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AN OPEN LETTER - DUTERTE COULD FAIL FILIPINOS

AN OPEN LETTER - DUTERTE COULD FAIL FILIPINOS


I am a foreigner married to a Filipina. I have been living in the Philippines for eight months. Like many others, I support President Duterte’s mission to rid the country of illegal drugs and corruption.

Below are my thoughts about the actual impact on the present and the possible impact on the future of Mr. Duterte’s outrageous comments.

I believe that the President is the medicine the Philippines needs. However, I fear that the side effects he is causing may kill the patient.

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He says he only answers to the Filipino people, and yet he may be about to destroy his presidency, thereby, also his ability to serve the very people who elected him and support him.

Most people, including me, like and appreciate his toughness—and his tough talk. And I understand that democracy, Filipino-style, cannot—and should not—be compared to a Western-style democracy.

But there is a limit. His comments, such as the ones about the missionary who was raped and murdered, as well as his reference to Hitler in killing addicts, don’t go down well with the outside world—to put it mildly. In fact, comments such as these will make him persona non grata in most of the developed countries, and even beyond.

He can say, “I don’t give a s—!” but he should. Because in serving the people of the Philippines, his duty is to ensure the wellbeing of all Filipinos. This includes, among other things, following the path of very good growth that he inherited from his predecessor by making sure that Filipino products continue to be exported around the world, and that overseas Filipino workers remain attractive to other countries, and the Philippines to foreign investors.

My fear is, if he persists in making outrageous comments, he might just incur the wrath of the West and, whether we like it or not, this would have dire consequences to the Philippines. Imagine no more investments from abroad; imagine all foreigners pulling out their investments and selling their real property; imagine Filipino products being banned in other countries; imagine imported products being slapped new taxes; imagine Filipinos being repatriated by the thousands. Imagine no tourists visiting the Philippines.

The Philippines and the Filipinos are “addictive” to foreigners. Once people visit the Philippines they fall in love with the country and, in particular, with the Filipino people.

Believe me, Mr. President, Filipinos are the kindest and most welcoming people in the world.

You are the President. If you cause negative impacts, you would have let down the Filipino people. And it’s not enough for you to just say “I take full responsibility—shoot me!” because then your pledge to answer only to the Filipino people is not sincere—it is all about YOU!

I beg you Mr. President, be the medicine we all so much wish for the Philippines—but don’t kill the patient!

-IVAN JENSEN

Source: Inquirer

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