Duterte: We value diversity and differences
MANILA, Philippines – A day after another tirade against media and his critics, President Rodrigo Duterte, in a prepared speech, emphasized the importance of respecting differences of opinion.
"To be sure, there are many different opinions and positions as many issues and challenges that we face. But as a country and as a people, we value diversity and differences," he said on Friday, April 28.
He was reading a prepared speech during the 14th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leadership Forum in Manila.
He was emphasizing how "citizen participation" is a "bedrock" of strong nations since it enables healthy discussion of issues of public interest.
"You are an essential part of democracy and the democratic process by providing key spaces for the responsible exploration, discussion, and resolution of issues outside of the official policy circle you help build nations and our regions," he said.
His administration, he claims, encourages people to "contribute" in determining national policies.
"In the Philippines, we encourage our peoples to contribute in setting national programs and directions. In my administration, citizen feedback is essential to ensure that the wheels of government work and work well for our people," he said.
Only the other day, during a chance interview, Duterte threatened to shut down a television network he accused of biased reporting by blocking its franchise renewal.
He also claimed the network, ABS-CBN, is guilty of "swindling" since it did not air his political ads during the 2016 campaign season even if they were paid for.
The President accused journalists of being "rude" and "corrupt" for "crucifying" him. He previously warned that karma would catch up with ABS-CBN and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Despite Duterte's high-minded words at the ASEAN forum, he has often bristled against criticism and dissenting opinion, often retaliating with curses, insults, and threats.
Aside from media, he has insulted world leaders like former United States President Barack Obama and former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after they criticized him for his bloody drug war.
These previous statements are in stark contrast to his words at the ASEAN forum in which he claimed that differences are a "source of greater strength" to "create positive change." – Rappler.com