Democracy and Freedom are Truly Alive and Well in the Philippines

If President Duterte is really the "tyrannical, diabolical, fascist and misogynist devil" that is "a threat to democracy" thenee how can his opponents openly describe him in such fashion and even heckle him while delivering a speech?

Note: The author wrote this article last June 12, 2018 

Today, June 12, 2018, the day when the Philippines is celebrating the 120th anniversary of the declaration of independence from Spain, is a great day for democracy in the country.

Earlier this morning, President Duterte attended his first Independence Day celebrations as the nation's leader in Kawit, Cavite. While delivering the keynote address, he was interrupted by a group of Maoist demonstrators, who, in their usual seditionist selves, chanted in unison, "Hunyo 12, huwad na kalayaan! Duterte patalsikin, pasista biguin!" The President reacted by telling them straightforward that their freedom of speech is guaranteed under the Constitution, and instructing law enforcement officials to "deal with them accordingly" and exercise restraint. He even told the Maoists that he loves them in the same way that he loves the people of the Philippines, and share with them the same for the country.

On the same day, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released the results of a survey that it conducted in March 2018. The results of the said survey said that 78 percent of adult Filipinos are "satisfied with the way democracy works in the country." The 1,200 respondents who took part in study were asked, "On the whole, are you... (Very satisfied; Fairly satisfied; Not very satisfied; Not at all satisfied) with the way democracy works in the Philippines?"

These two things, plus the numerous protest actions being staged by the usual critics of the Duterte administration, from members of the political opposition to the Reaffimist and Rejectionist Maoists to the local Roman Catholic Church, today and during the past few days, and local and foreign mainstream media being adversarial towards the President, members of his administration and his supporters are proof that democracy is, indeed, alive and well in the country. In a real authoritarian regime, freedoms of opinion, expression and of the press do not exist. If President Duterte is really the "tyrannical, diabolical, fascist and misogynist devil" that is "a threat to democracy" as described by his opponents, then how can his opponents openly describe him in such fashion and even heckle him while delivering a speech?

Good thing all of these developments came at a day when the country celebrates freedom and independence. The actions taken the President did after being interrupted by Maoists while delivering a speech in Kawit, Cavite were significant, a reminder to those who support him and his administration, and the plans that they have for the Philippines and the Filipino people that the current occupant of Malacanang Palace respects freedom and democracy, and the rule of law. His high trust and satisfaction ratings, coupled with the results of the recent SWS survey on the satisfaction of how democracy works in this country, should be more than enough reason for him and his administration to carry on with their work, pursue the implementation of badly needed and long overdue political and economic reforms that will help realize the true potential for success and prosperity of the country and all Filipinos, and just ignore the manufactured noise being generated by their critics, who, aside from being after their political and economic interests, have proven to be the chronic political obstructionists that they truly are.

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About the Author
Benedict is an agricultural economist, academician and writer. He has gained experience and expertise in various fields of economics, business, political science and public relations after through professional ventures in the academe, and in the public and private sectors. He has authored or co-authored key publications on topics ranging from agriculture and food security to global affairs and politics.
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