Parallelisms in Duterte and Trump’s brand of leadership PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 March 2018 11:52


By Rod Balbon


They make strong, swift, and decisive decisions that awaken their lethargic officials to tow the line, defend, and abide them. Both were elected by the majority of the electorate and are not afraid to make unpopular decisions even if they are vilified because they surely know that in the end, they are for the good and interests of their constituents and country as a whole.

President Duterte, who was elected on his platform against the proliferation of drugs and graft and corruption, has implemented these     programs steadfastly and consistently, to the extent that it raised the hackles of the noisy human rights advocates. His Oplan Tokhang, which was recently relaunched by the PNP, has greatly minimized criminality and made our communities safe and a peaceful place to live. Many drug laboratories were discovered and raided, and drug manufacturers and drug lords, composed mostly of Chinese nationals, were arrested. Some were killed because they resisted and threaten the lives of the arresting officers. Thousands of drug dependents or users surrendered to police authority and have undergone rehabilitation to reform and change their lives.

All these have captured the attention of President Trump, who publicly announced that he intends to follow the procedures implemented by President Duterte in combating the enormous drug sales, proliferation, and use of illegal drugs in the United States. Prior to this, he ordered the building of the long wall that borders between the US and Mexico, not only to minimize and stop the entry of illegal immigrants into the US but also the entry of illegal drugs that are illegally brought through the border by drug couriers. This decision was met with disapproval and critics say that this will destroy the good relations between US and Mexico. Moreover, such move will accordingly affect the healthy trade relations between both countries. But President Trump remains adamant and steadfast to the many negative criticisms of his move.

In his drive against graft, President Duterte started firing, within his circle, numerous cabinet and lower officials who were perceived to have committed graft while in office. He also fired his incompetent officials who cannot implement his policies and directives. Many public officials are now keeping their nose to the grindstone in performing their mandated duties and tasks to the letter.

President Trump has likewise done the same thing. He has fired many of his appointed cabinet members and officials who can’t toe his line and defend it. First among his long string of casualties were his appointed Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus who was followed by his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn and others. Then several days ago, his Economic Adviser, Gary Cohn, became the latest casualty of his tumultuous administration. Cohn resigned in protest when President Trump stepped up his threats of imposing steep tariffs on steel, aluminum and European cars which the former considers as a more aggressive trade policy. This angered US trading partners.

Speaking to reporters, President Trump downplayed Cohn’s resignation saying that he was elected to protect the American workers and industries that have been harmed by years of unfair trade policies designed by the previous administrations.  He said that the US has been taken advantage of by its neighbors and can’t let that happen any longer.

Similarly, despite several harsh criticisms, President Duterte proposed the joint exploration of the West Philippine Sea with China instead of going to war with this giant. Realizing that we can’t fight China, his suggestion of such joint venture will benefit the Philippines instead of waging a losing military confrontation.

Also, President Duterte has announced his intention to place Boracay Beach in a state of calamity to facilitate the cleansing of its pristine waters and beach. He gave the DENR under General Cimatu to finish the job within the non-extendible period of six (6) months. This job will be started by totally closing Boracay to local and foreign tourists for two (2) months.

Great leaders are measured and defined by their strong political will and by their strong, swift and decisive decisions come hell or high water and though the heavens may fall.