Duterte’s Retirement: Looking Back on His Legacy

Written by: Alexis

Edited by: Sara

Visuals by: Zoe

As the Philippines enters its 2022 election season, it already finds itself with a long list of possible candidates looking to be appointed as the next President and Vice-president of the Philippines. The most prominent competitors include the current Vice-president Leni Robredo, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (Bong Bong), and famed boxer Manny Pacquiao. It was expected that President Duterte would  run for the position of Vice-president, but in a surprise twist of events, he announced on October 2 that he would not be participating in the election but would instead retire entirely from politics.

Philippine Law mandates that the President can only serve one six-year term, and is ineligible for any reelection past this time. Duterte had previously declared that he would be running for the vice presidency and that his former Chief Aide, Bong Go, would instead seek the presidency. However, on the same day that Duterte retracted this statement and announced his retirement, Go then revealed that he would take Duterte’s place and instead run for the position of vice president. Duterte raised Go’s hand as a symbol of unity in front of the gathered reporters. This shows that Duterte and Go are completely on the same page about what their roles will be in the future, within or without politics. “Today, I announce my retirement,” he said. “I thank you all.” 

During Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency and administration was known for enacting aggressive anti-drug policies and arresting over a million people in the process, an integral part of his campaign during the 2016 election. His extremist mindset to prevent drug use allowed him to save over 3,000 children during their anti-drug operation. Duterte also worked to create better lives for Filipinos living both in the country and abroad as overseas workers by enacting measures such as increasing the scholarship fund to 3 billion pesos and expressing his desire to provide more educational opportunities for children of overseas Filipino workers displaced by the pandemic. The administration was also able to improve the country’s key infrastructure including bridges, roads, highways, and airports through the Build, Build, Build Program. This will allow transportation to be much easier for Philippine citizens.

As Duterte moves on from politics, it is time to reflect on how his legacy has affected the Philippines. According to Ateneo De Manila University, the Duterte administration has implemented a total of 139 new laws during its term, ranking it third among post-Martial Law governments that have passed the highest number of legislations. Some laws that were passed by Duterte include the Free Higher Education law, Universal Health Care, rice traffication, Tax Reform for Acceleration, etc. The laws passed may improve our government and our political system, however,some critics question whether Duterte’s administration were able to achieve the reforms citizens feel are most urgently needed, such as addressing corruption and the high number of wrongful killings and incarcerations made by the police.

When the time comes for Duterte to step down from presidency, and as the time approaches for the new president to take over the government, Philippine citizens hope it will be a person who will be able to lead the country with a positive mindset and create better lives for others, without corruption. 

Works Cited

“Duterte Gov’t, Third in Most Laws Passed Post-Martial Law.” Ateneo de Manila University, 13 July 2021, ateneo.edu/aps/asog/news/duterte-5-laws.

Gutierrez, Jason. “Duterte Says He Will Retire Rather than Seek the Vice Presidency.”          The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 Oct. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/02/world/asia/rodrigo-duterte-philippines.html.

Gutierrez, Jason. “How Rodrigo Duterte Can Stay No. 1 by Becoming No. 2.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Aug. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/27/world/asia/philippines-duterte-vice-president-elections.html?searchResultPosition=5.Parrocha, Azer. “Duterte Wants P3-B Education Subsidy for Children of Ofws.” Philippine News Agency, Philippine News Agency, 31 Aug. 2021, https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1152096.