Rodrigo Duterte

Data show people are tuning out of Duterte’s late-night talks

Dylan Salcedo
Data show people are tuning out of Duterte’s late-night talks

LATE-NIGHTERS. President Rodrigo Duterte meets with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Disease core members prior to his 'Talk to the People' at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City, on August 20, 2021.

Malacañang photo

Eighteen months into quarantine, the Philippine government still struggles to keep citizens informed of its pandemic response. Views for Duterte’s late-night talks drop to record lows.

Since the government started implementing lockdowns across the country in early 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte has been delivering his “Talk to the Nation” weekly most of the time, supposedly to address issues in COVID-19 pandemic response.

The briefings with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases are aired late at night, despite many, if not all, of them happening and being recorded in the late afternoon or early evening. These late-night talks have disappointed several viewers, whose daily activities heavily rely on policies crafted by the IATF and announced during these briefings.

Citizens who stay up until the wee hours still end up being frustrated as Duterte instead uses the hours-long speeches as a platform to lambast his critics and, lately, to forward his political interests for the 2022 national elections.

For nearly three months now, however, increasingly fewer people have tuned in to what many netizens describe as the President’s rambling thoughts.

Data gathered through CrowdTangle, a social monitoring platform, show that live streams of Duterte’s speeches posted on PTV’s official Facebook page have seen record lows in viewership since June 2021.

One of the last “spikes” in viewership happened on April 28, 2021, when the Philippines had just recorded its 1-millionth COVID-19 case. It was in this meeting that Duterte criticized former Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio and former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario for opposing his stance on the West Philippine Sea dispute with China.

April 2021 also saw the emergence of community pantries across the nation, initiated by individuals due to the slow distribution of government aid.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque insists there is nothing wrong with airing the President’s talks late at night.

As of Monday, September 13, the Philippines has recorded 2.25 million COVID-19 cases, with 35,307 deaths and 180,293 active cases. Only around 15% of the total population have been fully vaccinated, while 19.92% have received their first dose. –

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Dylan Salcedo

Dylan Salcedo has been a data scientist for Rappler since September 2020. He currently works with the Digital Forensics Team, probing the digital media space and investigating disinformation trends. Outside of work, he loves listening to K-pop and is an avid fan of historical documentaries.