How To Explain The Rise Of Rodrigo Duterte

A spectre is haunting the International Community — the spectre of Rodrigo Duterte.

Yes, we’ve been watching the Philippines suddenly and loudly rebel against the U.S.-dominated international order since the summer. Who hasn’t, after all? The Philippines is just about one of the unlikeliest countries to go against the United States: poor, diverse, fearful of China, caught up in a meth epidemic, and occupied by the American military. In fact, the Philippines have been continuously occupied by foreign powers since the Spanish first arrived hundreds of years ago.

Then, all of a sudden, “Duterte Harry” is elected president on a platform of death squads. Before you know it, he’s telling the EU to “fuck off”, calling Barack Obama “a son of a whore”, and comparing himself favorably to Adolf Hitler for his plans to “happily” slaughter 3 million drug addicts.

And just last weekend, he announces his “separation” from the United States in terms so strong that they have to be quoted:

“In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States,” Duterte told Chinese and Philippine business people, to applause, at a forum in the Great Hall of the People attended by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

“Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost.”

His trade secretary, Ramon Lopez, said $13.5 billion in deals would be signed during the China trip.

“I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world – China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way,” Duterte told his Beijing audience.

That is a repudiation of the American empire masquerading as an “international community” that not even Hungary or Turkey have gone so far as to make. There is no ambiguity here. There is no equivocation or misunderstanding. Rodrigo Duterte clearly understands the contemporary global geopolitical situation, and he has clearly chosen to realign the Philippines against the United States. Duterte claims that the CIA wants to assassinate him — plausible! — but is unfazed: “Be my guest, I don’t give a shit.”

What is going on? How is Duterte still alive and in power? Where are the anti-Duterte color revolutions? Where the hell did he come from, anyway? And can one man really eject a foreign power and achieve sovereignty for his country through sheer bluster and force of will?

That’s what it looks like, but the answer is no. There is an explanation for the rise of Rodrigo Duterte, but to understand him, you first have to understand the Philippines.

The 100 million people who live in the Philippines come from a plethora of different ethnic groups, tribes, islands, and so on. The official “Filipino” language, Tagalog, is an Austronesian language spoken by a quarter of the country natively. Almost all the other native languages are also Austronesian in origin, making the Filipinos close relatives of Malaysians, Indonesians, and Polynesians, who are all descended from ancient seafaring peoples that spread from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific.

There’s a catch, though: there are more than 2 million ethnic Chinese from the north living in the Philippines, as well as tens of millions more Filipinos of partial Chinese ancestry. Up to a third of Filipinos can claim Chinese ancestry. The Chinese influence is so strong they even have special words for pure and partial Chinese Filipinos. And would you believe it? Rodrigo Duterte’s grandfather was a Chinese immigrant to the Philippines. He’s 25% Chinese.

And now he’s trying to realign Manila from Washington to Beijing? Let’s keep going.

Duterte is obviously most famous for solving Davao City’s drug problem with death squads as mayor. He is now bringing that hugely successful program to the entire Philippines. His original, hometown death squad was apparently composed in large part of “former communist New People’s Army insurgents” and led by current or former police officers, whom Duterte would have directed as mayor.

The New People’s Army is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines — they are avowed Maoists. The NPA has been in a guerilla war against the Filipino government since 1969.

The NPA is descended from an earlier communist guerilla group: the Hukbalahap. The “Huks” were formed as an anti-Japanese resistance movement during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in the Second World War. At the time, the Japanese’ main enemy prior to being nuked into submission by the United States was, needless to say, China. The “Huks” apparently modeled their revolutionary army on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

A little research shows that the NPA has been receiving support, training, money and arms from the Chinese Communist Party as long as it has been around. For example:

[Communist Party of the Philippines] members visited and received training in China, and in 1971, the Chinese provided 1,400 M-14 rifles and 8,000 rounds of ammunition in a ship sent from the Philippines by the CPP-led New People’s Army.

They even got support from North Korea i.e. China’s favorite and only vassal state. In blunter terms, the CPP/NPA are the Chinese government.

The Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed NPA wing are listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, but not by the Philippines, where “peace talks” between the Communists and the government are ongoing. The CPP/NPA have kidnapped and killed American soldiers in the past.

Oh, and guess what? Rodrigo Duterte “studied politics under Jose Maria Sison, who later founded the Communist Party of the Philippines and in 1969 launched an armed insurrection.” Sison explicitly says he instructed Duterte in anti-Americanism and anti-imperialism. Duterte “sympathizes” with the Communist party, though he never joined it.

So Rodrigo Duterte, who is part of the large minority of Filipinos with Chinese ancestry, never joined the Maoist rebels led by his political mentor — who have been receiving training, money, and weapons from Maoist China since the 1960s — but when he needed to kill off drug cartels as mayor, he just so happened to have death squads of former Maoist rebels doing the killing, and now that he is president, he is expanding his death squad program nationwide and loudly realigning the Philippines with China, which is run by the Maoist Chinese Communist Party.

What this means is that there’s a strong chance Rodrigo Duterte is an agent of the Chinese deep state, which has been operating in the Philippines since the Second World War, if not earlier.

Duterte’s Chinese ancestry, deep ties to Maoist rebels funded by China, and separation from the United States in favor of realignment with China also help explain his bloody and determined war on drugs, drug users, and drug cartels: China is currently facing a meth epidemic, just like the Philippines.

Scanning the literature makes it clear that Chinese communists, who now carry the torch of Chinese nationhood and sovereignty, have an existential antipathy to drugs and drug cartels. Drug addiction is not just a medical crisis or criminal issue in China, but a national security problem: drug addiction is the vector through which foreign powers can subvert and attack China, just like the British Empire did in the 19th century when it forced the Chinese to give up Hong Kong and buy British opium in the Opium Wars. The Maoist communists who run China find an existential enemy in the Asian drug cartels. This situation mirrors Duterte’s struggle in the Philippines perfectly.

Partially-Chinese Duterte is, for all intents and purposes, a crypto-Maoist in the mold of the Chinese Communist Party who is continuing the Chinese state’s war on the international drug cartels that threaten Chinese sovereignty. Having taken power by assembling personally loyal squads of ex-Maoist rebels to fight a brutal war against drug cartels, likely using guns and ammunition provided by the Chinese government, Duterte is now formalizing his natural alignment with the Chinese state, with whom he has quietly shared an ideology since he studied under Sison.

Who is Rodrigo Duterte? He came out of nowhere and apparently single-handedly reversed the Philippines’ status as an unofficial American state using nothing but his giant brass balls. But that’s just the illusion. Behind Duterte are hundreds of years of Chinese settlement in the Philippines, decades of direct financial and military sponsorship by the Chinese government, and a natural alliance against drug mafias that has re-emerged in the 21st century.

You can thank Beijing for Duterte.

Mark Yuray is verified on Gab. Follow him there and on Twitter.

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28 Comments

  1. Laguna Beach Fogey October 24, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Context.

  2. Thank you. I did not know this.

  3. ” and occupied by the American military. ”

    Not true. The Americans left once after the Population had a vote on them leaving, Yankee go home and take me with you, and later they wanted them to come back. Weird kind of occupation force that is. Weird kind of occupation force that lets countries it occupies like japan and germany beat it economicaly.

    Besides that the Philippines have more People below the age of 18 then Germany and France combined. Over 35 Million. If this falls under the communist orbit it can be used against not just Japan, SKorea, Taiwan and other pro-western States in the region who have an edge in Technology, but very easily against Australia.
    Also the Red Chinese have no Problem shipping drugs into the US for Funds and Subversion, serves em right their livestock getting corroded itself by drugs and videogames since their lifes are hopeless.

  4. Asian Reactionary October 24, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Well, in a world which is pozzed by liberals, its always nice to see counterplay. As much as we seek for the emergence of a hero, truth is that they are always but the outpeakings of a much larger force as seen here.

    That said, China is not a monolithic force – as Xi’s struggles and frequent purges sere to demonstrate. I’ll be dubious of the idea that its much of an organized conspiracy as it might be a strong and well founded faction in China.

  5. Excellent summary of a situation that many of us did not fully understand outside of, “He told the US to screw off.”

    It does cause a slight reassessment of his character, and helps to explain the vehement alacrity with which he’s moving; it’s not hard to be confident when the biggest guy on the block has your back.

  6. OK, so we understand better whee Duterte comes from. But you haven’t answered your own question: how come he is not facing a color revolution or other forms of destabilization? Why isn’t the US deep state all over this?

    1. I don’t think Foggy Bottom saw this coming, so they don’t have a lot of color revolution infrastructure on the ground… yet. That doesn’t mean they won’t try. It seems Duterte expects that, and that’s probably one of the reasons (and strategic benefits) of going as hyper-anti-American as he has. Any Anglophone-affiliated NGO can expect to be treated with a great deal of hostility on Philippine territory.

    2. I answered it. Because Chinese military/intelligence is behind him and CIA can’t touch that, or can’t touch them anymore. They failed. Got outsmarted.

      1. Regardless of whether that is wise or not, the US seems rather unafraid of China so far. So you are saying that their people on the ground were/are no match for chinese operatives?

        If so, Africa will bear watching: it is another place with a growing China presence and where the US has massively ramped up, too, as evidenced by the creation of Africom and the sudden proliferation of new bases there.

        1. Asian Reactionary October 24, 2016 at 6:02 pm

          There are varying forums of power, and the CIA may simply not want to risk confrontation with an organized state power. US policy often operates separately from the attitudes and inclinations of the Deep State.

        2. Duterte has personally loyal death squads removing his enemies 24/7 with bullets all across the country now. Once that’s started happening (it started months ago), you’re a bit outclassed as a CIA or State agent i.e. you fucked up a long time ago, not when the death squads appeared this summer.

    3. One of the advantages of having right-wing-death-sqauds. Duterte has plenty of muscle behind him so any soft power effort to remove him will fail.

      What do we know about the islamist insurgency in the south? Could we expect the US advisors there to begin organizing them?

      1. This right here. Anyone trying ‘activism’ or any of our other standard methods of soft power gets a bullet in the head. He’s shot journalists before and made it perfectly clear that he’s happy to do it again.

  7. Looks like the American Empire is starting to fray at the edges if the Philippines can blow us off with such impunity. Like when the Soviets gave up on Afghanistan in 1985. Not long after, they lost East Germany, then the rest of Eastern Europe, then the Baltics, then the rest of the Soviet Republics and Moscow itself. Once the dissolution starts, it doesn’t stop until there’s nothing left to dissolve.

    1. 2014 was peak USG in hindsight.

      They took Ukraine, but at great cost, and lost Crimea and Donbass. Not a clean sweep.

      Then they tried to take Syria, but were totally stopped by Russia et al. Failure.

      Now Philippines, Turkey and Hungary are openly revolting.

      Trump 2016.

      1. Let’s hope Trump can do like Ataturk and salvage a mostly-white American ethno-state from the empire’s ruins.

  8. Wouldn’t it be pretty if life were that simple. The drug of choice in the Philippines is Crystal Meth (known locally as ‘Shabu’). It’s an open secret that most of said Crystal Meth is manufactured in China in PLA-owned/affiliated pharmaceutical plants.

    Anybody with real world experience of the Philippines knows that the place totally and utterly defies logic. Beware of people offering simple clear rational explanations for whatever is going on there.

    I wouldn’t go looking too deeply for all-encompassing conspiracy theories either. When faced with humans doing anything (let alone Filipinos who are sui generis when it comes to shooting themselves in the feet) look first to incompetence and general idiocy as explanatory factors.

    1. “It’s an open secret that most of said Crystal Meth is manufactured in China in PLA-owned/affiliated pharmaceutical plants.”

      1. Link?

      2. Produce a crisis to produce the solution to it.

      1. Citations are for cucks. I have lived most of the past 2+ decades in East Asia. I know what’s what. We all do out here.

        We also know that the Philippines is a degenerate basket case of a country which basically has to export/prostitute its women overseas to survive. Sad, but that’s just the way it is.

        We’re talking geniuses who kicked the USA out of Clark and Subic bases 20 years ago, whilst discounting the rise of China.

        In the intervening years, the Philippines has done NOTHING to upgrade its ability to defend itself. If you want links and citations, google Philippines Navy and then google PLA Navy.

        Jaysus Wept.

        All Duterte (Just another Filipino Crazy, albeit not an in-bred elite, therefore more original and dynamic in his craziness + give him credit for ‘making the trains run on time’ — that’s why the poor benighted common folk voted him in in a landslide.) CAN do is make a song and dance about cozying up to China. Making a virtue out of abject HUMILIATING necessity. Do you need a citation for machismo, honour shame cultures, etc?

        Mind you, betting on the USA to defend one’s interests long term is a losing bet. I don’t dispute that.

        But if you look at decisions the Filipino ruling elite have made post-independence, they’ve invariably screwed the pooch… sometimes because corrupt and self-seeking and sometimes because just plain incompetent degenerates. DC is catching up fast, so stick around another generation and it will all start to make sense to you.

        Grand Conspiracies have great explanatory value for second-raters.

        1. >Citations are for cucks. I have lived most of the past 2+ decades in East Asia. I know what’s what. We all do out here.

          Bad answer. What PLA? Which divisions? Which regions? Which factions? Are you saying the Chinese government at the highest levels supports the drug trade? Why? What are the drug/corruption busts for then? For show? Why bother doing them then? Is there an intra-PLA fight?

          To me it looks like the Chinese government, which is run by commies, hates the druggies, who, obviously, as they do everywhere, have infiltrated the commies and the government to a degree, which leads to busts, fights, etc.

          If you’ve lived in East Asia for that long, give us a better picture.

          >We also know that the Philippines is a degenerate basket case of a country which basically has to export/prostitute its women overseas to survive. Sad, but that’s just the way it is.

          Ok.

          >We’re talking geniuses who kicked the USA out of Clark and Subic bases 20 years ago, whilst discounting the rise of China.

          Bad logic. How does a “degenerate basket case of a country” manage to “kick out” the US military? Answer: it doesn’t. Somebody else did, and it wasn’t the Flips. I think it may have had something to do with China. May have had something to do with USG weakness. Probably both.

          >In the intervening years, the Philippines has done NOTHING to upgrade its ability to defend itself. If you want links and citations, google Philippines Navy and then google PLA Navy.

          Almost as if the Philippines are designed in some way to be dependent on China.

          >All Duterte (Just another Filipino Crazy, albeit not an in-bred elite, therefore more original and dynamic in his craziness + give him credit for ‘making the trains run on time’ — that’s why the poor benighted common folk voted him in in a landslide.) CAN do is make a song and dance about cozying up to China. Making a virtue out of abject HUMILIATING necessity. Do you need a citation for machismo, honour shame cultures, etc?

          >Mind you, betting on the USA to defend one’s interests long term is a losing bet. I don’t dispute that.

          What kind of argument is this? Obviously a poor island jungle trapped between China and the US is never going to be sovereign (similar situation in Ukraine). Why ascribe pointless emotional overtones to Duterte? If USA is a losing bet in the long term, and he has to pick between the USA and China, he’s making a good decision — and in fact I think he is making a decision that was set into motion decades ago.

          >Grand Conspiracies have great explanatory value for second-raters.

          “Look at how cynical and jaded I am” is not an argument. There’s nothing grand about anything I’ve brought up — basic intel/state stuff following clear contours of history, demography, and geopolitics.

          1. With respect to the accusation that China was involved in the meth trade, Peter Lee offered that same assessment in an article on Duterte from a couple weeks ago. However, it has the casual nature that you’re criticizing in the above comment, and doesn’t really have a statistical source to verify it:

            http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/15/how-do-you-handle-a-problem-like-rodrigo-duterte/

            “First of all, the Philippine drug trade—primarily meth, locally known as shabu—is dominated by Chinese Triads by virtue of the fact that the large and poorly regulated PRC drug industry is a ready source of the intermediates needed to make the drug and also by the fact that Triads are deeply embedded in the major Chinese-diaspora presence in Filipino society. The PRC has a lot to offer in terms of tighter enforcement on the mainland and perhaps in using its good offices to encourage crackdowns in a key Triad operational base, Hong Kong.

            On the other hand, the PRC can make life difficult for Duterte if it wants to, by turning a blind eye to the export-oriented meth trade. So there you have it.

            Duterte made his expectations concerning PRC assistance quite clear by summoning the PRC ambassador back in August:

            The Philippines government said on Wednesday it had summoned the Chinese ambassador earlier this week to explain reports that traffickers were bringing in narcotics from China, opening a new front in President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs.

            On Tuesday, the country’s police chief told a Senate hearing that China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were major sources of illegal drugs, and Chinese triads were involved in trafficking.

            Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that the Chinese ambassador had been summoned for an explanation, and the government would also send a diplomatic communication to Beijing to ‘pursue this in a more aggressive note.’ ”

            This is, however, pretty suggestive that China allows the trade to continue in some fashion.

          2. Asian Reactionary October 25, 2016 at 11:54 am

            Max Gibs basically captures it.

            What a lot of people don’t realize is that China’s government is actually much more decentralized than in the US, in practice.

            The local governments such as Shanghai effectively can defy the central planners in Beijing and they basically do so with impunity.

            What’s Beijing going to do about it? Send in the Army? That’ll be great for economic growth! Micromanage everything? We tried that before. It was called the Great Leap Forward. We don’t want to try that again.

            So in practice, local governments are left alone so as long as they largely deliver and don’t go out of their way to embarrass the Party apparatus. The central government has both the will and the capability to intervene at times, but only for a short time and thus only for matters that the Party considers existential.

            Fighting yourself – which is really comes down to – gets pretty exhausting quickly, and looks bad from the outside.

          3. My impression is that, worldwide since the 19th century, Orthodox Marxist/Maoist commies from Sicily to China have hated organized crime.

            Triads =/= Chinese government. Triads and the government have opposing interests for obvious reasons.

            I see a continuation of the commie vs. druggie pattern in the Philippines.

      2. Asian Reactionary October 25, 2016 at 11:44 am

        As someone with connections with the Party, you assume a degree of coordination in the Chinese government that doesn’t exist.

        What’s more realistic is that there is a powerful business motive for drug dealers and the government can choose to crack down harder just internally(One eye open, one eye closed), or choose to crack down harder overall. The latter takes more effort.

        So by actually showing there’s a reason to care, Bejing might now try to clamp down outgoing production as well. Otherwise, the central government would selectively enforce less given the internal political struggles as it.

        1. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that China’s government is actually much more decentralized than in the US, in practice.”

          “The local governments such as Shanghai effectively can defy the central planners in Beijing and they basically do so with impunity.”

          Never been to China and have no dealings there, but I always suspected as much, thanks for the inside scoop.

  9. I have to admit, I’m not that impressed by Duterte. He kills drug dealers – which is good – but otherwise, he seems more like he has a bad case of little short man’s disease more than anything else. “All bag, no rice,” as they may or may not say in the Philippines.

  10. China is a borderline narco state that exports drugs all over the region and further afield – see influx of designer drugs into Europe and growth of things like Spice. It’s all coming out of China.

    Chinks are amoral people by and large. Filipinos have an incredibly violent culture – which has produced some great martial arts as well. Duterte is opening a can of instability and madness through such an embrace of the blood god. He’ll fuck the country hard.

    1. Asian Reactionary October 26, 2016 at 12:28 am

      As Peter Frost noted, the Chinese appear to largely lack affective empathy but we could have hardly built a consistent civilization without a steady system of morality. That it is based on cognitive measures rather than emotions is a credit, not a detriment.

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