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Rodrigo Duterte

National security in the Philippines under Duterte

By Dr Peter Chalk

In May 2016, Rodrigo Duterte, the long-term mayor of Davao City, won a resounding victory in the Philippines national presidential election, becoming the country’s first elected leader from the conflict-ravaged province of Mindanao.

He has since set in train a highly populist agenda that has seen internal security and stability as the main priority of his tenure. Central to that focus has been countering terrorism, ending longstanding armed insurgencies and addressing violent crime at home, while pursuing a flexible policy overseas that’s aimed at giving him sufficient time and space to deal with pressing domestic concerns.

This Special Report examines the manner in which Duterte has gone about securing his internal objectives and assesses the effectiveness of those various approaches.

It also looks at how he has sought to promote the Philippines as a ‘strategic partner nation of the international community’ to diversify and rebalance the country’s external alignments. The analysis concludes by looking at how Australia can best support Manila in bolstering its domestic stability and regional presence.