Pres. Duterte is Leading the Wrong Revolution

Pres. Duterte is Leading the Wrong Revolution

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is leading the wrong revolution. His policies divide and weaken the country in the eyes of international community, and have undermined confidence among investors. The Philippines market has underperformed emerging markets.

Most revolutions have noble causes, in theory at least. They usually seek to unite people and liberate them from evils and vices. That’s what makes them “right.”

The Philippines Market Has Underperformed Emerging Markets. The trouble is that, with a few exceptions, they end up betraying these causes. They turn from right revolutions to wrong revolutions.

That’s what has happened to Duterte’s ‘revolution.’ In theory, it began with a couple of noble causes. Like the freeing the Philippines from corruption and drug-related violence, two vices that had been preventing the country from sustaining economic growth, and escaping from poverty and inequality.

In practice, neither of those two goals has been achieved. The Philippines remains at least as corrupt as before Duterte assumed office. In fact, the Philippines is getting more corrupt under Duterte, dropping 13 notches in the 2017 Corruption Index published recently by Transparency International.

Meanwhile,  President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drug traffic has brought little sense of safety to the Philippines. Filipinos feel roughly as safe walking alone at night in the streets in 2017 as they did in 2016. That’s according to the recently released Gallup 2018 Global Law and Order report, which assigns the Philippines a score of 82.

A close look at the score reveals that there has been no meaningful change in Filipinos’ sense of safety 61% felt safe walking alone at night in 2016 vs. 60% in 2017 or their confidence in local police 82% for both 2016 and 2017. Additionally, Filipinos were not statistically more or less likely to report having been a victim of theft 10% in 2016 vs. 9% in 2017 or a victim of assault or mugging 6% in 2016 and 4% in 2017.

Country’s undersea resources to Beijing. And they raise the potential to get Manila in the middle of an open military confrontation between China and the U.S., trying to decide who the friend is and who’s the enemy.

President Duterte is, indeed, leading the wrong revolution. But he is still popular — his approval and trust rating are rising among Filipinos. That’s according to a Pulse Asia survey conducted last month and released early last month. Duterte enjoys an approval rating of 88% and a trust rating of 87%, up from 80% and 82% back in January. Will Duterte’s popularity help Philippines equities catch up with other emerging markets? It remains to be seen.