OFW E-Card, a new identification card allowing OFWs faster access to OWWA's programs and services, including welfare services, scholarships, training programs, and social benefits.[673]

Duterte advocated and called for the abolition of the exploitative kafala system affecting millions of overseas Filipinos employed in Gulf countries.[674] Following the death of Filipina maid Joanna Demafelis in Kuwait wherein her body was found inside a freezer, a dispute between the two countries occurred wherein Duterte issued a deployment ban to Kuwait in February 2018 and thousands of Filipino workers in the Gulf state were repatriated. On May 11, 2018, the Agreement on the Employment of Domestic Workers between the Philippines and Kuwait was signed by the two countries, which recognized certain rights of Filipino migrant workers employed as servants or maids in Kuwait.[675][676]

The Philippines approved a total ban on the deployment of workers to Kuwait on January 15, 2020, after the death of Jeanelyn Villavende who was killed by her employer in the Gulf state.[677] The Philippines and Kuwait later signed an agreement on the proposed standard employment contract for OFWs in the Gulf State on February 5, 2020. The standard contract contains regulations endorsed by Duterte — including allowing Filipinos to keep their passports and cellphones, setting one day off with pay, and designating working and sleeping hours for the OFWs.[678]

Salary increases and employee benefitsEdit

 
Duterte announces salary increase for soldiers and policemen at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal on August 24, 2016.

During his tenure, Duterte approved the raising of salaries of government employees,[679] including the military, police, and other uniformed personnel.[680][681][682] In January 2020, he signed the Salary Standardization Law of 2019 increasing the salaries of government workers which include teachers and nurses, in four tranches from 2020 to 2023.[679][683] He signed a law in April 2022 granting a night-shift differential pay to all government employees at a rate not exceeding 20% of the hourly basic rate of the employee.[684]

In February 2019, Duterte signed a law extending paid maternity leave of female workers from 60 days to 105 days.[685][686]

National identification systemEdit

 
Duterte shows a copy of the PhilSys Act after signing it during a ceremony at Malacañang Palace on August 6, 2018.

Duterte stressed that transactions will be simpler and faster through the use of a national ID.[687] On August 6, 2018, Duterte signed into law the Philippine Identification System Act seeking to establish a single government identification card for all citizens and foreign residents in the country by integrating various government-issued IDs.[688] On February 14, 2022, Duterte issued an executive order institutionalizing the national ID as sufficient proof of identity and age in all forms of transactions, eliminating the need to present additional IDs.[689]

Social issuesEdit

Land reformEdit

 
Duterte (right) hands over Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to Lanao del Norte beneficiaries during a ceremony in Cagayan de Oro on October 31, 2018.

During his presidential campaign, Duterte called the land reform program of the Aquino administration a "total failure", and stated that he would pursue land reform differently by prioritizing the provision of support services alongside land distribution to farmers.[690] On July 5, 2016, a few days after Duterte's presidential inauguration, the Department of Agrarian Reform opened the gates of its main office in Quezon City after two decades of being barricaded shut to keep protesters from storming inside the government agency's office.[691]

Following the Boracay cleanup, Duterte in November 2018 distributed 623 certificates of land ownership award, covering 274 hectares (680 acres) of land in Boracay and Aklan, to the area's Ati inhabitants and other agrarian reform beneficiaries.[692] In February 2019, Duterte ordered all government agencies to identify government-owned lands that can be distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries.[693][694]

Agrarian land distribution in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac was completed in December 2018, after the last 117 farm workers in the hacienda were handed their certificates of land ownership award covering 6,600 square metres (71,000 sq ft).[695] On August 27, 2019, Duterte completed the distribution of remaining portions of land in the hacienda under the agrarian reform program in a ceremonial distribution of over 87,000 hectares (210,000 acres) of land.[696]

As of August 2021, a total of 516,000 hectares (1,280,000 acres) of land were distributed among 405,800 farmers nationwide by the agrarian department under the Duterte administration.[697]

Poverty alleviationEdit

The Duterte administration has pursued to pull 6 million Filipinos out of poverty.[698] After assuming the presidency, Duterte issued his first Executive Order ordering 12 government agencies to be placed under the supervision of the Cabinet Secretary in a goal to evaluate existing poverty reduction programs and streamline them.[699][700] Duterte on October 5, 2016, signed his fifth executive order adopting Ambisyon Natin 2040 as the 25-year economic development plan for the Philippines, such that "by 2040, the Philippines shall be a prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor."[701]

In April 2019, Duterte enacted three landmark laws; the Magna Carta of the Poor which aims to uplift the standard of living and quality of life of poor Filipinos,[702][703] the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act, which institutionalized the 4Ps cash transfer program and seeks to reduce national poverty by providing "conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years to improve the health, nutrition and education aspect of their lives",[704][705] and the Community-Based Monitoring System Act, authorizing the government to adopt a community-based monitoring system (CBMS), which is to be established and instituted in every city and municipality as an "economic and social tool towards the formulation and implementation of poverty alleviation and development programs" of government.[706]

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duterte administration made strides in reducing poverty. In December 2019, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that nearly 6 million Filipinos were lifted out of poverty as the government boosted its spending on social welfare. The agency stated that from a 23.3% poverty incidence recorded in 2015, this had dropped to 16.6% in 2018.[707] The administration pursued to lower poverty rate to 15.5 to 17.5% by the end of 2022.[708] However, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, prompting the government to impose lockdown measures to contain the virus, resulting to an increase in unemployment.[709][710] The number of poor Filipinos rose from 22.26 million in 2019 to 26.14 million in early 2021 due to the pandemic.[708] In June 2020, the administration began to ease lockdown to spur economic activity and address hunger and unemployment,[709][711] and distributed cash aid to millions of poor and low-income families during the lockdowns.[709][712]

On May 21, 2021, Duterte signed a law extending the electricity lifeline rates for the poor for a period of 50 years.[713][714]

Child welfare and protectionEdit

Duterte had enacted several laws seeking to protect minors from abuse and exploitation.[715][716] He signed laws which criminalized child marriage,[717][716] raised the age of sexual consent from 12 to 16,[718][719] and required the government to provide special protection of children in armed conflict.[720] In September 2019, he issued an executive order creating the National Council Against Child Labor tasked to intensify government efforts against child labor.[721] He signed a law in May 2022 promoting the rights of abandoned children with unknown parents and recognizing them as natural-born Filipino citizens.[722]

Duterte signed on January 10, 2022, a law simplifying and shortening the adoption process in the country. The law also established the National Authority for Child Care (NACC), which will handle all matters involving alternative child care.[723][715]

Family planningEdit

The Duterte administration had made strengthening of the Reproductive Health Law (RH) implementation part of its 10-point socio-economic agenda. The Law had not been implemented due to a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court. On January 9, 2017, Duterte signed an executive order providing funds and support for modern family planning, and ordered the full implementation of the RH Law.[724][725]

Duterte lamented the country's overpopulation and suggested couples to limit their children to three.[726]

Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa programEdit

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Bong Go proposed a long-term plan to decongest Metro Manila and promote development in other regions, reintroducing the Balik Probinsya program implemented by then President Benigno Aquino III.[727] Duterte expressed support for the program,[728] and on May 6, 2020, issued an executive order institutionalizing the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program,[727] which provides incentives such as transportation, livelihood assistance, cash aid, skills training programs, and low-cost housing to qualified beneficiaries wishing to return to their respective provinces.[729][728]

Revised water concession agreementsEdit

In March 2019, a water shortage crisis severely affected Metro Manila, causing the public to wait in long queues to collect water rations.[730] Duterte ordered the review of the 1997 water concession agreements signed under the Ramos administration with privatized water companies Maynilad and Manila Water which he said were onerous to both the government and the public.[731] After a Singapore-based arbitration court in November 2019 ordered the government to pay billions of pesos to both companies as compensation for losses and damages resulting from rejected water rate hikes in 2015, Duterte threatened to sue the two firms for economic plunder and said the government will not pay a single centavo.[732] Following the Department of Justice's discovery of 12 "onerous provisions" which left the government at a disadvantage, Duterte ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida and Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III to craft a new water concession contract favorable to both the public and the government, and ordered the two firms to accept it or risk facing expropriation.[731][732] The two firms agreed to waive the ₱10.8 billion refund from the government,[733][734] and signed Revised Concession Agreements in 2021 which removed from the 1997 Water Concession Agreements the government non-interference clauses and the firms' authority to charge corporate income tax to consumers.[735][736]

In January 2022, Duterte signed new franchises for Maynilad and Manila Water allowing the two firms to continue operating for another 25 years. Under the new franchise laws, the President is allowed to temporarily take over and operate the firms during a period of war, rebellion, calamity, emergency, or disaster.[737]

Pension hike and financial compensationEdit

Duterte approved in January 2017 a 1,000 increase in the Social Security System pension.[738] In December 2018, he signed a law raising the monthly old-age pension of living Filipino veterans of World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War from 5,000 to 20,000.[739]

Duterte signed in January 2022 a law granting survivorship benefits to the surviving spouse and children of deceased retired prosecutors of the National Prosecution Service.[740] In April 2022, he enacted laws granting tax-free compensation to Marawi Siege victims[741] and mandatory continuing benefits to all healthcare and non-healthcare workers, regardless of employment status, during future public health emergencies, including those involved in and exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic.[742] He signed a law in May 2022 strengthening the Sangguniang Kabataan and granting monthly honoraria to barangay youth council officials.[743]

Gambling policyEdit

Duterte expressed disdain for gambling.[744] Early in his term, he announced his intention to stop all online gambling operations in the country,[745] and in January 2018, ordered the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to stop accepting new casino applications to prevent overcrowding in the sector. In August 2018, he fired the entire board of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) for approving an onerous casino deal, ordering the Department of Justice to review the contract between NPF and Chinese casino operator, Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corp., which he said was disadvantageous to the government because of the low rental payment and very long lease involved.[746][747]

Following China's request in 2019 for the Philippines to ban Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) to support its crackdown on offshore gambling, Duterte said he was unwilling to ban POGOs due to the industry's contribution to the economy and warned online gambling operators in the country to pay their taxes.[748][749]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Duterte said he was forced to allow online gambling activities to raise COVID-19 response funds.[744] In August 2021, he lifted the ban on casinos he imposed in 2018 on Boracay Island following the island's rehabilitation, citing the need for funds to address the pandemic.[750]

Calls for the suspension of e-sabong, or online cockfight, mounted following the disappearance of more than 30 cockfight enthusiasts since May 2021.[751] On February 28, 2022, 23 senators filed a resolution urging the PAGCOR to suspend the operations of e-sabong until the cases of the missing enthusiasts are resolved.[752] Duterte initially rejected calls to suspend e-sabong, stressing that the industry was generating revenue of approximately 640 million a month, which he said the government badly needed due to depleted funds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[751][753] He ordered Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Eduardo Año to conduct a survey through the DILG to determine the social impact of e-sabong. On May 3, following Año's recommendation, Duterte ordered the termination of e-sabong operations, citing its social cost to the public.[754][755]

SpaceEdit

Recognizing the "urgent need to create a coherent and unified strategy for space development and utilization to keep up with other nations in terms of space science and technology", Duterte on August 8, 2019, signed a law creating the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), which will serve as the central government agency addressing all national issues and activities related to space and science and technology applications.[756]

TelecommunicationsEdit

In his fifth state of the nation address in July 2020, Duterte warned the country's two major telecommunications companies, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, to improve their services by December or risk facing closure.[757][758] Duterte urged telecommunications firms to report local officials who may be trying to delay the approval of necessary permits for cell site construction,[759] after the firms said that red tape and non-standardized requirements made it difficult for them to build towers.[760] In compliance with Duterte's order, the Department of Interior and Local Government streamlined the application process for the construction of shared cellular sites,[759] shortening it to 16 days.[761] Local government units also complied with Duterte's order.[760][761] Since Duterte's warning, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications were able to improve their services.[762] In February 2022, average fixed broadband download speeds rose from 7.91 Mbit/s to 82.61 Mbit/s, a 944% growth. Average mobile internet speeds have also seen a 467% growth at 42.22 Mbit/s from 7.44 Mbit/s since the start of the Duterte administration.[763]

Duterte campaigned to break the telecom duopoly dominated by Globe and Smart, driven by the companies' poor mobile network services and internet speeds.[764][765] On March 9, 2021, Dito Telecommunity, the Philippines' third telecommunications player, made its commercial debut.[766] On May 18, Duterte signed a law granting a 25-year franchise to Dito Telecommunity.[767]

In March 2017, Duterte approved the National Broadband Program (NBP) developed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).[768] Despite meager budget,[769] the DICT and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority successfully completed the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure, an ultra-high-speed information highway providing international submarine cables an alternative route to avoid the earthquake-prone Luzon Strait.[770][771][772]

Duterte signed laws requiring the government to provide free internet access in public places,[773][774] and allowing mobile users to keep their numbers for life even if they switch service providers.[775] In March 2021, he issued an executive order liberalizing access of telecommunication companies to satellite services in an effort to improve the country's internet services.[776] By March 2022, 7,977 WiFi operational sites in public areas nationwide were established nationwide under the Free WiFi for All program, while the completion rate of the first phase of the NBP was at 73.5%.[772]

Tourism developmentEdit

Under the National Tourism Development Plan (NDTP), Duterte's administration devoted $23 billion for infrastructure in the tourism sector which will last throughout his presidential term. The NDTP sought to make the sector “not only sustainable and highly competitive in the region, but also socially responsible to propel inclusive growth.”[777] The Department of Tourism recorded an all-time high record number of 7.1 million tourists that visited the Philippines in 2018, achieving the number despite premier destination Boracay being closed to make way for its rehabilitation.[778] The 30th Southeast Asian Games gave a boost to Central Luzon's tourism industry, particularly in the Clark Freeport and Subic Freeport which hosted some sporting events.[779] A total of 8.26 million international tourists visited the country throughout 2019, breaking not only the agency's own record but also exceeding the annual target under the NDTP.[780]

In January 2021, the Department of Public Works and Highways reported that a total of 120 billion was allocated from 2016 to 2021 for the construction, improvement, and upgrading of about 4,147 kilometres (2,577 mi) of roads leading to declared tourism destinations, of which 2,168 kilometres (1,347 mi) were completed.[781]

The tourism industry was severely affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, where tourist arrivals dropped to only 1.48 million in 2020 due to pandemic-related lockdowns to control the spread of the virus,[782] and when Super Typhoon Odette ravaged tourism-dependent remote islands, including Siargao, in central and southern Philippines in December 2021.[783]

The administration reopened the Philippines to international tourists starting February 10, 2022, after nearly two years of border closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[784] and starting May 30, discontinued requiring RT-PCR tests of fully-vaccinated passengers upon arrival in the Philippines to boost the country's tourism sector.[785]

TransportationEdit

On June 19, 2017, the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) was launched by the Department of Transportation, with the goal of making the country's public transportation system modern, efficient and environmentally friendly.[786] The program calls for the phasing-out of jeepneys and other Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) that are at least 15 years old and replacing them with safer, more comfortable and more environmentally-friendly alternatives. Replacement vehicles are required to have at least a Euro 4-compliant engine or an electric engine to lessen pollution.[787] Under the program, PUV operators with existing franchises are encouraged to consolidate into a "single legal identity" with at least 15 units.[788][789] On June 28, 2019, the transportation department and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority jointly launched the Tsuper Iskolar program which provides scholarships and livelihood training to public transport drivers affected by the PUVMP.[790][791]

Duterte campaigned to solve the long-standing traffic problem in Metro Manila, particularly in EDSA,[792] requesting Congress to grant him emergency powers to bypass bidding procedures and hasten the resolution of right-of-way issues.[793][794] At least three bills granting Duterte emergency powers were filed in the House of Representatives.[793] The House approved a bill, but the bill did not progress in the Senate,[795] prompting Duterte to later express disinterest and abandon his plan to solve the traffic issue. He cited the lack of support from Congress and insufficient time,[795][796] and said that Metro Manila traffic is the legacy of Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, whom he said supposedly blocked discussions on his emergency powers.[795][794]

In his fourth State of the Nation Address in July 2019, Duterte ordered the clearing of obstructions on all public roads, instructing Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Eduardo Año to suspend mayors and governors who fail to comply with his order.[797] Año said the clearing efforts will be similar to Manila mayor Isko Moreno's clearing initiatives in Manila,[798][799] and gave mayors 60 days to clear illegal obstructions and illegally parked vehicles on all public roads and sidewalks.[800] In October 2019, Año said that "based on the report from 1,246 LGUs, 6,899 roads around the country were cleared through the cooperation of the provincial, city and municipal governments", and only 97 local government units failed to comply with Duterte's order, which were given five days to explain their non-compliance.[801]

Duterte enacted laws extending the validity of driver's license from three years to five years,[802] and granting students on all public utility vehicles a 20-percent fare discount to be availed of daily including on weekends and holidays.[803] In April 2022, he allowed a bill regulating and developing the Philippines' electric vehicle industry to lapse into law.[804]

Burial of Ferdinand MarcosEdit

 
Protesters against the burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

Duterte declared his intention to allow the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos's remains to be moved and interred at Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery) because he was a president and a soldier, never mind a hero.[805][806]

On November 8, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a verdict paving the way for the burial of the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, which sparked protests. On November 18, Ferdinand Marcos was buried with full military honors at the Heroes' Cemetery.[807] It sparked national outrage, especially among those who suffered human rights abuses under the Marcos regime. Protests were continuously held from November 18 to 30.[808] Vice President Leni Robredo, who opposed the burial, said the surprise burial showed the Marcos family acted "like a thief in the night". Duterte expressed hope for everyone to "find space in their hearts to forgive and set free those who have hurt or injured them".[809]

Foreign affairsEdit

 
International trips made by Duterte during his presidency

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."[810]

Duterte made his first international trips as president to Vientiane, Laos and Jakarta, Indonesia on September 5–9, 2016.[811]

 
Duterte joins other ASEAN heads of states, holding hands as a symbol of unity in Vientiane, Laos, September 7, 2016.

ASEANEdit

Duterte has placed great importance on the Philippines' diplomatic relations with its ASEAN neighbors. Following tradition, his first trips outside the country were to Laos on September 7 for the 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Leaders Summit,[812] Indonesia on September 9,[813] Vietnam on September 29,[814] Malaysia on November 9,[815] Cambodia on December 13,[816] Singapore on December 15,[817] Thailand on March 17,[818] and Myanmar on March 19.[819][820]

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 November 10–14 (31st summit). It was attended by ten ASEAN leaders.[821] Duterte and other ASEAN leaders signed the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, a landmark document that would serve as a framework in ensuring social protection of migrant workers in the ASEAN region, although the consensus was silent on the issue of undocumented workers.[822]

China and United StatesEdit

 
Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping prior to the bilateral meetings at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, October 20, 2016

In his early days of presidency, Duterte made efforts to distance from the United States and forge closer relationships with China and Russia,[823][824] particularly in the areas of trade and commerce.[823] In his first visit to China in October 2016, Duterte announced his "separation" from the United States, which he later clarified as a "separation of a foreign policy" and not a severance of diplomatic ties,[825] and declared a realignment of the Philippines with China.[826] Duterte said he planned to review the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, stressing that the agreement does not bear the signature of the Philippine president.[827] A month earlier, Duterte informed the United States that the upcoming annual Balikatan exercise would be the last.[828] In May 2017, 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.[829]

Duterte made a conciliatory stance toward China in hopes of avoiding a war.[830] In 2016, Duterte and Xi created the biannual Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) on the South China Sea, a dialogue process allowing the two nations to peacefully manage disputes and strengthen their relations.[831][832][833] In May 2017, Duterte disclosed that Chinese President Xi Jinping had threatened war if the Philippines tried to enforce an arbitration ruling and drill for oil in the West Philippine Sea.[834]

Duterte also hoped that a non-confrontational approach to China will eventually lead to striking a deal on joint exploration of the West Philippine Sea to support his massive infrastructure program.[824] During President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the country in November 2018, the Philippines and China have signed 29 agreements, which include a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on joint oil and gas development in the West Philippine Sea, and cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.[835][836] In September 2019, Duterte disclosed that Xi Jinping has offered the Philippines a controlling stake in a gas deal in the Reed Bank if the Philippines sets aside the South China Sea Arbitration ruling.[837]

In April 2017, Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to occupy and fortify at least nine uninhabited islands in the South China Sea.[838] Duterte also ordered the Philippine Navy to build structures on the Benham Rise to reassure the Philippines' sovereignty over the undersea region, following the sighting of Chinese survey vessels.[839] A month later, Duterte signed an executive order formally renaming the Benham Rise to the Philippine Rise.[840]

Incidents of China's aggressiveness in the South China Sea made a huge impact on Duterte's friendly approach to China.[824] In April 2017, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said that Philippine plans to repair Thitu (Pag-asa) Island were 'illegal'.[841] As early as December 2018 until 2020, China deployed hundreds of military vessels around Thitu Island to prevent the Philippines from upgrading the island runway and other structures.[842] In April 2019, following a military report that at least 275 Chinese vessels had been monitoring around Thitu Island since January, Duterte gave a "word of advice" to China not to touch Thitu Island or he would send Philippine soldiers on a "suicide mission".[843] In January 2021, China passed a law authorizing its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels as needed,[844] and in March, it moored 220 Chinese vessels which were believed to be manned by the Chinese military at the disputed Whitsun Reef.[845][846] These incidents have induced Duterte to authorize foreign affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to submit several diplomatic protests.[824][847][848]

As early as June 2020, Duterte gradually distanced from China, according to a RAND Corporation defense analyst.[849][824] After Duterte decided to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement in January 2020 when the US denied a visa for Senator Ronald dela Rosa due to dela Rosa's role as police chief during the Philippine anti-drug war,[850][851] Duterte later postponed the termination in June 2020,[852] in November 2020,[853] and in June 2021,[854] cancelling the termination in July 2021 during U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's trip to the Philippines.[855] In July 2020, Duterte allowed the Department of Foreign Affairs to demand China to recognize the South China Sea Arbitration ruling.[824] During the 75th United Nations General Assembly in September 2020, Duterte made one of his strongest defenses of the Philippine victory in the arbitration case, an unexpected move that eventually earned rare praises from some of his key critics.[856]

The Philippines affirms that commitment in the South China Sea in accordance with UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award. The Award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon. We firmly reject attempts to undermine it.

— Rodrigo Roa Duterte, 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 23, 2020, [856][857]

Speaking at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Duterte again stressed the importance of the Philippines' arbitral victory against China's sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea, and said that no nation can undermine the sea ruling that favors the Philippines.[858][859]

 
Duterte with U.S. President Donald Trump during a bilateral meeting in Pasay City, November 13, 2017

The Philippines and the United States made efforts to reinvigorate relations,[824] with the high-level visits of commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. John Aquilino, who affirmed the Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines, in August 2021,[860] and Marine Corps Commandant David H. Berger in September.[861] In September, foreign affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana met with their counterparts in the United States to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.[862][863] In the same month, the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal was welcomed by Locsin citing that it can help balance the power in the Indo-Pacific region,[864] although days after, Duterte expressed concern that the trilateral pact could provoke a "nuclear arms race".[865] In December 2020, the Philippines received military equipment worth $29 million (1.4 billion) from the United States to boost the country's defense against external threats and terrorism.[866]

 
Duterte (center) does a fist bump with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian during the ceremonial turnover of CoronaVac vaccines in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City on February 28, 2021.

China played an important role in the early months of the Philippines' fight against COVID-19.[867] In February 2021, China became the first country to send the Philippines COVID-19 vaccines.[868] Duterte disclosed that he personally requested President Xi Jinping for assistance in securing vaccines.[869] In August 2021, Duterte conversely thanked the United States for its vaccine donations, which he said played a key role in his decision to keep the Visiting Forces Agreement.[870][871]

On January 16, 2022, China donated to the Philippines 1 billion worth of non-combat military equipment,[872][873] two days after the Philippines made a deal with India to buy the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile to improve its coastal defense.[874]

In March 2022, Duterte warned potential trouble may occur if the next Philippine administration chooses not to honor the MOU on joint exploration activities in the West Philippine Sea, after receiving a "reminder" from a man from China whom he did not identify.[875] On June 24, however, six days before his term ended, Duterte ordered the complete termination of the planned joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea with China, with Locsin stating that three years have passed since the MOU was signed but the "objective of developing oil and gas resources so critical for the Philippines" has not been achieved.[876]

Amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Duterte in March 2022 pledged to open the country's "facilities" to American forces under the 1951 mutual defense treaty if the conflict "spills over" to Asia.[877]

RussiaEdit

 
Duterte meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the APEC summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016.

Philippine-Russian relations improved during Duterte's presidency.[878][879] On November 20, 2016, Duterte met with Russian President Vladimir 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.[880][881] 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.[882]

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".[883] 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.[884]

Duterte made his first state visit to Russia in May 2017 and met with Putin, but the visit was cut short when Islamic militants attacked Marawi.[885] On October 2, 2019, Duterte made his second state visit to Russia to discuss about increasing security and defense cooperation.[886][887] During the visit, Duterte received an honorary doctorate degree for international relations or foreign diplomacy[888] from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations on October 5, 2019.[889][890]

 
Duterte (foreground, 2nd from left) during the ceremonial handing over of a batch of Russian military products to the Philippines on October 25, 2017

In October 2017, the Philippines and Russia signed an agreement on defense and technical cooperation, which included a sales contract for the purchase of defense articles with Russian state-owned company Rosoboronexport. Russia donated thousands of rifles, helmets and other military gear to the Philippines.[891][892]

On April 13, 2021, Duterte and Putin held a teleconference and discussed about production and supply of coronavirus vaccines, defense, and trade opportunities. Duterte informed Putin about his plan to order 20 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine from Russia.[893][894] On May 1, the initial doses of 15,000 Sputnik V vaccines purchased by the government arrived in the Philippines.[895]

Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, Duterte described Putin, whom he considers a friend,[896] as "suicidal",[897] and said that the Russian invasion deserved condemnation,[896] but stressed that the Philippines would remain neutral on the issue.[898]

Support for refugeesEdit

Duterte expressed willingness to accept refugees such as Rohingyas fleeing war and persecution in Myanmar,[899] Afghan nationals fleeing Afghanistan to escape the Taliban's rule, and Ukrainian refugees.[900][901] On September 9, 2021, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. confirmed that the Philippines has welcomed an undetermined number of Afghan refugees to the country since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan three weeks before. Locsin did not give details to the public for the refugees' safety and privacy.[902][903]

On February 28, 2022, Duterte issued an executive order institutionalizing access to protection services for refugees, stateless persons, and asylum seekers.[904]

Impeachment effortsEdit

On March 16, 2017, opposition lawmaker Gary Alejano filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte, citing thousands of deaths in Duterte's anti-drug campaign, alleged involvement as supposed leader of vigilante group Davao Death Squad, and allegations of graft and corruption.[905][906] Alejano, on March 30, later filed a supplemental complaint against Duterte over Duterte's alleged inaction and "defeatist stance" in the West Philippine Sea, Panatag Shoal, and the Benham Rise.[907][908] On May 15, the House Justice Committee officially dismissed the charge by unanimous vote due to insufficiency in substance after Alejano admitted he had no personal knowledge of the supposed offenses as he had based his impeachment complaint on news reports and testimonies of witnesses.[909][910]

Elections during the Duterte presidencyEdit

2019 mid-term electionEdit

 
10 of 12 winning senators do Duterte's signature fist bump during their proclamation in Pasay City on May 22, 2019.[911]

The 2019 mid-term elections was generally considered as a referendum on Duterte, who retained his high approval and trust ratings despite issues on his administration's war on drugs and other policies.[912][913] Nine Duterte administration-backed candidates won Senate seats out of 12. Opposition alliance Otso Diretso suffered a historic loss by failing to secure a single seat.[914][915]

2022 general electionEdit

 
Duterte (left) endorsing Bong Go, who filed his certificate of candidacy for vice president on October 2, 2021.

In an earlier June 8 interview with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy on SMNI News Channel, Duterte stated that he "sees nobody deserving" to replace him as next Philippine President, but that he would either remain neutral or endorse a candidate.[916] In June 2021, Duterte stated he may run in the 2022 Philippine presidential election as Vice President.[917]

Critics raised the possibility of Duterte extending his term after he announced his candidacy for vice president.[918][919] The PDP–Laban Cusi faction fielded former Philippine National Police chief and Senator Ronald dela Rosa as president,[920] who was widely suspected to be a placeholder for Duterte's daughter, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte.[921] On October 2, 2021, Duterte withdrew his candidacy and announced his retirement from politics, with long-time aide and Senator Bong Go replacing him as the vice presidential candidate.[922]

On November 13, 2021, hours after Sara unexpectedly decided instead to run as vice president under the Lakas–CMD party, dela Rosa withdrew and was replaced by Go.[923] Duterte later backtracked on his planned retirement and announced his plan to run for vice president as an expression of dismay for Sara's decision to settle for the vice presidential race when polls showed she was the preferred candidate for presidency.[924] He later withdrew after deciding not to face his daughter in the vice presidential race, and instead announced his intent on running as senator,[925] while endorsing a Go–Sara tandem.[926]

Sara, however, decided to run in tandem with Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who announced his presidential candidacy.[927] Go expressed his disinterest in the presidential position and said his heart and mind contradicted his actions.[928] On December 14, 2021, hours after Go withdrew his candidacy for president, Duterte officially withdrew his senate bid.[929]

Duterte remained influential before the national elections as several presidential candidates were open to his endorsement due to his high popularity.[930][931][932] Allies of Duterte endorsed different candidates after the Cusi faction was left without a standard bearer following Go's withdrawal. The PDP–Laban Cusi faction endorsed presidential candidate Marcos,[933] with some officials calling for Duterte to do the same.[934] Duterte, however, insisted on endorsing only Sara as vice president and 17 senatorial candidates,[935][936] and stressed that he will remain neutral, deciding not to endorse any presidential bet[933] and prohibiting his Cabinet members from campaigning for any candidate[937] to avoid suspicion that he will use public funds for his preferred successor's campaign[938] and to prevent cabinet members from compromising their integrity.[937] Duterte said the next president should be decisive, compassionate, a good judge of a person, and preferably, a lawyer,[933] which a PDP–Laban official interpreted as a "virtual endorsement" for his rival, Vice President Leni Robredo, who also decided to run for president.[939] In March 2022, Go said Duterte briefly met with Marcos and gave him advice on the presidency, but could not say whether Duterte gave Marcos an endorsement.[940][933]

On May 5, 2022, Duterte created a transition committee, to be led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, that would oversee the transition of power to the next administration.[941]

Approval ratingsEdit

SWS Net satisfaction ratings of Rodrigo Duterte (September 2016–December 2021)[942][943]
Date Rating
Sep 2016 +64
Dec 2016 +63
Mar 2017 +63
Jun 2017 +66
Sep 2017 +48
Dec 2017 +58
Mar 2018 +56
Jun 2018 +45
Sep 2018 +54
Dec 2018 +60
Mar 2019 +66
Jun 2019 +68
Sep 2019 +65
Dec 2019 +72
Nov 2020 +79
May 2021 +65
Jun 2021 +62
Sep 2021 +52
Dec 2021 +60

Duterte's approval rating has been relatively high throughout his presidency despite criticism and international opposition to his anti-narcotics drive.[944] 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.[945][946] A week later, on July 20, Pulse Asia released a poll conducted on July 2–8 showing 91% of Filipinos trust Duterte, making him the most trusted official in the Philippines since 1999.[947][948] Duterte's net satisfaction rating plunged to its lowest at 45% in July 2018,[949] but eventually recovered to 54% in September 2018,[950] and 60% in December 2018.[951]

Duterte finished the first half of his six-year term with a record net satisfaction rating of 68%.[952] An SWS survey conducted in April 2019 puts Duterte's approval ratings at 79%, higher than any of his predecessors at this stage in their presidencies.[953] Duterte earned an approval rating of 87% on a December 2019 survey conducted by Pulse Asia. This is credited to poverty reduction and general success in hosting the 2019 SEA Games.[954]

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a Pulse Asia September 2020 "Ulat ng Bayan Survey" ("Report to the Nation Survey"), showed that 84% of Filipinos approve of the government's work to control the spread of the coronavirus disease and the government efforts in assisting those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The same survey showed that 92% of survey respondents said that Duterte has "done well" in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.[955][956] Duterte's approval rating rose to 60% in December 2021[943] higher than the 52% rating in September 2021,[957] and lower than the 62% rating in June 2021.[958] The survey also noted higher net satisfaction among those vaccinated and those willing to get vaccinated.[943]

Duterte retained his high approval and trust ratings nearing the end of his term, according to a survey conducted by PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. on March 30 to April 6, 2022, which showed 67.2% of the 1,500 respondents approved of Duterte's performance over the past 12 months, while only 15.2% disapproved.[959][960] Another survey conducted in 2021 by WR Numero Research revealed that 54.59% of voters want soft continuity of the Duterte's policies, 29.57% want full continuity, while only 15.84% preferred change.[961]

A nationwide survey of 1,500 respondents conducted by PUBLiCUS from June 16 to 22, during Duterte's last month in office, revealed that Duterte is the most popular post-EDSA president, receiving 75% approval of his performance during his six-year tenure, while only 10% expressed disapproval.[962][963]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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