100 days of Rodrigo Duterte
Text by Luz Rimban
Photos by ACFJ’s Diploma in Photojournalism alumni and Visual Journalism students
DPJ: Mark Cristino, Froilan Gallardo, Mario Ignacio IV, Toto Lozano, Raffy Lerma, Lyn Rillon, Aaron Vicencio, and Veejay Villafranca
DVJ: Jinggo Montenejo and Richard Reyes
The promised metamorphosis of Rodrigo Duterte has not materialized, at least not in his first 100 days as Philippine president. That it could happen sometime in the next 2,090 remains a possibility. But Filipinos are, for sure, waiting for him to fulfill the vow he made on June 2 when, after a tirade against priests and the press, he said he would stop cursing once he assumed office on June 30 and that Filipinos would wake up to see a truly presidential Rodrigo Duterte.
And yet it was probably too much for the president to ask of himself. At 71, more than a decade into senior citizenship, the former mayor isn’t someone who takes to change that easily. He has actually become even grumpier, snapped at bigger enemies, and repeatedly shocked the world with his verbal attacks on whoever caught his ire at the moment, a practice he perfected while being Davao City’s top honcho.
Change is probably coming, but very slowly to Rodrigo Duterte. And that is evident, at the very least, in the sartorial department. That’s what the Asian Center for Journalism discovered from photographs contributed by alumni of its Diploma in Photojournalism program to mark the president’s 100 days in office.
The most powerful person in the land simply refuses to dress the part, and he couldn’t care less that he happens to be in the hallowed halls of Malacanang Palace with guests wearing their Sunday best or standing in a sea of soldiers clad in freshly ironed uniforms and shiny boots.
The photos tell the story, or at least part of it: Duterte greeting young guests in Malacanang shod in red loafers that blended well with the carpet; Duterte in brown loafers administering the oath of office to Vice President Leni Robredo; Duterte in the traditional barong tagalog with perennially rolled-up sleeves, and Duterte in a T-shirt talking to former President Fidel Ramos or walking into a palace sitting room.
And then there are the photos of the President at the headquarters of the 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City. There, too, he broke protocol, not just because he was wearing rubber shoes and an untucked shirt, but because he executed a salute prematurely, preempting a soldier who was supposed to give it to him first.
Dress codes, written or unwritten, are not the only rules the president has brushed off. By now, Filipinos know of the thousands of alleged drug addicts summarily executed, following Duterte’s call for an all-out war on drugs. The president and his police chief have been criticized for running roughshod over the rights of suspected drug addicts, but he bristles at the criticism, arguing that it’s the only way to pull the country back from the brink of being a narco-country.
And yet life goes on for Filipinos, who gave Duterte a 76 percent approval rating as the country marked his hundredth day in office. Even his critics say his government has done some things right—appointing good people to executive positions, forging peace with Muslim and leftist rebels, pushing for the regularization of contractual workers, among others. For sure, there are things he has and hasn’t done. But then, again, it’s been just a hundred days.
Luz Rimban is the executive director of the Asian Center for Journalism (ACFJ). Aaron Vicencio is the coordinator of the ACFJ Diploma in Visual Journalism. Froilan Gallardo is based in Cagayan de Oro City and writes for MindaNews. Raffy Lerma and Lyn Rillon work for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Toto Lozano is a presidential photographer. Veejay Villafranca is a multi-awarded photojournalist. Mario Ignacio IV runs a business and is a photographer on the side. Mark Cristino shoots photos and videos for the European Pressphoto Agency. Jinggo Montenejo and Richard Reyes are current students of the Diploma in Visual Journalism program of the ACFJ.