Trillanes to BBC: Filipinos will realize 'damage' caused by Duterte
MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is confident that Filipinos would soon realize the damage President Rodrigo Duterte has done to the country.
In an interview with BBC on Wednesday, June 21, anchor Stephen Sackur confronted the senator on his views being "out of tune" with the general public’s sentiment towards the President, who remains highly popular despite controversies.
Trillanes, in response, said he is positive that things would soon change. After all, he said, Duterte’s public approval numbers had gone down in his first year in office.
“In less than a year, his numbers went down 17 percentage points,” Trillanes said.
Sackur, however, said Western politicians would be happy to get the same ratings.
To which, the senator said: “The bulk of the Filipino people are not really aware on the ground. The propaganda machine is very, very effective. The bulk of the Filipino public are busy with their day-to-day living; they don’t really get to know the magnitude of the damage Duterte has done.”
“Historically, popularity ratings will change as the information have radiated to the general public. It will take a little time, but his numbers continue to go down and I'm quite confident towards ends of the year, it will be way below 50,” he added.
Citing the Philippines’ economic growth and the public support for the President, Sackur also said “Duterte-ism seems to be working” for the country – something that Trillanes countered.
The senator said the economy continues to boom “despite of Duterte,” owing to the remittances of the millions of overseas Filipino workers.
Trillanes also slammed the “much-hyped” multibillion-dollar deal with China, saying it will just be passed on to taxpayers.
“On paper, it may appear so but let me just talk about the much-hyped $15-billion or $24-billion deal with China. It’s basically ODA – Official Development Assistance – a loan again hinged on the tax reform bill that economic managers of Duterte are pushing. It is inflationary; anti-poor. We cannot afford to give additional burden to the public,” he said.
“Once more information is radiated to the public, [it will change]. I’ve seen it happen before. It may take a little while, but it does happen,” the senator said.
Malacañang, for its part, welcomed the BBC interview seen as favoring the President. It was a rare show of support from the Palace, which has repeatedly slammed foreign media coverage of Duterte that usually focused on the administration’s human rights violations and its bloody drug war.
“Maybe it’s best to summarize Senator Trillanes’ interview with the BBC, when he said that the senator seems to be out of tune and not reflective of the times,” Abella told reporters on Thursday, June 22. – Rappler.com