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LOOK: Google event takes on political hue as leaders do the Duterte fist

MANILA, Philippines – Symbols are powerful. To Filipinos, one such symbol has come to represent the bloody drug war: President Duterte’s fist gesture. 

On Wednesday, February 13, it became one of the highlights of the Google For Philippines event as Google’s country head Ken Lingan, PLDT CEO Manny Pangilinan, Google’s head of its “Next Billion Users” initiative Mahesh Bhalerao, and acting secretary Eliseo Rio of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, brandished the clenched fist.

The moment happened after Bhalerao’s presentation of their new public WiFi project Google Station in the Philippines.

The fist has made headlines in the past. US President Donald Trump was warned not to do the fist prior to a Manila visit in November 2017, a warning that he seems to have listened to. In August 2017, Nick Warner, the head of Australia’s intelligence service, was criticized for doing the pose with Duterte.

On the other hand, other personalities have done the fist pose in their Manila visits such as Chinese tech tycoon Jack Ma and actor Steven Seagal, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.  Rappler.com

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.

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