AT a time like this when terror groups and even leaders of some nations ignore the rule of law in favor of their own rules and the ruler’s law, there is an urgent need for a strong and stable leadership that truly and genuinely reflects the will and mandate of the people.

In the Philippines, as well as in other parts of the world, the rise of false or fake or invented stories are very disturbing.

Can you imagine if the voters are swayed to think, act and decide by unknown sources using fake news or exaggerated propagandas?

This is the reason why, to us, the Russia investigation being conducted in Washington, D.C. is so crucial.

The Russia investigation will reveal, whether or not, the Russians, through social media, had a hand in the victory of President Trump and the defeat of Mrs. Hillary Clinton.

In the Philippines, something akin but not same to the supposed American experience, took place also during the 2016 polls when President Rodrigo Duterte won by a big margin.

Perhaps, after reading the excerpts below from the New Republic Magazine, an American magazine of commentary on politics and the arts published since 1914, with influence on American political and cultural thinking, you will have a better idea of what I’m talking about.

I have excerpts from two respected mainstream American magazines.

The two are about the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.

Rodrigo Duterte’s Army of Online Trolls (Excerpts from New Republic)

By Sean Williams

How authoritarian regimes are winning the social media wars.

Since Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines last June, he has waged a brutal crackdown on drug dealers and addicts.

Nearly 4,000 people (latest is over 8,000) have been killed by government forces, and Duterte has invoked the Holocaust to describe the scope of his ambition.

“Hitler massacred three million Jews,” he declared in September.

“Now there is three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

Duterte’s authoritarian rhetoric has elicited sharp condemnations from human rights advocates and foreign leaders.

But there’s another front in his war on drugs that has escaped international attention.

Last fall, as I reported on the violence in the Philippines, I picked up an ardent critic on social media.

Her name was Madelyn...When I posted about Duterte’s war on drugs, Madelyn responded with derision.

“Maybe u are anti-Duterte TROLL,” she tweeted.

“A foreigner who knows NOTHING bout my country.”

She seemed to devote her waking hours to spreading her love of Duterte and assailing anyone who questioned him, posting dozens of times a day.

“My President and I am proud of him,” one tweet read.

“Get lost critics!”

Madelyn, it appears, is part of a vast and effective “keyboard army” that Duterte and his backers have mobilized to silence dissenters and create the illusion that he enjoys widespread public support.

Each day, hundreds of thousands of supporters — both paid and unpaid — take to social media to proselytize Duterte’s deadly gospel.

They rotate through topics like corruption, drug abuse and U.S. interference, and post links to hastily cobbled-together, hyper-partisan websites at all hours of the day and night.

Though social media is designed to make each user appear to be a unique individual whose views are her own, Madelyn and her cohort stick exclusively to the Duterte talking points, without any of the cat GIFs, funny asides, jokes with friends, or other elements that populate most people’s feeds.

When Facebook and Twitter were founded a decade ago, they heralded a new era in which the voices of ordinary citizens could be heard alongside — or even above — those of establishment insiders.

From the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter and recent demonstrations against Vladimir Putin, activists have used social media to attract followers and broadcast their messages free from official oversight.

But increasingly, authoritarian regimes like Duterte’s are deploying social media to disseminate official propaganda, crack down on dissent, and maintain their grip on power.

What began as a tool of freedom and democracy is being turned into a weapon of repression.

Excerpts from Forbes magazine

Contributed by Panos Mourdoukoutas

President Rodrigo Duterte’s death squads may have killed democracy in the Philippines, but they haven’t killed the country’s vibrant economy, which is the world’s 10th fastest growing economy in the world in 2017.

That’s according to the World Bank’s latest edition of Global Economic Prospects.

For 2017, Philippines’ economy is expected to advance between 6.5 to 7.5 percent.

That’s almost twice the country’s long-term growth.

Apparently, President Duterte’s harsh domestic policies and foreign policy flip-flops haven’t undermined Philippines economic growth, at least not yet.

But they have touched the country’s equity markets, which have underperformed the markets of the region...

Meanwhile, Duterte’s Philippines is getting corrupt and less competitive, according to Transparency International and the Global Competitiveness reports, raising serious doubts as to whether the current robust economic growth rates will be sustained in the future.


The reader can form his or her own conclusions.


Dr. Jose P. Rizal

This space remembers Dr. Jose Rizal.

It was his 156th birthday on June 19.

Even in the absence of an official proclamation, Dr. Rizal is considered a national hero of the Philippines.

His approval of carrying out the Philippine Revolution against the Spaniards cost him his life at an early age of 35.

That was after inspiring the revolutionaries with his two books, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

At times, I ask myself what would Rizal be saying and doing if he were alive today.


To all who greeted this writer last Father’s Day and my recent birthday, thank you po immensely.

I appreciate the kind thoughts.

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