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Dictator and Apprentice: Duterte and Trump

by Cindy Domingo 


Amid the current worldwide pandemic, two presidents — over 8,000 miles apart — seem to have been trained from the same leadership course. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Union address delivered on July 27 was filled with rants against his critics and personal grudges against the media. There was no roadmap laid out to lead the country out of the health, political, and economic crisis facing the Filipino people. Issues of unemployment, poverty, and illness went unmentioned while Duterte focused on his drug war and the death penalty. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, this is a painful reminder of President Donald Trump and his lack of leadership in our nation’s time of crisis. 

Both Trump and Duterte initially refused to acknowledge the seriousness of COVID-19, allowing the virus to spread unfettered and leaving governors, mayors, and other local officials to handle the pandemic without the appropriate funding or a unified national strategy. Finally, when the international and domestic pressure became too much to bear and the COVID-19 deaths and illnesses continued to mount, both presidents were forced to act. 

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