I agree that Filipinos should not care too much about the opinion of foreign media who know nothing about the realities on the ground and are obviously pursuing the agenda of foreign powers who want Duterte out because he refuses to be a puppet.
But I also think Duterte's team should seriously look into what transpired this past week. What we saw here was a coordinated attack. New York Times, the Guardian, 60 Minutes Australia, Time magazine, BBC all came out with scathing one-sided pieces on Duterte one after the other, on the same week that Leila de Lima was staging her supposed senate investigation, and right on cue, Leni Robredo comes out and gives statements feigning concern about the negative news that Duterte's drug war is getting in the foreign press.
This was a carefully orchestrated attempt to stoke the emotions of the populace. What these agitators didn't count on was that De Lima's senate hearings would totally backfire on her.
I hope Communications Secretary Martin Andanar knows that he is also fighting a war, a propaganda war. I hope he can be more forceful just like PNP Chief Bato. This propaganda war is not just on a domestic scale, it is global. I mean, just look at the amount of energy these foreign media groups are wasting on Duterte. You'd think what was going on in the Philippines was more important than the way ISIS is taking over the Middle East and threatening security in Europe.
When Gloria Arroyo was demonized in her time, she chose to ignore it and thought her work would speak for itself. Wrong move. The best defense is offense when you're dealing with people who don't play fair. No one plays dirtier than the yellows and their backers.
I hope President Duterte will minimize his live speeches and press conferences. The biased media use those occasions to push his buttons so he will say provocative things that they can spin into negative stories. Duterte's greatest asset is also his greatest enemy–his mouth. It gives the opposition all the ammunition they need to mount their attacks.
Then again, if there's one thing I've observed about Duterte since the elections, he's a lot, lot smarter than he lets on. He always has an endgame, and the boorishness and craziness are part of the act. It's weird how all the international press coverage about him since the elections has made him quite famous. These days when I travel and foreigners find out I'm from the Philippines, the first thing they ask me about is Duterte. There is this fascination, like he's a novelty or a celebrity. I can't wait to see what happens when he goes to Brunei, Laos, and Indonesia next month. That class picture with the ASEAN heads of state is going to be priceless.
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