US President Barack Obama became the first head of government to congratulate Rodrigo Duterte, relaying at the same time Washington’s congratulations for the conduct of the May 9 elections. were emblematic of the Philippines’ vibrant democracy.Duterte is no ordinary politician. He is what can be described as a ‘meta-candidate’, one who changes the very conception of and expectations from a presidential candidate.
In some ways, he singlehandedly changed the rules of the game. Throughout the campaign period, he crossed one redline after the other, and yet he managed to build a massive nationwide following. He reminded his opponents that presidency is a matter of life and death, of going to the distance, of risking it all.Despite rapid economic growth in recent years, the Philippines still suffers from one of the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in Asia — an uber-dynamic region that hosts nine out of thirteen economic miracles in modern times.