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The Philippines' Controversial President, Rodrigo Duterte47:36
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Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte brags about a lot of things, including committing murder. We look at the Philippines under Duterte’s rule.

In this Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte poses with a fist bump during the anniversary of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing at the Philippine Air Force headquarters in Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. (AP/Bullit Marquez)
In this Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte poses with a fist bump during the anniversary of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing at the Philippine Air Force headquarters in Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. (AP/Bullit Marquez)

Defiant tough guy Rodrigo Duterte has been president of the Philippines for not even half a year, and he’s shaking things up on the edge of the South China Sea. Thousands have been killed in a police and vigilante attack on the drug trade. Duterte says he’s killed suspects himself, to show how it’s done. He’s cursed President Obama and threatened to turn the Philippines, an old American ally, to China. This hour On Point: blood, bluster, the balance of power, and Duterte of the Philippines. — Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Maria Ressa, CEO of the journalism and social media website Rappler. Former CNN correspondent and bureau chief in Manila and Jakarta. Author of "Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda's Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia" and "From Bin Laden to Facebook: 10 Days of Abduction, 10 Years of Terrorism." (@mariaressa)

Karen Brooks, adjunct senior fellow for Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. Former director for Asian affairs on the National Security Council under George W. Bush. During the Clinton administration, had the Asia portfolio on Secretary of State Madeline Albright's policy planning staff. Regularly travels to Southeast Asia and the Philippines for her work with TPG Capital, a global private equity firm.

Zachary Abuza, professor at the National War College in Washington D.C. Author of "Forging Peace in Southeast Asia: Insurgencies, Peace Processes, and Reconciliation," "Militant Islam in Southeast Asia," "Conspiracy of Silence: The Insurgency in Southern Thailand" and "Political Islam and Violence in Indonesia." (@ZachAbuza)

Lucho Singh, insurance agent and Filipino-American living in Seattle. Former college roommate of President Duterte.

From Tom's Reading List

The New York Times: 'They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals' — "You hear a murder scene before you see it: The desperate cries of a new widow. The piercing sirens of approaching police cars. The thud, thud, thud of the rain drumming on the pavement of a Manila alleyway — and on the back of Romeo Torres Fontanilla. Tigas, as Mr. Fontanilla was known, was lying facedown in the street when I pulled up after 1 a.m. He was 37. Gunned down, witnesses said, by two unknown men on a motorbike. The downpour had washed his blood into the gutter."

The New Yorker: When A Populist Demagogue Takes Power — "In May, Rodrigo Duterte, the provincial mayor who had just been elected President of the Philippines after promising to rid the country of crime and drugs by killing thousands of criminals, vowed to stop swearing. He told reporters, “Don’t fuck with me.” He called political figures “gay.” When a reporter asked about his health, he replied, “How is your wife’s vagina? Is it smelly? Or not smelly? Give me a report.” In an overwhelmingly Catholic country, he swore at the Pope."

Rappler: Propaganda war: Weaponizing the internet— "These are only some of the many disinformation campaigns we’ve seen since the election period: social media campaigns meant to shape public opinion, tear down reputations, and cripple traditional media institutions. This strategy of "death by a thousand cuts" uses the strength of the internet and exploits the algorithms that power social media to sow confusion and doubt."

Our guest, Lucho Singh, with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City on June 30th, 2016, the day of his inauguration. (Photo/Courtesy Lucho Singh)
Our guest, Lucho Singh, with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City on June 30th, 2016, the day of his inauguration. (Photo/Courtesy Lucho Singh)

This program aired on December 20, 2016.

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