Presidency of Rodrigo Duterte

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Rodrigo Duterte
Presidency of Rodrigo Duterte
June 30, 2016 – present
SeatMalacañang Palace, Manila

The presidency of Rodrigo Duterte began at noon on June 30, 2016, following his inauguration as the 16th president of the Philippines, succeeding Benigno Aquino III. His term is expected to end exactly six years later.

Duterte is the first president from Mindanao[1] and the oldest person to be elected president of the Philippines.[1] He is also the first Philippine president to have worked in the three branches of the government.[1] Duterte was the mayor of Davao City at the time of his 2016 presidential election victory, garnering over 16 million votes or about 39% of total votes, beating his closest rival by over 6.6 million votes.[2] Duterte's approval rating has been relatively high throughout his presidency despite criticism and international opposition to his anti-narcotics drive.[3][4]

Duterte started a nationwide campaign to rid the country of crime, corruption, and illegal drugs. The war on drugs saw about 6,600 persons linked to the illegal drug trade killed as of July 2019.[5]

Duterte prioritized infrastructure spending, initiating the massive Build! Build! Build! Infrastructure Plan.[6] He enacted the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act which paved the way for free college education in all state universities and colleges nationwide,[7] and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (TRAIN Law), which lowered personal income tax and increased consumption tax on non-essential goods.[8] He signed into law the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which established the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.[9]

Duterte has pursued an "independent foreign policy", pursuing improved relations with Russia and China, and lessening the country's dependence on its traditional ally — the United States.[10] He has adopted a more friendly stance towards China compared to his predecessor and has set aside the previous government policy of using the Philippines v. China ruling to assert the Philippines' claims over the South China Sea and its islands.

Duterte resumed peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines in 2016, but cancelled all negotiations in February 2017 following attacks and kidnapping of soldiers by NPA members, officially declaring the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group.[11] Following the Maute Group-led occupation of Marawi, Duterte has declared martial law throughout Mindanao[12] which was later extended for two years until 2019 in a bid to ensure order in the island.[13] The Battle of Marawi lasted for five months from May 23 to October 17, 2017, the day after the deaths of militant leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon, with Duterte declaring Marawi as "liberated from terrorist influence".[14]


President-elect Rodrigo Duterte (left) and outgoing President Noynoy Aquino (right).

Duterte's presidential transition began on May 30, 2016, when the Congress of the Philippines proclaimed his candidacy the winner of the 2016 Philippine presidential election held on May 9, 2016.[15][16][17] Duterte's transition team was in charge of preparing the new presidential residence, cabinet appointments and cordial meetings between them and the outgoing administration. At the time the transition team was organized, Duterte was leading by a significant margin at the unofficial count by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).[18] Duterte met with various personalities during his transition period, notably, Eduardo V. Manalo, the executive minister of Iglesia ni Cristo religious group.[19]

The transition lasted until the day of Duterte's inauguration on June 30, 2016.


The inauguration of Rodrigo Duterte as the sixteenth president of the Philippines took place on June 30, 2016, at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of the Malacañang Palace in Manila. The oath of office was administered by Bienvenido L. Reyes, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. It was the fourth Philippine presidential inauguration to be held in Malacañang, and the first since the Fifth Philippine Republic was started.

The inauguration of Leni Robredo as vice president commenced at 9:00 a.m. PHT at the Quezon City Reception House, Robredo's official office. By her request, Robredo's oath was administered by two village chiefs, Ronaldo D. Coner, the chief of Barangay Punta Tarawal in Calabanga, Camarines Sur, described as the "smallest, farthest and poorest barangay" in Robredo's home province, Camarines Sur,[20][21] and Regina Celeste San Miguel, the chief of Barangay Mariana, Quezon City where Robredo's office is located.[22]


Judicial appointments[edit]

Duterte appointed the following to the Supreme Court of the Philippines:

Chief Justice[edit]

  1. Teresita Leonardo-De Castro - August 28, 2018[23]
  2. Lucas Bersamin - November 28, 2018[24]
  3. Diosdado Peralta - October 23, 2019[25]
  4. Alexander Gesmundo - April 5, 2021[26]

Associate Justices[edit]

  1. Samuel Martires - March 6, 2017 (as Associate Justice), July 26, 2018 (as Ombudsman).[27]
  2. Noel G. Tijam - March 8, 2017[28]
  3. Andres Reyes Jr. - July 12, 2017[29]
  4. Alexander Gesmundo - August 14, 2017 (as Associate Justice)[30]
  5. Jose C. Reyes - August 10, 2018[31]
  6. Ramon Paul Hernando - October 10, 2018[32]
  7. Rosmari D. Carandang - November 28, 2018[33]
  8. Amy C. Lazaro-Javier - March 7, 2019[34]
  9. Henri Jean Paul Inting - May 27, 2019[35]
  10. Rodil V. Zalameda - August 5, 2019[36]
  11. Edgardo L. de Los Santos - December 3, 2019[37]
  12. Mario V. Lopez - December 3, 2019[37]
  13. Samuel H. Gaerlan - January 8, 2020[38]
  14. Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla - July 16, 2020[39]
  15. Ricardo Rosario - October 8, 2020[40]
  16. Jhosep Lopez - January 26, 2021[41]
  17. Japar Dimaampao - July 2, 2021
  18. Midas Marquez - November 16, 2021



No. Name Position Agency/Department Date Replaced by
1 Leni Robredo[42] Chairperson Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council December 5, 2016 Leoncio Evasco Jr.[43]
Eduardo Del Rosario
2 Al Argosino[44] Deputy Commissioners Bureau of Immigration December 16, 2016 Estanislao Canta (OIC)[44]
Tobias Javier
3 Michael Robles[44] Jose Carlitos Licas (OIC)[44]
Aimee Torrefranca-Neri


No. Name Position Agency/Department Date Replaced by
1 Rolando Asuncion[45] Director Bureau of Corrections January 6, 2017 Benjamin Delos Santos[46]
2 Peter T. Laviña[47] Administrator National Irrigation Administration March 1, 2017 Ret. Gen. Ricardo Visaya[48]
3 Perfecto Yasay Jr.[49] Secretary Department of Foreign Affairs March 8, 2017 Enrique Manalo (Acting)[50]
Alan Peter Cayetano[51]
4 Avelino Andal[i][52] Administrator Philippine Coconut Authority March 15, 2017 Romulo Dela Rosa
5 Ismael Sueno[53] Secretary Department of Interior and Local Government April 4, 2017 Catalino Cuy[54]
Ret. Gen. Eduardo Año[54]
6 Gina Lopez[55] Secretary Department of Environment and Natural Resources May 3, 2017 Ret. Gen. Roy Cimatu[56]
7 Cherie Mercado[57] Spokesperson Department of Transportation May 19, 2017 Atty. Leah Quimabao
8 Benjamin P. Reyes[58] Chairman Dangerous Drugs Board May 24, 2017 Ret. Gen. Dionisio Santiago[59]
9 Benjamin Delos Santos[46] Director Bureau of Corrections July 13, 2017 Rey Raagas (OIC)[60]
Ret. Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa[61]
10 Judy Taguiwalo[62] Secretary Department of Social Welfare and Development August 16, 2017 Emmanuel A. Leyco (OIC)[63]
Virginia Orogo (Acting)
Ret. Lt. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista
11 Ret. Capt. Nicanor Faeldon[ii] Commissioner Bureau of Customs August 21, 2017 Ret. Supt. Isidro Lapeña[iii]
12 Rafael V. Mariano Secretary Department of Agrarian Reform September 6, 2017 Rosalina Bistoyong (OIC)
John Castriciones
13 Rodolfo Salalima Secretary Department of Information and Communications Technology September 22, 2017 Ret. BGen. Eliseo M. Rio, Jr.
14 Martin Diño[iv] Chairperson Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority September 27, 2017 Wilma Esima
15 Jose Vicente Salazar Chairperson Energy Regulatory Commission October 9, 2017 Agnes Devanadera
16 Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial Secretary Department of Health October 10, 2017 Herminigildo V. Valle (OIC)
Francisco Duque
17 Gertrudo de Leon Undersecretary Department of Budget and Management October 20, 2017 Herman B. Jumilla
18 Ernesto Abella[v] Presidential Spokesman Presidential Communications Group October 27, 2017 Harry Roque
19 Isko Moreno[vi] Chairman North Luzon Railways Corporation
20 Ret. Gen. Dionisio Santiago Chairman Dangerous Drugs Board November 6, 2017 Catalino Cuy
21 Cesar Chavez Undersecretary Department of Transportation November 23, 2017 Timothy James Batan
22 Terry Ridon Chairman Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor December 11, 2017 Noel Felongco[vii]
23 Melissa A. Aradanas[viii] Commissioners Romeo Halasan Janduga
24 Manuel Serra Jr.[ix] Randy Halasan
25 Joan Lagunda[x] Norman Brillantes Baloro
26 Noel Indonto Melvin Mitra
27 Atty. Elba Cruz President Development Academy of the Philippines December 21, 2017 Magdalena Mendoza (OIC)
Engelbert Caronan Jr.


No. Name Position Agency/Department Date Replaced by
1 Marcial Amaro III Administrator Maritime Industry Authority January 4, 2018 Ret. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero[xi]
2 Jose Jorge E. Corpuz Chairman Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office January 12, 2018 Ret. Gen. Anselmo Pinili
3 Patricia Licuanan Chairperson Commission on Higher Education January 15, 2018 Prospero de Vera III
4 Amado Valdez Chairman Social Security System February 12, 2018 Aurora Cruz-Ignacio
5 Jose Gabriel La Viña[xii] Commissioner Ricardo Moldez
6 Allen Capuyan[xiii] Assistant General Manager Manila International Airport Authority March 14, 2018 Elenita M. Fernando
7 Vitaliano Aguirre II Secretary Department of Justice April 5, 2018 Menardo Guevarra
8 Aiza Seguerra Chairperson National Youth Commission Ronald Gian Cardema
9 Dominador Say Undersecretary Department of Labor and Employment April 17, 2018 Renato Ebarle
10 Atty. Karen Jimeno[xiv] Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Priority Projects Department of Public Works and Highways April 22, 2018
11 Atty. Aimee Torrecampo-Neri Deputy Commissioner Bureau of Immigration May 2, 2018 Marc Red Mariñas (OIC)
12 Roberto Teo Board Member Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority May 7, 2018
13 Wanda Corazon Teo Secretary Department of Tourism May 8, 2018 Bernadette Romulo-Puyat
14 Tingagun Umpa Assistant Secretary Department of Public Works and Highways May 15, 2018
15 Moslemen T. Macarambon Sr. Assistant Secretary Department of Justice
16 Frederick Alegre Assistant Secretary Department of Tourism Myra Abubakar
17 Cesar Montano Head Tourism Promotions Board May 21, 2018 Arnold Gonzales (OIC)
Maria Venus Tan
18 Mark Tolentino Assistant Secretary Department of Transportation May 22, 2018
19 Rudolf Jurado Chief Office of the Government Corporate Counsel May 28, 2018 Elpidio Vega
20 Noel Patrick Prudente Deputy Commissioner Bureau of Customs May 30, 2018 Jeffrey Ian C. Dy
21 Celestina dela Serna Officer-in-Charge Philippine Health Insurance Corporation June 5, 2018 Roy Ferrer
22 Patricia Yvette Ocampo Chairperson Nayong Pilipino Foundation August 7, 2018 Lucille Karen E. Malilong
23 Petronilo L. Ilagan Undersecretary Department of Energy August 15, 2018
24 Liza Maza Lead Convenor National Anti-Poverty Commission August 20, 2018 Noel Folengco
25 Katherine de Castro[xv] Undersecretary of Tourism Advocacy and Public Affairs Department of Tourism August 22, 2018 Edwin Enrile
26 Ret. Maj. Jason Aquino Administrator National Food Authority September 11, 2018 Judy Carol L. Dansal (OIC)
27 Mocha Uson[xvi] Assistant Secretary Presidential Communications Operations Office October 1, 2018
28 Joel Maglunsod Undersecretary Department of Labor and Employment October 2, 2018 Ana Colting Dione
29 Ret. Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa Director-General Bureau of Corrections October 12, 2018 Ret. Capt. Nicanor Faeldon
30 Alan Peter Cayetano Secretary Department of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr.
31 Marc Red Mariñas Deputy Commissioner Bureau of Immigration Atty. Jose Ronaldo P. Ledesma (OIC)
32 Harry Roque Presidential Spokesman Presidential Communications Group October 15, 2018 Salvador Panelo
33 Christopher Go Special Assistant to the President Presidential Management Staff Jesus Melchor Quitain (OIC)
34 Leoncio Evasco Jr. Cabinet Secretary Office of the Cabinet Secretary October 16, 2018 Karlo Nograles
35 Francis Tolentino Political Adviser Office of Political Adviser October 17, 2018
36 Thomas Orbos Undersecretary Department of Transportation
37 Guiling A. Mamondiong Director-General Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Ret. Supt. Isidro Lapeña
38 Maria Lourdes Turalde-Jarabe Undersecretary for Promotive Operations and Programs Department of Social Welfare and Development November 18, 2018
39 Mae Ancheta-Templa Undersecretary for Protective Operations and Programs
40 Hope Hervilla Undersecretary for Disaster Response Management
41 Falconi Millar Secretary-General Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council November 19, 2018 Marcelino Escalada Jr.
42 Jesus Dureza Presidential Adviser Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process November 27, 2018 Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr.
43 Ronald Flores Undersecretary
44 Yeshtern Donn Baccay Assistant Secretary
45 Stella Quimbo Commissioner Philippine Competition Commission November 28, 2018


No. Name Position Agency/Department Date Replaced by
1 Arnell Ignacio Deputy Exceutive Director Overseas Workers Welfare Administration February 26, 2019 Mocha Uson
2 Benjamin Diokno[xvii] Secretary Department of Budget and Management March 4, 2019 Janet Abuel (OIC)
3 Emmanuel F. Dooc President and CEO Social Security System March 7, 2019 Aurora Cruz-Ignacio
4 Alexander Balutan General Manager Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office March 8, 2019 Royina Garma
5 Nela Charade Puno Director General Food and Drug Administration May 16, 2019 Enrique Domingo
6 Ronald Gian Cardema Chairperson National Youth Commission May 19, 2019 Paul Anthony Pangilinan
7 Reynaldo Velasco Administrator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System May 24, 2019 Emmanuel B. Salamat
8 Roy Ferrer Officer-in-Charge Philippine Health Insurance Corporation June 13, 2019 Ret. Gen. Ricardo Morales
9 Jack Arroyo Local Chief Executive
10 Rex Maria Mendoza Independent Director of the Monetary Board
11 Hildegardes Dineros Member, Information Economy sector
12 Celestina Ma. Jude dela Serna Member, Filipino Overseas Workers sector
13 Roberto Salvador Member, Formal Economy sector
14 Joan Cristine Reina Liban-Lareza Member, Health Care Provider sector
15 Ret. BGen. Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. Secretary Department of Information and Communications Technology June 30, 2019 Gregorio Honasan
16 Jesus Clint O. Aranas President and General Manager Government Service Insurance System July 2, 2019 Lucas Bersamin
17 Manny Piñol[xviii] Secretary Department of Agriculture August 5, 2019 William Dar
18 Janet Abuel (OIC) Secretary Department of Budget and Management Wendel Avisado
19 Ret. Capt. Nicanor Faeldon Director-General Bureau of Corrections September 4, 2019 Melvin Ramon G. Buenafe (OIC)
Gerald Bantag
20 Jose Antonio Goitia Executive Director Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission September 10, 2019 Anshari C. Lomodag Jr.
21 Pedro Aquino Jr. President and CEO Philippine National Oil Company October 15, 2019 Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez


No. Name Position Agency/Department Date Replaced by
1 Ret. BGen. Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. Undersecretary for Operations Department of Information and Communications Technology February 3, 2020 Ramon Jacinto
2 Dante Gierran Chief National Bureau of Investigation February 21, 2020 Eric Bito-on Distor (OIC)
3 Ret. VAdm. Narciso A. Vingson Jr. (OIC) Administrator Maritime Industry Authority March 1, 2020 Ret. VAdm. Robert Empedrad
4 Salvador Panelo Presidential Spokesperson Presidential Communications Group April 13, 2020 Harry Roque
5 Ernesto Pernia Director-General National Economic and Development Authority April 16, 2020 Karl Kendrick Chua (acting)
6 Ret. Gen. Aaron Aquino Chief Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency May 25, 2020 Wilkins M. Villanueva
7 Ret. Gen. Ricardo Morales President Philippine Health Insurance Corporation August 31, 2020 Dante Gierran


No. Name Position Agency/Department Date Replaced by
1 Wendel Avisado Secretary Department of Budget and Management August 13, 2021 Tina Rose Marie Canda (OIC)
2 Celine Pialago Spokesperson Metropolitan Manila Development Authority October 1, 2021
3 Maria Rachel Arenas Chairperson Movie and Television Review and Classification Board
4 Ito Ynares Presidential Adviser for Southern Tagalog
5 Jojo Garcia General Manager Metropolitan Manila Development Authority October 4, 2021 Atty. Romando Artes
6 Manny Piñol Chairman Mindanao Development Authority October 5, 2021
7 Mitzi Cajayon Undersecretary/Executive Director Department of Social Welfare and Development/Council for Welfare of Children
8 Mark Villar Secretary Department of Public Works and Highways October 6, 2021 Roger Mercado
9 Ernesto Abella Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research Department of Foreign Affairs October 8, 2021
10 John Castriciones Secretary Department of Agrarian Reform Bernie Cruz (OIC)
11 Gregorio Honasan Department of Information and Communications Technology Jose Arturo De Castro (OIC)
12 Greco Belgica Chairperson Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission
13 Salvador Panelo Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Jesus Melchor Quitain
14 Vince Dizon Chairman and CEO Bases Conversion and Development Authority October 15, 2021 Aristotle Batuhan (OIC)
15 Harry Roque Presidential Spokesman Presidential Communications Group November 15, 2021 Karlo Nograles (acting)
  1. ^ As Board Member of Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
  2. ^ As Deputy Administrator of the Office of the Civil Defense, later as Director-General of the Bureau of Corrections, Later, he was sacked from office on September 4, 2019.
  3. ^ As Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, later he was designated as Director-General of TESDA.
  4. ^ As Interior Undersecretary.
  5. ^ As Foreign Affairs Undersecretary.
  6. ^ As Social Welfare Undersecretary, later resigned on October 11, 2018.
  7. ^ As Lead Convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission
  8. ^ As Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Deputy Director General.
  9. ^ As Member of Philippine Coconut Authority Governing Board
  10. ^ As Assistant Secretary of DENR.
  11. ^ As Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs
  12. ^ As Tourism Undersecretary, later as Agriculture Undersecretary, now resigned on October 17, 2018.
  13. ^ As Chairperson of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
  14. ^ As Undersecretary for Disaster Resiliency of the Presidential Management Staff, later resigned.
  15. ^ As Board Member of IBC-13
  16. ^ As Deputy Exceutive Director of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
  17. ^ As Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
  18. ^ As Chairman of Mindanao Development Authority

Major activities[edit]



R. A. No. Title / Description Principal author Date signed
10870 Philippine Credit Card Industry Regulation Law July 17, 2016
10871 Basic Life Support Training in Schools Act
10878 Amending Section 74 of Republic Act No. 3844, as amended by Republic Act No. 10374 known as the "Agricultural Land Reform Code"
10879 MIMAROPA Act
10881 Amending investment restrictions in specific laws governing adjustment companies
10882 AFP Derivative Retirement Pension for Children/Survivors Act of 2016
10883 New Anti-Carnapping Act of 2016
10884 Balanced Housing Development Program Amendments
10905 An Act requiring all franchise holders or operators of television stations and producers of television programs to broadcast or present their programs with closed captions option, and for other purposes
10906 Anti-Mail Order Spouse Act July 21, 2016
10908 Integrated History Act of 2016
10909 No Shortchanging Act of 2016
10910 Section 11 of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
10911 Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act
10912 Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016
10913 Anti-Distracted Driving Act
10915 Philippine Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Act of 2016
10916 Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016
10917 An Act Amending Certain Provisions of Republic Act No. 9547, known as an Act Strengthening and Expanding the Coverage of the Special Program for Employment of Students, Amending for the Purpose Provisions of Republic Act No. 7323, known as the Special Program for Employment of Students
10918 Philippine Pharmacy Act
10922 Economic and Financial Literacy Act July 22, 2016
10923 An Act postponing the October 2016 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 9164, as amended by Republic Act No. 9340 and Republic Act No. 10656, Prescribing Additional Rules Governing the Conduct of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections and for Other Purposes October 15, 2016
10927 An Act Designating Casinos as Covered Persons under Republic Act No. 9160, known as the "Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001" July 14, 2017
10928 Amending Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8239, known as the "Philippine Passport Act of 1996" August 2, 2017
10929 Free Internet Access in Public Places Act Bam Aquino
10930 An Act Rationalizing and Strengthening the Policy Regarding Driver's License by Extending the Validity Period of Drivers’ Licenses, and Penalizing Acts in Violation of its Issuance and Application, Amending for Those Purposes Section 23 of Republic Act No. 4136, as Amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 398 and Executive Order No. 1011, Otherwise Known as The Land Transportation and Traffic Code
10931 Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act Bam Aquino August 3, 2017
10932 An Act Strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law by Increasing the Penalties for the Refusal of Hospitals and Medical Clinics to Administster Appropriate Initial Medical Treatment and Support in Emergency or Serious Cases, Amending for the Purpose Batas Pambansa Bilang 702, Otherwlse Known as “An Act Prohibiting the Demand of Deposits or Advance Payments for the Confinement or Treatment of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics in Certain Cases”, As Amended by Republic Act No. 8344, and for Other Purposes Risa Hontiveros August 5, 2017
10951 An Act Adjusting the Amount or the Value of Property and Damage on Which a Penalty is Based and the Fines Imposed Under the Revised Penal Code, Amending for the Purpose Act No. 3815, Otherwise Known as “The Revised Penal Code”, as Amended August 29, 2017
10952 An Act Postponing the October 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Katabaan Elections, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 9164, as Amended by Republic Act No. 9340, Republic Act No. 10632, Republic Act No. 10656, and Republic Act No. 10923, and for Other Purposes October 2, 2017
10962 Gift Check Act of 2017 December 19, 2017
10963 Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law Koko Pimentel, Tito Sotto
10968 Philippine Qualifications Framework Act January 16, 2018
10969 Free Irrigation Service Act February 2, 2018
11032 Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act Bam Aquino May 28, 2018
11035 Balik Scientist Act
(lit.'Returning Scientist Act')
Bam Aquino June 15, 2018
11036 Mental Health Act Risa Hontiveros June 20, 2018
11037 Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act
(lit.'Nutritious Food for the Filipino Youth Act')
Risa Hontiveros
11038 Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act Loren Legarda, Sonny Angara June 22, 2018
11039 Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Act June 29, 2018
11052 Philippine Food Technology Act
11053 Anti-Hazing Act of 2018
11054 Bangsamoro Organic Law Juan Miguel Zubiri July 26, 2018
11055 Philippine Identification System Act of 2018 Panfilo Lacson August 6, 2018
11057 Personal Property Security Act Bam Aquino August 17, 2018
11058 Occupational Safety and Health Standards Law Joel Villanueva August 20, 2018
11106 Filipino Sign Language Act Nancy Binay November 12, 2018
11131 The Philippine Criminology Profession Act of 2018 November 15, 2018
11148 Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act
(lit.'Health and Nutrition for Mother and Child Act')
Ralph Recto November 29, 2018
11663 National Bible Day Act Manny Pacquiao December 20, 2018
11665 Telecommuting Act Joel Villanueva
11666 Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018 Risa Hontiveros, JV Ejercito
11180 Athletic Programs Report Act January 3, 2019
11188 Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act Risa Hontiveros January 10, 2019
11194 Gabaldon Schools Buildings Conservation Act February 7, 2019
11199 Social Security Act of 2019 February 8, 2019
11200 An act providing for the rank classification in the Philippine National Police, Amending for the purpose Section 28 of Republic Act No. 6975, As amended, Otherwise known as the “Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990” Panfilo Lacson
11202 Mobile Number Portability Act
11201 Creation of Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development February 14, 2019
11203 Rice Tarriffication Act
11206 Secondary School Career Guidance and Counseling Act
11207 An act Providing for reasonable rates for political advertisements, Amending for the purpose section 11 of Republic Act No. 9006, otherwise known as the “Fair Election Act”
11211 An act amending Republic Act No. 7653, otherwise known as “The New Central Bank Act”, and for other purposes
11213 Tax Amnesty Act
11214 Philippine Sports Training Center Act
11215 National Integrated Cancer Control Act
11210 105-Day Expanded Maternity Act Risa Hontiveros February 20, 2019
11223 Universal Health Care Act JV Ejercito
11232 Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines
11222 Simulated Birth Rectification Act February 21, 2019
11227 Handbook for OFWs Act of 2018 February 22, 2019
11229 Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act
11230 Tulong Trabaho Act
(lit.'Job Help Act')
Joel Villanueva
11231 Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act
11234 Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop Act March 8, 2019
11235 Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act
11239 An Act abolishing the Road Board and providing for the disposition of the motor vehicle user's charges, collections, Amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 8794, entitled “An act imposing a motor vehicle user's charge on owners of all types motor vehicles and for other purposes”
11241 Philippine Occupational Therapy Law March 11, 2019
11249 Speech Language Pathology Act March 22, 2019
11261 First Time Job Seekers Assistance Act Joel Villanueva, Grace Poe April 10, 2019
11285 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act April 12, 2019
11291 Magna Carta for the Poor
11292 The Seal of Good Local Governance Act of 2019
11293 Philippine Innovation Act April 17, 2019
11310 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Act Leila De Lima
11311 An Act to Improve Land Transportation Terminals, Stations, Stops, Rest Areas, and Roll-on/Roll-off Terminals Grace Poe
11312 Magna Carta for Scientists
11313 Safe Spaces Act Risa Hontiveros
11314 Student Fare Discount Act
11315 Community-Based Monitoring System Act
11321 Sagip Saka Act
11332 Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act April 26, 2019
11333 National Museum of the Philippines Act
11337 Innovative Startup Act
11346 An Act increasing the Excise Tax on tobacco products, Imposing Excise Tax on heated tobacco products and apor products, increasing the penalties for violations of provisions on Articles subject to Excise Tax, and earmarking a portion of the total excise tax collections from Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Alcohol, Tobacco, Heated Tobacco and Vapor Products for Universal Health Care, Amending for this purpose Sections 144, 145, 146, 147, 152, 164, 260, 262, 263, 265, 288, and 289, Repealing section 288(B) and 288(C), and creating new Sections 263-A, 265-B, and 288-A of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, As amended by Republic Act No. 10963, and for other purposes. July 25, 2019
11350 National Commission of Senior Citizens Act
11358 National Vision Screening Act July 31, 2019
11361 Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act August 8, 2019
11362 Community Service Act
11363 Philippine Space Act
11364 Cooperative Development Authority Charter of 2019
11369 National Student's Day of 2019
11371 Murang Kuryente Act
11372 Philippine Coast Guard General Hospital Act
11392 National Performing Arts Companies Act August 22, 2019
11393 Advanced Energy and Green Building Technologies Curriculum Act
11394 Mandatory Provision of Neutral Desks in Educational Institutions Act
11396 SUC's Land Use Development and Infrastructure Plan Act
11398 Philippine Fisheries Profession Act
11448 Transnational Higher Education Act August 28, 2019
11459 Judges-at-Large Act of 2019 August 30, 2019
11463 Malasakit Centers Act Bong Go December 3, 2019
11466 Salary Standardization Law of 2019 Bong Revilla January 8, 2020
11467 An Act amending Sections 109, 141, 142, 143, 144, 147, 152, 263, 263-A, 265, and 288, and adding a new section 290-A to Republic Act 8424 as amended, otherwise known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, and for other purposes. Pia Cayetano January 22, 2020
11468 National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, Survivors, and Their Families Act Grace Poe January 23, 2020
11469 Bayanihan to Heal as One Act Tito Sotto, Pia Cayetano March 24, 2020
11470 National Academy of Sports Act Win Gatchalian June 9, 2020
11476 GMRC and Values Education Act June 25, 2020
11479 Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 Panfilo Lacson July 3, 2020
11494 Bayanihan to Recover as One Act Imee Marcos, Sonny Angara, Ralph Recto, Migz Zubiri, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, Tito Sotto September 11, 2020
11509 Doktor Para sa Bayan Act December 23, 2020
11510 Alternative Learning System Act
11511 An act amending Republic Act No. 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010
11517 An Act authorizing the President to Expedite the processing and issuance of National and Local permits, licenses and certifications in times of National Emergency
11523 Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act February 16, 2021
11524 Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act February 26, 2021
11525 COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021
11534 Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act March 26, 2021
11549 PNP, BFP, BJMP, and BuCor Height Equality Act May 26, 2021
11551 Labor Education Act May 27, 2021
11571 JCEC Enhancement Act July 7, 2021
11589 Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act September 10, 2021
11592 LPG Industry Regulation Act October 14, 2021

National budget[edit]

R. A. No. Title Principal Sponsor Date signed
10924 General Appropriations Act of 2017 Loren Legarda December 22, 2016
10964 General Appropriations Act of 2018 Loren Legarda December 19, 2017
11260 General Appropriations Act of 2019 Loren Legarda April 15, 2019
11464 Extension of General Appropriations Act of 2019 Nancy Binay December 20, 2019
11465 General Appropriations Act of 2020 Nancy Binay January 6, 2020
11520 General Appropriations Act of 2021 Nancy Binay December 28, 2020

First year[edit]


Duterte delivers his speech during the turnover rites of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo

Shortly after his inauguration, Duterte held his first Cabinet meeting to lay out his plans for the Cabinet, which included the establishment of a 24-hour complaint office covering the entire country and advancing the country's disaster risk reduction management, lamenting its current status after recalling his personal encounter with the previous administration's failure to address the lack of basic needs of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013.[64] He laid out his plan to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, the country's main gateway, by transferring the operations of domestic flights to Clark International Airport in Angeles, Pampanga and constructing a road network between Angeles and Manila while his government reviews the possibility of constructing a new airport at the Naval Station Sangley Point in Cavite.[65] He also advised the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines not to provide him and his Cabinet officials with special priority treatment different from ordinary citizens.[66] Duterte criticised healthcare in the Philippines, saying that the country could learn from healthcare in Cuba and ordered his Health Secretary, Paulyn Ubial, to travel to Cuba.[67] Occurring twelve days prior to the announcement of the outcome of the Philippines' arbitration case against China over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, Duterte said that he and his Foreign Secretary, Perfecto Yasay, Jr., will study the implications of the ruling in order to better plan any further steps taken by the government to address the issue.[68][69][70] Duterte also expressed his willingness to stop the online gambling industry.[71] After the Cabinet meeting, President Duterte met with representatives from militant groups to discuss the "People's Agenda for Change" plan.[72]

On July 1, 2016, a day after the inauguration, President Duterte attended the change-of-command ceremonies for the new Philippine National Police chief Ronald de la Rosa[73] and the new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Ricardo Visaya.[74] During the AFP's change-of-command rites, Duterte personally and briefly met his Vice President Leni Robredo for the first time.[75]

Robredo later paid a courtesy call on Duterte in the Malacañang Palace on July 4, 2016.[76] Three days later, Duterte appointed Robredo to a Cabinet position (as the head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council).[77] Despite opposition, Duterte announced on May 23, 2016, that he would allow the burial of Ferdinand Marcos' remains in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.[78]

President Duterte issued his first executive order on July 4, entitled "Reengineering the Office of the President Towards Greater Responsiveness to the Attainment of Development Goals". In the executive order, 12 agencies under the Office of the President who focused on anti-poverty programs will be placed under the supervision of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr.[79] Duterte said he will end insurgency and war conflicts in the Mindanao, before his term ends, through peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and other Moro groups.[80] Duterte noted that the intervention of foreign countries, including the United States, caused the worsened war situation in the Middle East countries including Iraq and Libya.[81]

On 12 July 2016 the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) tribunal agreed unanimously with the Philippines in the international case, Philippines v. China, which former president Benigno Aquino III initiated in January 2013. In its award, it concluded that there is no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources, hence there was "no legal basis for China to claim historic rights" over the area within the nine-dash line.[82][83] The tribunal also judged that the PRC had caused "severe harm to the coral reef environment",[84] and that it had violated the Philippines' sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone by interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration by, for example, restricting the traditional fishing rights of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal.[85] The PRC rejected the ruling, calling it "ill-founded", but they would still be committed to resolving disputes with its neighbours.[85][86] On the same day, President Duterte has named Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran as the "Anti-Red Tape Czar".[87]

The following day, Duterte met with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., and her daughter, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, the top officials of the Asian Development Bank and Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal for a series of courtesy calls and meetings.[88] On July 14, President Duterte attended the thanksgiving dinner organized by his fellow alumni from the San Beda College of Law at the Club Filipino, San Juan.[89] President Duterte has offered former President Fidel V. Ramos to become the Philippines' special envoy to China on the planned bilateral talks between two countries, in connection with the ongoing South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) dispute.[90]

Duterte delivers his first State of the Nation Address, July 25, 2016

On July 18, 2016, President Duterte, together with Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose Cojuangco Jr., led the send-off ceremonies for the Philippine delegation in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang.[91] After the send-off, Duterte met with Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach for a courtesy call to discuss the possibility of the Philippines hosting next year's Miss Universe.[92] Two days before his first State of the Nation Address, on July 23, President Duterte signed the Freedom of Information Order that covered all offices under the executive branch.[93]

On July 25, 2016, President Duterte delivered his first State of the Nation Address.[94]

On July 27, 2016, President Duterte met with United States Secretary of State John Kerry, the first foreign minister Duterte met with as president and the highest ranking diplomat he met with since his inauguration, to discuss cooperation between the Philippines and the United States under the Duterte administration following the Permanent Court of Arbitration's ruling in favor of the Philippines against China's claim over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.[95][96] Later that day, the first National Security Council meeting under the Duterte presidency was held. It was attended by former presidents and NSC members Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III, together with Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Koko Pimentel, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and other cabinet secretaries.[97]


On August 7, 2016, President Duterte, who was at the wake of four soldiers killed in an encounter with communist rebels in Camp Panacan, Davao City, delivered a speech wherein he named local government officials, court judges and police officers who are all involved in illegal drug trade.[98][99]


Duterte handshakes with Chinese President Xi Jinping prior to the bilateral meetings at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 20, 2016

On September 2, a bomb exploded in Davao City in Mindanao. The bombing was linked to the Maute group, although Abu Sayyaf reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombing but later denied it.[100][101][102][103] The incident prompted Duterte to declare a "state of lawlessness" in the country, which would remain in effect for over a year.[104] In early September, Duterte made his first foreign trip as head of state, attending the ASEAN Summit in Laos.[105] Before leaving for his first international summit, Duterte quickly made international headlines after slamming then-US president Barack Obama for his criticism on human rights issues brought about by the Philippines’ controversial drug war.[106] He has apologized for these remarks.

Duterte critic Leila de Lima faced a series of investigations on the New Bilibid Prison drug trafficking scandal, with De Lima refusing to attend, calling it a “sham inquiry” and a mere ploy to discredit her. In the Senate's probe on extrajudicial killings related to the drug war, De Lima presented Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed hitman and member of the so-called Davao Death Squad. Matobato testifies that Duterte ordered the group to execute people back when he was Davao City mayor.[107] However, this was later refuted and disproven.[108][109] and it was labeled as 'hearsay' and 'lies' by Duterte.[110][111]

By the end of September, Duterte lamented that he was being portrayed as a “cousin” of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, but later drew parallels between his drug war and the annihilation of 3 million Jews during the Holocaust.[112] He later apologized for his remarks, saying "There was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of 6 million Jews murdered by the Germans".[113]

October to December[edit]

Protesters against the burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos

On October 13, the President signed an administrative order creating a presidential task force to probe media killings,[114] which comes several months after he was criticized for remarks he made as president-elect, when he justified the killing of corrupt members of the media.[115][116] On October 18, Duterte visited China to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries amid tensions in disputed South China Sea.[117] During a trade and investment forum in Beijing, Duterte announced the Philippines’ separation from the United States and his decision to move closer to China,[118] which was later clarified[119] by Duterte and his cabinet that he was not cutting ties with the US.[120] On October 28, Datu Saudi-Ampatuan, Maguindanao mayor Samsudin Dimaukom was killed in an alleged shootout with state operatives in Makilala, Cotabato.[121]

On November 5, Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, who was linked to the drug trade, was killed inside his jail cell in a reported shootout with personnel from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).[122] On November 8, the Supreme Court issued its verdict which paved the way for the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery). On November 18, Ferdinand Marcos was buried with full military honors at the Heroes’ Cemetery,[123] sparking national outrage, especially among those who suffered human rights abuses under the Marcos regime.[124]

On December 4, five months after the President offered Vice President Leni Robredo a Cabinet post through a phone call, the Vice President resigned from the Cabinet. Robredo announced her resignation from her post as housing chair after she received a text message from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco Jr, “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings starting December 5.”[125] On December 6, the National Bureau of Investigation said that the death of Albuera Mayor Espinosa was a "rubout" and recommended criminal charges against the 24 CIDG operatives involved, which included police superintendent Marvin Marcos.[126] On December 7, a bill for the reimposition of the death penalty hurdled the House committee level.[127] In response, the United Nations warned that the Philippines will violate international law if it reintroduces capital punishment.[128]

On December 17, Duterte endorsed senator Manny Pacquiao as his possible successor when his term ends in 2022.[129] On December 18, Duterte admitted that he was taking the addictive opioid drug Fentanyl, a powerful painkiller often prescribed for cancer pain and other chronic ailments, beyond the recommended dose because of a spinal injury he had from a previous motorcycle accident.[130] Additionally, Duterte suffers from Buerger's disease and Barrett's esophagus, but has denied insider reports that he has throat cancer.[131] On Christmas Eve, an explosion outside a church in Midsayap, Cotabato injured at least 13 people.[132] Duterte linked the bombing, as well as the September blast in Davao City, to the international terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).[133]

Domestic policy[edit]

Burial of Ferdinand Marcos[edit]

On November 8, the Supreme Court issued a verdict which paved the way for the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery), which sparked protests. On November 18, Ferdinand Marcos was buried with full military honors at the Heroes' Cemetery.[123] It sparked national outrage, especially among those who suffered human rights abuses under the Marcos regime. The protests was continuously held from November 18 to November 30.[124]

Campaign against communist insurgency[edit]

In July 2016, Duterte directed his peace process advisor for the communist rebellion in the Philippines, Silvestre Bello III, to lead a government panel in resuming peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People's Army (NPA), and the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Oslo, Norway, expressing hope that a peace treaty between the rebellions would be reached within a year.[134] The first talks began on August 22–26, 2016, in which the parties agreed upon "the affirmation of previously signed agreements, the reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees which 'protects the rights of negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel involved in peace negotiations',[135] and the accelerated progress for negotiations."[136] In February 2017, due to recent attacks and kidnapping of soldiers by members of the NPA despite the imposed ceasefire by the government and the rebel groups, President Duterte cancelled all negotiations with the CPP–NPA–NDF and signed a proclamation declaring them as a terrorist organization.[11] He also ordered the arrest of all NDF negotiators.[137] Military offensive against the group resumed after Duterte's cancellation of ceasefire.[138]

Anti-corruption efforts[edit]

Duterte delivering his first State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on July 25, 2016

A key policy of the Duterte administration is corruption eradication.[139] Barely a month after his inauguration as president, Duterte issued Executive Order No. 2 or the Freedom of Information order,[140] which allows Filipinos to obtain documents and records from public offices in a bid to promote transparency in the government.[141][139] On October 4, 2017, Duterte issued an executive order creating the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) tasked to eliminate all forms of corruption and red tape in the executive department.[142][143] On May 28, 2018, he signed the Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018,[144] which enhanced the Anti-Red Tape Law of 2007,[139] and aims to reduce processing time, cut bureaucratic red tape, and also eliminate corrupt practices.[145] The law also created the Anti-Red Tape Authority, which is under the Office of the President, as key implementer of the said law.[145]

Amid the corruption allegations within the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Duterte on August 7, 2020, issued a memorandum directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to create a task force that will investigate the widespread corruption and irregularities within the PhilHealth.[146] On October 27, 2020, Duterte ordered the Department of Justice and a newly created mega-task-force to investigate allegations of corruption in the entire government.[147][148]

Support for death penalty[edit]

Duterte speaking with PNP Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa in the Malacañang Palace on August 16, 2016

During the 2016 election, Duterte campaigned to restore the death penalty in the Philippines.[149][150][151] Duterte, who won the election in May 2016, supports restoration of the death penalty by hanging.[152] It has been reported that he wants capital punishment for criminals involved in illegal drugs, gun-for-hire syndicates and those who commit "heinous crimes" such as rape, robbery or car theft where the victim is murdered.[152] Duterte has theatrically vowed "to litter Manila Bay with the bodies of criminals".[153] In December 2016, the bill to resume capital punishment for certain "heinous offenses" swiftly passed out of Committee in the House of Representatives; it passed the full House of Representatives in February 2017.[154] On March 7, despite fierce criticism, especially from the Catholic Church, the House of Representatives approved on 3rd and final reading the controversial bill.[155] However, the law reinstating the death penalty stalled in the Senate in April 2017, where it did not appear to have enough votes to pass.[156][157]

Campaign against illegal drugs[edit]

Duterte presents a chart which he claims illustrates a drug trade network of drug syndicates, on July 7, 2016.
Protest against the Philippine Drug War in front of the Philippine Consulate General in New York City.

Duterte claimed that the Philippines was at risk of becoming a narco-state.[158] Following his inauguration, Duterte started a nationwide anti-drug campaign, urging the Filipinos, including the New People's Army to join the fight against illegal drugs.[159][160] On July 7, Duterte presented a chart identifying three Chinese nationals who serve as drug lords in the Philippines.[161][162]

In Duterte's first 100 days in office, a rough estimate of 3,600 killings were attributed to his intensified campaign against illegal drugs, which included more than 1,300 suspects killed in gunbattles with police,[163] and about half of them killed by unknown assailants.[164] There were more than 23,500 raids and 22,500 arrests conducted by the police on suspected drug dealers and addicts, and more than 1.6 million houses of drug suspects visited by police to invite them to surrender and disengage from the drug trade. Approximately 732,000 addicts and dealers have surrendered to authorities, overwhelming the administration and prompting them to build more rehabilitation centers.[163] The growing number of extrajudicial executions since the campaign started garnered worldwide attention and prompted the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, human rights watchdogs, and opposition groups to probe into the killings which were believed to be state-sanctioned.[163][164][165][166][167] The Duterte administration demanded critics to provide evidence.[168] On October 10, 2017, amid public outrage over alleged police abuse in the continuing crackdown, Duterte barred the Philippine National Police (PNP) from joining anti-drug raids and designated the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the "sole agency" in charge of the war on drugs.[169] The PNP was allowed back to join the campaign on December 5, 2017, with the PDEA still being the lead agency.[170]

The war on drugs remains overwhelmingly popular among majority of Filipinos, with a poll by the Social Weather Stations in September 2019 returning a rating of "excellent" for Duterte's three-year campaign, with 82% satisfied due to a perception of less drugs and crime in the country.[171]

Environmental policies[edit]


On February 2, 2017, the mining sector was shaken up after environment secretary and staunch environmentalist Gina Lopez announced the closure of 23 mining operations and the suspension of five others.[172][173] Duterte, who has expressed support for Lopez, said that there was nothing he could do about the closures.[174] On May 3, Lopez's appointment as Environment Secretary was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA) in a vote of 8–16 on May 3, 2017, amid issues over her order to close and suspend mining operations.[173][175] In July 2018, Duterte floated a "conspiracy" behind Congress' decision in May 2017 to reject Lopez's appointment as environment secretary. He also reiterated that he will ban open-pit mining.[176]

Boracay clean-up[edit]

Algae bloom in Boracay last April 25, 2018, a day prior to the island's closure.

On April 4, Duterte announced that the government shall 'close down' all operations within the island of Boracay, the country's number one tourism destination, due to 'environmental concerns'.[177] On April 10, Duterte admitted that the government had 'no master plan' on how to clean-up Boracay, which he called a 'cesspool'.[178] On April 24, more than 600 military personnel were deployed by Duterte in Boracay, causing alarm among residents.[179][180] On April 26, Boracay's 6-month closure began, and the entire island was officially closed to the public.[181]

Boracay was officially reopened to the public on October 26, 2019, following a six-month extensive clean-up.[182] A limit for visitors to the island had been set by the government, where only 6,000 would be allowed on any given day, as studies have shown Boracay's capacity to be only at 6,000.[183]

Support for federalism[edit]

Duterte advocates federalism as a better system of governance for the Philippines. He argues that regions outside Metro Manila receive unfairly small budgets from the Internal Revenue Allotment. For example, of the ₱5 billion Davao sends monthly to Metro Manila, only 2 or 3 billion ever returns. He also highlights that money remitted to national government is misused by corrupt politicians in the Philippine Congress.[184] However, Duterte said to Muslim leaders in July 2016 that if the majority of Filipinos are against the proposal of federalism, he will push for the Bangsamoro Basic Law, in which only Bangsamoro would become autonomous. He would also revise the law in such a way that the Moro National Liberation Front would receive the same deal as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.[185]

Infrastructure development[edit]

Part of Duterte's socioeconomic policy is the Build! Build! Build! Infrastructure Plan which according to the administration will usher in the "Golden Age of Infrastructure". The goals of the program are to reduce poverty, encourage economic growth and reduce congestion in Metro Manila.[6]

Athletic Stadium of the New Clark City sports complex

Some major projects include:[186]

As of November 2019, since Duterte assumed position in June 2016, a total of 9,845 kilometres (6,117 mi) of roads, 2,709 bridges, 4,536 flood control projects, 82 evacuation centers, and 71,803 classrooms under the “Build, Build, Build” program were completed.[191] In the same month (November 2019), the government revised its list of flagship infrastructure projects under Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" program, expanding it to 100.[192][186]

Islamic insurgency in Mindanao[edit]

Duterte welcomes Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad following his release from Abu Sayyaf captivity.

Duterte has said that Moro dignity is what the MILF and MNLF are struggling for, and that they are not terrorists. He acknowledged that the Moros were subjected to wrongdoing, historical and in territory.[193]

Duterte was endorsed in the election by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari[194] due to his background in Mindanao.[195] Jesus Dureza was his second choice.[196] Other Muslims also supported Duterte and denounced Roxas, the Aquino-supported pick.[197]

During the Mindanao Hariraya (Eid al-Fitr) 2016 convention in Davao City on July 8, 2016, Duterte vowed to address the Moro conflict and bring peace in Mindanao, assuring the Filipino Muslim community that "something will change" before the end of his term. He said that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) both support his proposal for federalism in the Philippines, which he says is the only solution to the Bangsamoro peace process. Duterte said that if the proposal for the country's shift to federalism fails or is not desired by the Filipino people, he will vow to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which would establish the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. He also added that the Basic Law should benefit both MILF and MNLF, saying he is willing to negotiate with both secessionists to initiate a "reconfiguration" of territory.[198][199]

A crowd of Muslims were attending the speech by Duterte where he accused America of bringing terrorism to themselves, saying that terrorism is not the result of the Middle East.[200] He railed against the actions undertaken in the Middle East by the USA.[201] Duterte blamed the war on Mindanao on colonialist Christianity being brought to the Philippines in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan, saying there was peace before that and that they were made to fight their "Malay brothers" by Christians.[202]

Duterte meeting with MNLF chairman, founder and former ARMM Governor Nur Misuari, November 3, 2016

The Bud Dajo Massacre inflicted upon the Moros was mentioned by President Duterte to criticize the United States and its President Barack Obama.[203] The massacre was cited a second time by Duterte in criticizing America while calling for the exit of American troops.[204]

On November 6, 2016, Duterte signed an executive order to expand the Bangsamoro Transition Commission to 21 members from 15, in which 11 will be decided by the MILF and 10 will be nominated by the government. The commission was formed in December 2013 and is tasked to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law in accordance with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro[205]

Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law on July 26, 2018,[206][207] which abolished the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and provided for the basic structure of government for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, following the agreements set forth in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014.[208]

Labor policies[edit]

Effort vs. contractualization[edit]

During his campaign for the 2016 presidential election, one of Rodrigo Duterte's promises was the phasing out of contractualization (locally known as endo, derived from "end of contract") and improvement to labor policies in the Philippines. Upon his election, he appointed Silvestre Bello III as Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, who considers making all companies put at least 80% of all employees under contract as per the president's orders.[209] By the end of 2016, around 32,000 workers have been regularized.[210] Going into 2017, Duterte and Bello aimed for a new permanent policy that would end labor-only contractualization by the end of February, but Bello wounded up not signing it. Instead he decided first for dialogue between the president and labor groups in order to get feedback.[211][212] Eventually President Duterte met with the labor groups as Bello drafts a new Department Order that would stop labor contractualization. However, by March 16, Bello signs Department Order 174 which sets stricter guidelines on contractualization but doesn't immediately illegalize it.[213] Duterte however continued his stand against contractualization, promising to sign an Executive Order against it.[214] However, terrorist attacks perpetuated by the Maute group in Marawi City ended up postponing the signing.[209] A rally was organized by labor groups on March 15, 2018, in protest against the president's delay of the EO.[215] Eventually on May 1, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 51 which prohibits illegal contracting and subcontracting, although labor groups criticized the president for his actions since the one signed was not the draft agreed upon with them.[216][217][209]

On September 21, 2018, Duterte certified as urgent a Senate bill prohibiting contractualization and labor-only contracting, which was stated to benefit over 40 million workers in the country.[218] However, in July 2019, Duterte vetoed the Security of Tenure Bill, stating that the measure "unduly broadens the scope and defintiion of prohibited labor-only contracting, effectively proscribing forms of contractualization that are not particularly unfavorable to employees involved." He added that while he remains committed to eradicating all forms of abusive employment practices and protecting the workers' right to security of tenure, he stressed that "our goal, however, has always been to target the abuse, while leaving businesses free to engage in those practices beneficial to both management and the workforce." The decision was welcomed by employers, with labor groups criticizing the move as a failure to deliver a campaign promise.[219] Malacañang defended Duterte's veto, stating that his administration remained in its promise to end unfair practices of contractualization.[220]

In November 2019, the labor department reported that over 564,000 contractual workers have been regularized by their employers as part of the administration's effort to end contractualization.[221]

Support for migrant workers[edit]

During his presidential campaign, Duterte vowed to make the concerns of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) his top labor priority.[222] In his first State of the Nation Address, Duterte reiterated the need for a dedicated department that will address the concerns of OFWs.[223] On August 15, 2016, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) launched its first one-stop shop for Filipino migrant workers where they can have more efficient access to all government front-line services to be able to secure their required employment documents.[224] In September 2016, the POEA exempted OFWs who returning to their jobs or same employers abroad from paying travel tax as well as securing overseas employment certificate (OEC) and paying the agency's processing fee.[225]

On September 28, 2017, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 44, which approved the Land Bank of the Philippines’ acquisition of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank, which was spun off into the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank). The Overseas Filipino Bank, which will serve as a policy bank dedicated to "provide financial products and services tailored to the requirements of overseas Filipino,” was opened on January 18, 2018.[226]

Following the death of Filipina maid Joanna Demafelis in Kuwait wherein her body was found inside a freezer, a dispute between the two countries occurred wherein President Duterte issued a deployment ban to Kuwait in February 2018 and thousands of Filipino workers in the Gulf state having since been repatriated. On May 11, 2018, the Agreement on the Employment of Domestic Workers between the Philippines and Kuwait was signed by the two countries, which recognized certain rights of Filipino migrant workers employed as servants or maids in Kuwait.[227][228]

In November 2018, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) launched the OFW E-Card, a new identification card that will give OFWs faster access to OWWA's programs and services, including welfare services, scholarships, training programs, and social benefits.[229]

Following the death of Jeanelyn Villavende who was killed by her employer in Kuwait, the Philippines approved a total ban on the deployment of workers to the Gulf state on January 15, 2020.[230] The Philippines and Kuwait later signed an agreement on the proposed standard employment contract for Overseas Filipino Workers in the Gulf State on February 5, 2020. The standard contract contains regulations endorsed by President Duterte— including allowing Filipinos to keep their passports and cellphones, setting one day off with pay, as well as designating working and sleeping hours for the OFWs.[231]

Land reform[edit]

During his presidential campaign, Duterte called the land reform program of the Aquino administration a "total failure", and stated that he would pursue land reform differently by prioritizing the provision of support services alongside land distribution to farmers.[232] On July 5, 2016, a few days after Duterte's presidential inauguration, the Department of Agrarian Reform opened the gates of its main office in Quezon City after two decades of being barricaded shut to keep protesters from storming inside the government agency's office, which DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano stated would "blur the lines between the agency and the people it ought to serve".[233]

In December 2018, the last 117 farm workers in Hacienda Luisita have been handed their certificates of land ownership award covering 6,600 square meters of land, completing agrarian land distribution at the estate formerly owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino clans in Tarlac province.[234] In February 2019, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 75 which directed all government agencies to identify government-owned lands that can be distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries.[235][236] On August 27, 2019, Duterte completed the distribution of remaining portions of land in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac under the agrarian reform program in a ceremony distributing over 87,000 hectares of land.[237] Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo reported in December 2019 that from July 2016 until June 2019, 120,889 hectares of land were distributed to 77,275 agrarian reform beneficiaries nationwide.[238]

Law and order[edit]

On June 13, 2018, the Philippine National Police launched "Oplan Tambay" or "Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youths". The campaign was meant to enforce city and municipal ordinances, such as those against drinking and gambling in the streets and walking around shirtless,[239] and those below 18 years old who are violating the curfew.[240] On June 21, records showed that 7,291 youth in Metro Manila were arrested by the police just 9 days after the "Oplan RODY" campaign was launched.[241] On June 22, Duterte denied that he ordered the arrests of tambays. Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde stressed that those arrested had violated local ordinances, which included smoking in public, being half-naked, and karaoke singing past 10 p.m.[239][242]

The anti-loitering campaign met public backlash from various militant groups, the religious sector and human rights activists. On June 27, militant and religious groups protested against the campaign, also called "Oplan Tambay".[243] On June 15, 25-year-old Genesis Argoncillo was arrested by three policemen allegedly for 'not wearing a shirt', although a blotter report that day at the police station showed that Argoncillo and five others had been arrested for alarm and scandal.[244] Argoncillo was killed a few days later while in prison.[242] On June 22, the police filed murder charges against two jail inmates who allegedly beat Argoncillo to death.[244]


Duterte threatened the bombing of Lumad community schools because of suspicions that they shelter communist rebels and teach students rebellion and subversion.[245][246] Save Our Schools (SOS) Network in Mindanao spokesperson Rius Valle said that on May 20, 2017, the Armed Forces of the Philippines burned down an entire community of Lumad people, which included a school and 35 houses in the Soccksargen region of Mindanao.[246] On December 8, human rights group Karapatan asked the United Nations to probe the Lumad killings, after the group reported eight T'boli and Dulangan Manobo farmers allegedly killed by members of the 27th and 33rd Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army.[247][248]

On July 16, 2018, military presence in Barangay Diagaton, Lianga, Surigao del Sur, prompted an expansive Lumad evacuation, which according to human rights group Karapatan-Caraga, was due to human rights abuses being committed against the Lumads.[249] On July 23, Barug Katungod, a group that monitors the human rights situation in Mindanao, announced that Duterte's Mindanao martial law has shifted focus from terrorism to tribes fighting for ancestral domain, which caused Lumads to evacuate due to fear of getting caught in the crossfire or being labeled as sympathizers of the New People's Army.[250]

The military claimed that the Andap Valley Complex, where Lumad communities are situated, is "influenced" by the New People's Army and ordered soldiers to secure the inhabitants. Environmental organization Caraga Watch, however, claimed that militarization aimed "to remove any opposition against the entry of coal mining companies in to the ancestral lands of the Lumad."[251]

On August 9, Lumad evacuees formally returned to their homes after days to months in evacuation camps, although military continued to occupy some areas.[252]

Poverty alleviation[edit]

Duterte's first Executive Order that he issued after assuming the presidency ordered 12 government agencies to be placed under the supervision of the Cabinet Secretary in a goal to evaluate existing poverty reduction programs and streamline them.[253] On October 5, 2016, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 5 which adopted Ambisyon Natin 2040 as the 25-year economic development plan for the Philippines, such that “by 2040, the Philippines shall be a prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor.”[254]

On April 12, 2019, Duterte enacted Republic Act 11291, also known as the Magna Carta of the Poor, into law. The law ordered concerned government agencies to establish systems so that the basic rights and needs of the poor are met.[255] On April 17, he signed Republic Act 11310 into law, also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act. The law institutionalized the 4Ps cash transfer program and seeks to reduce national poverty by providing "conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years, to improve the health, nutrition and education aspect of their lives".[256][257] In the same day, Duterte also signed Republic Act 11315, or the Community-Based Monitoring System Act, authorizing the government to adopt a community-based monitoring system (CBMS), which is to be established and instituted in every city and municipality as an “economic and social tool towards the formulation and implementation of poverty alleviation and development programs” of government.[258] In December 2019, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that nearly 6 million Filipinos were lifted out of poverty as the government boosted its spending on social welfare. The agency stated that from a 23.3% poverty incidence recorded in 2015, this had dropped to 16.6% in 2018.[259]

Tax reform[edit]

On December 19, 2017, Duterte signed into law the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (TRAIN Law), which lowered personal income tax and increased consumption tax particularly excise taxes on vehicles, sugar-sweetened beverages, petroleum products, tobacco and non-essential goods. Duterte said that revenues collected from the TRAIN law will help fund the administration's massive infrastructure program.[8][260][261]

The implementation of the TRAIN Law triggered protests from various left-wing groups. On January 15, protesters gathered at various public market sites, calling for the revocation of TRAIN.[262] On May 21, several groups gathered at numerous gas station sites in the country to protest the continuous increase of oil prices, citing the TRAIN Law as the main cause.[263] In November 2018, Duterte formally approved the suspension of the next round of excise tax increase on oil products under the TRAIN Law amid efforts to tame the country's high inflation at that time.[264]

Campaign against terrorism[edit]

The Maute group, an ISIS-inspired terrorist group, had reportedly been able to establish a stronghold in Lanao del Sur since early 2016. The group had been blamed for the 2016 Davao City bombing and two attacks in Butig, Lanao del Sur, a town located south of Marawi, in 2016.[265] Before the Duterte administration, the Philippine government had downplayed the threat of ISIS in the Philippines.[266] Even after the February 2016 Butig clash with the Maute group, then-President Benigno Aquino III discounted the possibility of the Islamic State's presence in the country. He said that those behind the attack were just mercenaries wanting to be recognized by the Middle East-based terror group.[267]

A building in Marawi set ablaze after Duterte ordered the Philippine Air Force to conduct airstrikes against the terrorists in the city during the Battle of Marawi

In November 2016, President Duterte confirmed the Maute group's affiliation with the Islamic State.[265] Amidst fierce fighting in Butig on November 30, 2016, Duterte, in a command briefing in Lanao del Sur, warned the Maute group: "Ayaw ko makipag-away sa inyo. Ayaw ko makipag-patayan, (I do not want to fight with you. I don't want us killing each other) but please, do not force my hand. I cannot be forever traveling here every month para lang makipag-usap (just to talk), at pagtalikod ko patayan na naman (and when I turn around, there's killing again). I do not want to mention anything, but please do not force my hand into it."[268][269] On December 2, 2016, as the military regained control of Butig, the retreating Maute fighters reportedly left a note threatening to behead Duterte.[270]

Pump boats used by local terrorist group Abu Sayyaf during the 2017 Bohol clashes.

On May 23, 2017, clashes between Philippine government security forces and militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Salafi jihadist groups erupted in the city of Marawi.[271]

On the same day, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 216 declaring a 60-day martial law in Mindanao following clashes between the AFP and the Maute group in Marawi, Lanao del Sur.[272] He said that the implementation is similar to Proclamation No. 1081 and expressed the possibility of extending the scope of the martial law nationwide if deemed necessary.[273]

The Battle of Marawi became the longest urban battle in the modern history of the Philippines.[274]

According to the Philippine government, the clashes began during an offensive in Marawi to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of the ISIL-affiliated Abu Sayyaf group.[275][276] A deadly firefight erupted when Hapilon's forces opened fire on the combined Army and police teams and called for reinforcements from the Maute group.[277]

Maute group militants attacked Camp Ranao and occupied several buildings in the city, including Marawi City Hall, Mindanao State University, a hospital, and the city jail.[277] They also occupied the main street and set fire to Saint Mary's Cathedral, Ninoy Aquino School, and Dansalan College, which is run by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).[275][278] The militants also took a priest and several churchgoers hostage.[279]

The Armed Forces of the Philippines stated that some of the terrorists were foreigners who had been in the country for a long time, offering support to the Maute group in Marawi. Their main objective was to raise an ISIS flag at the Lanao del Sur Provincial Capitol and declare a wilayat or provincial ISIS territory in Lanao del Sur.[280][281]

The fighting lasted for five months until October 17, 2017, the day after the deaths of militant leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon. President Duterte declared Marawi as "liberated from terrorist influence".[14] This was followed by another October 23, 2017 pronouncement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that the five-month battle against the terrorists in Marawi had finally ended.[282]

Tourism development[edit]

Under the National Tourism Development Plan (NDTP), Duterte's administration devoted $23 billion for infrastructure in the tourism sector which will last throughout his presidential term. The NDTP sought to make the sector “not only sustainable and highly competitive in the region, but also socially responsible to propel inclusive growth.”[283] The Department of Tourism recorded an all-time high record number of 7.1 million tourists that visited the Philippines in 2018, achieving the number despite premier destination Boracay being closed to make way for its rehabilitation.[284] With the Philippines hosting the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019, the tourism department launched a website dedicated for its international visitors, stating that the country's hosting for the event is a "perfect opportunity to showcase the best of the Philippines in a very accessible manner.”[285] The Southeast Asian Games gave a boost to Central Luzon's tourism industry, particularly in the Clark Freeport and Subic Freeport which hosted some sporting events.[286] A total of 8.26 million international tourists visited the country throughout 2019, breaking not only the agency's own record but also exceeding the annual target under the NDTP. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat stated that this "heralds a new milestone in the country's tourism history, breaching the eight millionth mark”.[287]

In January 2021, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported that a total of P120 billion was allocated from 2016 to 2021 for the construction, improvement, and upgrading of about 4,147 km of roads leading to declared tourism destinations, of which 2,168 km were completed.[288]

Economic policy[edit]

Duterte speaking at the World Economic Forum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 11, 2017

Early in his term, Duterte's expletive-laden outbursts triggered the biggest exodus from stocks in a year and made the peso Asia's worst performer in September 2016. The Philippine currency was at a seven-year low and rounding out its worst month since May 2010. In the same month, the Philippine peso completed its biggest monthly decline since October 2000 amid the biggest outflow from the nation's stocks in a year.[289] According to the Philippines' Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the peso's slump this year is "mainly due to a deteriorating trade outlook because of rising imports of capital goods, which is normal for a country that is growing very fast".[290] Currency strategists have, however, "predicted a rebound once investors see beyond Duterte's words".[291]

After 100 days in office, former president Ramos, a political ally-mentor of Duterte said that "Duterte has been a huge disappointment and letdown" and "the government was losing badly by prioritizing a war on drugs at the expense of issues like poverty, living costs, foreign investment, and jobs".[292][293] Based on subsequent surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations, optimism in the economic prospects under the Duterte administration remains "excellent" with more Filipinos believing that the quality of their lives will improve in the next 12 months.[294] This is supported by polls conducted by Pulse Asia one year after Duterte took office, wherein approval (82%) and trust (81%) ratings for Duterte still remain very high.[295]

On November 2, 2018, the Philippines slipped 11 places from the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business rankings.[296][297] The Department of Finance is demanding a correction from the World Bank, citing the smaller data set used to assess the country's credit base.[298][299]

In September 2018, the inflation rate of the country skyrocketed to 6.7%, its highest in a decade.[300][301] On September 21, 2018, Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 13, removing non-tariff barriers in the importation of agricultural products, to address soaring inflation rates.[302][303] Inflation decreased in November 2018, at 5.8 to 6.6 percent.[304] BSP decreased its inflation forecast for 2019, after the passage of the rice tariffication bill.[305] Inflation further decreased from 6.7 percent in October 2018 to 0.8 percent in October 2019, the lowest inflation rate recorded since May 2016.[306]

Foreign policy[edit]

International trips made by Duterte during his presidency

The Duterte administration has vowed to pursue an "independent foreign policy" that would reject any meddling by foreign governments, reiterating Article II, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution which states: "The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination." In September 2016, Duterte said: "We will observe and must insist on the time-honored principle of sovereignty, sovereign equality, non-interference and the commitment of peaceful settlements of dispute that will serve our people and protect the interests of our country."[307]

Duterte made his first international trips as president to Vientiane, Laos and Jakarta, Indonesia on September 5–9, 2016.[308]

Duterte joins other ASEAN heads of states, holding hands as a symbol of unity in Vientiane, Laos, September 7, 2016.


Duterte has placed great importance on the Philippines' diplomatic relations with its ASEAN neighbors. Following tradition, his first trips outside the country were to Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, and Singapore.[309]

In 2017 the Philippines was chair and host to the ASEAN summits, a series of diplomatic conferences centering on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The culminating event was held in Manila on 10–14 November (31st summit). It was attended by ten Asean leaders.[310]

China and Russia[edit]

Following his inauguration as president, Duterte mentioned his willingness to "reorient" his foreign policy towards China and Russia, particularly in the areas of trade and commerce.[311] During an interview with Al Jazeera, he expressed his willingness to conduct joint military exercises with China and Russia.[312] In September, Duterte said that he is considering purchasing military equipment, particularly weaponries and armaments, from China and Russia to strengthen the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in addressing insurgency and counter-terrorism, saying that deals between the Philippines and the two countries are already in discussion and that the Chinese and Russian governments have offered the Philippines soft loans that would be payable in 2025.[313]

Duterte's handshake with Chinese President Xi Jinping prior to the bilateral meetings at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, October 20, 2016

On October 18–21, 2016, Duterte visited Beijing to meet with Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. While announcing his "separation" from the United States in front of Chinese and Filipino businessmen at the Philippines–China Trade and Investment Forum in Beijing on October 20, Duterte also said that he would realign himself with the Chinese ideological flow and that he might also travel to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin to "tell him that there are three of us against the world – China, Philippines, and Russia".[314][315]

Duterte meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the APEC summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016.

On November 20, 2016, Duterte met with Putin during the sidelines of the APEC summit in Lima, Peru. Duterte has praised Putin's leadership skills and called him his "idol". Putin also invited Duterte to visit Moscow.[316][317] Duterte said that he would visit Moscow on May 25, 2017, where a defense cooperation agreement between the Philippines and Russia is expected to be finalized.[318]

During an interview with RT in November, Duterte said that the Philippines is "not ready" for military alliances with China and Russia due to the Mutual Defense Treaty signed between the Philippines and the U.S.; however, he clarified that the Philippines could seek stronger diplomatic cooperation with China and Russia, as well as other countries, "to make the world more peaceful".[319] Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev expounded on Duterte's statement by saying that the Russian government is offering a strategic partnership with the Philippines, not a military alliance, and added that Russia does not believe in establishing military alliances with Asia. However, Khovaev explained that the Russian government is open to assisting the Philippines in purchasing Russian-made weaponry.[320]

On May 1, 2017, following a visit to three Chinese naval ships at the Port of Davao, Duterte expressed interest in conducting joint military exercises between the Philippine Armed Forces and China's People's Liberation Army in Mindanao, particularly in the Sulu Sea.[321]

Territorial dispute[edit]

On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal in the Hague announced its ruling in favor of the Philippines in its case filed under the Benigno Aquino III administration in 2013 against China on issues regarding the South China Sea under the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including the latter's nine-dash line claim which the tribunal ruled had no legal basis.[82] Three days after, during a testimonial dinner in San Juan, Duterte asked former President Fidel Ramos to lead the Philippine envoy to Beijing for bilateral negotiations with China over the disputes.[322] Ramos accepted the offer on July 23,[323] but resigned on October 31.[324] During his first State of the Nation Address on July 25, Duterte said that his administration "strongly affirms and respects" the ruling and would use it as a guide to negotiate for a resolution on the territorial disputes.[325] Duterte prefers to discuss the issue quietly and directly with China and has vowed not to raise the issue before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.[326][327] Duterte said "he would not want to antagonize China" and would want to "maintain good relations with China" to "create an environment where we sit down and talk directly".[327]

On October 12, Duterte declared his intention to terminate joint US–Philippine naval patrols in the South China Sea, which he believes could needlessly antagonize China.[citation needed] His reticent approach with China contrasts with his otherwise "belligerent rhetoric and swaggering persona"; he has received support for some political ads from an anonymous Chinese donor.[328]

On October 20 in Beijing, Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to resume direct talks on the dispute.[329]

When then U.S. Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson threatened China's positions on the islands, the Philippines said that Tillerson was speaking for the U.S. only in the U.S.'s interest and prerogatives.[330] Delfin Lorenzana, Duterte's Defense Secretary, rejected the possibility of war against China over the islands in the South China Sea.[331]

Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Blue House in Seoul on June 4, 2018.

On April 6, 2017, Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to occupy and fortify at least nine uninhabited islands in the South China Sea. He announced plans to visit the Philippine-administered Thitu (Pag-asa) Island during Independence Day and raise a Philippine flag there.[332] Duterte also ordered the Philippine Navy to build structures on the Benham Rise in order to reassure the Philippines' sovereignty over the undersea region, following the sighting of Chinese survey vessels.[333] He also announced plans to rename the Benham Rise to the Philippine Rise.[334] On April 12, Duterte canceled his plan to visit the Thitu (Pag-asa) Island, citing goodwill and friendship with China.[335] On April 21, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced the allocation of ₱1.6 billion to develop the Thitu (Pag-asa) Island, despite rejection from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[336] The development of the island is expected to include the construction of a marine research center, beaching facilities, a radio station, an ice plant, and a power station, as well as the improvement of the Rancudo airstrip runway.[337] On May 16, 2017, Duterte signed an executive order formally renaming the Benham Rise to the Philippine Rise.[338]

In February 2018, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published aerial surveillance photos of Chinese military fortifications in the South China Sea which showed runways, hangars, control towers, helipads, radomes and multi-storey buildings on reefs across the region, described by the newspaper as "island fortresses". The photos, which were mostly taken in late 2017, were authenticated by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which described them as "the most complete, detailed batch of aerial pics available", and stated that the "photos show China is nearly done with its militarization of South China Sea". Duterte's spokesman told reporters: "[The region has] long been militarized. And the question is, what can we do?" - which led to accusations of dereliction of his "sacred core duty" of defending Philippine territory.[339]

United States[edit]

Duterte with then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, July 26, 2016

On September 12, 2016, Duterte said that he is "not a fan of the Americans" and that he wants to "reorient" foreign policy with the United States. He requested that U.S. forces in Mindanao should leave the Philippines, specifically those who are part of the Operation Enduring Freedom, saying that it would "inflame the situation with the Abu Sayyaf".[340][341] Duterte said on September 13 that he does not plan to cut ties with the United States, but wants to reiterate the administration's pursuit of an "independent foreign policy" in accordance with the Constitution; the administration will continue to honor mutual agreements like the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.[342] On September 20, Duterte said: "I never said get out of the Philippines, for after all, we need them there in the China Sea. We don't have armaments."[343][344]

On September 27, Duterte vowed not to allow the U.S. government to interfere with the policies of his administration. He criticized the U.S. government for "lecturing" his administration on human rights amidst their campaign on illegal drugs and said that he will "cross the Rubicon with the U.S." Duterte added that he plans to forge "new alliances" with China and Russia in trade and commerce.[345] U.S. Department of State deputy spokesperson Mark Toner responded to Duterte's criticisms by saying that the Philippine–U.S. relations could still remain "strong and unabated" despite Duterte's criticisms.[346] The following day, while addressing the Filipino community in Hanoi, Duterte said that the Balikatan military exercises and the joint naval patrols in the South China Sea between the Philippines and the U.S. in October would be "its last" in order to avoid provoking conflict with China.[347][348]

Duterte with then U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, August 7, 2017

On October 5, Duterte accused the U.S. of refusing to sell armaments to the Philippines and said that he would rather purchase armaments from China and Russia.[349] In an attempt to repair relations with the U.S., Duterte's Defense Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, said Duterte was "misinformed" about the U.S. alliance: "Maybe, the defense ministry and the armed forces were remiss in providing him the correct information."[350]

On October 6, Duterte's then-Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. denounced the idea of the Philippines being regarded as a "little brown brother" by the U.S.[351] Yasay said that the Philippines had been "failed" by the U.S.[352][353]

On October 20, while on a trip to Beijing, Duterte declared a "separation" from the United States which he stated had lost militarily, socially, and economically, and emphasized a realignment of the Philippines to move closer to China.[354] During a press conference after arriving from Beijing, Duterte clarified that what he meant by "separation" was a "separation of a foreign policy" and not a severance of diplomatic ties, saying that it would not be feasible to cut diplomatic ties with the U.S. due to the large number of Filipino Americans.[355] U.S. Department of State spokesperson John Kirby responded by saying: "We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the president meant when he talked about separation from the U.S.; it's not clear what that means and all its ramifications."[citation needed] On October 23, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel R. Russel traveled to Manila to seek clarification and explanation for Duterte's comments with Philippine officials, including Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.[356][357]

Duterte with U.S. President Donald Trump in Manila, November 13, 2017

On November 7, Secretary Lorenzana clarified that the joint Balikatan exercises will continue along with the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, but the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training amphibious landing exercises between the Philippine Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy would be discontinued. He specified that bilateral drills on counter-terrorism, humanitarian response, special operations, engineering projects, and civic action will remain, all of which have been approved by Duterte.[358]

Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar offered "warm congratulations" to Donald Trump on his election victory. He said that Duterte "look[ed] forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippines–US relations anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law".[359] While in Kuala Lumpur, Duterte personally congratulated Trump by greeting him "Mabuhay!" and expressed hope that the Trump administration would honor obligations and treaties signed between the Philippines and the U.S.[360] On December 2, Duterte called then President-elect Trump to personally congratulate him once more and invited him to visit the Philippines for the Twelfth East Asia Summit in 2017, while Trump invited Duterte to visit him in New York City and Washington, D.C. after the former's inauguration.[361] On April 29, 2017, President Trump called Duterte to inform him of his planned visit to the Philippines in November for the East Asia Summit. Trump also extended an invitation to Duterte to visit him at the White House.[362] During their call, Duterte urged Trump to show restraint in dealing with North Korea over their nuclear weapons program, warning him that the region could suffer "immensely".[363] Trump also praised Duterte's drug war during the call, telling him "I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem".[364][365]

Trust ratings[edit]

Two weeks into Duterte's presidency, on July 13, 2016, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted the first survey on his presidency since his inauguration on June 30, where Duterte received an "excellent" trust rating of 79% among 1,200 adults nationwide.[366][367] A week later, on July 20, Pulse Asia released a poll conducted on July 2–8 which showed that 91% of Filipinos trust Duterte, making him the most trusted official in the Philippines since 1999, according to Pulse Asia.[368][369] On January 8, 2018, Duterte's trust ratings fell to 82% according to an SWS poll.[370] On April 26, 2018, Duterte's trust ratings further fell to 65%.[371] A SWS survey released in September 2018 found that Duterte's trust ratings fell again to 57%.[372] On the third quarter of 2018, Duterte's trust rating increased to 62%.[373][374]

Duterte's approval rating has been relatively high throughout his presidency despite criticism and international opposition to his anti-narcotics drive.[4] Duterte finished the first half of his six-year term with a record net satisfaction rating of 68%.[3] In an SWS survey, conducted in April 2019, puts Duterte's approval ratings at 79%, higher than any of his predecessors at this stage in their presidencies.[375] Duterte earned an approval rating of 87% on a December 2019 survey conducted by Pulse Asia. This is credited to poverty reduction and general success in hosting the 2019 SEA Games.[376] Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a Pulse Asia September 2020 "Ulat ng Bayan Survey" ("Report to the Nation Survey"), showed that 84% of Filipinos approve of the government's work to control the spread of the coronavirus disease and the government efforts in assisting those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The same survey showed that 92% of survey respondents said that Duterte has "done well" in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.[377][378]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]